That resounding thud you hear is the Reds' start to spring training. They're not just losing regularly, they also lead both the Cactus and Grapefruit leagues in runs allowed. Come to the ballpark this year. Watch Jumbo Diaz sprain his neck as he turns to follow his fast balls getting knocked into the cheap seats.
OK, OK, we're not even a week into the exhibition schedule. And in truth, the Reds have lost several of these games in the later innings, with some players who won't be within an 11-hour drive of Cincinnati this summer. But it leads me to an idea I have for the smart guys at Great American Ball Park.
If you've been involved in corporate culture for more than five hours, you've probably heard that one. Mantra, core values, company goals -- over-communicate fits into one of those HR catch phrases. Memos, emails, texts, tweets, Slacks (Slack is what we used to call Ralph in the mailroom. When did he get a communication tool named after him?).
But none of those non-personal interpersonal communication tools will ever replace the No. 1 interaction technique that God gave us: talking to each other. What a concept that must be to the "nose buried in the cell phone like it's crack" crowd.
But I digress.
The concept of actually talking to its customers might be a something the Reds should embrace now. I had this epiphany the other day, listening to someone named Nick Routt give up a spring training home run. Then, like most people my age, I forgot about it, until Reds marketing guru Michael Anderson stopped by the station to give us a rundown on what kind of promotions the Reds have planned this year. Fireworks every Friday night. Some sort of trinket or bobblehead giveaway on Saturdays. The Reds front office has that part of the plan down cold. On the field, not so much.
As we all know, the Reds are on the long way back from oblivion. They've traded away several star players and have accumulated a lot of younger players, cheaper players and an inordinate amount of middle infielders.
But they actually have a few things that should give us hope that the dark days may soon end.
ESPN's baseball insider Keith Law rates the Reds' minor league organization as the eighth-best in baseball. Among what impresses Law is the quality of depth the Reds have in their minor league pitching. Law thinks the Reds have a collection of No. 4 starters in their system. But as he told me this week, on the open market, a team like the Reds couldn't buy that kind of pitching. He added there's always the possibility of trading a few of those to get a major league-ready pitcher or position player.
He likes Jesse Winker, thinks Amir Garrett will be in the big leagues sooner than later and thinks Nick Senzel is the real deal.
All of that got me thinking -- why don't the Reds get proactive with what they're doing?
Every game of every home stand, the Reds should hold impromptu meet-ups with their general manager, scouts, coaches, even owner Bob Castellini. A couple of hours before every home game, one from that group could hold a question-and-answer session with fans. Maybe they hold that on the terrace area in right field, or in front of the Reds gift shop or on top of that boat in center field. Anywhere.
If the Reds have a plan for climbing out of the abyss they find themselves in, share it. It's great that they do these kind of things at Redsfest and their annual caravan, but not every fan can get to those events. Why not take your plan to the paying customers? You know, people that are actually paying to watch your product.
If you're a fan, wouldn't you like to ask President of Baseball Operations and GM Dick Williams when he projects Senzel will be in the Majors? Wouldn't you like to ask Reds coach Freddie Benavides why almost no Major League players can bunt? What Reds fan wouldn't want a chance to ask a scout what he saw in Nick Travieso and Phillip Ervin and how frustrated is the club that those guys are mired in the minor league system?
Unlike some towns where baseball is something to do while the NFL is away, we get it here. We know the sport. So tell us, what is he plan? Reasonable people (we are) given a reasonable reason to keep the faith usually will.
I have no idea when the Reds are going to be be good again, as in contending good, as in winning a pennant good. My money is on 2019 at the earliest. Maybe I'm wrong; it wouldn't be the first time. I'm willing to listen. Which one of the smart guys at Great American Ball Park wants to be the first one to talk?
Now then, some random thoughts on this random Thursday...
Looks like the NFL quarterback market took a hit. The Patriots say they're not trading Jimmy G.
Reports also say Colin Kaepernick will opt out of his deal with the 49ers. The team that takes him will also take the distractions that go with him. Not sure who that team would be. "Baggage" is something most NFL teams reserve for the equipment truck...
Fearless forecast: I think the Bengals overpay to keep Dre Kirkpatrick. I think Kevin Zeitler walks. I think they have no choice but to re-sign Andrew Whitworth...
Sounds like there's a "Come To Jerry" meeting in the near future for Tony Romo...
Interesting read here from ESPN's Eddie Matz on whether this season is Dusty Baker's last chance to get a World Series ring. I think he might've gotten one in 2012, if he didn't start Mike Leake in game 4 against the Giants...
He turns 55 today! Jon Bon Jovi can officially join AARP.
This of course, from the 1986 album "Slippery When Wet," rehearsed in the basement of Richie Sambora's mom's house.
The group was floundering. It has found what could only be described as passing success with a few previous albums. So the band's label, in an attempt to jumpstart Bon Jovi, brought in Desmond Child, who had written some big hits. Child penned "I Was Made For Loving You," a big hit for KISS. He also co wrote this song, "You Give Love A Bad Name" and "I'd Die For You" for Jon and the boys.
As for Bon Jovi, he's no doubt celebrating today with the revenue he's reaped from selling over 130 million albums in his time. And 55 years ago today, in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, one John Francis Bongiovi Jr. came upon this earth. You know him, as Jon Bon Jovi.