2008 Cincinnati Reds Year in Review
Submitted by Transmission on Sun, 10/14/2007 - 7:00am
10-15-07 - Dusty Baker announced as Reds new manager 11-2-07 - Wayne Krivsky trades
Phil Dumatrait for World Series MVP Augie Ojeda
12-5-07 - After several private meetings, Baker talks Mark Lemke out of retirement.
1-22-08 - Thinking that the Reds Alex Gonzalez is the same Alex Gonzalez of the 2003 Cubs, Baker tells a local reporter "Alex had a hard time after the  Playoffs, but he's a real pro. I think he just needs to see the infield from a different position, get away from shortstop for awhile." Speculation mounts that the non-ex-Cubs Gonzalez will be moved to third base, benching Edwin Encarnacion.
1-23-08 - Augie Ojeda announced as the starting shortstop going into spring training. Baker insists "Alex will get his at bats, somewhere in the lineup."
1-25-08 - Baker insinuates that Jorge Cantu may appear in centerfield to give Josh Hamilton some rest from time to time.
1-26-08 - Josh Hamilton spotted at local Starbucks drinking an espresso.
2-2-08 - Alex Gonzalez announced as co-Third Baseman with Edwin Encarnacion
2-5-08 - Baker declares that Lemke will spell Brandon Phillips from time to time at second base, but that Phillips is still an important part of the team.
2-16-08 - Reds lose first spring training game when Hamilton strikes out in the bottom of the ninth with the bases loaded, preserving a Rangers win. Baker declares "Hamilton is still learning the game, and will be given plenty of opportunities to show what he can do."
2-17-08 - Hamilton spotted in local coffee shop ordering a double espresso.
2-25-08 - Baker cancels fielding drills, instead brings in motivational speaker who demonstrates how to rip a phone book in half using just one's bare hands.
2-27-08 - Ken Griffey Jr. to miss a month due to a slight shoulder separation following an effort to rip a phone book.
2-28-08 - Reds lose spring training game when Phillips boots a grounder. Baker announces that Phillips has an important role to play on the team, and that he has full confidence in Phillips.
3-1-08 - Mark Lemke starts a spring training game against the Phillies at second, batting leadoff. Goes 3-3. Cantu, playing center, hits a home run.
3-4-08 - Hamilton spotted at local organic coffee shop buying three pounds of fair-trade coffee. Brandon Phillips spotted buying "Players are the Moon in Libra, Managers are the Sun in Pisces: An Astrological Guide to Understanding Your Boss" at local book store.
3-9-08 - Homer Bailey, schedule to throw 50 pitches, has a perfect game after 3 innings. Baker leaves him in for the fourth, when he throws pitches 53 through 69. With the perfect game still in tact, Bailey proceeds to pitch the fifth through seventh. Leaves when he gives up an infield hit, having thrown 94 pitches.
3-10-08 - Homer Bailey declared to be "day to day" with "arm fatigue."
3-14-08 - Reds win on back-to-back squeeze bunts by Ojeda and Gonzalez.
3-15-08 - Encarnacion traded to the Cardinals for Joel Piniero.
3-20-08 - Baker expresses his desire to see Dunn be more aggressive, not take so many hitable pitches.
3-28 - 08 - Reds lose game on a Lemke 6-4-3 GIDP in the bottom of the 9th. Baker blames the loss on the groundscrew, which did not mow the infield grass down to the specified height, thus slowing down Lemke's grounder just enough for the shortstop to get to it.
3-30-08 - Joey Votto optioned to the minor leagues. Scott Hatteberg announced as opening day starter at first. Lemke announced as opening day starter at second, for an infield of Alex Gonzalez, Ojeda, Lemke and Hatteberg
4-2-08 - Second game of season, Hamilton given a day off for "rest" against Arizona left-hander Doug Davis, Cantu starts. Cantu hits game-winning sacrifice fly
4-3-08 - Hamilton spotted at local Starbucks slamming Espresso shots.
4-15-08 - Baker misses the Reds' first game against the Cubs. Reportedly seen outside of H & R Block, mumbling something about how it's "all a misunderstanding, all Stone's fault."
4-18-08 - Reds lose when Dunn strikes out looking in a one-run game with a runner on first. Baker explains that Dunn needs to "let it fly."
5-5-08 - Reds beat the Cubs, 7-0, behind a Bailey shutout, to go into a first-place tie with the Cubs. Bailey comes out for the ninth, throws 139 pitches.
5-20-08 - Dunn ordered to swing at every pitch he sees.
6-1-08 - Hatteberg, hitting .209/.320/.390, pulls a hamstring. Votto called up.
6-2-08 - Cantu starts at first, with Votto on the bench. Norris Hopper starts in center over Hamilton, as Baker explains that Hamilton has been "pressing" at the plate and "needs to find himself."
6-6-08 - Hamilton seen at Wal-mart, snorting lines of Wal-mart brand ground coffee.
6-12-08 - Reds fall out of first place when Alex Gonzalez drops a pop fly that he loses in the sun, allowing the Cardinals to win. Baker blames the media's obsession with 2003 and the ergonomic engineer of Gonzalez's sunglasses (which were on top of Gonzo's ballcap) for not coming up with a more comfortable design. Laughs at how a Latino could lose the ball in the sun. First Base coach Billy Hatcher complains that Reds' broadcaster Marty Brennaman sighed audibly at the end of the game.
6-15-08 - Lemke, hitting .157, given the day off. Phillips starts at second, goes 1-4 with 3 Ks. Baker explains that Phillips needs to "let the game come to him, not try to do too much."
6-16-08 - Dunn strikes out 5 times on 18 pitches, swinging at each one. Has 130 strikeouts on the year.
6-30 and 7-1-08 - Reds play a 20 inning marathon against the Pirates. Bailey comes in to relieve in the 14th, as it was his day to throw on the side between starts, anyways. Winds up pitching 6 innings, throwing 102 pitches. Reds win in the bottom of the 20th, to preserve a one-game lead over the Cubs, when Baker calls on Hamilton to pinch-hit for Bailey against the Pirates' Damaso Marte. Hamilton, unusually alert given the fact that it's nearly 2 in the morning, hits a game-winning walk-off home run. In 9 at bats, Dunn hits 3 HRs and strikes out 6 times. First Base coach Billy Hatcher complains in the clubhouse that Brennaman didn't sound enthusiastic enough on the home run call.
7-9-08 - Alex Gonzalez out for a month while participating in "voluntary" kick-boxing routine with guest motivational speaker brought in from the UFC. Lemke shifted to third, Phillips regains starting job at second. Griffey day-to-day with an embiggened meta-owwie from this perfectly cromulent exercise.
7-11-08 - Krivsky trades minor-league phenom Jay Bruce to San Francisco for Pedro Feliz. With Feliz at third until Gonzalez recovers, Lemke returns to second.
7-20-08 - In his continuing effort to impress Baker, Brandon Phillips signs up for juggling lessons through the U. of Cincinnati summer extension course system.
8-16-08 - Reds fall back out of first place again when, in the bottom of the 9th against St. Louis, Baker pinch-hits for Hamilton with Ojeda, who had the day off. Ojeda tries to bunt for a base hit with two outs and a runner on first, and is out. Hatcher phones Brennaman at home to complain about the slight note of disappointment in Brennaman's voice at the end of the game.
9-2-08 - Dunn, who has swung at 320 consecutive pitches, hits his 80th home run while striking out for the 250th time in a win against the Pirates.
9-3-08 - Rainout against Pittsburgh spoils a perfect game bid that Homer Bailey was working on through 4 innings. Baker blames global warming, in a 10 minute explanation of how evaporated polar ice is causing it to rain in Cincinnati.
9-4-08 - Bailey starts the first game of the double-header against the Pirates, throws a perfect game. Since he only needed 107 pitches to shutout the Pirates in the first game, and still had a perfect innings streak going from the official rainout from the day before, Bailey is left in to start the second game of the double header. Is perfect through 8 innings before giving up a meaningless home run in the ninth. Reds win both games.
9-5-08 - Krivskey signs formerly retired LHP Shawn Estes for added bullpen depth down the stretch.
9-20-08 - Josh Hamilton sits the bench against Milwaukee lefty Chris Capuano, who at the moment is 0-19 on the season.
9-22-08- In a tight race with the Cubs for the division title, Baker orders Dunn, who has been intentionally walked 30 times this year, to swing at intentional balls as well.
9-25-08- MSNBC reports Josh Hamilton has been kidnapped by a notorious Columbian coffee cartel.
10-1-08 - The Reds play the Cubs at Wrigley in a one-game playoff to determine the sole NL Central representative in the playoffs. After 9 innings, the score is tied at 2, the Reds' infield is 0-14 with 2 sacrifice bunts. Dunn, playing in game 163, hits his 100th and 101st home runs of the regular season, but strikes out four times on four efforts to intentionally walk him, bringing his strikeout total to 372. In the bottom of the tenth, Aramis Ramirez, noticing that Homer Bailey's arm appears to be visibily throbbing and glowing a strange orange, smartly bunts a ball back towards Bailey's right. Bailey grabs it, fires to first, with his arm detaching from its socket. With arm and ball alike traveling towards Hatteberg, Ramirez is able to beat the throw.
Baker calls in Estes from the pen, who procedes to walk Cubs right fielder Alex Rodriguez and then Jacque Jones. The game ends when Mark Derosa hits a high pop fly along the left field line. With Adam Dunn playing with two torn rotator cuffs, not-really-ex-cub Alex Gonzalez and actual-ex-cub Augie Ojeda race out from third and short to chase after the popup. Gonzalez leaps towards the left field foul wall padding, when a pair of hands extend over the wall, into fair territory, to make a grab at the ball. It's really-ex-cub Alex Gonzalez, who foolishly tries to interfere with a live ball! Gonzalez whiffs on his effort to catch the ball, but distracts the other Gonzalez from the catch, causing the ball to fall in, just fair. Ramirez high-hurdles Darren Baker, who got lost on his way to deliver a new set of baseballs to the home plate umpire, and slides in for the winning run.
10-3-08 - On the strength of the Reds improved season, Krivskey signs Baker to a five-year extension. U. of Cincinnati officials rumored to have spotted Brandon Phillips enrolling in "Japanese 101" course.