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Giant Red (Mail)Sack, Installment I

In the words of Mike Greenberg, "I'm back, baby, and better than ever!"

After a week of moving into a new house, vacationing in sweltering South Carolina, and getting engaged, it is safe to say that I am ready to dive headlong back into the blogging fray. However, just like every other cultishly popular, cash-cow website of our era, Redsmix never closes, so I have a bit of catching up to do. In what has turned out to be an oversight of British Petroleonic proportions, I forgot to enable my Out of Office notification system before I left, so the fan-mail has been piling up rapidly. And while I have commissioned my nemesis Jose as a stopgap to respond to as many e-mails as possible (Six bucks an hour! Ha…Phillies fans.), his limited English capacity and affinity for capital letters and exclamation points have rendered him practically useless. So, looks like I better put the ol' nose to the grindstone and crank out a few responses to some of the more loyal members of the fanbase.

Q: The advent of football season (marked by the Bengals annual eye-gouge of a Pre-season opener) made me wonder: if you had to field a football team made up solely of current Reds, how would it look? Thanks, and Go Paris Lady Hounds!

Chris Hunt

Paris, KY

A: Chris – Great question, though I am almost scared to ask what the hell a lady hound is. First off, every good football team needs a solid leader at QB, so I'd have to put Scottie Rolen there. He would bring a veteran presence to the huddle, take care of the ball, and wouldn't stand for any nonsense. Second, I would need a dynamic, play-making arsenal of skill players, so I would put Stubbs, Heisey and Bruce at wide-out (speed kills) and entrench Brandon Phillips as my razzle-dazzle running back. I completely expect Phillips to hold-out well into every training camp and I am completely fine with that. PAY THE MAN. Next, Rolen is a big man who isn't necessarily getting any younger, so he'll need some protection. I'd employ an offensive line of Nick Masset (LT), Arthur Rhodes (LG), Ramon Hernandez (C), Co-co Cordero (RG), and Jordan Smith (RT) to accomplish this important task, and I'd try to make "Jemima" catch on as a nickname for Rhodes, as a tribute to his beastly pancake blocks. At this point, my team is already basically unstoppable and poised to win like 90% of its games, so defense is kind of an afterthought. However, I'd still throw Laynce Nix and Jonny Gomes out there as roving, blood-thirsty linebackers and watch as the forfeits stack up. Nobody wants a piece of that.

Q: Paul Janish is the guy everyone has been clamoring for all year, even though Orlando Cabrera has done an admirable job as the starting shortstop. Now that O-Cab is hurt and Janish has assumed the starting job, do his immaculate defense and improving offense make him the odds-on starter in 2011?

Richard McNutt

Columbus, OH

A: Dick – While I don't hear anyone arguing that Janish is an elite fielder, I think he is a long way from establishing himself as an everyday hitter. He has done well in his limited role this year, and hit well last year as well, splitting time with …wait…damn, for the life of me I can't remember who Janish split time with last year at shortstop….that's how sad the Reds' SS situation has been, AL (after Larkin.) However, even if he stays close to .300 for the remainder of this year while O-cab recovers, there always will be his detractors, citing small sample sizes and pointing to the AAA pitchers the Bucs, 'Stro's, and Cubbies toss out there in August and September. For Janish to solidly win a starting job, I think he needs to manufacture a great offensive spring, and maintain a .280 or better average over the course of a season. Still, O-Cab is under contract next year, so he is the starter.

Q: How upset will you be when Chad Henne and the Dolphins are stamping big, bloody, Wildcat paw prints on the Bengals' faces, come Halloween 2010?

Seeds Lourie

Pennsyltucken, PA

A: Seeds –This question is ridiculously unrelated to baseball, the Reds, or anything else this blog represents, and frankly I am concerned as to how it even slipped in here. However, for some reason I feel the need to highlight its insanity in a public forum. The logic here is simple: The Dolphins quarterback is Chad Henne à Chad Henne went to Michigan à Michigan is a haven for d-bag losersà the Dolphins are destined for failure. See? Happy Halloween.

Q: With Travis Wood seemingly vying for a no-hitter every fifth day and Mike Leake continuing to slide, who would you rather have as a Red for the long term?

Gunz McGee

Columbus, OH

A: 'Sup, Gunz. I would love to mimic 97% of all athletes/coaches/athletic directors and dance a neat little jig around this one because it is just so damn hard to answer, but I hate it when people do that so I'll do my best to pick a side. Right now I think I would still go with Leake. Wood has been great lately, but so was Leake in his first 1-2 months of work, wasn't he? I truly think that Wood and Leake are basically the same person (not especially hard throwers, good location, young, long hair, cool demeanor, gamers), but I think Leake hits a little more and has a slightly better pedigree, so I am going with the first round draft pick at this point. Ask me again in a year.

Q: Ever since the Reds acquired Jonny Gomes, I've been waiting for him to get ticked off and come charging in from left field to deck somebody. You can imagine my disappointment over the last year and half when this dream hasn't materialized. I am starting to think the only time I will see a Reds brawl in my lifetime is if they engage in some kind of locker room Battle Royale. If this were to happen, who are you betting will come out on top? PAUL JANISH IN AN UPSET???

Tank Corliss

East Granby, CT

A: Tank – Only a guy named after an armored war vehicle would ask such a testosterone-laden question. Still, it's kind of hilarious to think about. First off, there are several guys we can eliminate right away. Jay Bruce and Drew Stubbs would chicken out, I just know it. One glimpse of Laynce Nix pounding Red Bulls and slapping on war paint would have them peeing themselves and filing for premature free agency. Also, you gotta' rule out Joey Votto on this one. Though he is a great athlete and really smart, he's Canadian and, well, if the Vietnam War taught us anything (besides the fact that holes in the ground can be really confusing) it was that Canadians are soft. Next, I think I would toss out Ryan Hanigan as well. The Reds catcher often bears a striking resemblance to an alcoholic father of four from the Appalachian foothills, so I am pretty sure he would have neither the agility nor the wherewithal to be successful in this type of vicious cockfight. With those guys eliminated, I think the skirmish comes down to a select few. Brandon Phillips would definitely be present, but I doubt he would get too involved physically. I see him more as the promoter/bookie of the event. Like a bald Don King on Aderall, he'd be bouncing around during the moments leading up to the fight, tossin' out odds and calling people bitches. In the ring, I see Jonny Gomes and Laynce Nix going at each other Stepbrothers-style in some sort of perverse, symbolic blood-match to decide left field playing rights. Then, after those two whack each other senseless with fungo bats, I envision it coming down to the two bulldogs in the bullpen (Nick Masset and Arthur Rhodes) and Scott Rolen. And, while Masset and Rhodes are huge guys with bad attitudes and a decent amount of pent-up aggression, I have trouble ignoring how closely Scottie resembles Russell Crowe; he is essentially his doppelganger. I see him channeling his inner-Maximus, bludgeoning all competitors at the same time with one of his over-sized Lousville Sluggers, and then, wide-eyed and blood-streaked, bellowing: "ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!!"

Welp, that's it for the first installment of the Redsmix mailbag, which I am thinking of naming the Giant Red Sack, for purely juvenile reasons. If your question was not answered in today's Giant Red Sack, rest assured I will either get to it next time, or you will receive a stock letter from Jose reading something like : "YO thanks 4 da ?, keep it real n don't count out da CHAMPS!!! WE DA BEST!!!! 1 Luv, Jose."

In the meantime, hopefully the Reds can bounce back from an embarrassing loss last night in Game 1 of what is probably their biggest series since 1995. Silver lining? Without Leake's disastrous 4th inning, the Reds would have won handily, thanks to a stout effort by the 'pen. Here's hoping Cueto can assert his dominance over the sliding- similar-to-Leake Jaime Garcia tonight, and Brandon Phillips can give a better-than-0-for-5 effort in stifling those female dogs from St. Louis. If not, a Battle Royale might just be in order. Watch out for Scottie.

Reed Domer-Shank 8-10-2010


  1. Congrats, really good stuff and yes the Dolphins are clearly destined for failure and Cabrera will be starting next year.

  2. How about that foreshadowing for that brawl last night?

  3. Funny how that works huh? First brawl in years! (I know this because, like Tank, I have been waiting for one ever since the Reds had Adam Dunn and Wily Mo Pena on the same team.) Just a shame it was immediately followed (and preceeded) by the Cards handing us our shorts. Tough series.