TGR on Facebook
TGR on Twitter
TGR Feed
Sep 19

The Tailgate Review – Florida

Posted by: R.A.Pedigo at 8:35 am | Leave a Comment (16)
Category: Random Notes

Coach Matthew Mitchel

If you are fortunate enough to be friended by me on Face Book, you are undoubtedly aware of the great sacrifice I made on Saturday night at 7:30 pm. If you are not one of the chosen few, here is how it went down. In hopes of breaking the dreaded “streak” which began the same year I introduced myself to the Clark County public school system as a kindergartener, I made a major move. I decided to not watch the Kentucky v. Florida game live. I decided to leave my modest home for a place where there would not be a TV, radio, and I promised not to check my phone for the entirety of the contest. I did all of this for my beloved Wildcats, and for my wife, for whom I had purchased tickets to the Jason Aldean – Florida Georgia Line concert for Mother’s Day. Here is how it went down…

First, let me say, for all of you parents out there that raised your daughters to believe it is perfectly acceptable to wear nearly nothing to concerts… Bless you! I don’t have the best eyesight, so when I can tell you are not wearing much more than a pair of boots, you probably aren’t wearing much more than a pair of boots. You girls can’t all be groupies, so what are your “hopes” for the evening? And where were you about 10 years ago? I didn’t think my mind would be able to be distracted from the fact I was not watching the Cats, but… it was.

We saw some people we knew before the concert got started up and I could tell immediately, seeing the Pedigos out and about minutes before a Kentucky kickoff is a very surprising sight for many. It seemed very comparable to a Bigfoot sighting or seeing a Louisville fan without a line beard. People were actually shocked when they caught a glimpse of us strolling Rupp’s corridors. I must say, it was a very uncomfortable feeling for me too. I felt as naked as those girls lining up for fireball shots all over the damn place in their boots, and not much more than their boots.

Once we arrived to our seats, I got settled in a bit to my situation. I did very well as far as our tickets went. Floor seats, basically front row. There were only a few nearly nude girls standing between us and Jason Aldean occasionally. I knew going in that the Florida Georgia Line boys and Jason Aldean were all Georgia Bulldog fans, so I anticipated that they would probably give the score of the game, as long as it was good for the Cats. After FGL didn’t give the score during their set, I was a bit worried. Then, as expected, in his set, Aldean started talking about how his Bulldogs had just lost to SC, so, tonight, he was a Kentucky Wildcat fan, because he hates Florida. He then said, “Kentucky 10 Florida 6. 20,000 strong went nuts, and that number included yours truly. I was immediately on edge for the remainder of the show. I never checked my phone, I never grabbed the radio, but I really wanted to. My wife kept making comments about “staying in Lexington” and “What are we going to do afterwards” that made me think, she knows something, and it sounds good. Some might think she was giving me hints about something other than celebrating a Cats victory, but I know her fairly well, she wasn’t.

Before the show started, we ran into Coach Mitchell and his wife. It was a quick interaction, but as soon as the concert ended, the two of them were with us at our seats. I could no longer take it and grabbed the headphones to tune in Tommy Leach. I was losing my mind and the unknown was overwhelming! I tuned in just in time to hear, “Florida 23 Kentucky 20, and the Cats will have the ball”. I yelled out the score and probably ruined the plans of those around me who had DVRed the game and were going home to watch it, but I didn’t care. This might have been the case for Matthew Mitchell who was still standing beside me and I had totally forgotten that fact. I yelled the score at him, because the speakers we sat by had completely blown my ear drums out, that we were down 3 with the ball and he seemed as excited as I was!

My mom worked the concert with our friend JC, and they were going to give us a ride home. We hustled out the backstage to get to mom’s truck and more importantly, her radio. We got there in time to hear the Cats move the ball down the field into field goal range. We were surrounded by tour busses, trailers, and those nearly naked groupie gals wearing boots as we blasted the call in the Rupp lot. AS the first field goal attempt went through, only to be erased by a penalty, I screamed out “son of a b..ch!” and one of the groupie booted women thought I was yelling at her. It was intense back there BBN! When the 2nd attempt was in the air and I heard the Florida fans start to cheer in the background, I thought it was over, but… Leach said it was good and it was as much fun for a few moments as we have had with UK football for years! We drove through Lexington for all 3 overtimes, with my wife screaming out the window to random people until the battle was lost.

As crushed as I was Saturday night, I am that much more excited today about our Cats! I hope that all of BBN will join us on September 27 when our Cats return to do battle with Vanderbilt in our ol’ Kentucky home! Our Cats have shown how much fight they have in them, now let’s show them how much fight we have in BBN! Get there early, stay the ENTIRE game, no matter the score, and let’s celebrate together the greatness that is the Cats, girls in nothing but boots and the University of Kentucky football program! C! A! T! S!

Sep 8

The Tailgate Review – Ohio

Posted by: R.A.Pedigo at 9:56 pm | Leave a Comment (53)
Category: Random Notes

weatherIf you are like me, there are very few people on the face of the earth that can actually have a major effect on your day to day life. There are only a few people that assist me in preparing for my day, help decide what I do in a day, or produce any other determining factor in how my day goes. For me, the number of people can be counted on one hand, if in fact you have all of your fingers, and one of them, unfortunately, is a gosh dern meteorologist. You don’t have to be a best friend of mine to know that I have had an on-going feud with nearly all of the meteorologist I have ever heard utter the words upper level low, dusting, straight line winds or polar vortex. I once heckled a weather man as he attempted to kick a field goal at halftime of a UK game. He is no longer a weather man in Lexington, and I am a better man for it.

Saturdays tailgate extravaganza was damned by local weather freaks to be a sloppy mess all week leading up to game day. I heard torrential rainfall, seasonally low temperatures and extensive cloud cover more than a few times every night. Which leads me to my first bad decision of the day, I wore jeans Saturday… For, you know, the unseasonably low temperatures? If 90 is “low”, what is high? Besides the meteorologist apparently?

Thankfully, since I was wearing jeans in what felt like Amazon Jungle type conditions, we started the day at Winchell’s for breakfast. Again, this happened because it was going to be raining and we thought a nice dry environment would be the most responsible decision. This, by mistake, was the only good decision the meteorologist made for me Saturday, because Winchell’s breakfast is great. With all of the TVs, bloody Mary’s, and the sausage, egg an cheese bagel I had, they have a great pregame atmosphere. They have Blue and White pancakes if you find the need to not only wear our colors, but eat them too, just as my wife did. Love ya honey, mean it!

67 seconds after leaving Winchell’s, we were smack dab in the red lot! My mother passed up breakfast to go ahead and set up shop with some help from her friends, because, you know, there was a storm a brewing’! #fail. Let me tell you, there is nothing more satisfying than arriving at your tailgate theater only to have it already assembled and ready for business! The only thing we had to get put into place was our second tent, because, it was going to pour rain and we should have as much shelter as possible #fail. After only a few minutes I was gracefully rolling across the red lot to the UK souvenir tent to see if they had any shorts for purchase. They did not, but I did consider either borrowing the scissors in order to make myself a pair of jorts, or buying a t-shirt and putting my legs through the arm holes. I am telling you folks it was H O T and my mind was playing tricks on me.

I managed to make it in Commonwealth without having a heat stroke, but with a poncho, a cute little battery powered fan that blows cool mist on you and a frog tog, which I will let you Google. The damn nations I was hurling towards all that is wrong about 21st century weather predicting were interrupted only by the beautiful glimmer from those sick new helmets the Big Grey, I mean Big Blue were wearing! I loved the entire uniform… More of that please! I also forgot to mention how much I love the Cats entering the field of play behind a player caring a Kentucky flag last week. This week I heard Matt Elam carried in an American flag, and that is fine, I would just rather it be a Kentucky state flag. There are a few states represented by stars on Ol Glory that I could do without… Here’s looking at you Tennessee, Indiana, Ohio and Utah.

Story, or question of the day… My good pal, we will call him, “Ryan”, sat with me Saturday. I will first point out that I LOVE watching football with “Ryan”, He is a good Kentucky football fan and agrees with me on most things when it comes to Big Blue football. The 3rd quarter starts and I tell “Ryan” that I have a headache. He tells me I am probably dehydrated and he agrees to go grab me a beverage after no one around us has any Tylenol. “Ryan” leaves and returns to our seats to inform me FIRST, the lines were long at the concession stand, but he got me something better than what they would have there and “Ryan” hands me a snow cone. I don’t think I have been more disappointed in my life. I was so ready for a delicious fountain drink, or bottle of water or anything else a 34 year old man might get. I was even more disappointed when “Ryan” was mad at me for being completely baffled by his purchase. I felt he had handed me a shredded up ice cube and he felt he had handed me the most beautiful refreshment god’s great hands could produce in our situation. I am still hearing from “Ryan” how big a jerk I am for not being happy with the snow cone and I continue to let “Ryan” know that 34 year old men don’t by each other snow cones when one of them is possibly dehydrated, just because there is a line at the concession stand. So, who is right here BBN? Me or “Ryan”?

It was another great tailgate, despite the best effort of the bluegrass region’s finest weather trackers. We managed to go the entire morning/afternoon without seeing Kentucky Joe, we broke bread with a bunch of fine Americans we only see in football season and the Cats were victorious! We ended the night in a barn on Van Meter Road in Winchester listening to a symphony! STRIDE’s Symphony Under The Stars was a great event and raised a lot of money for a great cause I am very proud to be a part of! You might be asking why we were in a barn? That’s right BBN…. Due to the severe weather threat, the event was moved indoors, or at least inside the barn. #fail

Thanks to meteorologist, I never stopped sweating from 8 am to 10 pm and “Ryan” bought me a snow cone… Thanks guys! C! A! T! S!

Sep 2

The Tailgate Review – UT Martin

Posted by: R.A.Pedigo at 8:28 am | Leave a Comment (24)
Category: Random Notes

KY Joe

There is something very spiritual about a “first”. Whether it is the first game, the first child, a first kiss, a first beer, a first blog post after a 1,025 day hiatus from the game, or even your first run-in with the infamous, Kentucky Joe, of KSR radio fame, a “first” can be nearly orgasmic.

I remember the first Tailgate Review e-mail (the e-mail chain that started this blog years ago) like it was yesterday! I remember how I told stories and gave meaningless information about that day’s tailgate party in the red lot in our spot that we have been in for 10 years. I remember telling everyone about how that guy got so drunk and that girl was so annoying and how those opposing fans were so mad at us for calling them terrible names and I remember… Well, I don’t really remember any of that, or the first e-mail that started Tailgate Review, but I assure you, it was a lot like that.
So, let me clear my throat, and get back to what we do best…

My world has changed in a number of ways since my last Tailgate Review many years ago. Teenagers have gone from drinking purple drank, to getting all hopped up on some chick named Molly and doing shots of liquor in the eye balls. I am not here to judge, but Molly seems like a slut. This is the only change in my life I find to be note worthy.

Let me start by quoting my good friend and philosopher, Jay, “Noon games are the devil!” Less time to tailgate, hangovers, and extremely grumpy wives at 6 am are reasons to support that statement. I’m all for arriving at Commonwealth at 8:15 am, but for a 7 pm game, not a nooner!

Like I said, 10 years in the exact same spot in the red lot. But, it was predetermined this season that we were going to attempt to relocate in the red lot. I know I know, it would be a very sad day in Big Blue Nation if that were to happen, but my 2 year old has nearly been hit by a car twice in 2 years, so we are striving for safety this season. After 3 minutes of scouting the red lot for a more kid safe area, I.E. away from the road, we ended up in the exact same spot by the exact same tree we have abused for several seasons. Lil R.A. didn’t make the trip anyway, he had a meeting with a client. Might just have to look into a helmet for him for future tailgates.

A silly noon game also makes for slim pickins on the nourishment front. Sure, people try to do big things like breakfast casseroles and other things, but I will be honest… I have never met a breakfast casserole that didn’t remind me of what a college kid’s 2 am breakfast from Waffle House looks like on his bathroom floor the next morning. In other words… Not a fan. For me and my early birds on Saturday morning, it was chicken minis from Chick Filet! If you aren’t familiar with this genius of fast food breakfast cuisine, get familiar!

It was a strong showing by BBN in the lots early on. I was impressed with the RV presence as well as some of my people in the red and blue. There was definitely a buzz within the Commonwealth shadow and it felt really nice. Ryan Lemond and Jared Lorenzon were floating around the lots on their KSR-mobile, if in fact “floating” is possible with that much pay load.

But, let’s get down to the highlight of the pregame festivities… The moment Kentucky Joe made his first TGR red lot appearance. If you are a fan of the Kentucky Sports Radio radio show, you are well aware of the legend that is Kentucky Joe. At this point his fame has become more because of Matt’s annoyance with his calls, and less for his many songs he has contributed to UK lore. as we sat dreaming of Tds and Booms, TGR legend, Jay, looked up in time to spot Kentucky Joe striding toward our area. I asked how he knew it was him, and he quickly said because he is wearing a KSR t-shirt and you can just tell. Joe walks right up to us and says, “I hate to do this, but you know I have to… Do you all know who I am?” Jay, without hesitation says, “Yeah, you are John short!” and the fun began! From there, I couldn’t have been more excited about meeting “John Short” and Kentucky Joe seemed very irritated with me. To try to explain who he was he sang the hook featured on his hit song, I’m a Willie Cauley-Stein Man, which was cool, because I too am a WCS man, and, my son thinks his name is Willie Cauley-Stein.

The “John Short” joke ended there and we continued on knowing who Kentucky Joe was. He sang us his rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’ that he sang to MJ last week and made it clear that he was doing a “King” impression during that segment. I then asked Joe if he was having any luck with the ladies, but I was a bit more crude than that with my verbiage and things got really weird, if things could get any more weird. Joe suddenly started speaking with an Irish accent. No idea why or what triggered the change, but it was both fantastic and troubling. Joe then uttered a line that will live for many years in our red lot spot for its randomness and brilliance… Joe said about himself, ” I am a full blooded cocker spaniel. ” We have no idea why he said that, but we don’t care, it was awesome, and t-shirts could be in the process of getting made.

Our interaction with the legendary Kentucky Joe ended with him asking us if we would like to take a picture with him (pictured above). I have never met anyone in my life who believes they are a bigger star than Kentucky Joe believes he is. I will sum up our moment with him in one word… Sadlyfunnyoddlypitiful.

We were all Big Blue fans in the morning on Saturday and it was a great return to the red lot, Commonwealth and the W column for Big Blue nation! Today, we are ALL, full blooded cocker spaniels! C! A! T! S!

Nov 28

Why Saturday Mattered

Posted by: R.A.Pedigo at 11:24 am | Leave a Comment (38)
Category: Football

After the NBA draft in June, I decided to step away from Tailgate Review for a little while. Not because I didn’t love the site, our readers, and being involved in the UK blogosphere, but for a much more positive reason. After some trials and tribulations that many of us endure, my wife and I were expecting our first child in August! As the dads in the audience will attest too, there are many preparations that take place before a bundle of joy comes roaring through the doors. With that, along with the fact it was a down time for UK sports, I decided to step away.

On August 2, my little boy, Robert Allen Pedigo, Jr., arrived! It was the greatest day of my life, by far. Unfortunately, on August 3, I had the worst day of my life when my little brother, Eric, was diagnosed with cancer. We found out a week later that it was stage 4 rectal cancer and had spread to his liver. On September 12, after surgery to remove the cancer from his liver, Eric passed away at the age of 30.

As you might imagine, the last few months have been very bittersweet for me and my family. We have found out the joys of life and the misery of death very quickly. My wife and I now have a nearly 4 month old and a 12 year old, Blake, my brothers little boy. After Eric passed, we were granted custody of Blake. The transition that is still occurring in my home is extreme for all parties. After going so long without a child, we got two, remarkably fast.

As you have probably figured out in the short history of TGR, I am a proud member of Big Blue Nation, as was my brother. My family lives and breathes everything UK, no matter the sport. I had missed one home UK football game since Rich Brooks first season until this year. With all of the things going on, I missed 3 home tilts in 2011. Saturday’s game with Tennessee, was not one that I missed. In fact, it was the first tailgate and game that I really enjoyed since my brother’s passing. My mother and I both expressed the feeling to one another that we felt Eric with us all day long. I figured since we both knew he was there with us, we might as well give him what he so wanted for so many years, a win over Tennessee.

As my Mom and I sat in our seats we shared with my brother for so many years, we watched the Cats take a 10-0 lead over the Vols. As many of the Kentuckians in attendance did, I looked to my mother and asked, “How are they going to break my heart this time?” Big Blue Nation was not asking this because they did not believe in the guys on the field on Saturday, they asked it because they had seen it happen to so many teams before this one. For so many years, BBN had their hearts ripped out by phantom calls, strange fumbles, goal line stands, and various crushing moments during the Tennessee-Kentucky rivalry. In fact, so many of these moments occurred over the duration of the streak, the Tennessee-Kentucky rivalry was no longer considered a rivalry by many. IT had turned into a hammer and nail rivalry and I shouldn’t have to explain who was who.

As the clock ticked away and Morgan Newton fell to a knee, the emotions of the long streak overwhelmed the entire Commonwealth Stadium crowd, including my mother and me. As Morgan continued to kneel down, I thought about my brother. I thought about all of the great days we shared at Commonwealth in the last few years. I thought about how Winston Guy had visited Eric in the hospital in Eric’s last days. I thought about how “on, On U of K” played at Eric’s funeral as his friends and family left the church. I thought about all of these things and I thought about how so many who don’t care about UK or football or tailgating don’t understand how something so insignificant can mean so much to those of us who love it, and I felt sorry for those people. When I grabbed my mother and held her and said, “ That one is for Eric”, as the tears ran down our faces, it mattered. For Danny Trevathan, Winston Guy, Matt Roarke, and the rest of the seniors, it mattered. For the thousands of fans and students who spilled out onto the field after the game, it mattered. For Kentucky’s much maligned head coach who had to choke back tears after the game, it mattered. For one reason or another, it mattered for all of Big Blue Nation. Regardless of where, when, or why it happens, whether it is on grass or the hardwood, it will always matter to us who love it and share it with those we love. Thanks Cats! C! A! T! S!

Nov 27

Wildcat Legends, Thank You!

Posted by: R.A.Pedigo at 8:08 pm | Leave a Comment (48)
Category: Football
As the father of two teenagers, I can attest to the fact that the sands of time pass far too quickly through the hourglass.  My daughter will get her driver’s permit in a couple of weeks (Lexington drivers–consider yourself warned), though it doesn’t seem that long ago that we were dropping her off for her first day of kindergarten.  I guess it’s just the routine of life–work, sleep, with a little bit of play thrown in on occasion–that lulls us into this sense that time is standing still.  One year fades into another, but sooner or later you realize that a decade has passed.  Or two.
Or, as in the case of time since last beating Tennessee, TWENTY SEVEN YEARS.  When the Cats knocked off the Vols in Knoxville in 1984, it was certainly a great win over a bitter rival.  But its occurence was not earth-shattering.  The Cats victory that day gave them 23 in the series to the Vols’ 48 (along with 9 ties).  The series already belonged to the Vols, but not to a ridiculous extent.  To that point, on average every Wildcat that played for four years would experience a win against Tennessee.  They may get the best of us more often, but every few years the boys in blue would get to hoist the beer barrel trophy after a victory.
(Keep Reading)
I wasn’t in Neyland Stadium in 1984, and in 1981 (when the Cats last tasted victory over the Vols at home) I had not yet become a regular attender of Kentucky football games.  So you can imagine my excitement in 1987 when the Cats, down by four late in the fourth quarter, had first and goal at the five with superstar Mark Higgs in the backfield.  I was going to see, for the first time with my own eyes, a Kentucky victory over the Vols.
Four plays later (each, as I recall, dive plays up the middle by Higgs), the Cats were denied the end zone and the Vols left Commonwealth with a modest three game winning streak.  Not to worry: the Cats would have another shot next year.
(Keep Reading)
But the Vols won at home in 1988, then in Lexington again in 1989, and before you know it the losing had become far too routine.  Seasons came and seasons went, and suddenly the streak had stretched to ten games.  Then fifteen.  Then twenty.
Along the way, there were years when the losses made complete sense.  After all, Tee Martin’s squad won a national title in 1998.  And even though the Cats were blessed with homegrown talents Tim Couch and Craig Yeast, their years in Lexington unfortunately came at the same time a young man named Manning was under center for the Vols.
But Tennessee had some down years during the stretch as well, and at some point the law of averages should have dropped a win in the Cats column.  Seven times the margin of victory was less than seven points, but each time the Vols came out on top.
Somewhere along the way, I had become numb to the losses.  Ending the regular season with a loss had essentially become a foregone conclusion.  But then came the teams of Woodson, Burton, Woodyard, Tamme, Johnson, Little and company.  They were skilled athletes, but more importantly they brought about a change in attitude for Wildcat football.  Surely these guys would be the ones to end the streak.
(Keep Reading)
The task would not be easy, as the Vols were pretty solid during those years as well.  But in 2007 the Cats had proven themselves to be a legitimate force, knocking off #1 and eventual national champion LSU in an epic three-overtime battle.  Down three late in regulation to the Vols, I was convinced the Cats would cap off their careers in fairy tale fashion with a touchdown pass from Elizabethtown’s Woodson to Louisville’s Burton and end the madness.  Alas, the pass sailed just beyond Burton’s reach, the Cats kicked a field goal to send the game into overtime.  By the time the fourth extra period had concluded, the result was the same as it had been the previous 22 seasons.
Tennessee football then went on a decline while Kentucky football became synonymous with one word:  Cobb.  Surely this young man, plucked from the shadows of Neyland Stadium, would bring us our elusive victory.  But even three years of the Legend were unable to yield a victory.
The morning of the game in 2009, a childhood friend of mind (knowing full well how to push my buttons) suggested that I should re-create the beer barrel that had been presented to the winning team for many seasons until a tragic alcohol-related car crash involving two UK players ended the tradition in 1998.  He thought that maybe it could bring some much-needed luck which would lead to a Wildcat victory.
My son and I accepted the challenge, and by noon we had created our barrel with two hard plastic half barrels from Home Depot and rolls of blue, orange and white duct tape.  We proudly carried the barrel to the CatWalk and around the stadium before the game.  This would end the streak, for sure.
By the end of the night, the Cats had lost for the 25th consecutive time–once again in overtime.  Undaunted, we brought the barrel to Knoxville with us last season.  It never left my car.
Saturday morning the barrel came with us again to Commonwealth.  By now we had wondered if our barrel, intended to bring good luck, had actually had the opposite effect.  The Legend of Cobb wasn’t able to bring us a win.  How in the world could we win today, with our first AND second string quarterbacks out?
I had convinced myself in 2007 that the perfect storyline would be Woodson to Burton.  In ’09 and ’10, I was certain it would be the kid from Alcoa taking final revenge on the school that didn’t offer him a scholarship.
I doubt even Hollywood would have accepted the notion that a 26 year losing streak could come to an end with a senior wide receiver playing quarterback for the first time since high school, throwing only six passes the entire day, and scrambling for 124 yards.  It was just too ridiculous a notion.  And therein was its beauty.
After the game, I stuck around to thank the seniors for bringing Kentucky fans the victory we had coveted for more than a quarter century.  With my homemade barrel in hand, I asked a few of them if they would mind posing for a photo with my makeshift trophy.  Their reactions were varied, from Ryan Tydlacka’s “Oh, man!  That is AWESOME!” to Matt Roark’s “Ya know, I saw you with that from the bus and I didn’t know what the (heck) it was.”  But each obliged my request, and provided my son and me with some great snapshots from a memorable and historic day.
So to Matt Roark, his fellow seniors, and all the Wildcats on this 2011 squad, thank you.  I know the final record was far short of what we all wanted, but you did something no other Kentucky team had done since 1984.  And that feat alone has made each of you a Wildcat Legend.
Sep 2

Fitz’s Redleg Ramblings: The Possibly Last Reds Report

Posted by: R.A.Pedigo at 4:56 pm | Leave a Comment (1)
Category: Baseball

True confession time: Two and a half months ago, I was out there defending my manager. Much of my defending was to one friend in particular—very baseball literate, despite being a Cubs fan. Somehow, she has assigned blame for the past 103 seasons of Northside Chicago Futility on the shoulders of one Johnnie B. Baker. In her eyes, he can do nothing right.

But for me, Dusty was the guy that got the Reds in the playoffs in 2010, and that earned him a pass (or six) in my eyes on some questionable decisions in the first half of this season. Now the calendar has turned to September, and for the Redlegs it will not turn to October. So let’s partake in America’s REAL pastime: the blame game. Subject: Dusty.

Here are his worst decisions of 2011:

1. Edinson Volquez—number one starter: The first evidence of Dusty’s poor evaluation of Volquez’s ability came last October when he handed him the ball for the first game of the playoffs. 1 2/3 innings later the Reds were down four runs and our half of the Josh Hamilton trade was taking a shower. Look, I hoped that this being Edinson’s last year before becoming a free agent might turn him into the Volquez of three years ago. But I am not with him every day. Dusty is. He should have seen signs that Volquez wasn’t ready.

2. Waiting too long to call up Cozart at shortstop: Despite Edgar Renteria displaying the range of a vending machine and Paul Janish desperately trying to rename the Mendoza line, he wouldn’t budge. By the time Cozart came up, the season was nearly lost.

3. The never-ending Fred Lewis experiment: As it turns out, just this week Fred was sent down to Louisville. Of course, the Bats’ season ends Monday so he will probably be right back up after that. But you tell me this: of the following options for starting left fielder for the Reds in 2012, which of them are you most certain will NOT be on the roster come spring: Alonso, Frazier, Heisey, Lewis, or Sappelt? You got it: The famous Mr. Fred. The same guy that had been getting the majority of starts before being sent to the minors.

4. Insisting on batting Drew Stubbs at leadoff: I get it. You desperately WANT Drew Stubbs and his ridiculous speed to work. Problem is, he is a mere 20 strikeouts from reaching 200 on the season. Speed only works when the ball is put in play and you reach base. Things got better when Brandon Phillips moved to the top of the order, but only when DatDude went to Dusty and requested the move. And it’s not like this is a crazy idea. Phillips led off 72 times last year. Their record when he led off? 43-29.

5. Calling up Yonder Alonso and then NOT PLAYING HIM: It is well documented that Alonso will never be mistaken for Ozzie with the glove. His most natural position is currently being occupied by the reigning MVP. But no one has claimed ownership of left field (which was his primary position in Louisville before getting called up), and Yonder professes to be more comfortable at the hot corner than anywhere else. So what has Dusty done? Given him a handful of turns in left field and exactly ONE game at third base. And why, pray tell, did he allow him that one game? Because he DIDN’T THINK ALONSO WOULD GET MANY BALLS HIT TO HIM! Wow. What a perfect strategy to try him out to see how he does.

Granted, there were a lot of other problems with this season that were out of Dusty’s control: sub-par performances by Arroyo and Wood, an occasional shaky bullpen and (most significant) the injury to Scott Rolen. But many issues could have been avoided. So, Dusty: I forgive you for 2011. But I am expecting a title in 2012.

Aug 18

Second Annual JUNEBUG Music Fest August 27th

Posted by: R.A.Pedigo at 12:30 pm | Leave a Comment (0)
Category: Random Notes

The Cardinal Hill Junior Board is a group of young professionals dedicated to the support and promotion of the innovative services at Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Hospital.

The primary goal of the Junior Board is to raise money for a new therapeutic pool.

For tickets click here. If you cannot attend Junebug but would like to donate, please visit www.cardinalhill.org/donate

Aug 4

Fitz’s Redleg Ramblings: Mid-week Reds Report

Posted by: R.A.Pedigo at 8:02 am | Leave a Comment (1)
Category: Baseball

As I told you guys the first week I posted about the Reds, they were truly my first love. And lovin’ was easy those early years, as they coincided with the seasons of 1975 and 1976. Now, of course, not every season could be like those. And over the years I’ve come to accept the fact that, by and large, most Reds seasons will end in disappointment. Such is life when your team doesn’t have the payrolls of the Yankees, Red Sox or Phillies.

But then the division championship came out of nowhere last year and I fell in love all over again. Life was wonderful again. With a young and exciting roster, this was the start of an era to rival the mid-70s. I loved the Reds, and it was clear from their winning ways that they loved me back.

But then they changed. Walk-off wins turned into one run losses. Timely hits turned into LOBs. Worst of all, they couldn’t beat THE PIRATES. And so my heart was broken like a teenage girl whose football-star boyfriend wasn’t all he was cracked up to be. So, to properly convey my feelings, I have penned “An Ode to a Season Lost,” which (of course) is sung to the tune of “Fifteen” by the forlorn princess of melancholy, Taylor Swift. (Her video is provided should you need the music to sing along.)

Enjoy…

You slip on your jersey and you put on your cap
It’s the morning of Reds Opening Day
And for the first time in a very long while
There’s a banner up on Nuxhall Way

Champs in ’11 and we’re gonna be here
For the next few years at the top
Of the Central Division and then the National League
The World Series will be the…next stop

‘Cause when you’re a Reds fan and there’s some hope for a title
You’re gonna believe it
And when you’re a Reds fan feeling like there’s no way they can take a step back
Well, count to ten, take it in
And remember that this ain’t the Big Red Machine
Reds fan

You have some hope for a Red named Volquez
But soon enough hope is gone
Crying as he can’t seem to find the strike zone
You expect more from your “number one”

And then there are runners on base and less than two outs
And you’re feeling pretty good
And then Bruce strikes out and Janish pops up
And you’re pounding your fists when the threat ends
When the threat ends

‘Cause when you’re a Reds fan and you have Joey and Brandon
You’re gonna be hopeful
When you’re a Reds fan and your leadoff man
Seems to always strike out
And your shortstop can’t field a ball
When it hits him squarely in the hands
But Dusty won’t make a change

When all you wanted was to beat Pittsburgh
Wish you could go back and tell yourself what you know now

Last week I swore that I couldn’t watch anymore
But then the Giants sweep sucked me back in
And games coming up are Houston and Chi-town
So you think they might…..stay alive

‘Cause when you’re a Reds fan and there’s some hope for a title
You’re gonna believe it
And when you’re a Reds fan, don’t forget how great last year really was
I’ve found just when I feel they might win
They just go on a long losing streak
I didn’t know that it was gonna be…a lost year

Reds Opening Day
There was hope back then
There was hope back then but they’ve been slammed behind the door

Jul 28

Fitz’s Redleg Ramblings: The Mid-Week Reds Report

Posted by: R.A.Pedigo at 6:15 am | Leave a Comment (24)
Category: Baseball

The trade deadline is less than 72 hours away, and there are more opinions on whether the Reds should make a major move than Phyllis Diller got rhymes. Some say the Reds should stay put and see if their young players (Cozart, Alonso and Heisey) can give them the spark they need. Those wanting to deal are torn between landing another starting pitcher, a reliever, or a solid bat to stick in the middle of the lineup.

As for me, I think they need to make a deal, but the deal should be with a player already on their roster. The Reds need to sign Brandon Phillips to a long-term contract.

I know what you’re thinking: What’s the rush? The Reds have him signed through the end of the season, and have an option to sign him in 2012 for $12 million. But I think signing him now, in the middle of what has been a less than stellar season for the club, sends the right message about the Reds’ intentions for the next few seasons.

Let’s face it: if the Reds let Phillips go after 2012, whoever takes his spot at second will represent a drop off in defense–no matter who he might be. Phillips is the best defensive second baseman in the league, and there is no question he is the best Reds player at that position since Hall of Famer Joe Morgan. I grew up watching Morgan play, and I don’t recall him having the range or arm strength of Phillips. At least with the glove, he is a once in a generation player.

Offensively, he’s not Joe Morgan. But among all second basemen today, he ranks third in RBI, sixth in batting average, ninth in homers and OBP, and tenth in slugging and OPS. Those stats are pretty good, but I have a feeling we haven’t seen the best of him yet. BP is 31-the age Barry Larkin was when he had his MVP season. I think Phillips is going to have one of those magical seasons when everything just clicks for him and he will be a MVP candidate. I only hope he’s wearing a Reds uniform when it happens.

But aside from all that, Brandon Phillips is the face of the Cincinnati Reds. Yes, I know. He drives us nuts sometimes. We wish he hadn’t publicly called the Cardinals a bunch of WLBs (even though THEY ARE) and sometimes he seems a little too casual on the field.

@DatDudeBP has the greatest smile in the game and (largely through twitter) has developed a relationship with his fans like nothing we have ever seen. He’s cracking jokes with the haters in St. Louis and flying his #BP FansShawty out to hang with him on road trips. He’s showing up at a kid’s youth league game. And (quite important in this day and age) he doesn’t appear to be destined for scandal. Word is the only alcohol that has ever touched his lips was a sip of celebratory champagne after winning the division last season.

I grew up with an appreciation for a specific Reds trade as a crucial component in forming the Big Red Machine. In November 1971, the Reds sent Lee May, Jimmy Stewart and Tommy Helms to Houston for Ed Armbrister, Denis Menke, Cesar Geronimo, Jack Billingham and Joe Morgan. Armbrister was a decent pinch hitter. Menke was later traded for Pat Darcy, who went 11-5 for the Reds in 1975. Geronimo won four gold gloves in centerfield. Billingham averaged 12.5 wins in six seasons for the Reds. And I seem to recall the aforementioned Morgan guy ended up alright.

It’s still the greatest trade in Reds history, but another that has to rank right up there is the one they made in 2006 with the Indians. Phillips came to the Reds for nothing more than a “player to be named later.” That player, Jeff Stevens, has logged a grand total of 7 innings pitching for the Cubs this season.

Following a third consecutive loss to the Mets at home, the Reds’ season may quickly be fading away. And that’s why it’s time to make another great deal.

It’s time to give DatDude a long-term contract.

Jul 25

Monday Morning Mullet

Posted by: R.A.Pedigo at 12:00 pm | Leave a Comment (3)
Category: Monday Morning Mullet

Today we have a reader submission for the Monday Morning Mullet (afternoon edition).  I can’t give you the exact details of where this beauty was found but I can tell you how I got a hold of it.  A near and dear friend of mine, Tim, sent it to me in the middle of my work day a few weeks ago and I had forgotten about it.  Saturday night, while enjoying a Maker’s on the rocks at Drake’s (www.drakescomeplay.com  www.facebook.com/DrakesStMatthews), he reminded me that I needed to post it.  So I have spent all morning trying to find it and voila…here it is.  Thanks Tim, you owe me a drink! 

This guy needs to be on a bud light commercial, he’s definitely a Real American Hero.  Here’s to you Mr. Hawaiian Shirt Mullet Man!  The way you sport that shirt with jorts and no socks with the shoes, makes the girls go crazy. The classic 1980’s beach bum Mullet time warped to 2011 to give us all a good laugh.  So crack open a bud light because you deserve it…and maybe you’ll get drunk enough that you pass out and someone will lop off that huge rat tail known as a mullet

There’s no better way to start off the week than seeing a most awesome mullet on Monday morning. I pride  myself in  being somewhat of an amateur paparazzi, well at least when it comes to mullets and other hideous sites.  If you would like to send me your own pictures of an awesome mullet or anything else I might enjoy, please e-mail it to MondayMorningMullet@gmail.com and your picture will be the Monday Morning Mullet.