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Reds, Cubs clear benches after Aroldis Chapman fastballs over the head (Video)

Cubs Reds fightBenches cleared after Aroldis Chapman retired the side in the top of the 9th of Thursday’s Reds-Cubs game following some tension between the clubs.

Chapman struck out Justin Ruggiano to start the inning. Then he sailed a 101-mph fastball over the head of Nate Schierholtz on the first pitch of his at-bat. The second pitch was 100 mph and similarly buzzed the tower, causing several Cubs players to grow upset.

Chapman eventually struck out Schierholtz, walked John Baker, and got a groundout to end the inning. The benches cleared after the third out because the Cubs seemingly took offense to Chapman waving his glove at their dugout in a dismissive motion after the out:

Aroldis Chapman glove

Anthony Rizzo also said something to the Reds as he took the field for the bottom of the inning, sparking the benches to clear.

Warnings were issued, but nobody was thrown out of the game.

Indians and Reds taunt each other with trophies on Twitter

Like many other interleague rivalries across Major League Baseball, the Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds are squaring off on Monday for their annual Memorial Day rivalry. They call it the Ohio Cup. The teams split six games last season, but Cleveland won the Ohio Cup two years ago by taking five of six games against the Reds.

Before their meeting on Monday, the Indians official Twitter account bragged to the Reds by posting a photo of the Ohio Cup trophy.

The Reds official Twitter account refused to sit quietly. Winning the Ohio Cup is a bonus and allows for intrastate bragging rights, but there’s a much more highly-coveted trophy that the Indians have not gotten their hands on in over 60 years. Cincinnati  on the other hand, last won a World Series in 1990.

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Reds pitchers have already cost Cincinnati pizza joint $100,000 in free pizza

PizzaThe Cincinnati Reds are going to put LaRosa’s Pizzerias out of business if their pitchers don’t stop striking out opponents at such an impressive rate. Last season, the local eatery began a promotion where they would give away free eight-inch pizzas with up to four toppings to any ticket holder who attended a Reds game where the Cincy pitching staff struck out at least 11 hitters. It happened 13 times during the team’s 81 home games in 2012.

This season, fans have already been able to cash in on the promotion six times. The free pizzas are valued at $6.79 each, and LaRosa’s has had to give away more than $100,000 in free pizza already. When asked what’s going to happen if the Reds’ pitchers keep striking guys out at such an alarming rate, LaRosa’s executive vice president for marketing Pete Buscani cracked a joke.

“First of all, you’ll be talking to another guy the next time you call,” he told WLWT Cincinnati on Tuesday. “The real reason to do this is to underscore awareness of our brand and get people to visit. This is the best promotion we’ve done in a long time.”

Of course, Buscani noted that most customers buy other items aside from simply the free eight-inch pizza when they redeem their tickets. LaRosa’s has 65 stores, most of which are in the Cincinnati area, so I’m sure they’re making out just fine when families bring their tickets in to claim a free small pizza but realize they need more food and beverages.

“I think the promotion is fantastic,” Reds fan John Rentz said, noting that he cashed in around 10 times last season. “I was actually surprised to see LaRosa’s continue it after the high frequency of times the pitching staff hit 11 strikeouts last year.”

In an era where fans at other ballparks are being treated to horrendous giveaways like this, LaRosa’s has made Reds fans some of the luckiest in the nation.

Homer Bailey on Reds’ success: ‘No one’s even paid attention’

Homer Bailey threw a no-hitter against the Pirates on Friday. Between the Ryder Cup and another weekend of replacement ref-less NFL action on the horizon, you probably didn’t hear much about it. In fact, the media have not had much to say about the N.L. Central champion Reds all season. Cincinnati has one of the best records in baseball, and Bailey is frustrated that they aren’t getting a lot of credit.

“No one’s even paid attention,” Bailey said according to The Enquirer. “You don’t hear about that on ESPN. We keep hearing about (the Reds in the 70s). Nobody’s talking about this team, this rotation, the things we’ve done, the amount of quality starts, the innings. Four guys over 200. Five guys making every start. Johnny Cueto about to go for his 20th win. He was in Cy Young contention.

“Nobody’s paying attention to it. Nobody’s paying attention to how our bullpen is probably the best in baseball.”

It’s not just ESPN that Bailey is upset with. He also took a shot at Reds fans for their lack of support. Despite playing well all season, the Reds rank 16th in the MLB in average home attendance.

“We come here last night and there’s (34,000) people. We go back home and there’s only 20,000. We’re a first-place team with a bunch of exciting things going on — whether it’s Todd Frazier going for Rookie of the Year or Joey Votto going for a batting title or Johnny Cueto up for a Cy Young. A rotation full of guys that day in day out take the ball. I don’t think we necessarily try to get attention. But I think what everybody is witnessing with this team is pretty special. It shouldn’t go overlooked.”

Instead of complaining about it, Bailey and his teammates would benefit from using the lack of attention they have received as motivation to prove everyone wrong in the postseason. If the Reds’ opponents underestimate them the way the media and fans have, that can only work to their advantage.

Reds to pay tribute to Chipper Jones with logo on the side of bases (Picture)

With the Braves beginning a four-game series in Cincinnati on Monday evening, the Reds have decided to pay tribute to one of their franchise’s most famous opponents. At the end of the season, Chipper Jones is all but certain to call it a career. When he does, it will only be a matter of time before the seven-time All-Star and 1999 NL MVP makes his way to Cooperstown. Since this is likely the last time the Reds will ever host the Braves third baseman, they have decided to pay tribute to him with a special emblem on the side of the bases.

According to the Braves official Twitter account, one of the bases will be presented to Chipper, another will go to the Braves Hall of Fame and the third will go to the Reds Hall of Fame. Teams don’t typically give opponents this type of treatment, but Jones is hardly just any opponent. He’s an 18-year veteran who made it through the steroid era with a clean name. If anyone deserves to be presented with a custom base in a visiting ballpark, it’s Chipper.

Thanks to LBS reader Dave for the tip

Gerald Laird Sparks Reds-Cardinals Tempers with Words for Francisco Cordero

Forget Yankees-Red Sox, the Cardinals and Reds are beginning to take over the title of best rivalry in baseball. Things got heated last August when Brandon Phillips called the Cards a bunch of bitches. His insult led to a bench-clearing brawl the next day, and matters are still testy between both sides. Of course it doesn’t help when you have dimwits like Gerald Laird opening his yapper.

Let’s set the stage.

The Cardinals were down 9-2 headed to the ninth inning Sunday against Cincinnati. Aroldis Chapman walked in a run and exited with the bases loaded. Nick Masset relieved him and gave up a two-run double to make it 9-5, so Cincinnati brought in closer Francisco Cordero. Cordero gave up a two-run double to Nick Punto to make it 9-7 and then he hit Albert Pujols with an 0-2 pitch to make it make runners on first and second with only one out.

Let’s frame the situation once again: Reds are blowing a 9-2 lead in the ninth, the closer is in the game, and he has the hottest 3-4-5 hitters in the game to face between Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday, and Lance Berkman. Cordero hits Pujols with an 0-2 pitch bringing the winning run to the plate — Matt Holliday. Do you really think Cordero was trying to hit Pujols? Of course not, but pea-brained Gerald Laird thought so.

Cordero got the next two outs to end the game and that’s when words were exchanged between both sides. Cordero began yelling into the Cardinals’ dugout, explaining why:

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MLB 2011 Preview: Can the Cincinnati Reds Defend Their NL Central Title?

Previewing the 2011 MLB season, we’ve already named the Phillies, Yankees, and Red Sox the top World Series favorites. Now we’re taking a look at the NL Central. Yesterday, the Cardinals. Today, the Reds

Reigning Division Champion: Cincinnati Reds

Off-Season Moves: The 2010 NL Central Champion Reds fortified what they had more than they changed it, re-signing MVP Joey Votto, promising youngster Jay Bruce and rotation fixtures in Bronson Arroyo and Johnny Cueto to long-term contracts. They also added Edgar Renteria to bolster their bench play everyday for manager Dusty Baker.

Strengths: This team is very strong on the positional side, offensively and defensively. Between Votto, Bruce, Scott Rolen, Drew Stubbs and Brandon Phillips, they have five guys who can hit and field. Their starting lineup features big-time power, led by Votto, with six players hitting 18 home runs or more last season. Their biggest breakout candidate is Jay Bruce who is entering his age-24 season. Last season Bruce started slowly, but in the second half he hit .306/.376/.575 with 15 home runs. He may not hit for that much average over a full season as he is still a bit strikeout-prone, but 30 home runs and an .875 OPS is a very attainable goal.

The Reds’ pitching is good and reliable and gives them a chance to win every night. No pitcher personifies that last sentence more than Arroyo, who has won 15 or more games the past three seasons and logged over 200 innings the past six. Arroyo may be hittable and prone to the long ball, but he battles and works deep into games, despite a difficult pitching environment in Great American Ballpark. While their rotation may be composed of more number-three and four-starter-types, they have a few guys with the capability to step up. Edinson Volquez was promising in his return from Tommy John surgery; if he can return to his pre-injury form, he might be their guy. Homer Bailey and Johnny Cueto both have good stuff, but Bailey’s inconsistency and Cueto’s lack of size likely keep them from taking the next step.

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