We've got Joe!
I was in Cincinnati last night. Got a chance to see a brawl. It was pretty interesting how it came down. Luckily it appears that very few guys got injured. It was like a scrum, a big one. I haven't seen anything like that for a long time.
Joe what is your take on Brandon Phillips comments on the Cardinals and do you think there will be some more bad blood between the two teams in today's game?
My feeling is that he shouldn't have called them names. If he dislikes them, a lot of players dislike teams, but he shouldn't have said it. You're in a pennant race, you don't need to change your focus. But guys are different nowadays than before. And the Cardinals did have it on their bulletin board before the game.
Hi joe, after watching the brawl yesterday, who do you think should be punished the most managers or players?
It has to be the players. The managers didn't do anything out there. I don't know what was said in the clubhouse, but on the field, it started with Molina and Phillips and it escalated. A lot of that had to do with the players. That's unacceptable.
Hey Joe, you impressed by the Rangers win last night? Do you buy them having a shot at the ALCS?
I have been impressed with the Rangers the last two years, to be honest. So far this year they've played great. A lot of their young guys are maturing. Michael Young is one of my favorite professional players. The bounce back of Hamilton. They have a great team. They definitely have a chance of winning the ALCS and of winning the world championship.
Joe, in your playing days were you ever involved in a bench clearing brawl like the one last night? ever throw any haymakers?
I was involved in a couple I think the one that stands out, I can't remember the year, with the Pirates. I remember looking at them and how much bigger they were. Dave Parker and those guys were bigger guys. That was the only team that my Reds teams used to have fights with. No one got hurt, luckily.
Last night's 12-6 beatdown to the Twins...the beginning of the end for the ChiSox?
Earlier in the year, they struggled mightily, then they got hot and played well. That's the sign of a good team, being able to bounce back. I think they can bounce back, but the Twins are a good team as well and can get on a roll. I think you'll see that in the final weeks, teams getting on a roll and bouncing back. I don't think there will be a lot of consistency in that division.
At one point Detroit was in first place, remember, and now they've fallen down.
Do you think it was a good idea for two (NL Central) contenders to get into a fracas like that when there is still so much of the season remaining? Could 'cooler heads' have prevailed here?
I always believe that. First of all, what has happened now, they've put a lot of pressure on each other. Each player has more pressure when he goes to the plate and when they play each other. It's tough enough to play in a pennant race without having added pressure. I don't think it was good for either team. But by the same token, we'll see who responds best.
The Rangers beat Mo last night, and have Cliff Lee going tonight. Is it time they are taken seriously as AL pennant contenders?
Any time you beat Rivera, it's quite an accomplishment. It takes away some of the sense of invincibility. But I think with Cliff Lee, one of the best pitchers in the game and he's pitched well against the Yankees in his career, you have to have confidence today. I really believe that this series will tell Texas exactly where they stand with the big boys, Tampa Bay, Boston and the Yankees the last few years. So far they've been able to play well against them.
Has Pujols overtaken Votto as the NL MVP?
I think it's still too early to decide. I've always felt that the MVP is Pujols' to lose. He's that good. He changes the whole lineup for the Cardinals. Votto is emerging as one of the superstars in the game, so he has a chance, but I still think Pujols is the guy all the time. Someone has to take it away from him. But it's still too early. A lot of people will mention Gonzalez in San Diego as well. But I think Pujols has moved back to the top of the list. Watching him every day, he is still the dominant force in the NL.
Has the loss of Chase Utley been more devastating to the Phillies than any other injury this year? He's consistently among the best players in the game.
Chase's loss was a tremendous loss. Morales was a big loss for the Angels. A lot of injuries we've seen this year have been big for their teams. For those that have seen me on TV know that Utley is one of my favorite players. His loss has prevented them from being a consistent team like before.
Your thoughts on ARod's 600th, and Derek Jeter's surpassing Babe Ruth with total hits...
A-Rod's 600th is a difficult one for me. I always admired him and thought he was one of the best players in the game. But the steroid situation bothers me. When you achieve those numbers and admitted you took steroids, I don't think a lot of fans get as excited as they would have otherwise. I don't think achieving that milestone got the adulation of what the 600-home run plateau means because of the steroid era.
What do you make of the Orioles 7-1 under Showalter? Can a manager really have this kind of effect on a team or this merely a coincidence in terms of timing? What can you tell us about Buck from his time at ESPN?
I think it's a little bit of both. A coincidence a little bit, but Buck is also a good disciplinarian, good manager and he brings some credibility. There's no doubt in my mind that he will make a difference there in Baltimore. But they won't go 7-1 through the whole season. At some point, they might go 1-7.
what kind of chance do you think the braves have at the world series
The key is to get into the playoffs. If you can do that, anyone can win. All you have to do is get hot for a couple of weeks. You see teams doing that all the time. Anybody that gets into the playoffs can win the championship. It's a short season from that point on.
Which of the 6 last plast teams do you think have the brighter future for next season?
I would say Seattle, if they get the right manager. Baltimore already has the right manager. And Washington, I think will be good because they keep getting No. 1 picks.
Which pitcher would you rather face, Jack Morris or Bert Blyleven?
I don't think I ever faced Jack Morris. I faced Blyleven. I would say this, if it's the seventh game of the World Series, I would think Jack Morris has proven that he isn't the one you want to face.
That's a very difficult question because I didn't face Jack Morris.
One more on the Cards-Reds brawl, please: aside from Phillips' comments the day before, the brawl seemed to be touched off by his tapping Molina's shin guards with his bat. This seemed way out of line to me, but I've heard commentators today say it's not unusual. Is the tapping something you've seen or done before?
I didn't do it, but I've seen other players do it as a gesture of "how are you doing?" My understanding is that Molina said something first before that happened, from the Reds side. If you go to the Cardinals side, you might get something different.
Ozzie Smith recently endorsed Ryne Sandberg for the Cubs job. Any comments?
I don't know who all the candidates are. Let's put it this way, they have not had success recently and you might need an icon from their past to get the people excited again. I don't know much about Ryne as a manager, he hasn't coached in the big leagues. It's difficult to choose a manager for certain teams, but with his reputation there and so forth, that could help him to get the job.
What do you think about this year's rookie class? When was the last time so many talented rookies made their debut?
No doubt about it, there's been a lot of talent. It started with Jason Heyward, then we moved to Strasburg. Buster Posey. In the AL, Austin Jackson has been very good from opening day. There are also a lot of pitchers. This has been a great year for MLB bringing in young players who will be future stars of baseball.
Does Joba Chamberlain throw too many bad strikes? Can he learn to throw more good strikes?
First of all, I'm not a pitching coach, but I am just surprised that he hasn't been able to return to the form he had as a rookie when he became a set up man. I don't know if trying to make him a starter hurt him or not, but he definitely hasn't been close to the same pitcher he was in his first year. I saw him Sunday night and it just doesn't look the same. He doesn't have the same confidence. You can't be successful if you're not confident. His stuff doesn't seem to dominate hitters like he did before.
Which team do you think has the best shot at winning the World Series?
I'll make it very simple. Whoever has the best starting pitching at the time. If you look, the Yankees had Sabathia, Hughes, Burnett, Pettitte, when they're all on their game, they're good, but they're not right now. Whichever team's starting pitching is the best at that time will win. If I had to pick someone today, which is very difficult to do, I don't know, I might say Boston if they were to get into the playoffs.
I'm here in Cincinnati to watch the Cardinals and Reds play. Hopefully I'll see some good baseball and not some fighting. Talk to you next week.