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The Cincinnati Reds are fashionably celebrating

  • Joey Votto and crew will play games in 15 sets of throwback uniforms Greg Holland Jersey , including a navy blue and a red-pants “Palm Beach” version, during a season-long celebration of the city’s baseball heritage highlighted by the undefeated 1869 Cincinnati team that barnstormed coast-to-coast in post-Civil War America. Baseball’s first openly all-salaried club, the Red Stockings popularized eye-catching uniforms with knicker-style pants and bright red socks while elevating the sports with a variety of innovations.“From a historical point of view and in the evolution of baseball as the national pastime, the 1869 Red Stockings were the cornerstone,” said Greg Rhodes, the Reds team historian and co-author of “The First Boys of Summer.” ”It’s hard to imagine the modern game of baseball without the Red Stockings.”Six questions and answers about the anniversary:WHO WERE THE RED STOCKINGS?The powerhouse team grew out of the goal of a couple Cincinnati attorneys to build their local baseball club into one that could beat the best teams in the East. Baseball’s postwar popularity had swelled and paying players, often under the table, became more common in what had begun as a gentlemen’s game.The Red Stockings became the first openly all-salaried team after a quest for talent Major League Baseball historian John Thorn compares to New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner’s free spending more than a century later.“This is a team comprised of the very best players that could be found and induced to come to Cincinnati,” Thorn said.The biggest coup was signing player-manager Harry Wright’s younger brother George, a star who had been team-hopping.That first payroll totaled around $10,000 for 10 players.HOW GOOD WERE THEY?Thorn considers the 1869 squad among the best all-time teams. They averaged more than 40 runs a game and remain professional baseball’s only undefeated team after going 57-0.Thorn says 19 wins came against teams also classified as “professional.” Rhodes says Harry Wright didn’t count in the win total more than a dozen other victories against teams that weren’t recognized by baseball’s national association.His older brother’s records show George Wright batted about .630 with 49 home runs while averaging nearly six runs scored per game. Thorn compares George in all-around ability for his time to Alex Rodriguez at his peak; a feared hitter who was also a superb fielder (in the pre-glove era) with a powerful arm that allowed him to play unusually deep at shortstop.With players under contract, Harry, an England-born cricket star, worked them hard on baseball technique and physical training. The Red Stockings developed calling fly balls, using relay throws, making defensive shifts, and intentionally dropping pop-ups to turn double plays (not allowed under today’s infield fly rule). They ran the bases more aggressively than opponents, and Harry Wright was a relief pitching innovator, coming in with his slow “dew drop” to disrupt batters’ timing after fast-throwing regular pitcher Asa Brainard.HOW BIG A DEAL WERE THEY?The Red Stockings took the nation by storm http://www.rockiesfanproshop.com/authentic-chad-bettis-jersey , playing coast-to-coast with swings through the East and a transcontinental railroad trip to California.Wearing knickers with bright stockings instead of long pants gave the young (seven of the 10 were age 22 or younger), muscular players an eye-catching look that, the Chronicle of San Francisco observed, “shows their calves in all their magnitude and rotundity.”Author Darryl Brock, who retraced their travels for his historical novel, “If I Never Get Back,” describes women greeting the players by lifting their skirts to show their own red stockings. The team arrived at games singing a ditty that concluded: “Red Stockings all will toss the ball, and shout our loud Hurrah!” They showed off their skills in crowd-pleasing warmup drills.Before mass media, they became a national sensation through telegraph reports, newspapers and national weeklies.“The nation had been so badly divided (by war),” said Brock. “They were kind of a bonding influence … the enormous excitement they generated.”WHAT HAPPENED TO THE TEAM?The players got $50 bonuses and returned for 1870. They ran their streak to 81, traveled south to play in New Orleans, and compiled a 124-6-1 two-season total.Then they folded.“They were a terrific success on the field,” Rhodes said. “They could never quite figure out how to make it work financially.”Home attendance tumbled in 1870 after the first losses tarnished their mystique. With stepped-up spending by other teams, the club’s management saw salaries rising beyond feasibility.“Like today, there was this tension between the bigger markets and the smaller markets,” Rhodes said.The Wrights headed to Boston, using the Red Stockings name, and helped form the club in 1871 that today calls itself baseball’s oldest continuously operating team. Surprise: it’s not the Boston Red Sox http://www.rockiesfanproshop.com/authentic-chad-bettis-jersey , but the Braves, who became the Braves while in Boston, moved to Milwaukee, and settled in Atlanta.WHAT’S PLANNED FOR TRIBUTES?All Major League Baseball teams will wear uniform patches marking 150 years throughout this season, and there will be special patches for caps for their opening day games, said Barbara McHugh, MLB senior vice president for marketing. There will also be season-long special content on MLB’s social media channels, and McHugh said Commissioner Rob Manfred will be in Cincinnati for the March 28 Opening Day festivities and will take part in the annual pregame parade through the city.The Reds, meanwhile, will have their own commemorative patches, with different versions for home and away uniforms.And that’s just for starters.“You don’t do it in one day or in one homestead or even in a month, so we’re really taking the entire season to celebrate that and tell you about the history a little piece at a time,” said Phil Castellini, the Reds’ chief operating officer.Some 20 benches will be placed around the Cincinnati region depicting handlebar-mustached mascot Mr. Redlegs, ready for fan selfies. The club’s Hall of Fame and Museum will re-open in March after a sweeping renovation. On May 4, the Reds will open “The 1869 Pavilion” outdoors in tribute to the Red Stockings who played their first official game that date.On July 5, an off day, the Reds plan an “open house” allowing fans to visit Great American Ball Park for free, mingle with the team Tyler Anderson Jersey , and finish with an on-field concert and a fireworks show.The uniforms will represent historic events, such as baseball’s first night game in 1935, and the best Reds teams such as the 1976 “Big Red Machine” team that swept the postseason. The 1911 blue road uniforms and 1930s lightweight “Palm Beach” style with red pants are examples of unusual styles. There will be no 1869 throwbacks, because that early, bulky style could hinder players, Castellini said.New Reds manager David Bell is looking forward to the throwbacks, particularly a 1956 version. That’s the year his grandfather Gus Bell helped the Reds tie the then-MLB record for home runs with 221.“Wearing a uniform like that is an honor,” said Bell, whose father Buddy also played for the Reds. “You think about all the great players, the great people who wore those uniforms. It really means a lot.”WHAT ABOUT THE CURRENT REDS?After four straight last-place finishes, the Reds have overhauled their pitching and added past All-Star outfielders Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp for 2019.“It’s critical because our job on the business side of this franchise is to wrap the show around the game on the field,” Castellini said. “We were already throwing a great party … It’s important that you have that performance on the field, because that good time can only go so far.”Lifelong fan Steve Pohlman, 47, and son Tyler, 18, turned out for the team’s recent winter caravan tour and will be at 150th anniversary events.“It’s something I’ll be able to tell my kids and grandkids about,” Tyler said. As for the Reds’ recent struggles: “We’ve just got to stick with it. This is Cincinnati baseball.” ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — No one has tell the Houston Astros how good Charlie Morton can be.The 35-year-old right-hander was solid in his debut for the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday night http://www.rockiesfanproshop.com/authentic-chad-bettis-jersey , pitching five innings and striking out eight against his former team in a 4-2 victory.“It was an awesome experience,” Morton said, noting it was every bit as “weird” as he envisioned facing the club he helped win a World Series two seasons ago.“It was the fact I was out there against my former team. I was a little emotional, and it was the first start of the season,” he added. “To get it out of the way and come out with a great team win, it was a big deal.”Morton (1-0) allowed two runs and three hits in his first outing since signing a $30 million, two-year contract as a free agent. In 2017, he won Game 7 of the World Series and Game 7 of the AL Championship Series.Yandy Diaz lined an impressive solo homer off Astros starter Gerrit Cole (0-1), who also yielded three unearned runs in the third, when shortstop Aledmys Diaz’s throwing error paved the way for Tampa Bay. Diaz has two errors in two games filling in for injured regular Carlos Correa.Tommy Pham’s RBI single trimmed Houston’s lead to 2-1, and Ji-Man Choi followed with a two-run single to put the Rays ahead 3-2.Morton, who gave up a two-run double to Michael Brantley in the third, walked three and also hit a batter during an 85-pitch outing.“The same stuff we’ve seen for a couple years,” Astros manager AJ Hinch. “He had a really good breaking ball, a pretty good fastball. Mixed in some splits late, swing and miss breaking balls. He’s tough.”Cole was impressed, too.“He was sharp. He looks good. About right where we expected him to be,” the Houston pitcher said. “Worth every dollar of that 30-million contract.”Four relievers combined to pitch four scoreless innings for the Rays, with Jose Alvarado striking out Tony Kemp with two runners on in the ninth for his first save.It’s not the first time Morton faced a former team in his first outing with a new one. He also did it in 2009 after being traded from the Atlanta Braves to the Pittsburgh Pirates.The right-hander went 29-10 with a 3.36 ERA in 55 starts for Houston over the past two seasons. He was a first-time All-Star a year ago http://www.rockiesfanproshop.com/authentic-chad-bettis-jersey , when he won 15 games and posted a career-best 3.13 ERA.Cole allowed five hits and four runs — one earned — while striking out 10 over six innings.According to StatCast, the 420-foot, sixth-inning homer he yielded to Yandy Diaz on a 2-0 count left the bat at 112 mph. The low liner to straightaway center field rose just enough to hit the top of the wall and skipped over.“I challenged Diaz with a fastball and lost that one,” Cole said. “It was out of a cannon, man.”BREGMAN’S STREAKWhen Houston’s Alex Bregman went 0 for 4 in Thursday’s season opener, it ended his 56-game road on-base streak. It was a franchise best and the longest of any player since Derek Jeter’s 59-game run in 2006-07. Bregman also had a 17-game hitting streak against the Rays stopped. The third baseman was 0 for 4 again Friday.THAT HURTSPlate umpire Dan Iassogna recovered quickly to a call a strike after getting hit by a pitch on the knee in the third inning. Iassogna briefly went down when Rays catcher Mike Zunino was crossed up and failed to catch a pitch from Morton to Jose Altuve. After taking a moment to collect himself, Iassogna got back to work and called the pitch a strike.TRAINER’S ROOMAstros: Correa missed his second straight game with neck stiffness and is not expected to play Saturday, either. “I think we’re getting to the point where he’s going to have to do a full workout before he’s ready to play,” Hinch said. “Hopefully that’s tomorrow, which makes Sunday more likely. I will wait a day too long rather than a day too short.”Rays: Alvarado rolled an ankle while running but was able to walk back to the clubhouse after sitting on the warning track in right field for several minutes.UP NEXTAstros: RHP Collin McHugh (6-2, 1.99 ERA in 2018) will start the third game of the four-game series Saturday night. He’s 1-4 with a 2.12 in seven career appearances against Tampa Bay, including five starts.Rays: RHP Tyler Glasnow (2-7, 4.27 ERA last season) faces Houston for the first time in his career. He made 11 starts for the Rays after being acquired from Pittsburgh last July, allowing one run or fewer in five of those outings.