MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon passes along word that Reds first baseman Joey Votto will be featured on the cover of the Sports Illustrated that is set to reach newsstands today. Sheldon also has a picture of the cover, so go check that out.
Because we’re mostly sane here at HBT and don’t buy into petty jinx theories, this all arrives as great news. Votto is an MVP candidate, he might just win the Triple Crown, and he’s overcome a bout with clinical depression along the way. It’s nice to see that he is finally getting a dose of well-deserved exposure.
But, uh, go ahead and tell us how Cincinnati is now doomed in the comments section.
Votto is the first Reds player to make the cover of SI since Ken Griffey Jr. on June 14, 2004. The 26-year-old leads all eligible National Leaguers with a .323 batting average and he trails only Adam Dunn and Albert Pujols with 29 home runs. The Reds currently hold a 2.5-game lead over the Cardinals in the National League Central.
Major League Baseball has announced the umpiring crew for the World Series. John Hirschbeck is the crew chief. It’s his fifth World Series assignment, third as a crew chief.
A surprising name on the crew is Joe West. It’ll be his sixth World Series overall, but first since 2012. There had been chatter for several years that Major League Baseball was making a more concerted effort to get its best umpires into the World Series more often while minimizing the appearances of its weakest umpires. Most assumed West’s absence from the Fall Classic in recent years, despite his seniority, was a function of that. Maybe they’re still making merit a priority and maybe West has just improved? I’ll leave that for you to judge.
Anyway, here is the lineup of umps for Game 1. They will rotate after that, of course. If the series goes six games, Cowboy Joe will be calling the balls and strikes:
Home plate: Larry Vanover
1B: Chris Guccione
2B: John Hirschbeck
3B: Marvin Hudson
LF: Tony Randazzo
RF: Joe West
Replay Official for Games 1-2: Sam Holbrook (with assistance from Todd Tichenor)
Replay Official for Games 3-7: Larry Vanover (with assistance from Todd Tichenor)