While it’s always good fall sport to mock the national baseball broadcasters, Ernie Johnson is almost always excluded from that. The reason: he’s actually pretty good and knows his stuff. I know he’s more notable for his basketball work, but he’s a good baseball broadcaster.
And he’s an even better man, as this profile by Dan Caesar of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch makes clear.
Back in 2011 Johnson missed his playoff assignments due to his son’s illness. Caesar tells the story behind all of that. Johnson’s son — who he and his wife adopted from a Romanian orphanage in 1991 — is on a ventilator and requires around-the-clock medical care. Care which Johnson and his family provide themselves at home. The story talks about their son and the challenges and rewards of the entire situation. Listening to Johnson talk you conclude that, in his mind, the rewards outweigh the challenges by orders of magnitude.
Hats off to Ernie Johnson and his family. They sound amazing.
The Reds have signed free agent reliever Oliver Perez to a minor-league contract, the team announced Saturday. The deal comes with a major-league invite and could be worth $1.25 million if Perez secures a roster spot this spring, with an additional $500,000 in potential performance bonuses.
Perez, 36, is coming off of a two-year run with the Nationals. He produced a 4.64 ERA, 3.3 BB/9 an d10.6 SO/9 through 50 relief appearances and 33 innings with the club in 2017. The veteran lefty hasn’t kept an ERA under 4.00 in at least four seasons, but he continues to be undeniably solid against left-handed batters, holding them to a .227/.301/.364 batting line over 18 1/3 innings last year.
While returning southpaw Wandy Peralta appears to have locked down a bullpen spot already, Perez will still compete for another role against fellow left-handers Cody Reed and Amir Garrett, both of whom also have experience in the rotation. If Perez doesn’t break camp with the team, MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon notes, he’ll be permitted to opt out of his contract. The Reds are currently looking to bounce back from a dismal performance in 2017, one in which their bullpen ranked 28th among major league teams with a collective 5.63 ERA and -1.2 fWAR.