Bronson Arroyo kindly joined Matt’s Take this week for a question and answer session. Bronson is one of the best known Reds pitchers of my life, as he spent approximately eight years with the Reds organization, while also playing for the Pirates, Red Sox and Diamondbacks. Arroyo was a 2006 All-Star, 2004 World Series champion, 2010 Gold Glove Award winner, and one of the most electric, high-kicking, arm-angle pitching pitchers in baseball history.
Arroyo was recently selected as the next inductee into the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and is more than deserving of the honor. Arroyo is sixth in Reds history in strikeouts and has more than 100 wins as a starter for the Redlegs. When I think of Bronson Arroyo, I think of the long hair, his curve ball, the high kick, his musical interests and his general love of the city of Cincinnati and the game of baseball.
Q: What was your favorite moment(s) as Cincinnati Red?
A: “My three favorite moments as a Cincinnati Red were getting the opportunity to be an All-Star in 2006 to represent the organization at All-Star weekend, putting a love on the board in the fifth inning of that game. The 2010 game, two playoff starts against the Phillies the night after Roy Halladay made us hitless. Throwing inside that stadium to a raucous Phillies crowd and keeping them quiet for most of the game, even though we lost, was the highlight of my career. And I would say that my brightest moment in a Reds uniform would have been beating Madison Bumgardner in the second game of the 2012 NLDS, in San Francisco, with a no-hitter until the seventh, I think. That’s a moment I’d trained for my whole life and to deliver it on the big stage in that way, absolutely fantastic.”
Q: During your career, who was your least favorite hitter to face?
A: “Albert Pujols. Just a couple of guys that I had to face in the game that had the ability to hit .330 in any given year. He didn’t fish or chase pitches off the plate either, and apparently he was so fast on the inside half that he couldn’t catch him with an inside fastball, no matter how many times he threw soft stuff. He was so good that he would sometimes tell myself I hope he hits somebody good because you knew you probably couldn’t strike him out.”
Q: Are you still in contact with former teammates?
A: “I definitely still keep in touch with former teammates. Ryan Hannigan, David Ross, Brandon Phillips, Joey Votto, Nick Masset, Mike Leake (every time he picks up the phone)… We definitely don’t talk or see each other as much as we’d like, that’s what happens after baseball, people are going to continue with their lives and usually raising a family and getting into something different. It’s very hard to get a group of guys back together often.”
Q: How has life after baseball treated you?
A: “Life after baseball has been fantastic. Not having to worry about the daily routine of when you go to sleep, how many calories you have in your body, and whether your arm feels capable of starting every five days. Taking care of your body year-round for your whole life is a bit stressful and it’s been nice to just relax.”
Q: 2004, Game 6 of the American League Championship Series, Alex Rodriguez swatted the ball out of his glove on his way to first on what could have been a very controversial play. What do you remember about this moment?
A: “The ball slap game is very vivid in my mind. It was an extra-slow curveball that Alex hit off the back of the bat so the ball spun like a top on the ground. My first thought was to make sure he didn’t shoot out of my glove. Once I had the ball in hand, I immediately looked to my left to make an easy turn to first base and Doug Mientkiewicz, my first baseman, was standing right next to me. At that point there was a bit of a panic thinking that Alex was going to be very close to first base at that point. When I looked up, he was jogging and I had plenty of time to do the tag, so I relaxed a bit when he cut off my arm.”
Q: Who on the current Reds roster are you most excited to see next season?
A: “Obviously, being a starting pitcher my entire career, I’m very excited to see Nick Lodolo, Ashcraft and Hunter Greene take the mound every five days and see how those guys do against the league next year…”
Q: In your career, you were a 2006 All Star, a 2010 Gold Glove winner, a World Series champion and even hit six home runs in your career. What part of your career are you most proud of?
A: “Of all the things I’ve done in the game, I’m most proud of pitching 200 innings basically 10 years in a row. Staying healthy and off the disabled list, and having the ability to pitch 200 innings year after year without question was where my whole ego lied, and I’ll take that stat above anything else.”
Q: Is Joey Votto a member of the hall of fame?
A: “To me, he’s a hall of famer…but Scott Rolen has to get in there first before he can give Joey Votto 100% approval. If Scott doesn’t go in there, then I’ll have to question everyone else who’s coming after, including Joey.”
For all the fans who were beginning to doubt Joe Mixon, I think he proved his point on Sunday when he led the Bengals to a commanding win over the Panthers. Our star running back had an absolutely monster game (I’ll dive into that later) and led the Bengals to 5-4 just before a much-needed bye week. Cincinnati currently trails the Ravens in the division. Baltimore has a much easier schedule than Cincinnati to complete the year.
· Joe Mixon is alive! On Sunday, Mixon may have established the nickname “Franchise Joey,” as he broke many franchise records. Mixon had a career-high 211 yards from scrimmage and five touchdowns. Mixon became the third player in the Super Bowl era with at least four rushing and one receiving touchdowns in a game. He also became the fourth player in NFL history to record three rushing touchdowns and a receiving touchdown in one half. To answer his question, Joe Mixon is back.
· With injuries to Reader, Awuzie, Chase, Hilton and many others, this team was still able to put up a dominant performance. The “next man up” mentality proved to work last week.
· To have a win heading into the bye week is huge. A loss on Sunday really could have hurt the chances of making the playoffs. With all the lingering injuries, nearly two weeks off is exactly what this team needs.
· Germaine Pratt and Jessie Bates intercepted passes this week. Winning the turnover battle was huge for this team in a week when this team really lacked depth at the corner position.
· Cincinnati was finally able to run an offense effectively outside of being in a shotgun formation. The running game was certainly clicking, which opened up routes for Higgins and Boyd.
· Did I mention Joe Mixon is back? OKAY. I was just making sure!
· Kevin Huber was once again very mediocre at the kicking position. His lack of power is leaving Cincinnati in a lot of bad field positions throughout the game. He ranks 31st in the league in net yardage average at 37.3. Drew Chrisman, it’s time my friend.
· Evan McPherson missed another field goal. I think he’ll be fine, but we need to get Evan and the special teams on the same page as I’m sure we have a lot of one point games ahead of us.
Matthew McAdow is a resident of Peebles. He works in human resources in the nuclear industry and has been an avid fan of Cincinnati his entire life. He is a graduate of Ohio Christian University and has always enjoyed giving an honest opinion on multiple topics related to Cincinnati sports.
Matthew McAdow Contributing Columnist