We started to see some personnel moves on Friday when the Cincinnati Reds parted ways with minor league Director of Pitching Kyle Boddy and minor league Hitting Coordinator C.J. Gillman. Those moves were a bit of a shock given the timing – they happened while the season was still on-going, though near the final stretch (the regular season came to an end this weekend for all teams except the DSL Reds and at this point only Louisville will have their season continue into the playoffs in a strange year with non-normal playoff procedures). Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer had another move of note from the weekend – Brad Meador is being promoted to Assistant GM, opening up the role as amateur scouting director that he had previously filled.
The stay at amateur scouting director for Meador was a short one or sorts as he was in the role for just three seasons/drafts. He took over the gig from Chris Buckley, who was promoted within the organization to VP of Player Personnel. Nightengale’s reporting notes that Meador will still be working with the amateur scouting (both domestic and international) departments and with player development.
TJ Friedl’s 1st MLB home run
A players first big league home run is always memorable. But for TJ Friedl his first home run in the majors might be a bit more memorable for those outside of his family than other first home runs because of what followed immediately after.
In the 6th inning on Sunday, TJ Friedl took a 94 MPH fastball from Tony Gonsolin and put it into the stands in right-center field in just his second at-bat in the big leagues. The fan who caught the ball threw it back onto the field. That’s not something you tend to see for homers hit by the home team. But the fan threw it back because Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts offered to “take care of him” if he tossed the ball back in, as Betts knew that it was the first hit and home run for Friedl. That was more than enough for the fan, who for his troubles, got an autographed bat from Betts the next inning when he took the field again.
Michael Diddle of Portsmouth, Ohio, caught the ball from TJ Friedl’s first MLB hit, a home run. Dodgers RF watched the ball, asked for it and told Diddle “I got you.” In the bottom of the 7th, Betts came back with a signed bat pic.twitter.com/wVT8kh9vNX
— C. Trent Rosecrans (@ctrent) September 19, 2021
“That’s just first class,” said Friedl of Betts gesture after the game. “It’s incredible for him to do something like that. It’s definitely just world class. I want to go over there and say thank you in person. Thank you, that’s all I can really say because it means so much, just to get that ball back – my first home run. Just for him to know that, and turn around to the fan and I believe traded him for a bat. I saw him running out there with a bat the next inning, gave him a bat – just incredible. He’s a great guy and I just want to find a way to say thank you to him.”
As for TJ Friedl’s home run itself, it was a 385-foot blast. That is the second furthest home run he hit in 2021. Only one home run of the 12 home runs he hit while in Triple-A this season was further – a 391-foot home run on June 3rd. Back in 2019 the top distance on a homer from Friedl was 406 feet when he was with Chattanooga.