The hottest topic of conversation in Section 130 continues to revolve around whether the team will be able to pull off a meaningful trade.  The national rumor mill has heated up with speculation about the Reds…and GM Walt Jocketty has found himself on the hot seat in the eyes of many.  His recent comment that he was looking at “all the top players” has rightly stoked the flames of expectations among Reds fans.

John Fay’s latest column, hot off the press, asks whether our highest priority should be a pitcher or a hitter.  James Shields is smokin’.  Carlos Beltran, scorching.  I sort of blow hot and cold, liking a hitter in the short term but a top-of-the-order pitcher for the long haul, and wanting both.  I’m certainly praying that rumors of signing another light-hitting, havoc-causing, low-OBP outfielder like Corey Patterson Willy Taveras Coco Crisp are just hot air.

Dusty Baker’s lineup remains another hot button topic, of course.  The burning glare of the spotlight shines squarely on Edgar Renteria to justify not only his playing time but also his roster spot.  Drew Stubbs – sizzling one day, smoldering the next – must be looking over his shoulder at more than fly balls hit to the warning track.  Miguel Cairo has made a reasonably strong case for more playing time at the hot corner.

Meanwhile, the race for the NL Central has reached a fever-pitch.  The Reds need to play well the rest of the month to remain hot on the heels of the Brewers, Cardinals and Pirates.  Players, coaches, and fans alike are desperately waiting for the team’s first prolonged winning streak since their torrid start to the season.  With four teams in the race, the odds of the division ending up in a dead heat are great.

I’m not worried about the Reds being fired up for this home stand.  If anything, they appear to be playing too tight and I wonder if, in the heat of the moment, we might see a fight or an ejection.  Joey Votto, who is always among the most hot-blooded players, seemed to be nearing the boiling point in Pittsburgh.  Scott Rolen may need to take the team bowling or to a water park just to let off some steam.

Then again, some like it hot.

The high temps projected for Cincinnati this weekend – heat index of 110º last night – are really what I was going to write about.  But I didn’t want to be accused of being a fair weather fan. 

Plus, a silly blog post premised on clichés and idioms related to the heat concerns a baseball team whose manager’s name is ‘Dusty Baker.’  How great is that?