UNSOLICTED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave answering texts, reading e-mails, perusing a Roger Angell book — anything but paying attention to the Cleveland Indians putting it lustily to the Cincinnati Reds, 15-6.
No matter where I go — Starbucks, Fifth Third Bank, Rite-Aid (for Advil), the Agonis Club or the Great American Ball Park East parking garage — I get the same comment over and over and over:
“The Cincinnati Reds are awfully hard to watch,” they say.
Indeed, they certainly are. It is even harder when you have to watch every game, no matter what, as I do. Nobody wants to see a team beat up night after night and day after day.
THE SECOND MOST OFTEN comment I hear is, “When are they going to fire manager Bryan Price?”
Why should they fire Price? Is this mess his fault, a mess made because the Reds are trying to clean house and filled their roster with a mixture of young, untried players and several castoffs and castaways from other teams to fill out the roster?
You can’t win the Kentucky Derby with a plow horse. You can’t win the Daytona 500 with a VW Rabbit. You can’t turn hamburger into steak. You can’t cross the lake in a leaky canoe.
INSTEAD OF CALLING for Price’s head on the end of a spear fans should feel sorry for the man, although he would be the last to ask for sympathy. He plods on with what he has to put on the field.
And he has to endure the nightly nightmare of using a bullpen that might be the worst bullpen in the last 50 years, and that’s the worst of any team.
After giving up seven earned runs in four innings Monday night against the Indians, the bullpen has pitched an extremely taxing 117 innings and given up 98 runs. The bullpen earned run average is 7.53. And that doesn’t count the plethora of runs the bullpen gives up that are charged to the starting pitcher.
NO, FIRING PRICE is not the answer. Sparky Anderson, John McGraw and Casey Stengel together couldn’t turn this team into a .500 team.
As Price said on Fox Sports Ohio after Monday’s disaster, “These are the cards we have and they are the cards we are going to play, play with the hand we’re dealt.”
The hand he has been dealt is a steady stream of 13s and 14s at the blackjack table. Once in a while he might draw to a 21, but mostly he gets fed a face card and goes bust.
All he can do is trudge onward and downward because even if he gets starting pitchers Homer Bailey, and Anthony DeSclafani and Raisel Iglesias back, this team still has far too many sink holes to be competitive.
If this team is too hard to watch, well, what is there? Summer re-runs are upon us on TV. And too often the Reds are doing re-runs night after night. Too often they remind one of those poor souls on “Naked and Afraid.”