We got the pleasure of speaking with former Reds pitcher Brian Reith who appeared in games over three seasons from 2001-2004 as a member of the Cincinnati Reds. Discussing everything from his finest moments in the game to his life now, we get an inside look at the mind of less than a decade removed from professional baseball.
(The questions are bolded, while Brian’s answers are italicized)
Which moment was bigger for you: your first Major League start or your first career save?
Definitely the Major League start. [It’s] something you dream about forever and it finally comes true.
What are the main differences between American and Chinese baseball?
Obviously, the Major League level here in the United States is quite a bit better competition wise, but the game is played a little bit differently over there. There are a lot more slap hitters going for basehits and not so much power. It was a pretty interesting difference to see that after the fifth inning they took a smoke break—about a half hour break where guys would change clothes and smoke. That was definitely different, especially when you’re starting and five innings into it, and all of a sudden you have to take a half hour break.
What was your favorite city to visit while on the road?
Taipei is at the top of my list. In the U.S., it would probably be San Diego, San Francisco, or Chicago. New York was nice too, getting to visit there; I wish I could live there.
You played during a time dubbed the “Steroid Era,” do you ever feel slighted by the fact that you may have faced hitters that had a distinctive advantage over you?
No, I’ve gone back and forth with this over my career, and you know, I really didn’t think about it too much. After my career was over, I sat down and started to think about it, but everybody else talks about it and that’s what made it blow up. You wonder what would have happened if you were on a level playing field, but obviously that didn’t happen. My career path took a different direction than some. I’m very happy with the decisions I’ve made, to stay clean and do it the right way. Even though my career wasn’t quite what I imagined it to be, I wouldn’t change anything.
Is there one defining point or moment in your career that you’ll never forget?
We talked about the first start…before the first pitch, I remember standing on the mound and just kind of looking around at my fielders and kind of in awe of the whole situation because you work so hard your whole life to get there and you’re finally there.
How exactly did you get involved with SCORE (Score International Baseball) and what kind of working are you doing with them now?
Well, Sam Marsonek got me involved; I played with him on the Yankees and also in Spring Training with the Cubs and we played independent ball together late in our career. He’s a good friend of mine now, and he started [the organization] in Tampa. He went on a mission trip down in the Dominican and he got saved down there. From there, it just started to grow and he asked me if I wanted to become involved with it, and I said sure. You talk about taking different career paths—I’m not in the game, playing persay—but I can definitely impact people with coaching and impact God’s Kingdom with the way that I conduct myself and the teachings that I supply these young people with.
It’s definitely a blessing and I’m extremely happy to be a part of the organization. We’re growing and we’re looking to expand in the future; we’re looking for land to build some fields so we can reach more kids. This is our third season coming up, we bring in kids from the Dominican and Venezuela to play with us for the summer; we find housing for them and get them set up. It’s a great experience for both the Latin guys and the guys from the Tampa area, especially when they move to the next level.
Do you still make it up to Cincinnati for Reds games during the year?
I haven’t made it up that way. I would like to, I live in Florida now, so I do get to some Rays games. Cincinnati obviously rarely comes down here, but if they do, I try to check them out.
Let me get your prediction for how the Reds finish the season this year.
I feel like they’re going to be at the top of the Central. Pitching is going to be key obviously, as it always is. [They] just have to get Chapman healthy again, hopefully he can come back and help that bullpen and all their starters can get things going. Hopefully they’ll put some runs on the board too, so they can finish at the top.
Tags: Cincinnati Reds