Today is my birthday.
More importantly, today is Memorial Day.
The two days have always perpetually been on a collision course for me, with baseball, and the Cincinnati Reds, finding their way into the equation.
Later this evening, it seems I’ve hit the jackpot. Of course, it’s still highly doubtful the countless scratch-off tickets I receive will amount to much of anything, at least I will be entertained by the dominance of one Johnny Cueto.
One of the best things to watch in sports, is two dominant elements collide at once. Numbers be damned, Johnny Cueto may be the best pitcher in baseball, and the Los Angeles Dodgers may have the best offensive in baseball. Sign me up for that.
Much like how the Cardinals series just went, the Reds have best get the first one.
It’s not as if Hyun-Jin Ryu is a pushover, either. With a sensational changeup, he is going to be able to keep hitters off balance later tonight—especially the exhausted ones. Do not be expecting much offense.
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Tipping the cap to the arch nemesis is never a desirable task—especially after they took the series on the Reds home turf. Just typing it hurts my fingertips, but the St. Louis Cardinals are still just a better baseball team.
Even the players that are not yet Cardinals still supersede the Reds in talent.
There is no doubt in my mind that were Oscar Taveras a Cincinnati Red he would have been the Opening Day left fielder. Alas, the Cardinals have done an unbelievable job in the scouting department stocking the system with these supremely talented young players.
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It has become a phenomenon. The Yasiel Puig bat flip.
We all come from different backgrounds and circumstances, so for anyone who has had a significant level of hardship, there is a certain amount of understanding what Puig has gone through.
A Cuban escapee, the lines are blurred between his arrival and how he exactly he wound up in the United States.
Maybe the most gifted player in the sport today, Puig lacks a “respect for the game.” Does that matter? Or, should he continue to do what our nation has been preaching for the past half-decade and “be himself?”
Last season, Puig made the bat flip famous. An extra-inning shot off Curtis Partch that ended the game in walk-off fashion was the antithesis of the season Puig had last year. Perform an amazing feat of athleticism; have it be overshadowed by flash.
Whether or not you’re a Puig fan, it is difficult to ignore his talents. Unfortunately, for Yasiel, it cannot just be those talents alone. Since they are so immense, and possibly, unlike any we have ever seen, they come with a price. In modern American culture, something as simple as a bat flip sends an entire society into a tailspin.
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Imagine if the Reds payroll was what the Dodgers is? An extra $140 million couldn’t hurt I suppose.
That way, they could acquire Troy Tulowitzki. And Giancarlo Stanton. And Nelson Cruz. And could have acquired Masahiro Tanaka. No longer would they be the “Cincinnati Reds,” but rather “Eric’s Coolest Fantasy Team!!!!11!!!”
In all seriousness, the market can certainly help. As the New York Mets have recently shown, money is not everything though.