Another Borek Morning: Talking Cincinnati Reds Baseball 5/23/2014


Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

No Cincinnati Reds baseball yesterday.

Sometimes, it’s nice to unplug from the rigors of being a die-hard fan. For once, your day isn’t consumed with the outcome of a game—but rather, you can enjoy the sport as a whole.

I watched the Tampa Bay Rays come back and tie a game in the 11th, just to win it on a walk-off three-run shot. I spent more than an hour of my life watching the Houston Astros to see what all this defensive shift business was about. I watched the Philadelphia Phillies over shift their way to a loss against the Miami Marlins—overall, a brilliant day of America’s Pasttime.

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Going from 0 to 60 in about three seconds is the intensity from yesterday to today. It may not even be Memorial Day yet, but the Reds are not exactly playing their best baseball.

Coming into town is the much maligned enemy—the St. Louis Cardinals.

Why as Reds fans do we not like Cardinals fans? I have a buddy at school that loves the Redbirds, and while we get along real well, my blood boils when he cheers for the Cards, or after a head-to-head win, I’ll get a text message reminding me about who won.

Maybe we don’t like the Cardinals because they are what we aspire to be. Let’s be honest: who wouldn’t want to be the St. Louis Cardinals? They are the model of how to be excellent; and then sustain said excellence.

I’ve heard that Cardinals fans are not held in high esteem because of their sense of entitlement. That argument was all good and well until seemingly five years ago when the culture shift happened in Cincinnati. As of late, it seems Reds Country has forgotten the previous two decades of misery.

An advantage of living on Long Island is the wildlife. In my backyard every morning, I glance out and see all types of different birds: blue jays, orioles, and even, cardinals. Should a blue jay or an oriole land near me, it’s a joyous feeling; one of enjoying nature. Should a cardinal come within my proximity, a scowl creeps over my face as if I expect Yadier Molina to metamorphose from where a bird once fluttered.

I love the rivalry just as much as anyone else, as I believe it to be great theater for not only Cincinnati, but the sport as a whole. Just keep in check the fact that Cardinals fans and players are people just like you and I; let’s cut them some slack…unless they sweep the Reds this weekend, then all hell can break loose.

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I could be alone in this matter, but my level of concern about the Pittsburgh Pirates posing a threat to the Reds is about at a zero on a scale of 1-10.

Not to completely discredit their season last year (which means I’m about to completely discredit their season last year), but there were a ton of players that performed way above expectations.

As of yesterday, they demoted Wandy Rodriguez. Right field is begging for Gregory Polanco. Not a stunner, but the bullpen is not as stingy as a year ago.

With all of their young pieces, I definitely think the Pirates are ready to be a player in the National League Central in 2-3 years. Let’s remember, heading into last season, they were on no one’s radar; let’s not indoctrinate them to some divine right of being competitive.

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Bryan Price has shown that he is not going to be the kind of guy who allows higher-paid players to have their roles dictated by salary.
With that being said, what does he do with Sean Marshall? It is clear as day that Marshall is not the same pitcher they acquired from the Cubs two years ago.

Shoulder issues are not a light injury to deal with. At the moment, how he can be trusted in a close game is a head scratcher; yet, his pay grade dictates pitching in crucial moments.

On a mid-market team, there is a very small room for error when it comes to paying for arms in that magnitude.

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Tonight we see Homer Bailey take on Shelby Miller. For the sake of Bailey’s mental state, I hope he pitches well. As far as what to expect, Homer has proven that the only to be expected of him so far this year, is the unexpected.