Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Reds in Turmoil

Cincinnati Reds GM Dan O'Brien

Apparently we're heading down the path of what some would call "housecleaning", as the Cincinnati Reds have begun the season just a game ahead of the Houston Assholes at 16-28. If you follow baseball, you're aware that yesterday the Reds released 8-year veteran pitcher Danny Graves, our all-time saves leader and selfless community influence.

Before I blow too much smoke, I'm for Graves being moved. He's clearly struggled this year in getting people out, he's lost 4-6 mph off of his fastball and he's not bending over on his sinker and he's leaving it hanging up in the zone. What I do have a problem with is the Reds stating,

"It is about performance, and it is about contributing on the field through a prospective winning team. That is ultimately the gauge we have to use in situations like this. Unfortunately, relative to D'Ángelo and relative to Danny, the performance level was not where it needed to be."


Here's the situation people - if the Reds don't want you in the organization, it doesn't matter what you do...you won't be here. Before I go and mention as to how Barry Larkin was ran out of Cincinnati and basically forced into retirement because of his desire to finish his career at home, let's look at another god awful pitching tragedy this year in Paul Wilson. For weeks the Reds have said "pitching mechanics", "in a funk" and "not being prepared" as to reasons why he sucks in 2005. Yesterday they performed an MRI on Wilson's shoulder...tendonitis. Nice.

Now let's go back to Graves. Your all-time saves leader, the guy who volunteered to be moved to a starting pitcher when it was clear the Reds had none and had another available closer to fill the role. His name is on several little league ballparks across the tri-state region because of his dedication to the community, and he's one of the most loyal Reds as far as team contributions and a very noted personality in the clubhouse. To say this is a "baseball decision" is bullshit, it's because the Reds found an easy way out when Carl Lindner decided he didn't like "the bird" that was flown as Danny Graves left the field Sunday versus the Cleveland Indians. The next morning after the flight of said bird, Graves called the Reds front office asking to issue a public apology on his actions, but instead was treated to the news that he would no longer be a part of the team that afternoon.

Talk about having your head chopped off.

Here's a thought - what's worse: flipping off a fan on your way off the field or a DUI? Ryan Freel was convicted of driving under the influence after opening day this season, not only did he not have a fine or get suspended - but it was announced that the Reds were committed to helping him. Now all of sudden Graves responds to booing fans and he's gone?

The truth? If Danny Graves is 15/15 this season in converting saves, he could walk off the field, smack a small child, mushroom stamp your wife in the audience and then drop his pants to give ler the full moon - and even spreading his cheeks for ya for maximum effect.

I mean, phase him out - do something to at least show some sort of respect for the fans or his teammates. If you lose that much off of your fastball, something's wrong. Partial cuff tear? Tendonitis? Off the juice? There's something wrong, and if the Reds wanted to find it they would have. However, they let the fans make the decision to get rid of Graves, and basically what that has done is gave the fans more power to influence the next decision. Had C Jason LaRue not had 3 hits last night, he would've likely heard the boo's until he was ready to snap himself.

That brings me to a side thought - if you're going to pay your money to watch a ballgame you have every right to boo whoever the hell you want to. The kicker is - don't be surprised when the ballplayer gives it back in whatever form it may come.

Again, losing Graves and previously D'Ángelo Jiménez was needed, I support that. However, to say that releasing Danny Graves is a "baseball decision" is a steaming, stinking pile of bullshit and it's ultimately beginning to spiral down a path to where the fans and the media depict the front office managing of the players.


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