If you went to Great American Ballpark this weekend, chances are it's because you're a Cubs fan. The areas where fans were most heavily concentrated looked like a political map when the Democrats are doing well: large swaths of blue with little blotches of red popping up here and there.
(Why do I have a feeling that someone will misconstrue what I just typed?)
There weren't many Reds fans at GABP this weekend, which made this weekend's four-game series much like the rest of the season. There aren't many people cobbling their money together to go watch a team that's trying to avoid losing 100 games.
I'm not mentioning this just to wail away at the low-hanging fruit that is Reds attendance. If you go to games, great. If not, that's okay too. I still go as often as possible, but if you have other things to do with your time and money, then so be it. I bring the issue of attendance up because we've been talking about Scooter Gennett a lot recently.
Scooter is having a nice season. He's second on the Reds in OPS, homers, and RBI while hitting .318. His defense at second base is often an adventure, but offensively, he's proving that last year's success was no fluke. So the question has arisen...what do the Reds do with him?
He just turned 28 and has one more year of (expensive) team control. His versatility is well-established, and he's become enough of an offensive force that someone will probably give him a hefty contract when he hits free agency after the end of next season. There's validity to the idea of wanting to keep Scooter around for at least a little while for the right price, because he's not exactly old and because he can play a number of positions. And come on, isn't it fun having a Red named "Scooter?"
But he's also holding down a position an infield that one day soon will include Nick Senzel, and that probably should include Alex Blandino more frequently. He's also likely to earn much, much, more than his 2018 salary of $5.7 million, and you know he'll be looking for such a big payday when he's a free agent heading into his age-30 season, that for the Reds, he's probably not a great long-term investment.
So should the Reds be looking to capitalize on Scooter's value by shopping him around? Yes. Should they be engaged in constant discussions about Scooter with the Seattle Mariners, in the wake of Robinson Cano's extension? Definitely? Should the pause to consider the ramifications that would come with trading a fan favorite?
Aside from the obvious questions about whether something like a player's popularity should factor into important baseball decision-making, here's my question...
If Scooter Gennett is such a fan favorite, why does no one go to see him play?
That question might read harsh, but it's not meant to. Rather, it's a question that's designed to strike down the idea that Scooter Gennett can't be moved because of how beloved he is. With a few notable exceptions, this is not a sport where one player is much of a draw, but the idea that the Reds will face significant backlash if they deal another fan favorite is ludicrous. It'd be one thing if Scooter was helping to push ticket sales, but he clearly isn't. In fact, I'll bet you that since Scooter Gennett started playing for the Reds, not one fan has made their decision to buy tickets based on having the chance to see him play.
This isn't to say that Scooter isn't popular. In fact, he's a primary example of the thing that's best about baseball, that new favorites emerge organically all the time, often replacing the old ones. Some of the same people that were yelling about Brandon Phillips being traded a year and a half ago couldn't wait to get their Gennett t-shirts after he'd been with the team for a few weeks. Even on a bad team, there's always players that fans find ways to connect with. But if they're not moving tickets, should their popularity really be a factor in determining whether or not they're traded?
Maybe I should've asked the empty seats that Cubs fans didn't occupy this weekend.
Here's some stuff....
My favorite moment of the weekend was the Amir Garrett/Javier Baez dustup on Saturday afternoon. I like it when guys show some emotion.
My least-favorite moment of the weekend was watching Raisel Iglesias implode later in that same game. I don't like it when guys show the wrong kind of emotion.
When Anthony DeSclafani comes back, Homer Bailey should move to the bullpen, no? They're never getting good return on the money they've invested in him, so his large salary shouldn't be a factor year. Let the guys who could be here down the road pitch in the roles they're most likely to be in if they are here down the road.
FC Cincinnati was impressive on Saturday night, not at all looking like a team that had just played 120 minutes on Wednesday, and looking completely unlike the team that was blown out last Saturday night. And Nippert when the fans are in black in when Nippert is at its best.
Speaking of Nippert, its primary tenant got some disappointing news on Friday. Joe Burrow is going to LSU and not UC. Bearcat football could've used the jolt of energy an optimism that Burrow coming year would've injected, and he might have moved up the timetable for the hefty rebuilding job that Luke Fickell is trying to work through. I do wonder what the recruitment of Burrow will do for Hayden Moore. More than anything, I wonder how Moore can help the Bearcats take a significant step forward this year, when the teams talent level is still not where it needs to be.
Your two NBA thoughts: The winner of tonight's Cavs/ Celtics game four wins the series. Steph Curry is somehow the most underrated player in the game.
I'm really re-inventing sports blogging with the amazing insight, huh?
Here's some other stuff....
Peter King's final MMQB column was as good as I expected it to be.
Here's a good look from C. Trent Rosecrans at which players the Reds may take with the fifth overall pick in this year's draft.
Here's a recap of this weekend's NBA scouting combine, including this nugget...
It’s hard not to love Cincinnati wing Jacob Evans. There are more athletic players with longer arms and quicker feet, but there aren’t many with Evans’s grit. He took a charge during his game on Thursday, and put the clamps on whoever he was defending. Evans has all the qualities teams look for in a successful 3-and-D player.
This is good, if you're an NBA dork like me.
Radio Show: Noon on ESPN1530. 3:05 on ESPN1530. Late last week, before I took Friday off, was representative of what I want my show to be. Early last week was not. Hopefully we start this week with the way last week ended.
Also....wanna win a new lawn mower and tickets to every Riverbend show? Go here.