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This Is What Baseball Is All About

Posted by Matt on June 9, 2007

I watched Cincinnati Reds pitcher Homer Bailey’s complete start last night and I realized how exciting baseball could be, even when your team is in last place in a given division.  Bailey made his first Major League start at home in what appeared to be a sold out Great American Ball Park crowd (this was helped by the fact that it was Bronson Arroyo Cap Night, which reminds me, I have GOT to get me one of those) and actually recorded his first Major League victory over the Cleveland Indians by a final score of 4-3.

It may have been the alcohol, but something about that game, the entire time I was watching, just felt right.  Somehow, I just knew that Brandon Phillips would go yard, after Bailey gave up an early run, to knot the game up at 1-1.  Somehow, I just knew that Jeff Conine would hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the fourth inning to go up 3-2 after the Indians took a lead on Bailey in the top of the fourth.  It was like it ws meant to be.

For once, there was an excitement around Cincinnati Reds baseball and you just knew that the Reds wanted to win this one, and win it bad.  To me, the night just felt right and somehow I just knew they would pull it off.  It was only fitting to see the Player of the Decade in the 1990s, Ken Griffey, Junior, hit a patented right-field-shot in the bottom of the sixth to add an insurance run that would pay off dearly for Mr. Bailey.

When Bailey was working the top of the fifth, loading the bases on a four-straight-ball walk with two outs, it was storybook that he struck the next batter out to end the inning and give himself as hot at a decision.  I have never been so excited about an at bat as I was with Homer’s last.  After losing his control and walking the previous batter, the crowd came alive and so did Bailey’s arm one more time; it was only fitting that Homer’s first and last batters faced were strikeouts. 

Even with the battery of Stanton – Coutlangus – Majewski – Weathers out of the Bullpen, I just knew they would hold of the Indians, despite their usual eighth-inning heroics and despite the fact that David Weathers gave up a solo shot in the top of the ninth inning to bring the Indians closer at 3-4; proof that Junior’s insurance round-tripper paid dividends.

And finally, it was only fitting that the game came to close on an another exciting strike out by David Weathers, a guy more well known for his earned runs than his strike outs, to solidify Bailey’s victory.  I have never seen Weathers so excited about a save as he was on this night, fist pumping after the called-strike-three.

It was exciting to me to see this 21-year-old lace ’em up in the Majors for the first time and stand on the national stage, only to deliver; a young man who was not yet three years old when Ken Griffey, Junior, made his Major League debut in April of 1989.  It was great to see Bailey, a player nearly my age, who probably grew up idolizing Junior just as I did, now sharing a clubhouse with the future Hall-of-Famer.

With the excitement surrounding this game, and watching the outcome with the players rallying around the youngest guy in the dugout, I realized that this is what baseball is all about.

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3 Responses to “This Is What Baseball Is All About”

  1. red said

    Bailey is definitely a talented pitcher, he’s got bright things in store for him. Hopefully we’ll see more of him for years to come!

  2. Doc Hancock said

    There is no question that Bailey’s performance energized the Reds and possibly could elevate them up in the standings in a very crappy NL Central.I watched the game on FSN Ohio and he lived up to the hype that was in both of the Cincinnati newspapers and various blogs.

    P.S. Do you know when Josh Hamilton is coming back up to Cincinnati?

  3. Matt said

    Josh Hamilton got back on June 5 in Saint Louis.

    -Matt

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