We listen to Thom and The Creeper. We take our cues from Marty and pick up pitching insights from The Cowboy. We experience the sublime Grande-ness of George. I thought it would be interesting to hear what the Reds Buzz sounds like from the perspective of the New York baseball media. Gary Cohen and Ron Darling–the former Mets hurler–do the television side of things for the Metropolitans. Here are some excerpts from last night’s telecast. They cover everything from the wizardry of Dat Dude to the Mesoraco/Hanigan debate to Twitter.
DARLING: [Shot of Choo]. And there’s the best leadoff hitter in baseball right now in the majors.
COHEN: You know, Choo was never a leadoff hitter until last season. He lead off 98 games for the Indians. He’d always been the No. 3 hitter for Cleveland. But he has really taken to the leadoff spot.
COHEN: Here’s Cesar Izturis, filling in for Zack Cozart, the young SS the Reds decided to keep instead of Gregorius. I wonder if they’re regretting that now.
In yesterday’s Series Preview, I mentioned that Ike Davis has taken some of his woes at the plate into the field with him. We saw another example of that last night. And of course, Votto, always thinking, took advantage of it:
DARLING: I’ll tell you, Gary, the play by Ike is irritating me more and more as I continue to watch this inning. The casualness of just standing on the bag. The only reason Votto went to second is because he KNEW it was going to be obstruction. He would have been on first. Runner on third. Maybe they pitch Phillips differently. Maybe you get a ground ball. That’s a lot of IFs. But, I still don’t like the casualness of the play.
On Johnny C
DARLING: [After Cueto Ks Wright]. Love that sequence of pitches. Fastball in, at the feet of David, he had to dance around it—and then slider away. They’ve been doing it for a hundred years. You know why? Because it works.
COHEN: [Bases loaded in the bottom of the first]. A lot of high fastballs from Cueto in this inning.
DARLING: His mechanics in the stretch are not the same as from the windup. Therefore, if you’re not getting your arm in front, and he doesn’t have that delay in his motion, the ball’s gonna be up in the strike zone. If I were out there, I’d tell him to pitch from the windup.
COHEN: Hanigan has been getting the bulk of the playing time both last year and this—when he’s been healthy. And young Devin Mesoraco, who they have projected to be their No. 1 catcher, but it hasn’t worked out that way. They love, the pitchers love throwing to Hanigan.
DARLING: You know who Mesoraco reminds a little bit of Gary? Chris Iannetta, You know, came up with much aplomb, you know, was going to be the next offensive catcher. And I think the defensive skills are a little behind.
On Brandon Phillips (before “the catch”)
COHEN: Okay. We have to get into a discussion about this. Brandon Phillips has won 3 Gold Gloves.
COHEN: He did not win a Gold Glove last year. Now, we were just in Chicago. Darwin Barney won the Gold Glove. How—now the coaches and managers vote on the Gold Glove—how can you watch Darwin Barney—he’s a nice player—and watch Brandon Phillips –and give the Gold Glove to Darwin Barney?
DARLING: Well, you know what it is? It got so much play that Darwin Barney had that errorless streak—
COHEN: 141 games—
DARLING: And that’s a great number. But, he is not in the class of Brandon Phillips. And I know there’s going to be people who are not crazy about that. Brandon Phillips is the best second baseman in the game. By far. For a lot of different reasons. One, he has more range than anyone. He’s got one of the best arms you’ll ever see. And turns the double play. When you have a defensive player that not only—he’s almost an offensive defensive player. He’s so good.
COHEN: Saves runs. And that’s not to knock Darwin Barney. He’s a nice player. But no one in Baseball is in the league of Brandon Phillips.
DARLING: He’s just a special defensive player. That’s the difference.
COHEN: He’s the closest thing to Robbie Alomar in his prime playing today.
COHEN: [Baker visits Cueto in the bottom of the 3rd after walking Duda]. So, what do you think this conversation will include.
DARLING: Well, knowing Dusty, he’s the type of personality that’s not gonna yell at anybody. He’s gonna try to do it in a way that’s gonna be a little humorous, but at the same time patient and also 100% pro player, behind the player.
On BP (after “the catch”)
COHEN: [Phillips over the head catch in the 5th]. Phillips with an amazing Catch! That’s not a Gold Glover? Unbelievable.
DARLING: No one makes this play. The ability to go that far out into the outfield, keep your wits about you, make sure your head’s not bobbing up and down, and just find the right place to run to. He never looked for that baseball until he ran to the spot where he thought it was gonna drop in at.
COHEN: I don’ t know how you can possibly catch that ball without ever looking back.
DARLING: I don’t know if anyone I’ve ever seen play can make this play.
DARLING: I might have underrated him. I would have said the over/under for a three game series is five great Brandon Phillips plays. He’s got 2 already.
On the Reds Professionalism:
DARLING: [After Bruce HR in the 6th]. I’ve noticed the bench of the Reds. I don’t know if you noticed it or not. There’s not a lot of laughter or fooling around in there. There’s some seriousness in there. Businesslike.
Social Media [Bottom of the 6th after Ondrusek K’s the struggling Ike Davis]
DARLING: The social media stuff can be a lot of fun, I’m sure for a lot of these young guys, but it can be viciously cruel. We saw that happen to Josh Tolle. He started his Twitter account and had to close it down.
COHEN: Twitter is just the latest incarnation, but as a major league baseball player or any kind of public figure in New York, the best strategy has always been, for anybody, is to ignore the noise. And whether that means radio, TV, the newspapers, Twitter, whatever it might be, whether they are praising you or whether they are criticizing you, the best way to do your job in this town is to ignore it all.
DARLING: You have to because even the praise works against you. Because you can start to believe it. And that’s bad.
COHEN: Well, here’s the thing. As a player, if you want to Tweet to build your brand, that’s great. But you don’t have to read what comes back.
DARLING: Well, listen to me, you’ve got to have a brand first. And how you get a brand is you’re really good for four or five years. You know, there’s no brand after a year.
[On the decision to leave righty LaTroy Hawkins in to pitch to Bruce and the availability of lefty Scott Rice, who pitched two innings the day before]
COHEN: I was talking about Rice’s usage with Terry Collins who said: In this series, with Bruce and Votto—you don’t really use lefties because it doesn’t matter. They hit just as well against lefties as they do against righties.
DARLING: I agree with Terry with Joey Votto. I do not agree with Jay Bruce. We’ve seen in the past what Tim Byrdak has been able to do against Jay Bruce.
COHEN: Although Bruce has had his moment against Byrdak as well.
DARLING: Huge moment.
[Bruce hitting .309 this year against lefties.]