John Fay in today’s Enquirer, on the future of the Reds franchise:
Homer Bailey’s spring training roommate, John Purdom, showed up the other day.
Purdom lives in Cincinnati.
“He told me you wouldn’t believe how often I have to look at your ugly face in the Cincinnati newspapers,” Bailey said.
Heh. Is he worth the hype? I can’t wait to see. The question really is whether Bailey will wilt under such pressure:
There is no player in camp who is getting more attention than Bailey. There is no player who carries higher expectations. And there is no player more important to the future of the franchise.
Bailey, who doesn’t turn 21 until May 3, shrugs off all of it.
“I don’t feel any pressure,” he said. “I really don’t pay attention to it.”
But people like Purdom, a minor-league catcher who attended Sycamore High, reminds Bailey of it from time to time.
The 6-feet-4, 205-pound Bailey has gotten unprecedented attention in Cincinnati because of his promise as a player. He’s well known in baseball circles. Depending on who is doing the list, he’s ranked as the No. 1 or 2 pitching prospect in all of baseball. There’s debate whether he or Phillip Hughes, a New York Yankee prospect, is No. 1. But virtually no one has Bailey any worse than second.
Reds radio play-by-play man Marty Brennaman calls Bailey the best pitching prospect he’s seen in his 33 years with the club.
High praise, indeed…and expectations that are through the roof. The rest of the article is a pretty good examination of Bailey’s status vis-a-vis the big league club, and whether the Reds can actually keep him in AAA for very long. If at all.
With the serious pitching problems this team has had … forever … I constantly dream about a healthy and matured Bailey in a couple of years, joining Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo in a very solid Reds rotation.
UPDATE: The Enquirer also has some video of a conversation with Bailey. He needs a haircut.
Blame Chad for creating this mess.
Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, “The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds” is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad’s musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine.
You can email Chad at email@example.com.