Cody Reed was sent down. You are, I’m sure, aware. People have been griping about his performance since he came up, and it’s easy to understand why. He hasn’t been good. But there’s also been a lot of psychoanalyzing of Reed as there often is of many players in many different fanbases. And it drives me nuts.
There is an assumption on the part of many that all baseball players are the same. “I’ve seen this before. X just needs to do what Y did.”
Anybody out there a parent? Remember when your kids were little and people came out of the woodwork with parenting advice and you tried it and found it didn’t work at all? Yeah, that’s because your kid was different from their kid. Ballplayers, like children, are human and thus unique individuals.
No doubt they all have drive. But that’s not everything. Some ballplayers are stubborn and some are easy to coach. Some are introverted and some are extroverted. Some can’t get better until they fail and some need to be totally ready before they’re promoted.
And very few – if there is anyone at all – know what is the magical combination for an individual player. we can look at the tools a player has: a 96 mph fastball, great power, blazing speed, a great eye at the plate, and on and on, and we can tell ourselves we know what he is capable of.
But we do not. A friend said to me recently that a lot of pitchers are like wild horses. And it’s true. You never know what they’re going to do. If they’ll tame themselves or run away or run off a cliff.
I am a big fan of the statement, “I don’t know.” And I wish people would use it more often because none of us know for sure what a player is capable of. All of us are limited to some extent by what’s in our heads and even we may not fully understand how.
Maybe Cody Reed can be a great pitcher. Maybe he can’t. Maybe he needs to fail at the MLB level and maybe he doesn’t. I have opinions about it, but I don’t know. Sure, I can think of pitchers like him. Some that have become great and some that haven’t. But they weren’t him. They were all someone else.
Jason has been a fan of the Reds since he was born. He really had no choice in the matter. He has been writing at Redleg Nation for a few years, and also writes and edits at The Hardball Times. His debut novel, When the Sparrow Sings, is available now and concerns baseball, among other things. You can find more information at jasonlinden.com.