This Is The One You Keep

 

In a Forgotten Season, This Game Will Live On

This is the one you keep. As the season stretches on and the losses mount, this is the one you remember and hold close. Maybe you fold it up and put it away in that special place you reserve for such things because, after all, this is what makes Baseball special. 162 potential gifts waiting to be unwrapped.

This was the one that felt like that twenty dollar bill you discover in the pocket of a familiar old pair of jeans you haven’t worn in such a long, long while. Last night was found money to be sure.

Can I get an “amen?”

This was a night surely destined to be remembered for other, more prosaic things; the latest bullpen meltdown; another collapse at the hands of the hated Cardinals, who always seem to be there, ready to pick up the loose change left behind in the big red sofa.

Hanging over all of it was the departure of Jay Bruce, whose popularity grew by the day as we watched him—always poised, always professional, always affable, Brucie With the Good Hair—being ripped away from the only professional family he had ever known, day-by-approaching trade deadline-day, hour-by-hour, minute-by-minute—the Roman couriers that are the baseball writers, dispatched—breathless and staggering—into the room one after another with yet another update: “Jay Bruce to the damn Dodgers. Jay Bruce to the damn Giants. Jay Bruce to the goddamn New York Mets.”

As the clock ran down on the non-waiver deadline, the baseball gods blew their own trade-winds across the tri-state, raining tears on Cincinnati as Bruce’s fate was being finalized with the Metropolitans of Queens, New York.

tradewinds

This was the game that was destined to be remembered for Joey Votto, his latest brush with a fan a metaphor for his ongoing relationship with the media—a media that doesn’t know what to do with a ballplayer who walks a different path, but knows that what they don’t understand, they don’t like so much.

This was the game that told us it’s going to be alright. We don’t know who the next Jay Bruce will be. Or the next Johnny Beisbol. All we know is that the proven are gone and the prospects are just that.  We think they will be guys with names like Winker and Stephenson. Or Peraza and Reed. Then some Schebler comes along and changes the channel on us.

This was the day that told us the trek will be arduous and uncertain. Jose Peraza was sent back to Louisville. Zack Cozart remains—for now—along with Brandon Phillips, the message clear: THE REBUILD WILL BE LONG. THERE IS NO IMMEDIATE HURRY. PATIENCE GRASSHOPPERS.

This was the game you remember for the storybook ending written by the kid with the funny name.  What are we to make of Scott Schebler? A forgettable piece thrown into the toy chest of player acquisitions as an afterthought by everyone except perhaps the person in the room on trade day who said, “Oh, and we’ll take that Schebler kid, too.”

Scott Schebler. He of the lousy April that doomed him to exile in Louisville. He who has spent the last three months scratching and clawing for one more chance.

Scott Schebler, bless his heart, gave Reds fans a moment of respite from the dull ache of a long, rebuilding season. He was the novocaine for our first night without Jay Allen Bruce.


Perfect. Keep until I delete.

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