As we made our way through 2015 and into the current season, many of us focused on turning the page from the successes of the past few years to what shape the new team will take. What will the pitching staff look like? What kind of returns can we get for stars as they approach free agency? And, most importantly, when will the next playoff window open?
Despite all this, one vitally important question has remained elusive and may yet be the key to all of the RedsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ future successes. That question is this:
Who will be the next Corky Miller?
He was a myth. A legend. He was John Wayne in Mutton Chops, crouching behind the plate like a brick wall, ready to sacrifice his body and yours for one more win, one more out, one more moment in the sun.
He was our loveable everyman, and now his time has passed.
Luckily, Mr. Miller is still with the Reds organization coaching theÃ‚Â Dayton Dragons, but who will fill the void left by his fiant footsteps and fantastic facial hair? Who will serve as the next loveable Ã¢â‚¬â€œ if not always statistically successful Ã¢â‚¬â€œ everyman?
Here are three options:
Zack Cozart is this decadeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Ryan Freel, except Cozart has a golden glove where Freel had the dirty shirt. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s shown flashes of both brilliance and ineptitude. He has the longstanding, Cincinnati pedigree of excellence at shortstop coupled with record-setting lows in offensive production.
you give up on him and then, from out of nowhere, he goes 3 for 4 with a homerun and two doubles. Then, just when you think heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s about to turn it around, he suffers a horrible injury and gets sidelined, leaving more questions than answers about who he is and what he could be.
Much like Freel, you get the impression that, had Cozart taken a few different turns early in his career, things might have been different. With a little luck, there could have been a string of good seasonsÃ‚Â culminating inÃ‚Â one, shining All-Star appearanceÃ‚Â and maybe even a top 15 MVP finish; the kind of season where people look back and think Ã¢â‚¬Å“Where did that come from?Ã¢â‚¬Â
Like a smaller, speedier version of Ken Caminiti, but without the steroids.
Alas, it hasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t worked out that way for Zack, and it looks like it probably wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t. But if he keeps playing hard, keeps his nose to the grindstone,Ã‚Â and maybe grows some massive sideburns for good measure, he could take over the Corky Miller mantle for the next generation.
For a few years at least.
Yorman Rodriguez seems like he’sÃ‚Â been around forever. For some reason, I feel like I’ve beenÃ‚Â reading stories about hisÃ‚Â time in the minors sinceÃ‚Â the Reds traded Frank Robinson to the Orioles in Ã¢â‚¬â„¢66 because he was a Ã¢â‚¬Å“youngÃ¢â‚¬Â 30. It seems like YormanÃ‚Â should be an elder statesman by now.
But, no, heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s only 23.
If he gets healthy, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m sure Yorman will make a perfectly capable bench outfielder with a few stints in the starting role over the next two yearsÃ‚Â as the Reds rebuild. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not what marks him as unique, though. The characteristic that defines Mr. Rodriguez is his name.
It just sounds right, like it’s maybe a Finnish translation of the word “everyman” they used in Olde English Lit.Ã‚Â The name lends itself to so many possibilities. Yorman is YOUR man for the present andÃ‚Â OUR man for the future.
With a name like this he could definitely be OUR man to fill the void left by Corky Miller. It’s a name the evokes confidence and maybe a bit of lighthearted arrogance to boot. This is probably why IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve even seen people online suggestingÃ‚Â he get involved in all sorts of extra-curricularÃ‚Â activities, from commercials to acting to even politics.Ã‚Â Can you imagine Yorman Rodriguez as a presidential candidate?Ã‚Â He’s got a higher OBP than any presidential candidate currently running. #Yorman2016
If thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not the kind of character we want in an everyman, I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know what is.
C Trent Rosencrans
I know. It sounds ridiculous. But stay with me on this one.
Sure, CTR is a journalist and not a player – IÃ‚Â know that a andÃ‚Â he isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t likely to make the transitionÃ‚Â anyÃ‚Â time soon. But stranger things have happened. Michael Jordan played a horrible second base for the White Sox a few decades ago, Tom SelleckÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s mustache took a few semi-serious, spring training swings for the Tigers as his Magnum P.I. days drew to a close, and you have to figure Bill Murray will show up in the outfield for the Indians or the Padres one of these days (because that’s what Bill Murray does). Non-players of all shapes and sizes have, at one point or another, stepped onto the field. Why not CTR?
HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s got the beard. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s got the name. WhoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s to say he wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t get his chance?
Be honest. All issues of journalistic integrity aside, wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t you smile to watch BP flip the ball CTR as he tagged second and threw on to Votto for the double play? And wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t it be awesome to see those two put their past differences aside and high-five each other in celebration of their collective success?
The answer to both those questions is Ã¢â‚¬Å“Yes.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Whoever steps up to fill the void of awesomeness left by Corky Miller, hereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s hoping the new Loveable Everyman lives up the standard set before him.
What about you? Who do you think will be the next Corky Miller?