Baseball players have never quite had the reputation of Ã¢â‚¬Å“athletes.Ã¢â‚¬Â Sure, everyone knows baseball is a sport and superhumans like Bo Jackson and Mike Trout play it, but when Bartolo Colon can jack a dinger at 42 years of age, the overall degree of difficulty just doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t seem that high.
Instead, baseball is the thinking manÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s game. While it canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t stack up in sheer levels of testosterone to football or basketball or hockey or soccerÃ¢â‚¬â€okay, maybe not soccerÃ¢â‚¬â€its players can still outthink everyone else. The gladiatorial violence weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve come to expect from other sports only manifests against unsuspecting water coolers in this one. Well, until this past Sunday.
YouÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve probably seen it already, but let me put it in words: It was the punch that hit harder than any concoctionÃ‚Â at a SEC frat party. It was a right hook that couldÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve stripped the tattoo from Mike TysonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s eye. It was Canada losing the shred of dignity it gained from Drake becoming the best rapper alive.
When Rougned Odor rocked Jose BautistaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s cranium with a devastating right hook, he dropped the lights on the faÃƒÂ§ade of the thinking manÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s game.
Odor's suspension will be worth it for this punch. https://t.co/8Zqkf1jUfI
— Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith) May 15, 2016
So what does any of this have to do with the Reds? Absolutely nothing! ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the beauty of it. We Reds fans can watch Jose Bautista hit the deck again and again and again and again and again and again and momentarily feel for him but really just experience the most natural joy a person can feel by watching it again.
It does beg the question: Who is the Reds version of Rougned Odor?
Understand theÃ‚Â question isn’tÃ‚Â asking who is the best fighter on the Reds because that is clearly Homer Bailey (The man killed a lion! With a crossbow!). Rather, the questions asks whoÃ¢â‚¬â€when his teammates need him the mostÃ¢â‚¬â€would step up to the plate and slug a man.
This kind of reckless disregard for oneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s own health, safety, job security, dignity requires a special kind of person. A person with a different make-up than the rest of us. A person with:
- VolatilityÃ¢â‚¬â€No one is starting a fight without some sort of spark plug in them.
- MenaceÃ¢â‚¬â€You have toÃ‚Â be imposing to be willing to start a melee.Ã‚Â WhoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s more likely to drop someone coldÃ¢â‚¬â€Matt Holliday or Zack Cozart?
- GritÃ¢â‚¬â€The drive to never give up even with no odds of winning. Good oleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ Skip Schumaker would be proud. WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re getting scrappy up in here.
From these attributes, you find some obvious categories of players. Not everyone is built to live in a world of violence. To use the Matt Holliday example again, that man would do anything and get away with itÃ¢â‚¬â€he’s in category four. Zack Cozart? Less of a threat, but he’s got some serious grit so let’s say category three.
But for any of this to even happen, there needs to be a believable situation. The Reds donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have the luxury that the Rangers and Blue Jays doÃ¢â‚¬â€having competed in the playoffsÃ¢â‚¬â€so what reason is there for them to becomeÃ‚Â enraged? Playing the Pirates is the obvious answer but the obvious answer is boring.
What if, instead of traditional baseball beef, this one arises from the hapless Reds bullpen facing the hapless Braves lineup for 5+ inningsÃ¢â‚¬â€a.k.a. the Doomsday Scenario.
Philosophical question: Reds pitching vs Braves hitting. Would there be a home run or not?
— Joel Luckhaupt (@jluckhaupt) April 26, 2016
WHICH RED WOULD SAVE US ALL FROM 5 INNINGS OF THE ABSOLUTE WORST PROFESSIONAL BASEBALL YOU COULD EVER IMAGINE*?
*The Braves, much like in real life, are ineffective pawns in this imaginary scenario.
I. All Bark no Bite
High Volatility, Low Menace, Low Grit
Billy Hamilton Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Look, I love Billy Hamilton, but doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t he kind of remind you of that annoying lap dog your Aunt Phyllis keeps in her purse? HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll spout off every once in a while, run around like crazy, generally be a whirling dervish, but nothing ever comes of it. Billy a hundred percent would get in Jose BautistaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s face, and then hightail it to centerfield because ainÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t no way heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s landing the first punch.
Brandon Phillips Ã¢â‚¬â€œ We already know how this one turns out. DatDude can talk a big game, tap some shin guards, mouth off a bit, but when the fight breaks out, Scott Rolen is the one going full berserk. Every team needs a fuse, and Brandon does that wellÃ¢â‚¬â€heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s just not the dynamite at the other end.
John Lamb Ã¢â‚¬â€œ To be honest, John Lamb has not spent enough time with the Reds for me to have an accurate gauge of his personality. But his team picture makes him look a bit like Shaggy and Shaggy is notorious for being super laid-back and running from every fight heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s even thought about, so John Lamb for sure is just here to make sarcastic remarks, eat a ton, and run to the hills.
II. All Buff noÃ‚Â Brass
Low Volatility, High Menace, Low Grit
Jay Bruce Ã¢â‚¬â€œ If you met Jay Bruce at say a holiday party, you would be terrified. HereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s this big Texan with forearms the size of a two-year old and hereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s youÃ¢â‚¬â€scrawny in a pudgy sort of wayÃ¢â‚¬â€so youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re going to be a bit scared for your life. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a little thing I like to call the Matt Holliday Effect. That said, unlike Matt Holliday, Jay is a goofball and a teddy bear so no way is he picking a fight to get his team out of the Doomsday Scenario.
Eugenio Suarez Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Whenever I think of Eugenio Suarez trying to start a fight, I think of Jim CarreyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Ace Ventura character pronouncing SuarezÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s name in that super annoying, over-the-top way. AY-you-hen-EE-oo. ThereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s no way everyone in the immediate vicinity does not devolve into hysterics after that bit. How can you fight if youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re laughing so hard you canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t feel the tears running down your face?
Tucker Barnhart Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Tucker is a bit like Chipper Jones. For one, heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s named Tucker, which is probably the most Southern thing I can think of outside of the name Chipper. And two, you know he can probably gut you like six different ways all before heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s had his breakfast of ten sausage links and a dozen eggs. But then you look at him and his sparkling blue eyes and all you want to do is pinch his cheeks and rub his tummy. Tucker might finish the fight, but he wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t start it.
III. I WouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t Put It Past Him
Someone who wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t surprise you but isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t your first guess. An even balance of all three characteristics.
Joey Votto Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Joey Votto is liable to do absolutely anything at any moment. This I know for a fact. Joey is the type of guy who seems really mad one minute and then starts laughing and acting like itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s all a joke the next, but you canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t really tell if heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s still mad or if it actually is all a joke, so you just kind of half smile and back away slowly. Joey would totally start a fight, but I have no idea why he would do it.
Homer Bailey Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Homer is clearly the most capable fighter on the Reds (again: he killed a lion), hence why he moonlights as Batman.
— MLB GIFS (@MLBGIFs) April 20, 2016
Homer, true to his bat nature, also never shows any emotion and emotion is a key component of the impromptu KOÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ing of a man. Homer is the hero we deserve, but not the one we need.
Brandon Finnegan Ã¢â‚¬â€œ My sister is going to TCU next year, otherwise known as Brandon FinneganÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s alma mater. My sister is also the only person IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve ever known to beat someone twice her size (one of my friends) into submission with the zipper of a hoodie. So by the transitive property, Brandon Finnegan would absolutely pick a fight with someone using whatever was at his disposal.
Adam Duvall Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Okay, so this one is a bit of a cop-out, becauseÃ‚Â when writing this, I stared at a picture of Adam Duvall for approximately 15 consecutive minutes. Around minute 7, I thought, Ã¢â‚¬Å“He looks like someone.Ã¢â‚¬Â At minute 12, I realized, Ã¢â‚¬Å“He looks like Mac from Always Sunny!Ã¢â‚¬Â I rationalized if there was ever a human personification of the phrase Ã¢â‚¬Å“I wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t put it past him,Ã¢â‚¬Â it would be Mac from Always Sunny. That dudeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s nuts. It took me until minute 14 for me to realize they look nothing alike. At minute 15, I wrote this blurb anyway.
IV. Yeah, He Would Do That
High everything; donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t mess with these guysÃ‚Â
Dan Straily Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Reasons why Dan Straily would off-the-cuff punch someone: his beard, heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a 24th round draft pick, his beard, he once told a doctor he wanted to throw 94 mph again and then it happened, and his beard. Reasons why he wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t: he wants to keep his job. Reasons why that doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t matter: the Reds donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have anyone to replace him. Punch away Dan Straily, punch away.
Devin Mesoraco Ã¢â‚¬â€œ You may be thinking: But Devin has a bad hip and now a bad shoulder, why on earth would he risk another injury in a brawl? While your thinking is entirely valid, Devin Mesoraco also has nothing to lose. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s out for six months anyway, why shouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t he cold cockÃ‚Â someone for the entertainment value? Also, not to be mean, but Devin sort of, kind of looks like a guy who would play a serial killer on Criminal Minds. I think itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the strong brow. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s intimidating.
Tony Cingrani Ã¢â‚¬â€œ 1) His nickname is Kingpin. 2) This gif:
Yeah, Tony Cingrani would do that.