Fleeting is our love. When it falls, it falls hard, the weight of it insurmountable in our understanding. Then, in a moment it flies away, taken by the wind as if it weighed but a feather.
Taking recency bias to new heights is the new game in town, really the only game in town if we’re being honest. As I watched Nick Senzel lie motionless on the warning track on Tuesday evening, a ballpark sat disinterested, having already turned its lonely eyes to another suitor. TJ Friedl, anyone?
I could remind you that Senzel hit the baseball very well everywhere on his way to the Ballpark Down By the River. I could remind you that it took Dansby Swanson more than a couple of thousand trips to home plate to remind everyone why he was drafted so high. I could remind you that you just don’t turn your back on a very athletic player who was drafted No. 2 overall just because he has so far had all the durability of a chandelier. I’ll just note that once we were in love with the promise of Nick Senzel. Then we gave up on him, only to see him begin to hit a little bit late in the summer, rekindling our desire to see him in some future lineup. Now, we’ve walked away once more, heading for a late night Chalupa Supreme, if those Taco Bell commercials are an accurate depiction of young romantic life today.
We’ve moved on to more shiny objects of our desire. That could be Friedl. Or it could be Jose Barrero.
Remember our infatuation with Jose? Remember the cries to hang David Bell by his ankles for showing too much clubhouse bonhomie to Kyle Farmer. “Let the kids play,” we demanded. Now? Uh, not so much. Barrero hasn’t figured out major league pitching yet, like the many before him who have gone on to productive big league careers. You see, the thing is, while Jose was landing like a thud offensively, the Reds were trading for bushel and a peck-full of shortstop prospects—and some of them are hammering the baseball like Barrero and [whispers] Senzel once did between bus rides to the next minor league stop.
Hunter Greene has largely avoided our wrath. Although, if we’re being honest, we’ve come close to giving him the heave-ho, too. From the moment he pulled on the red wishbone C hat at the 2017 MLB draft, we’ve been reminded of the risk of drafting pitchers at the top of the draft. Then came the Tommy John Flu, followed by a chorus of “I told you so’s.” A new elbow and a container ship full of 100 mph fastballs later, and we were back on board. Well, we were, before that evening in Bernie Brewerland, when the evil opposition began launching pitch-after-pitch from Hunter into the stands. By the time Sam LeCure came on the air to deliver the epitaph, we wanted him sent back down from whence he came to learn how to pitch. Funny thing about 100mph fastballs, though. We love them so much. Greene is back from a shoulder strain and looking dominant again.
Then there’s—wait for it—The Punisher. Hoo boy. I need to ask my Twitter friend, Cam Miller, Reds filmmaker and historian extraordinaire, if there’s ever been a case of unrequited love quite like Aristides Aquino. Maybe “unrequited” isn’t the right word exactly, but it does feel as if he’s giving us the cold shoulder each time he trudges back to the dugout after going after a ball in the dirt. Oh, sure, he’ll tease us with the occasional laser throw from the warning track that nails the runner at third. But, really, if he loved us back the way we loved him during that series against Chicago three years ago—that whole glorious month really, when he fired the guns of August like few before him have—he’d return our affection by crushing the ball again on the regular. Still, I can’t quit you, Punisher. And I’m sure you, gentle reader, cannot either.
BTW, are we still in love with Spencer Steer? Has Buck Farmer and that other Farmer grown in our esteem? Or are we too busy swooning over Elly De La Cruz to notice what’s happening at GABP in September?
All I know is that this is the fashion of the day, this recency bias. It bends us to its will like a palm tree in a hurricane, an arch of the eye from Sterling Archer, or a wink from Jessica Rabbit.
Tonight it’s Hunter Greene. We love you, Hunter. We love you not. He pitches again against the Brew Crew.
Bring your daisies.