Now that the Rally Reds have decided that life is more exciting as the Build a Seemingly Insurmountable Lead and Then Like a True Group of Sporting Chaps Try to Blow It*, we must concentrate on more encouraging sources of excitement.

This still arrives in the form of Elly De La Cruz. While he’s settled down from the almost terrifyingly exceptional entrance into the bigs, we still face down a daily mystery in whether or not he’s slumping or streaking. In those days it wasn’t a matter of when he’d do something staggering, just how. For even in his silence at the plate, he provides a good show.

Opposing fans have yet to figure this out. If De La Cruz has gone 0-for-two-series, perhaps he has fizzled out. Perhaps this is really who the 2023 Reds were all along.

Maybe he flies out or goes down swinging, sure. Or maybe he doesn’t and your fans have to leave the stadium to grab what’s left of the baseball he has just destroyed.

Much Discussion

What’s worse, those considering toying with De La Cruz seem unable to learn from some from what seemed particularly emphatic examples. Milwaukee, for instance, boasts the snarkiest scoreboard crew in all of baseball, which is good fun for Brewers fans and annoying for absolutely everyone else. They snarked around and found out regarding De La Cruz; after he was robbed of a home run by some fine leaping from Joey Weimer, he stood up to bat a second time and was greeted by a giant electronic taunt in the sky: “Almost hit a home run in the first inning… but didn’t.”

It became a matter of Much Discussion for the gentlemen in the Bally Sports polos. “You can’t miss it,” Jim Day said in hushed tones when the broadcast team asked whether or not De La Cruz noticed the good tidings.

De La Cruz then proceeded to hit the next pitch somewhere in the vicinity of upper Canada. And, when Day asked him about the event after the game, De La Cruz had something astonishing to say about yet another one of his astonishing deeds: He didn’t see the message. He didn’t even notice. He learned about it standing there right next to Jim Day after it was all over.

A Normal Level of Power

Do you see the import of this? Do you understand that what happened here wasn’t that De La Cruz was such a focused and efficient athlete that he was able to channel an extra boost of “I’ll show you” adrenaline into knocking the ball into an entirely separate dimension?

It means that this is normally how he conducts himself. He wasn’t punishing the enemy at all. He barely recognized the enemy as existing. He was just using a normal level of power to push the ball into an utterly abnormal space at an utterly abnormal speed.

We don’t know if he also missed the “Overrated” chants from Dodgers fans in LA. We do know that he proceeded to hit out another one. At this point I’m apt to think that De La Cruz would be surprised to learn that there were even other people inside the stadium.

Show, Don’t Tell

We writers like to stress the importance of “show, don’t tell,” which is how I set out to frame this column. But we’re dealing with an entirely new form of communication here with Elly De La Cruz. He’s not showing, exactly—but neither is he telling. He is simply being, and the only question is how he will express himself today: Cycle? New off-the-bat speed record? Most stolen bases today until he breaks his own record again tomorrow? No one knows.

We do know that he doesn’t care what your clever scoreboard says, in any possible meaning of the phrase.

*LATE NIGHT WTF YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME FFS REDS UPDATE: I would like all of you to report in on when– not if, we know it’s not if– you Cleted out of this particular horror.

27 Responses

  1. Mark Moore

    I’m on the side that says he’s still something rare and special. We’re seeing him press and grow. So I remind myself that we’re not even supposed to be here at this point.

    I did a Clete somewhere around the 3rd inning, if memory serves. I think I checked the score once after that and the did check the final to see who produced the runs I had missed. Definitely not even tempted to watch the highlights. I prefer to “wipe this one off the books” and proceed with tonight’s game.

    Great work, MBE. It’s a reminder that we’re all in this together.

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      And I forgive this Clete, as it is expected at this point. Of course, they managed to do it again the next night…

  2. jmb

    That line the Milwaukee scoreboard crew put up is something someone might say, but not something that should ever appear on a scoreboard. Completely unprofessional. Snarky is not the word for it–it’s taunting, intimidating, bullying. Another example of how what used to be thought unacceptable, immature, or in bad taste in our society now is seen as acceptable. Another notch down on the ladder of civilization, and, for American sports, another notch closer to the viciousness of the Roman arena.

  3. mlieb13

    Cleted out at 13-2, surprised that Reds scored 9. 1 of 162, sometimes it is better to lose by more than a touchdown and save the bullpen

  4. Rednat

    the summation of the 21st century reds.

    The league “figures out” our most athletic players and they are rendered fairly subpar players. Drew Stubbs, Billy Hamilton, Aquino…

    EDLC worries me big time because of this history but I hope he puts up Rickey Henderson type numbers when it is all said and done

    • Will the Red

      Well, the lucky part for us is that Elly’s history and the amount of time he takes to work it out have one thing in common – they’ve both been short!

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      I was thinking about that. But the thing is, we know he can run and seems to have good baseball IQ. It’s tough to figure him out when he’s hanging out on base making everybody nervous.

  5. Redsman

    MBE, this is your best article yet! Dare I say… Outstanding! That EDLC is, indeed a unicorn, seems a far gone conclusion.. This Loooong time Baseball first, Reds fan next, says it is hard to imagine someone eclipsing Ohtani’s impact on baseball…but Elly may do so! I have never witnessed a more polished, poised, or skilled young man playing this game of Beisbol!!!

    I am on my way soon to see the wunderkind in person. Can hardly stand the
    wait! Thank you again for this wonderful piece of writing!!!

  6. greenmtred

    Had supper at my daughter’s. No tv. Got home and turned ours on. Saw the score before clicking for the broadcast. Turned it off. A Clete? I don’t know the permutations, but would guess that it is at least a symbolic Clete.

  7. Daytonnati

    Didn’t get home last night until the the 7th inning, so missed most of the horror. I hung around to see Luke Maile pitch. I actually thought Bell was going to have to come get him 🙂 Who was next???

  8. Melvin

    I thought the scoreboard thing with De La Cruz was really cool. He’s already done and continues to do some amazing things after only being in the majors a short time. It’s becoming more and more evident to people all over baseball. By the way I was crazy enough to stay up for the whole game last night. 🙂

    • Will the Red

      Loved the article, Mary Beth. Let’s all be goldfish about this one, yes? Baseball is life!

  9. PatTheBat

    Grateful that my son’s Dad’s Day gift was tickets to Monday’s nailbiter. HS friend of
    mine not so lucky. His son hosted him at Wrigley last night. He said they left after 6 innings. He went to IU and he said it was like going to an Indiana football game … well, one in a lean year for sure.
    Cleted last night in the 3rd to go mow lawn. Checked back a couple times later out of morbid curiosity. I did catch the 9th inning rally which was like how they were smacking the ball around early in Monday’s game. Hoping for a big bounce back winner tonight. They/we need it!

  10. Andrew Brewer

    De La Cruz is not a lead off hitter, whose job it is to get on base.

    De La Cruz strikes out too much because he gets behind 0-2 in the count. He takes the first pitch strike and then swings at the next one out of the zone. He then tries to hit anything close… and thus strikes out too often.

    Keep him in the game at third or short. Put him in any place but lead off.

    • Elly De la Cruise

      He needs all the at-bats he can get…leading off is a good place for that.