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.
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.