Baseball trades aren’t like other trades. The “next day, next day, and the day after next day” nature of the season means that a player can wake up in one city well-ensconced with the team and go to bed in the opposite half of the country in a hotel with the division rival. We were all here for the Great 2018 Devin Mesoraco Free Pizza Hand-Off and the more recent, but vastly more violent, Yasiel Puig vs Every Single Member of the Whole Entire Pirates Organization Brawl of 2019, in which one side of the combatants had just been traded to Cleveland.

But must often, players come and go within expected windows and at a far more reasonable time of day. Eugenio Suarez departed town in this fashion, bound for the Mariners in the 2022 off-season.

A Center of Gravity

“This one hurts,” as the kids say, because Suarez established himself as a fan favorite by smiling a lot and also being pretty good at baseball. He was an established center of gravity for his fellow players, encouraging his Spanish-speaking teammates to become bilingual and assisting through the long and frustrating process.

The only difference in him now is that Suarez inhabits a clubhouse where it rains more. He’s still quite the solid member of the human race, and the word from Washington is that he’s worked his way into the hearts of Mariners fans as well.

Our Guy

Now back at Great American Ball Park for a Reds-Mariners series, the native Venezuelan held court for reporters, shoulder-length hair on full display. Fans passed around our two favorite extracts from the session: “It’s good to be home” and the fact that Suarez was eager to see his friend Joey Votto. He was still Our Guy!

I’m an old woman who’s always yelling at clouds and unnecessarily loud artificial ballpark cheering initiatives, but it was good to see the sound system put to work for Suarez and his brother former-Red teammate, the also-fondly remembered Luis Castillo. Bally Sports showed the tail end of a welcome home message for the both of them.

The Last White Claws of Sunmer

It was a pity that the game took place waaaaaaaay too soon after the final firecracker of Riverfest; thanks to that and the previous day’s disorienting drubbing at the hands of the Stupid Cubs, the crowd at the ballyard was thin.

Those who weren’t sleeping off the Last White Claws of Summer or remained undaunted by 15 runs in 42 at-bats from the Cubs were there to welcome them. Ten people were in the stands, and five of them awarded the homecomers with a standing ovation.

It wasn’t enough, but then, it rarely is when players become adopted sons. You almost hated to beat them (twice, in one case further refining the art of the walk-off) but then… the Stupid Cubs are lurking.

Yeah, the laundry comes and goes in baseball, but sometimes the man inside becomes part of the fabric of the team, and in this town, that means this town as well. Suarez was part of the story of this breakout team by providing a bright spot in some dark and lonely days.

Welcome Home

He wasn’t part of the comebacks or the swings from domination to disasterwagon, but he made the Reds who have stuck around better. Suarez suffered some of the worst lows in recent years along with the rest of us, but the consolation for those of us who miss him is that he’s experiencing a similar carnival ride by the sea.

It was good to have him home.

7 Responses

  1. LDS

    “I’m an old woman”? Seriously, MBE you’re probably young enough to be the daughter of most of your fans here. We ancients would trade years with you in a heartbeat.

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      Well– my nephew was reading off a list of upcoming concerts and I hadn’t heard of ANY of them except Alice Cooper and then he asked me who that was. So not feeling tremendously young today…

  2. Rednat

    good piece. I agree Suarez has been a major character in the tragedy that has been the 21st century reds. First the Griffey Jr injuries. Then the 2012 giants playoff meltdown. Then the Joey Votto injuries. Then the terrible Cueto deal. then covid ruins are 2020 bounce back season. then 100 losses in 2022.

    Suarez was bright spot and a fan favorite indeed. maybe things turn around for this franchise financially and we can resign him one day

  3. Mark Moore

    Hard for any team or fanbase to not like Geno. He’s just one of those great personalities that almost immediately finds a home wherever he lands. Here’s to a long and successful career to him!

    Great piece again, MBE. This is the kind of reminder we all need during this September stretch (and beyond).