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OnBaseMachine
08-15-2008, 07:52 PM
'Goon Squad' invades Great American
Friday, August 15, 2008, 07:20 PM EST

Adam Rosales looked down into the envelope and his eyes got big.

He exhaled and looked again.

It was his first big league paycheck.

And even if it was for less than a week's work, "It's unbelievable," Rosales said before Friday's game. "It's the most I've ever gotten at once."

There's been plenty of wide-eye moments this week for Rosales and the rest of young Reds.

Thursday night Rosales kept telling Chris Dickerson that the team's new outfielder hadn't seen the best part of the majors yet -- despite playing in a beautiful stadium, having his own room, dressing in a big league clubhouse and leading his team to victory Wednesday night. Dickerson was called up on Tuesday and met the team in Pittsburgh. He hadn't traveled with the team.

As the team bus left PNC Park in Pittsburgh after taking two of three from the Pirates, Rosales leaned over in the bus and said to Dickerson, "Dude, wait until the plane ride."

"What about it?" Dickerson asked.

"You'll see," said Rosales, who had all of two days experience over Dickerson in the big leagues.

"When I saw it, it was like wow. I've finally arrived, this is it," Dickerson said. "The first plane ride. A charter plane. It's different. A private airport, getting on the tarmac. (In the minors) we're flying at six in the morning, with regular people, stuck in the middle seat with a crying baby next to you and some lady talking your ear off the entire flight and then having to take a three-hour bus ride. It was pretty exciting; it was pretty different last night."

In the Reds' clubhouse that no longer has the large presence of either Ken Griffey Jr. or Adam Dunn, there's a much younger feel, especially in a row of lockers that starts by Griffey's two empty lockers and is followed by the new homes of Dickerson, catcher Ryan Hanigan, Rosales and then the relative veteran, 21-year old Jay Bruce.

"We've been laughing, it's fun being with Rosie, we’ve been laughing and giggling at just being in the locker room, the field and the treatment," Dickerson said over the music playing over the sound system, a new addition since Griffey left.

Bruce, younger by several years than any of the other three, joked, "rookies, man."

Dickerson calls the group "The Goonies." The name is short for "The Goon Squad," and not a reference to the movie that came out before Bruce was born. In the spring of 2006, Dickerson and Rosales were among the first group of the Goonies, along with Norris Hopper, Chris Denorfia and Jeff Bannon.

"We were the guys who went on the trip just to fill a spot, but it seemed like every time we came in, we'd be down two runs and we'd put up five runs," Dickerson said. "We came up with the name, 'The Goon Squad.' Anyone who came in after the sixth inning was a part of the Goon Squad, and this is pretty much the Goonies. It's the guys in the far end of the lockerroom -- well, except for super-rookie Bruce -- but me, Hanigan and the guys."

Now the Goonies have infiltrated Great American Ball Park from Class AAA Louisville.

"The Cincinnati Bats," Rosales said.

"We're the Cincinnati Reds," Bruce chimed in. "We're formally the Louisville Bats. The artists formerly known as the Louisville Bats."

Now if they can just play the same hits as the Bats. The Reds’ top farm team entered Friday night's game 28 games over .500 and several of the current Reds were a big part of that.

"That team is so positive, has such a great energy, we'd win two or three games in a row and if we lost, we'd just shake it off like it was no big deal and we'd go back out and win the next three," Dickerson said. "It's one of those things, that when you get a taste of winning, it's contagious. That team went out there and worked so hard every day, refused to give in and battle every day. It's an outstanding atmosphere to be around that team and that type of chemistry."

There's obviously a big jump in the competition, but Dickerson thinks some of that could possibly be carried over to the big league club.

"That's yet to be seen. We're rookies, we're not going to have too much of an effect as far as the clubhouse goes, but we can display that energy on the field and hopefully that energy will be the spark the team needs," said Dickerson, who sparked the Reds with two doubles and a triple in Thursday night’s 3-1 victory in Pittsburgh. "Maybe not in the clubhouse, but I think we can be that spark the team needs on the field. We'll see how that turns out."

Reds manager Dusty Baker said he thinks some of it can carry over.

"Winning's not the most important thing in the minor leagues, development is, but winning's important too -- you want them to feel poorly about losing and wanting to win," Baker said. "Once you start to win, you expect to win."

To Hanigan, it's simple. It's an approach he and his fellow Goonies bring to the game: "Hopefully we'll get some energy, play hard, play loose and (f'n') get after it," Hanigan said.

Hanigan homered in his first game as a Red last Sunday in his first big league game. Rosales and Dickerson had their first big league hits in the same game, Tuesday’s win at Pittsburgh (Dickerson got the original lineup card, Rosales a copy) and Bruce, well, you know Bruce, one of the best young players in the game.

"My first at-bat, I wasn't as nervous as I thought as I'd be," said Bruce, who went 3-for-3 in his debut in May.

Dickerson said he was lucky to get a walk in his first at-bat, to get some of the jitters out of the way. He also had a stolen base and a run in that first game and now it feels just right.

"Last night I just felt awesome, I couldn't believe how calm I was. I just felt like another night, finally," Dickerson said. "That's how you’ve got to go out there. It's the same game, just bigger stadiums."

And paychecks.

http://www.thelotd.com/ctrent/blog

Tommyjohn25
08-15-2008, 07:54 PM
I just read this on the sundeck. Very cool article! :thumbup:

_Sir_Charles_
08-15-2008, 08:11 PM
The Good Squad...I (f'n) love it! :O)

Mario-Rijo
08-15-2008, 11:36 PM
I certainly like the feel i'm getting from the youth movement they just wanna win and have fun doing it, but the winning philosophy seems to come 1st. They seem fairly confident for rookies we will see if it lasts.

corkedbat
08-16-2008, 12:05 AM
Went to the game tonight. Dickerson's a good looking kid and hit a couple of rockets.

Bruce definitely has the higher ceiling. but certainly has a lot to learn too. Looking totally over-matched on horrible strikeouts and an OBP under .300 now is not good.

I'm not saying he's a bust or he needs to be sent down at all. I'm more concerned that this franchise seems to be making him a centerpiece for this new direction before he's ready. This team needs to go out and find a solid top of the order hitter (Hudson would be my choice with BP to SS) and a 100-RBI bat for the middle of the lineup to take some of the pressure off JB.