Re: Your rooting interest
Thanks for the opportunity, Lonnie.
* whether your rooting interest in the Reds is at all related to the character, effort, and personalities of the individuals who make up the roster
I will be a Reds fan no matter what however, for me, character/effort/personalities will always play a part in my "rooting interest". When you root for a team you root for the organization (top to bottom) and if the FO were to start to not care at all about the character of the team, that would definitely have an affect on me. I am also a Falcons fan and I was very impressed by the way the organization handled the Vick scandal.
* whether, and why, your attraction to the team has fluctuated over the seasons
It was tough to root for this team in the dark years of the steroid era, especially as a NJ resident while the Yankees were collecting pennants on a yearly basis. However that has made their more recent success even sweeter.
* whether your affinity for the club declined or picked up (if either) after Griffey and Dunn were traded
No. But I do believe that these were cases of addition by subtraction for multiple reasons.
* whether you believe that Jocketty’s penchant for bringing in players with evident character/leadership assets—Rolen, Cabrera, Ludwick, perhaps Gomes—has played a substantial role in the organization’s competitive upturn over the past few years.
Yes, without a doubt. We are talking about human beings whose performance can fluctuate due to many different factors, both on and off the field. Conditioning, environment, home life, maturity, contract status, general employer satisfaction, etc can affect one's performance.
Talented players have succeeded and failed in the majors for years...why is that? Why are we seeing Phil Hughes and Homer Bailey (ranked by BA in 2007 #4 and 5, respectively) head in different directions at this stage in their careers? What about BA's Top 5 prospects in 2006 - Delmon Young, Justin Upton, Brandon Wood, Jeremy Hermida and Stephen Drew. What happened to them? The party line for years has been that baseball prospects are a crapshoot. Well, could there be a reason for that besides "that's the way it is"? Would/Could Jeremy Hermida have succeeded in another environment? Why did the light turn on for Brandon Phillips when he came to Cincy? Would it have clicked for him if he had stayed in Cleveland?
Getting back to the topic, I believe that having certain veterans on the team can only help younger, more impressionable players. Jay Bruce could easily have gone the way of Delmon or Hermida. Is it because of Rolen? Probably not, but you never know. The fact that Bruce, Votto, Cueto and Bailey have all had success in the majors may not be a coincidence.