By Eric Neel
As we begin the second half of the Major League Baseball season -- or, for our friends in Chicago, as the Dusty Baker Death Watch reaches Day 103 -- I have some questions.
(2) What did Ryan Freel ever do to Jerry Narron?
Here's what Ryan Freel does for the Reds: He steals bases, he runs into walls and bloodies his nose, he plays about 23 different positions, he gets on base at a .383 clip and pops a few home runs, and he sets a gritty, gutty tone for the club every time he suits up.
Here's what manager Jerry Narron does: Sits him. A lot. In weird fits and starts, and often right after Freel has had a spectacular day. On June 4, Freel hit two home runs, drove in three and made a great diving catch in the outfield. On June 5, he got one pinch-hit at-bat. On June 8, he went 3-for-5, hit a home run and stole a base. On June 9, Narron gave him one plate appearance and then sat him altogether on June 10. Freel played on June 12, but not the next day. He played on June 14, but not on June 16. And on and on it goes.
Not since Mommie Dearest went haywire on Christina have we seen such traumatic schizophrenic leadership.
I say, let the Free Ryan Freel campaign begin here. Send your cards and letters to: Dan O'Brien, General Manager, The National League Cincinnati Ball Club.