Jay Bruce is one of the few reasons these days to venture inside Great American Ball Park, unless one likes the view of the Ohio River from the upper deck.
The 21-year-old rookie is playing as if the Cincinnati Reds are a half game out instead of 18½, second place instead of last place.
"That's how I play, how I was taught, how I learned, the only way I know how," said Bruce. "It's all about playing the game the right way, no matter how bad it is and how bad it looks or how much you struggle as a team."
And Bruce, in his youthful naivete, has a promise for frustrated fans who have born witness to eight years of miserable, lousy, frustrating baseball.
"Not only me and Joey Votto, but the whole team is going to be fun to watch for a long time and in the near future," he said. "I know fans are tired of hearing it, but just be patient a little while longer.
"We have all the pieces and we just have to put it together. I understand the fans. That's fans for you. But we as a team can't worry about that because we have to take care of our business. This is a baseball town that has been spoiled in the past. We're not going to be the Big Red Machine or anything, but this team is going to be fun to watch for a very long time."
Reading this article makes me think that Jay Bruce will very soon become the leader of this team. It's hard to find anything not to like about the kid.