“The Cincinnati Reds need Joey Votto and Jay Bruce to step up and lead this team.”
That’s all you would hear on Cincinnati radio sports talk shows during the offseason between the 2013 and 2014 seasons. The blame was placed by the organization on Dusty Baker, but the team’s leadership quality still was missing. The team and fans seemed to misplace their trust for such leadership in the wrong players.
Now that isn’t to say there is anything wrong with the way Votto and Bruce play the game of baseball. They are great players (when healthy) who bring a lot to the team. However, they aren’t leaders, and that is fine; not everybody is intended to be a leader. However, what is surprising is where the leadership of this team has come from — Todd Frazier and Devin Mesoraco.
The leadership provided by these two not only lies within their statistics (both are first and second on the team in home runs and runs batted in), but they are providing an intensity that isn’t usually seen from the Reds. For example, take what Frazier told John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer: “We were going through the motions. That’s not baseball.”
As Paul Daugherty stated, “It’s one thing for media heathens to make that point. Quite another for a player to call out his whole team.”
It’s that exact passion that has Frazier and Mesoraco leading this team by example. Have you watched Mesoraco following a big hit or big out in a game? He is fired up, loving every minute of the game he is playing. Watch the Reds’ bench after a player returns to the dugout — Frazier and Mesoraco are two of the first players always there to congratulate.
When watching this team, the players who seem to truly be enjoying themselves are Frazier, Mesoraco and Brayan Pena. For manager Bryan Price, he must be hoping (and begging) that such passion and love rubs off of these players and onto the rest of the team.