Tuesday, May 22, 2001

Reds remain resolute

Adversity hasn't killed team's spirit

By Chris Haft
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        CHICAGO — So far, the Reds haven't crumbled under the weight of crisis.

        Yes, the disabled list has lengthened daily; there has been public bickering between players and the general manager over longterm contract offers; and there was a recent stretch of 13 losses in 15 games.

        But the team hasn't dissolved in frustration — yet.

        “It's really easy for a ballclub to wilt, and we haven't seen that at all,” manager Bob Boone said. “You really don't have to worry about any team that has character, because you know they're going to give you everything they have all the time. That's probably the biggest worry you have as a manager. When they shut down or give up hope, that's when you're done.”

        The Reds' two victories in three games at Houston wasn't a turnaround by any means. But at least the Reds proved capable of sustaining bursts of competence, a revelation in light of May's dismal events.

        Danny Graves and Sean Casey, Pokey Reese and Dmitri Young have been caught in the crossfire of contract talks that became public last week.

        “That stuff's totally irrelevant,” Casey said. “That's not for us to worry about. That's for everyone else. I don't think anyone ever thinks about contracts or anything like that when they're playing.”

        Reese's name has popped up quite a bit lately, from the contract controversy to trade rumors to possibly replacing Cincinnati legend Barry Larkin at shortstop, if Larkin's injured groin doesn't allow him to reclaim the spot.

        Reese's method for handling all this is simple.

        “Go out and play baseball,” he said. “Don't worry about what's going on in the front office or who you're going to get traded to. Until it happens, just go out and play. It's not difficult for me. If I get traded, fine, if I don't, fine. I'm happy to be here playing every day.”


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