Bryan Price comes to the ball park with optimism every day, and he knows that some of his plays relish every opportunity they get to play baseball.
Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto (19) talks with manager Bryan Price, right, prior to a game with the Pittsburgh Pirates at Great American Ball Park.
David Kohl / USA TODAY Sports
By Hal McCoy
CINCINNATI -- It was the day after his Cincinnati Reds were torn asunder by the Colorado Rockies, 11-2, after manager Bryan Price watched his pitchers give up five home runs and six doubles.
And his Reds were 16-19, six games out of first place and Reds Country was in a foul mood..
But the first-year manager was not wearing a frown, was not grumbling under his breath, was not looking for a dog to kick.
When the word optimistic was first coined they had to have Bryan Price in mind because the 51-year-old San Francisco native always sees the sun behind every cloud, sees his coffee cup one-quarter full instead of three-quarters empty, was seeing light where others saw darkness.
It was before Sunday's game, a rematch with the Rockies, and Price, due to necessity because of injuries, had bench players Skip Schumaker and Ramon Santiago in the lineup. Catcher Brayan Pena was not in Sunday's lineup, but has been there most of the time the last two weeks due to an injury to Devin Mesoraco.
In addition, somebody had asked him about regular third baseman Todd Frazier.
Asked about Pena's attitude -- nobody has ever seen anything but a smile on his face and a song in his heart.
"It is extremely helpful to have guys like that around," said Price. "It is especially helpful when we started 3-and-8. We've played better baseball the last 20 or so games, but that start was painful. Nothing was working out right and we were banged up.
"But we want to embrace every day," Price added. "We're 16-19 and it's early, but regardless of which direction the team is going at any given time you want to come to the park optimistic about that day's game.
"We're all blessed to be in the situation where we are," Price added. "We needed to embrace it and not just when we win. The fact that we are playing, coaching and managing in major-league baseball lets us do exactly what most of us wanted to do our entire lives. To lose the appreciation for that because the team isn't in first place is a complete loss of perspective. So I enjoy Brayan Pena as much as anybody here."
And he feels the same way about Schumaker, Santiago and Frazier, guys who never forget that it is hard to make it to the majors and even harder to stay there.
"The thing about Frazier is that the same guy shows up everey day," said Price. "If he is 1 for his last 17 or 11 for his last 20 the energy, the preparation, the positive approach, the encouragement of his teammates, the energy he takes to the field is always there."
Price pointed out a superb defensive play Frazier made Saturday night when the team was down 7-1.
"To play the defense he plays, like he did last night during a game in which we're getting drubbed -- it's every game, every play with him. He never takes a pitch off.
"We're talking about some really important pieces to this team and it is funny that you (writers) asked about these guys today," said Price. You're talking about Schumaker, Pena, Santiago and Frazier and those are the guys who bring exactly what we want into the ball park. Every day."
Clearly, these are players who have not lost perspective, guys who appreciate the privilege of pulling on a major-league uniform every day.
"It is fun because professional sports and entertainment can do these to people," said Price. "They lose perspective on what's important and how hard everybody worked to get this opportunity. You have to embrace it if you are thriving or if you are struggling. You can't allow yourself to become so self-centered that you lose what it means to be here, how fortunate we are and to embrace it every day."
That is a manager who definitely appreciates where he is in life and displays a perspective that permeates the clubhouse, keeps everybody on the upbeat and focused on at least doing the best they can possible do, win, lose or get injured.