I was just thinking to myself the other day, "You know, we haven't had an Anthony Reyes Update in damn near forever, it seems." Then, lo and behold, what should happen across my web browser? Oh wonder of wonders! Ladies and gentlemen, we have some fresh Anthony news.
Well, that's not exactly accurate. What we have is less news than it is just more fodder for endless speculation, debate, and argument. Which really, when you think about it, is probably better than actual, hard, factual news anyway, isn't it?
Reyes recently sat down with David Laurila of Baseball Prospectus for a quick little interview. They spoke of many things, among them shoes, ships, sealing wax, and four seam fastballs. Some of the most pertinent highlights:
In comparing Eric Wedge, the Cleveland manager, to Tony La Russa:
"I'm going to say that they're pretty different; they're two different types of managers. I just like the communication here. It's nice to know what they're thinking; they kind of give you some feedback, which makes it a little easier to play."
On Dave Duncan versus Carl Willis, the Indians' pitching coach:
"The first thing I'm going to say is communication. Carl Willis is very easy to talk to. He makes the game fun, he kind of loosens you up before the game. It's just one of those things that makes it easier for me to play, and for me to be able to communicate what I'm thinking. It's just nice having that."
He refused to go into detail on the whole four-seam versus two -eam debate, saying that "it is what it is," and he's trying to "look forward, now, rather than looking back."
What I thought was probably the most telling of all, though, was this nugget when asked about what he's doing when going well:
"...Over here, it's fun, because I'm not worried about what people think. If they have anything to say to me, they'll say it. When I'm throwing well, I'm just relaxing and not thinking too much. I'm not worried about throwing to a hitter's weaknesses; I'm focusing on my strengths and what I can control."
Look, I know that everybody already has their own preconceived notions about what went wrong with the whole Reyes situation, including me. Neither side of the debate is really to change their tune too very much at this point, I wouldn't think. But I do think that everyone, on both sides, should take a look at some of those quotes, and then take a look at our management team here in St. Louis.
My purpose here isn't to condemn; god knows I do enough of that most other days. Tony La Russa and Dave Duncan are one of the most successful managerial tandems in baseball history. But Hall of Fame credentials or not, when you can hear the relief in a young man's voice to be away from a situation in print, you have to question whether or not things were handled the way they should have been. I'm sure that some of the fault lies with Anthony. I'm sure he wasn't a complete innocent in this mess. But we've seen an awful lot of communication breakdowns with Tony La Russa the past couple of years, and frankly, it worries me.
We saw Scott Rolen's relationship with the manager go sour, to the point that Rolen pretty much had to be traded. Luckily, Cardinals GM John Mozeliak spun some straw into gold on that one, and netted the Cards a big time upgrade in Troy Glaus. Jimmy Edmonds, whose own relationship with the manager Edmonds himself once characterized as much like that of a surrogate father and son, deteriorated into a war of words earlier this year; a process that had apparently begun as early as the 2007 season.
Again, in each of those cases, I'm sure there was plenty of wrong on all sides; that's simply how relationships work. But when situations continually arise like this, and there's one common thread in all of them, well, I'll let you finish that sentence however you think best.
Overall, I thought Anthony came across just as classy, mature, and intelligent as he pretty much always has. Even during the very darkest of days, Reyes never threw anyone under the bus, never complained about what was a very, very tough situation. Even now, in a complete different organization, Anthony takes the high road and doesn't bash his former bosses, though he certainly could. I really admire the way he's always conducted himself, and I hope he gets himself back on the track we all thought he would follow when he first came up.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the end of the Reyes Updates. I think we've all got ourselves some closure now, and I do believe I am going to move on.
At least until something else juicy happens.