Because how can you not love a baseball player named "Bubba"?
March 30, 2007: Cincinnati Reds 5, Tampa Bay Devil Rays 4
Well, not really, but it felt that way. It wasn't the last game of spring training, but it was the last home game. A lot of the beat reporters have already flown north for the summer. The players were swinging at the first pitch, anxious to get the heck out of Dodge. Despite the close score, it wasn't a very exciting game. The Reds ran up their five runs in the first inning, and didn't do much after that. The Rays tried to chip their way back, but fell short.
Bubba entered the game in the bottom of the 4th inning, as a pinch-runner for Adam Dunn. And he only got one at-bat. That's how efficiently the Reds were mowed down.
His only at-bat was in the bottom of the 6th. Runners on the corners, two outs. He had quite the battle going there for awhile, but ended up grounding out to 2B.
The Reds announcers seemed to think he's looked pretty good, even though he's grounded out in his last three at-bats with the Reds. They said he looked lost at the plate before he got sent down, and that looks much better now that he's getting lots of at-bats every day in minor league camp. Since I haven't seen him, I don't know if they're right. But it's something that has been noted about Bubba before: he really improves with regular playing time. I guess most players do. But it's something he's going to have to address if he wants a job as a bench player.
It's rough for Bubba, because he's never really had a chance to see a lot of major league pitching. Melky Cabrera got almost twice as many at-bats in one season as Bubba has gotten in four.
The Reds play two games tomorrow. The "A" game is in Dayton, Ohio against the Marlins at 2pm. The "B" game is in Florida, against the Blue Jays. Given how short of outfielders the Reds are at the moment, Bubba will probably get a chance to play with the Reds again tomorrow.
UPDATE: I just checked, and it looks like both Cincinnati games will be on Gameday audio tomorrow. Ack. I'm going to have to guess which one Bubba's more likely to play in.
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