This week, some observers have been suggesting that Cincinnati Reds manager Bryan Price is not the right man for the job — not because the Reds have lost early and often but because Price has set a new record in a speech he wishes nobody had recorded.
The incident inspired Bill Littlefield to think about the language of baseball — or at least the language frequently employed by its managers.
Nobody fools themselves into thinking that anything has been established this early in the baseball season. Some guys are still hitting 150 points under their career averages. They’ll recover. Likewise the overachievers will look less like supermen by May Day. And the Mets won’t lead the National League in wins.
Bryan Price has since apologized for his performance, which is silly, because it’s representative in his line of work.Bill Littlefield
So the big baseball story this week is the tirade Reds manager Bryan Price delivered on Monday before Cincinnati won a ballgame, which is something they have not been doing dependably.
Price, apparently irked by his club’s slow start, opined that reporters had told the world more than the world needed to know about his players, such as which of them were healthy. Or at least that’s how he felt before Monday’s game, and he said so in a five-and-a-half-minute rant in which he allegedly used a verb you can’t say on the radio -- or the common, adjectival and adverbial variations on it -- at least 77 times. He required “bleeps” every 3.7 seconds, according to the invariably accurate Wall Street Journal.
Bryan Price has since apologized for his performance, which is silly, because it’s representative in his line of work.
It’s not as if he’s going to stop using that all-purpose noun, adjective, and adverb which, in the third of those manifestations, works as well preceding “great” as it does preceding “awful.”
Among baseball managers who’ve inadvertently made similar recordings is former Dodgers skipper Tommy Lasorda, who is in the Hall of Fame, and who stood third in the use of words requiring bleeps before Price bumped him to fourth. Hal McRae and Lee Elia have also distinguished themselves in terms of colorful if monotonous language use.
Lenny Bruce, the celebrated and later persecuted comic and social commentator who made a career of shocking people with insights expressed in language that could get him arrested, even in a nightclub, used to try to make the point that if an offensive word was repeated often enough, even the one for which Bryan Price has apologized, that word would lose its capacity to offend. Perhaps somewhere he is listening, over and over, to the recording of Price’s Monday night outburst, counting on his fingers to 77 or more, and smiling at the fact that his message has surfaced, albeit without intention, once again.