These Reds know their business.
But, let me first preface the forthcoming observation with two points:
One, this is not meant as a criticism of Adam Dunn, Ken Griffey Jr. or any former player, or coach for that matter.
Two, while I have extensively covered this team for the past 10 years, I have a limited workload this season which has sent me to the Reds clubhouse only sparingly.
That said, during my first few visits to the home clubhouse at Great American Ball Park, I've been impressed with the professional approach of this young Reds ballclub.
While I enjoyed the pre-game banter, practical jokes and colorful personalities of the past, it is refreshing to watch the '09 edition of Baker's Boys go about their day to day work.
Fewer players hanging out at their lockers, even fewer parked on the leather couches. More getting in their work in the cages, training room, and on the field. Unlike most young teams, they play on an even-keel, to this point avoiding the emotional roller-coaster of a 162-game slate.
The atmosphere in the Reds clubhouse has a similar feel to that of the Cardinals and Braves, perennial winners which I've covered in recent years.
I've been told the Reds' players also get along well off the field, which is important if you believe in the benefits of team "chemistry".
This is a tight-knit team, exactly the kind of ballclub capable of withstanding the inevitable speed bumps of a six-month season, such as this past weekend's three-game sweep in San Diego.
The Reds still need to improve defensively, develop more consistency, and avoid injury.
But, I get a sense from this team. If I'm a Reds fan, I'm still feeling pretty good about this season. And, it's not yet summer.