Cincinnati Front Office Missed The Boat On Aquino
Cincinnati's Lack Of Promotion For "The Punisher" Has Been A Crime
Home Run Phenom Has Made Headlines Everywhere But Cincinnati
Ten thousand fans sat scattered across the stadium that was built to hold four times more than that, so no one would ever guess that a home run record was being pursued at that time. The next night, which was August 20, the attendance was 12,000 and the next afternoon 13,000.
Great American Ball Park should have been packed, for rookie outfielder Aristides Aquino was in the midst of establishing a record for most home runs to start a career. After all, Cincinnati fans have had little to cheer for during the past few seasons, so we were hungry for something to put our team in the spotlight.
Aquino and his power outburst had certainly done that, given that ESPN and the MLB network were following his incredible story on a daily basis. Apparently the only baseball people to miss the story were the front office personnel of the Reds, who have done little to promote the rookie sensation.
Cincinnati should have put together some type of promotion, be it with an Aquino bobble head night or at least a sign outside the ball park with his picture on it. The team did not even keep a number board tallying each home run and displaying how many more he needed for the record, a tactic the team once used during its almost meaningless streak of not being shut out a few years ago.
The refusal to recognize Aquino's accomplishment is even more unforgivable when you consider that Cincinnati has basically ignored him since he signed a few years ago. He made his debut last year on August 19, getting to play a whole three innings before being disappeared until 354 days later.
Granted, every team has missed out on future stars before, but few of them have been as desperate for a highlight player as the current Reds are. It may be no sin to underestimate a prospect, but it is just downright poor business to ignore one who bursts onto the scene in the manner of Aquino.
It is not like the Reds have lacked room for him, especially when you check out the names of the outfielders Cincinnati has employed since Aquino was first signed. In addition to the unexciting guys most fans have heard of, such as Billy Hamilton or Adam Duvall or Matt Kemp or Jose Peraza, there are almost a dozen near nonentities who were picked to play in the outfield ahead of Aquino.
Preston Tucker. Phil Gosselin. Mason Williams. Gabriel Guerrero. Brandon Dixon. Dilson Herrera. Phil Ervin. Scott Schebler. Why, even pitcher Michael Lorenzen has been given more time in the outfield than Aristides Aquino during the past two seasons.
While the aforementioned names continue to languish in the Minor Leagues or as utility players at the Major League level, all Aquino does is hit bombs out of the park. He builds more excitement on the road than he does in Cincinnati, as his arrival has helped boost the attendance in cities like Pittsburgh. When the Reds visited PNC Park recently, the Pirates saw an uptake of ten thousand more fans than an average night.
No one expects the power to continue at its record pace, so some caution on behalf of the front office is justified. Still, the club has missed an excellent opportunity to cash in on a phenom, a chance that does not often come to small market organizations like the Reds.