Homer Bailey; King of the Wild Frontier
Homer Bailey -- King of the Wild Frontier
by Robb Hoff
July 7, 2012
The pre-Socratic Greek philosopher Heraclitus was heaped with praise for his legendary "Go to the River" analogy in which after some telling of the tale he disrupted the space-time continuum with that moment of profound awareness where we fully understand that we really can't go to the same river twice. (Mainly because the river moves, folks)
But I much prefer the contemporary of Heraclitus -- Cratylus -- who shortened the parable with the utterance that, "You can't even go to the same river once."
Now Homer Bailey won't evoke delusions of The Iliad and The Odyssey -- no Trojan War, no Achilles heel, nothing -- but his start tonight against the San Diego Padres is nonetheless epic.
The Cincinnati Reds are mired in the quicksand of a bad-hitting team right now, and need one more dominant start from their rotation after Bronson Arroyo's unspectacular shutout last night to keep pace with a Pittsburgh Pirates team that is starting to believe in themselves and will have the benefit of playing the dregs of the N. L. Central division -- the Astros and the lowliest of teams, the Lovable Losers themselves, the Chicago Cubs -- 23 times in the second half of the season.
Bailey has yet to seal the deal in his peaks-and-valleys major league career, but his sputtering has never been a question of plus stuff.
So maybe Homer is thinking tonight not about the Ancient Greeks or how many times you can go to the river, but, rather, what it takes from the neck up to be the biggest of big, the mightiest of mighty -- that's right, The King of the Wild Frontier, none other than Davy Crockett.
Granted Davy Crockett became a known quantity during his lifetime through the stake he claimed in Tennessee, but the man became legend where many a legend has been made -- The Lone Star State of Texas -- where he fought to the death in San Antonio at The Alamo.
So Homer might not Remember the Alamo tonight or wrestle metaphorical bears through his pith count or even be portrayed on the MLB Network with the panache that Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon will forever maintain now that Davey Johnson has proclaimed him a "Weird Wuss", but one unshakable certainty will carry young Homer Bailey forward into battle and the shadow of the valley of baseball death tonight -- he is facing the San Diego Padres and he has yet to lose a game to the Padres in the five games he has started against them.
That and a hopefully resurgent Reds offense -- whose meat of the order is a combined 11-for-25 with a pair of dingers against Padres starter Clayton Richard -- will rise to the occasion.
Either that or Bailey will upchuck one meatball after another and duck when necessary.
But I'm betting the former enough to pick up Bailey in the fantasy leagues I play for money.
Remember the Alamo?
You bet...and with every Homer Bailey epic strikeout tonight I'll be hollering, "Homer....Homer Bailey, King of the Wild Frontier!"