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Katherine is the Managing Editor at The Hudsucker. She has been working in libraries for the past 10 years and holds a B.A. in American Studies & Ethnicity from the University of Southern California. In her free time, the Seattleite enjoys writing fiction, going to brunch, taking long walks with her roommate, and playing Dungeons & Dragons with her friends. Katherine is a huge fan of the Seattle Mariners and has probably seen every Marvel movie at least five times. She loves classic rock and can quote even the most obscure lines from The Simpsons. Follow Katherine on Twitter: @thethingiskat.

MLB: A Fan’s Perspective on Bryan Price’s Tenure With the Cincinnati Reds

Image Credit: ESPN

There was a part of me that was tempted to title this article, “A Completely Unbiased Perspective on Bryan Price’s Firing.” But of course, that would have been disingenuous. I have been a Bryan Price fan ever since he was pitching coach for the Seattle Mariners in the early 2000s, and my Twitter bio even lists, “Bryan Price apologist” in the description. So I really can’t be unbiased when it comes to his firing on Thursday as manager of the Cincinnati Reds.

It’s not a surprise that the Reds fired Price considering his 279-387 record as manager and the team’s incredibly disappointing 3-15 start to the season. Granted the poor start to the 2018 season wasn’t all his fault. Injuries to key players like Eugenio Suárez and Anthony DeSclafani played a large part in that. But ultimately the manager is the captain, and oftentimes they’re the ones forced to go down with the ship.

Image Credit: Cincinnati Enquirer

The odds seemed to be stacked against Price since the beginning of spring training, and with the team’s many injuries, it didn’t appear that 2018 was going to be a change from previous seasons. Though the Reds made the playoffs the season before Price’s first as manager, the organization immediately went through a rebuilding phase, so he was never given the tools manage a competitive team. And unless the team magically became a contender somehow, it was pretty obvious he was going to be a lame duck manager in 2018. It seemed like his firing during the season was less about “if” and more about “when,” which begs the question of why the Reds re-signed him to manage the 2018 season in the first place.

Barry Larkin’s disrespectful and unfortunate interview during spring training where he actively campaigned for the manager position didn’t help matters with a fanbase who were already frustrated with the lack of progress the team has made since making the playoffs in 2013. While I’m not saying Larkin is responsible for Price getting fired, it’s hard to say how it might have affected things behind the scenes. It definitely riled up the fanbase, and Reds fans have been saying loud and clear on social media that they wanted Price fired and Larkin hired. Bench coach Jim Riggleman will take on interim manager duties with the Reds set to conduct a more thorough search later in the season. Larkin’s name is sure to come up as a contender for the position, and if he gets the job despite his lack of managerial experience, it’ll be kind of a slap in the face to Price. But even someone whose playing career is as storied as Larkin’s will have a tough time righting the sinking Reds ship, even if the fanbase will be pleased and it might help the team’s bottom line.

Image Credit: Cincinnati Enquirer

Price leaves behind a legacy in Cincinnati that he’d probably rather forget, but that largely isn’t his fault. It’s unfortunate that his 77 f-word tirade will be better remembered than anything the Reds did while he was manager. His legacy as being a stellar pitching coach is still intact, at least, as he was highly regarded during his tenures with the Mariners, Arizona Diamondbacks, and with the Reds from 2010-2013, which led to his eventual promotion to manager when Dusty Baker was fired. He’ll undoubtedly catch on with another organization and hopefully get another chance to manage in the future.

So what am I trying to say here? I’m not saying the Reds shouldn’t have fired Price. Every organization makes the decisions they feel they need to in order to be a contender. Clearly that wasn’t happening with Price. I doubt it’ll happen with Riggleman either, or whoever succeeds him as manager. The Reds organization seems to be floundering with youth and injuries, despite having a decently ranked farm system. They are a storied franchise who can’t seem to get it together. My hope is that history won’t judge Price too harshly for his tenure in Cincinnati, as he was never really given the tools to succeed there. Reds fans deserve a winner, and Bryan Price deserves another shot at being a manager. It’s a shame they couldn’t make it work together.

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