He doesn't want IT. But the problem is, he is IT.
I know what your saying Reds fans, he's ok as a 'leader by example' and that may be true. These Reds may win in spite of the most experienced leader not stepping up and saying: Get on my shoulders, I will carry you to the top. Maybe he doesn't have to say it, for this chemistry (which is by all reports strong) to work. I brought the question up in a Reds tweeting game thread to John Fay recently (the Reds beat writer for the Cincy Enquire) and he said, when I asked if Rolen should be the Captain, "He doesn't want it". I trust John's clubhouse insight, then started thinking who could wear the C if it wasn't Rolen: Votto? not yet, too young/inexperienced. Phillips? Possibly, but needs to mature a little (hot dogs usually dont warrant or want it, dont get me wrong, I like hotdog BP, most of the time! Except when he's going tarzan on his chest and stomping on home plate after he makes the catcher eat dirt! Great play:wrong reaction) Bruce, years to come yet. If we were to have one, its the Comeback Vet of the year in MLB so-far: Scotty Rolen.
Recent clubhouse history had another man who chose to lead by example, not the same type of player, a natural superstar, who chose NOT to be the labeled leader. In 2004 when Barry Larkin retired, (the 1st Captain since SS Davey Conception) there was a void that a superstar by the name of JR could have filled if he were a different kind of leader. How different could Griffey Jr. years have been here if he was more than the "kid" and more of a leader a "captain"? Some guys say they dont want to be the "Ra Ra" guy, thats not what I'm talking about here. Calling the team leader or Captain the "Ra Ra" guys belittles the position. That role is for the spunky high energy guy on the other end of the bench, ie: one Johnny Gomes. Afterall, it is that type of player that looks up at Rolen in a Biblical reference: "You know W.W.J.D., What Would Jesus do? Here, it's What Would Scott Do?” Reds outfielder Gomes said From rhis weeks NYT http://tiny.cc/98ml3”
Rolen is respected, revered, and admired by his teammates. He plays hard and has the baseball war wounds to show. He has won and has been the best at his position. He is the Senior vet on the team. A team thats surging, and forming their mettle. What better time could there be, than to crown a leader for the stretch run?
Maybe baseball's "Captain" status is overrated. Maybe in todays age of increasing individualism its a position sadly forgotten. Men, especially young ones need, require leaders/mentors to be ultimately successful. Call it my Navy background getting in the way here, but many civilian organizations for ages have modeled their chain of command after the Navy (sorry Army; get you own blog!)
Sometimes we dont want to be pushed in life, but what's discovered in the "stepping up" is for the betterment of the team. In the Navy, leaders are sometimes pushed to the top when talent, leadership potential, is recognized. From experience I know the feeling of having a strong mentor who showed the way to leadership, expected it of us, and once we were there we grew into the position. What are players afraid of? Yes it was tough, but the team came together, and realized great successes with a go to leader in place. Those close to the team sais he doesn't want it, maybe thats being selfish, maybe its an inner wish for solitude, and you know what thats too bad for the younger guys. Sometimes leading by example also means taking on the responsibility of telling the team I am your leader (if you want me) follow me to the top. If he is doing that quietly and the Reds win it all, I will say it worked! If he neve steps up and we dont win, Ill have asked what could have been.
Unwanted/unlabeled Captain Rolen you may not want it, but your becoming IT and we are enjoying every minute!