Sports Today: Hunter Greene gives Dragons fans night to remember, Reds fans reason to hope

Long-time director of media relations Tom Nichols called it a night unlike any other in Dayton Dragons history.

Hunter Greene proved several things in his Class A debut Monday night at Fifth Third Field, including that the young phenom is human.

He battled through adversity in the first and third innings, showing not only a blazing fastball and deceptive slider but also the needed stubbornness to attack hitters head on.

Many more lessons await Greene, but his first performance had to thrill the Reds even more than if he had gone up there and mowed down nine batters in a row.

Even the best prospects have to face failure at some point, and it’s best to get those lessons out of the way early as long as they don’t destroy a young player’s confidence.

Listening to Greene talk, I'm not sure that is going to be an issue. He comes across as if he has a strong belief in himself without straying into cockiness.

That will serve him well as he rises through the ranks because there will be greater challenges, and there will be nights when he doesn’t get out of all those jams.

"That's when you really show you know how to throw on certain counts and your pitches are ready, every single pitch in the arsenal. I love that and I know my team was fired up and coach Bully was fired up, too. He was ready to go. That was a great situation to get out of."

His next challenge will be learning to pitch when he can’t just throw it by guys or get them to flail at his breaking ball. From hearing older pitchers and pitching coaches talk, that’s the biggest issue facing young pitchers throughout baseball these days. They know how to attack batters with their elite stuff but aren’t sure what to do when they can’t just rare back and let it go.

RELATED: Greene dazzles in Dragons debut

For now, I would say Greene being stubborn with his stuff is a good thing, though, like a power football team that refuses to go to the air until the defense proves they can stop the run.

As for what made it a unique night, that would be the electricity in the crowd around all those fastballs and the triple-the-normal-size media contingent.

Multiple outlets from Cincinnati made the trip up, both print and television, with multiple minor-league baseball writers in attendance as well.

There was no mystery why they were in Dayton before, during or after Greene’s outing…

Meanwhile, the night was like most others for the major-league edition of the Cincinnati Reds. 

They lost 6-5 in Philadelphia, where the Phillies remain a step ahead of the local nine when it comes to rebuilding.

On the bright side, the Reds offense showed some life despite being down two regulars.

Cincinnati banged out five hits and scored five runs but came up short thanks in large part to a short start by Cody Reed, whose three innings of work put the bullpen behind the eight ball.

Reed only walked one but gave up two damaging home runs. Five scoreless innings was too much to ask of Reds relievers, and Kevin Quackenbush gave up the ghost in the eighth inning with a solo home run by Nick Williams that proved to be the game-winner.

Phil Ervin and Cliff Pennington, filling in respectively for Jesse Winker (illness) and Eugnio Suarez (broken thumb) combined to go 2-for-7 with a walk and a run scored while Billy Hamilton went 2-for-4 to raise his average to nearly .200.

For all the questions about the pitching staff, any chances this becomes a less hopeless situation will probably come down to offense.

The Reds need to bash some people from time to time and find a way to scratch out a few more runs when they do get good starts…

The Cincinnati Bengals also managed to make some news Monday by reportedly hosting former 49ers safety Eric Reid for a visit

Reid is a free agent after spending his first five seasons in San Francisco.

The first-round pick out of LSU was very good for his first three seasons but has been limited by injuries the past two years.

During that same time period, he also gained some added notoriety for being among the first to embrace quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s protest during the national anthem prior to games.

(He has said he intends to stand this season.)

Not surprisingly, news of Reid potentially becoming a Bengal generated plenty of reactions on our Facebook page.

For what it’s worth, more people clicked the “like” or “love” buttons than “angry,” and the comments covered a wide range.

Some support his desire to bring more awareness to social justice issues while others expressed a desire to keep politics and sports completely separate.

More than a couple said they already tuned out during last year’s protests with a few saying they would do so as well if Reid became a Bengal, but several also wrote something to the effect of, “If he can play, I don’t care what else he does.”

Guess that’s why it pays not to assume we know how everyone feels about a given topic, even one as divisive as the protests during the anthem.

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