Big League Stew - MLB

As Hawkeye Girl impatiently reminded us in this morning's Juice, there are actually things in baseball more rare than a blown save by Mariano Rivera(notes).

Being able to write "first place" before "Cincinnati Reds" is one of them and that's why citizens of the Queen City are a bit jubilant over their current spot. Cincinnati is now atop the NL Central after taking two of three from the Cards over the weekend and if you think their fans are acting like they haven't been there lately, there's a pretty good reason for that. It's been three years since they've spent even a single day in first place. 

I made a joke about the glory days of Eddie Taubensee late last week, but it's nice to see a city like Cincinnati — a slumbering baseball burg that's just begging for a reawakening via a red-hot summer — be able to take a break from all the fretting over Dusty Baker's pitch counts, Aaron Harang's(notes) declining stats and the division dominance of St. Louis.

I've rounded up a few of the Monday morning celebrations below. While the takes are cemented in a good foundation of caution and reality, there's also no doubt that Cincinnati is taking the time to appreciate the view.

Paul Daugherty, Cincinnati Enquirer: "We make too much of this, you say? It's not possible to make too much of this. Not around here. We come off as amateurs, celebrating a game in May? Oh, yeah. Yeah, we do. Totally. So? Anyone who has been around here for the last decade doesn't really care about that."

C. Trent Rosecrans, CNati: "The Reds clubhouse wasn't much different yesterday than it is after any victory, there was no champagne or anything like that, but there was some happiness about being in first. Although tempered, Dusty Baker said it is something to be enjoyed. ...I don't think this is a playoff club, but hey, I could be really, really wrong. It certainly wouldn't be the first time. If I could predict everything like that, I'd be in Vegas."

Mark Sheldon, "The Reds haven't had a winning season since 2000 and only have a few players that have experienced success elsewhere. More is at stake this season as they got some preseason attention as a club that could make waves in the division. It's also the final year of Baker's contract and the last guaranteed year for (Bronson) Arroyo and ace Aaron Harang. 'We have a few guys that keep everyone level and grounded. It's not much of a lead,' Baker said. `We have a little different scenario now. Now we'll see how we handle being the one that's chased vs. chasing somebody else.'"

Red Reporter: "The Reds are in first place. The Reds are in first place with a half-game lead over the Cardinals. The Reds are in first place for the first time since April 2007. For all of you who think I'm over-reacting to a nice little streak in May, Goodroyo tells you to step off, brohem: 'It definitely means something. think it means more on this club right now than it does if we had a winning club the last few years — just because of the confidence and keeping the ball rolling.'

Amanda, Red Hot Mama: "The Cardinals don't seem to realize what a serious problem they have. Carp getting huffy when someone shows frustration, Card bloggers saying Gomes shouldn't flip his bat, Card commentators saying the umps should show respect to Pujols. It's one thing to go onto the field expecting to win; it's another thing to go onto the field expecting people to let you win. This sense of entitlement screams sick culture. If the Cards were a Fortune 500 company, they'd be on their way to hostile takeover.

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