Nicknaming Chris Denorfia “Heartthrob” was a happy accident. At the Reds Caravan stop in Indianapolis I tremblingly approached the microphone and asked Mr. Denorfia this question:
With Adam Dunn moving to first base and rumors swirling about trading Austin Kearns, how do you feel about your chances for becoming Cincinnati’s next big outfield heartthrob?
The crowd was very amused, but no one moreso than Marty Brennaman, who continuously referred to Denorfia as “Heartthrob” throughout the caravan. Since then, Steve Stewart has mentioned the nickname several times on the radio, much to my joy.
And it’s really true. If you look at the photos of Denorfia, he looks kind of goofy, but this last year he’s really started to fill out and he’s getting downright dashing. I think he’s a shoe-in for outfield heartthrobâ€”if he can just make the team.
Heartthrob figures to start the season in Louisville. Which is probably just as well. Having him rotting on the bench in Cinci while Griffey, Pena, Kearns, Freel, Womack, and one of Krivsky’s veteran bench types such as Tuffy Rhodes or Quinton McCracken gobble up all the outfield playing time would not make sense and would inhibit Denorfia’s development as a player. If anyone doubts that this would not be a good idea, just look what happened to Wily Mo Pena’s development when Bowden made that mistake. Pena sat on the bench and hit .218 when he could have been playing regularly for Rick Sweet and tearing up the IL.
I suppose it wouldn’t make sense if he really wasn’t getting playing time. Thing is, Heartthrob is actually [i]good[/i], and wouldn’t it be a thrill to have TWO good defenders in the outfield?
Bowden didn’t have a choice on Wily Mo.