The Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association created the Heart & Hustle Award in 2005. Voted on by alumni Major League players, it is presented to a current player who demonstrates a passion for the game of baseball and best embodies the values, spirit, and traditions of the game.
Each team selects a finalist before the overall winner is announced at the Legends for Youth Dinner on November 6 in New York. It was certainly no surprise that the 2009 Cincinnati Reds Heart & Hustle Award recipient was Adam Rosales.
Many fans today have a hard time connecting to the modern athlete. Whether it be the astronomical salaries or perceived lackadaisical attitude of some players, fans have become more cynical than ever. Jealousy can also be a factor.
Consciously or not, people often resent someone else with the skills and ability to do something they wish they could do. The issue of performance-enhancing drugs has not exactly help the situation either.
Since Pete Rose first emerged from the dugout at Crosley Field, there has been one certainty between Reds’ fans and players. Play hard, put up (at least) respectable numbers and you will be accepted. Players like Chris Stynes and Ryan Freel earned a fan base in Cincinnati despite obvious talent deficiencies.
Adam Rosales is not the best player on his team. He is currently hitting .207 with 4 home runs and 19 RBI. However, there has been more than one occasion this year when I have turned to my son, pointed at Rosales, and said that is how you play the game.
Rosales plays every game as if it were his last. Whether it is sprinting to first base after a base on balls, running full speed in favor of a home run trot, or being the first fielder to his position at the start of the inning, Rosales gives everything he has each time he steps on the field.
He is genuinely excited and thankful to be a Major League player. I am genuinely excited and thankful that he is a member of the Cincinnati Reds.