Reds, losers of seven of eight, try to right ship with players-only meeting

8/4/2008 - MLB Cincinnati Reds

WASHINGTON -- The Cincinnati Reds, mired in last place in the NL Central, held a players-only meeting before their 4-2 loss to the Washington Nationals on Sunday.

The Reds had lost seven of eight and were a season-high 15 games out of first entering play Sunday. They committed three errors Saturday night in a 10-6 loss to the Nationals, prompting manager Dusty Baker to say: "That was a terrible game -- an ugly game."

Baker, who met briefly with the team on Friday, said he saw some common themes in the string of losses.

"Walks at the wrong time, errors -- a lot of errors -- physical and mental errors -- a lot of opportunities for the opposition. Most of the time we've been scored upon first," Baker said.

The players met for 20 minutes before batting practice Sunday and quickly left the clubhouse for the field.

When Baker played with the Los Angeles Dodgers, he said players often met among themselves without manager Tom Lasorda -- and they were helpful meetings. In his early years as a coach with the San Francisco Giants, manager Roger Craig advised him never to allow players-only meetings, fearing it would appear the manager lost control of his clubhouse.

Baker said with a youthful team such as the Reds, players' meetings are positive.

"With so many young guys, they need to hear it from a player," he said.

Baker, however, isn't fond of calling meetings himself.

"I think we over-meet as a society," Baker said.