McCoy: Winker loves having fans back in the stands, even with insults

Cincinnati Reds' Jesse Winker follows through on an RBI base hit against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the third inning of a baseball game, Friday, April 9, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)
Cincinnati Reds' Jesse Winker follows through on an RBI base hit against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the third inning of a baseball game, Friday, April 9, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Credit: Matt York

Credit: Matt York

Reds outfielder says Giants faithful are some of the best when it comes to razzing players

When it come to fans razzing and insulting opposing players, San Francisco wins the originality trophy ever year.

They were all over the Cincinnati Reds outfielders in Oracle Park on Monday night and the key to survival is to encourage them.

Reds center fielder Nick Senzel was spotted Monday night between innings cupping his ear toward the stands and waving his arms as if to say, “Louder. I can’t hear you. Louder.”

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Left fielder Jesse Winker felt it, too. And he enjoys it, just as he’ll enjoy it Wednesday afternoon in the series finale against the San Francisco Giants.

“They’re awesome, man,” said Winker. Even his home run and infield single during the Reds 3-0 victory didn’t stifle their insults.

“They’re great,” he added. “They have a lot of cool chants. They are really, really in tune with the game. It’s a good baseball crowd. They’re fun. They really get on you, but it’s a very cool way. They’re very unique and I appreciate them. It is just great having fans back in the stands.

“It was so weird not have fans last year and having them back, being a part of the game. I said it all along, they are what makes the game go. I’m just happy to see them out there.”

Asked if he had any favorite chants the fans aim his way, Winker smiled and said, “All of them. I like ‘em all. They’re all great. It takes me back to being back in Buffalo in the stands for Bills games. You hear some things there that is pretty funny. It’s all good stuff.”

The Reds were playing a series in Oracle for the first time since it playing field was re-configured, shortened up in places, to increase offense.

Although Winker hit his home run with malice aforethought, smacked it hard on the sweet spot, it probably would have been caught the last time the Reds were in town.

“It was brought to my attention on Monday,” said Winker. “They moved center field in a little bit. I haven’t played here enough to notice huge differences.

“This is only my third time playing here,” he added. “You come here and look at that big wall in right and you know where McCovey Cove is. It just gives you an appreciation, even more of an appreciation of what Barry Bonds did here. It’s unbelievable.

“You hear the stories of where he hit some of those balls and then you come out here and look and say, ‘Oh, dear God.’ It’s a really cool ball park, one of my favorite ball parks to come to,” said Winker. “It’s a fun place to play and it has the whole package.”

When the Reds play the Giants on Wednesday afternoon, they’ll face former Red Johnny Cueto.

Mike Moustakas is very familiar with Cueto, who has more moves and gyrations on the mound than John Travolta has on the dance floor.

Cueto and Moustakas were together on a Kansas City Royals World Series champion.

“First off, I love Johnny,” said Moustakas. “He’s a huge reason why we won a World Series. He’s a great guy, a great teammate and a lot of fun to be around.

“When he is on the mound, he is throwing three and four different types of fastballs, four different types of off-speed pitches and then his motions, where he does a lot of different things,” Moustakas added. “It’s always fun to face him.

“It’s challenging,” he said. “The key for most pitchers is to keep the hitters off-balance.  And that’s what he does a really good job of. We will have to really bear down and try to get him in the stretch. That’s the most important part, so we can eliminate some of that other stuff he does.”

Most hitters would not call it fun, but then Moustakas is not most hitters.

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