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I am a freelance writer. I've covered the Cincinnati Reds, Bengals and others since 1992. I have a background in sales as well. I've sold consumer electronics, advertising and consumer package goods for companies ranging from the now defunct Circuit City to Procter&Gamble. I have worked as a stats operator for Xavier University, the University of Cincinnati, the College of Mount St. Joe and Colerain High School.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Zack Cozart Getting Lessons on Leadership

It is rare that rookies are in such important positions of leadership.

Zack Cozart is not only in the key defensive position but will likely be in the most important part of the batting order.

The shortstop is involved in every play on defense.  The number two batter in the order is a cerebral position.

Dusty Baker wants his young shortstop to lead the infield.

"I've had Joe Morgan talk to him about some things.  I'll have Lark (Barry Larkin) talk to him about being a shortstop and what it entails leadership wise," Baker said. "Lark was in that same boat.  Lark came on when the Reds had guys Ron Oester.  I don't care if you're a rookie sometimes you're expected to take charge because that's your job.  You're expected to bring some energy. I was talking to Jim Maloney about Johnny Bench.  He (Bench) was 19 or 20 years old and took charge right away."

"Not everyone has that personality.  This is what the shortstop has to do, it's their job, especially when you have relatively quiet guys around the infield.  Scotty's (Scott Rolen) is quiet, Joey (Joey Votto) is quiet and Brandon (Phillips) isn't quiet but he can get introverted too. It's hard to believe but it's true.  There has to be a certain comfort level.  He has my blessing and my backing."

Cozart talked to Morgan and will talk to Larkin tomorrow since he is not going on the trip on Tuesday.

"I talked to Joe (Morgan) about batting second and stealing bases.  I talked to Eric Davis.  Larkin told me 'I'm here for you kid'," Cozart said.  "I talked to them and picked their brains.  It's not so much a physical thing. "

"It's important playing up the middle to be a leader," Cozart said.  "It's a little weird being a rookie. You've got Gold Gloves all around you.  You have veteran pitchers.  With Mesoraco (also a rookie at a leadership position) we have to lead by example.  We have to let the guys know they can trust us out there.  We're going  to be in the right spot at the right times."

"The shortstop involved in every single play and that's why I love it," Cozart said.  "No matter where the balls going, you're following it.  I am looking forward to it.  I know I'm a rookie but I'll take it as a challenge."

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