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Cincinnati Reds are in NY state of mind

Dusty Baker of the Cincinnati Reds looks on

Dusty Baker of the Cincinnati Reds looks on during the game against the Milwaukee Brewers. (May 8, 2012) Credit: Getty Images

Five days. Two teams. One city.

After a scheduling anomaly that had them play two games against the Mets and an interleague series against the Yankees, the Reds are baseball's version of New York tourists.

On Thursday, when they played the Mets, manager Dusty Baker mused that he'd have to cash another check to afford a few more days in New York.

"It takes a little getting used to," the Reds' Mike Costanzo said. "Finding a cab, finding a source of transportation . . . But hey, it's an amazing experience. Playing at Yankee Stadium is good enough for me."

It's may have been especially hectic for Costanzo, who was called up from Triple-A Louisville seven days ago and was welcomed to the big leagues by an extended stay in the big city.

New York, after all, doesn't have a reputation as the most welcoming place. Just ask Baker,  who Friday had a little trouble getting into the Stadium.

"It's hard to get in this bad boy," he said Friday. "Some guy asked me today, 'Could I help you?' I was in the front, trying to get in. I said, 'Yeah. I'm here for the game.' He goes, 'The gates aren't open yet.' "

"And I say I'm the manager and he says, 'Of what?' " Baker said.

After the man asked his name and Baker obliged: "He still didn't know who I was . . . I didn't wait long," he said. "Another guy came over. He recognized me. And this other guy apologized. He said, 'I'm sorry, man. I didn't know.' "

Miguel Cairo is also making a return after playing with both the Yankees and the Mets. New York is old hat at this point, but he's not complaining.

"This is the first time for me. It's kind of neat," Cairo, 38, said of the extended stay as a visitor. "It's awesome. I love New York . . . I bet you are having fun over here."

Not quite.

Earlier in the week, someone Baker identified as an "undisclosed player" went to Yankee Stadium rather than Citi Field for the game against the Mets, something Baker said happened to him years ago when he jumped in a cab and asked to go to "the Stadium," and wound up in the Bronx instead of at Shea.

"I was in a cab reading a newspaper and I told the cabbie to take me to the Stadium," Baker said. "I wasn't paying attention and next thing I know, he said, 'here we are.' I said I didn't want to go to Yankee Stadium, I want to go to Shea Stadium. He said, 'Sir, you said the Stadium.' I didn't know in New York, the Stadium means Yankee Stadium."

Though the younger crew said they're enjoying the bright lights, it doesn't seem as if the Reds are exactly painting the town red.

"I haven't seen the sun in awhile," first baseman Joey Votto said. "You're in between those buildings, you don't get to see the sky. It's nice . . . But there's a reason I signed a long-term contract in Cincinnati."

Sam LeCure, a reliever from "some tiny city in Missouri that you've never heard of," described the whole experience as exciting, if somewhat confusing.

"I really don't know the area really well, like Manhattan and all that stuff," he said. "I'll leave like 30 minutes before I'd typically leave the city to go 10 miles."

From where?

"I guess it's Manhattan . . . I don't know. Madison Avenue?"


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