I'm not sure I can think of a tougher job in baseball than that of a big league manager.
Every decision you make is questioned. You are in the public spotlight with every move you make. Every lineup you put out gets questioned as to who's batting where, who's starting and who's not, and how the order could be better optimized based on the pitching matchup. If you bring a reliever into the game, someone will question why it isn't a different reliever. Every single time. Even though you're the one entrusted into the position as the expert, thousands of armchair experts in their living rooms will wonder what you're thinking.
I'm here to tell Bryan Price: that's okay.
That's healthy. That's the sign of an engaged fan base, who honestly have the best interests of the team in mind. The fan base wants the team to win, and when the manager makes a move that doesn't make sense to anyone watching the game, the fan base knows enough about what's going on to be able to ask valid questions. Those covering the team know this, and since they have access to speak with the manager, they can ask these questions.
Bryan Price, like the other 29 managers in MLB, is not immune to scrutiny.
It's part of his job description. If he doesn't want to be questioned, he should be managing a Wendy's in West Chester and not a Major League Baseball team.
It's something he should have learned from Dusty Baker, if we're being honest. He watched Dusty for years. Dusty got questioned. When Dusty insisted on giving playing time to has-beens and never-weres, he'd hear about it when it didn't go well. He'd even offer an explanation, even if it didn't make much sense.
Bryan Price refuses to play that game, and it's starting to cost him in the eyes of the fans.
As a fan, I'd rather deal with a manager making baffling decisions with faulty explanations than a manager making baffling decisions with no explanations. And that's what the Reds' manager is giving us.
These aren't necessarily MIT thesis level questions, either. If Jethro from Springfield calling into the local equivalent of the banana phone can tell that Devin Mesoraco hasn't played in two weeks, than you should probably have a decent explanation for that. When Burke Badenhop comes into an extra innings game instead of Tony Cingrani, who's your "healthy" long reliever who also hasn't pitched in two weeks, as a fan, I'd like to know why.
This isn't that hard, Bryan. Acting like you're "above" the fans doesn't work in any city, but especially Cincinnati. The fans here are engaged, they follow, they question. They appreciate when a manager gets them on their level. Dusty may not have been the best Reds manager, but he did that. That "everyman" quality is why the fans here tolerated him for as long as they did.
The biggest difference between Dusty Baker and Bryan Price is that Dusty didn't treat the fans like they're stupid. That little bit of respect goes a long way.