First base is Casey's conversation piece

Updated: April 26, 2004, 1:55 PM ET
By Jerry Crasnick | ESPN Insider
Don't let Sean Casey's home-plate confrontation with Eddie Perez last week create a false impression: He'd rather chat than spat.

Casey, off to a .435 start in his seventh season as Cincinnati's first baseman, is so inherently friendly and communicative that Reds manager Dave Miley warned coach Randy Whisler to keep an eye on him in spring training.

"Randy configures where we play people," Miley said. "I told him, 'You have to stay on Case, because he'll be talking to everybody. He'll never look in at you.' "

Interaction is a byproduct of Casey's position. Hitters get annoyed by gabby catchers, and second and third basemen aren't close enough to engage in give-and-take with baserunners. First base, in contrast, has plenty of traffic and enough casual interludes to make for conversation in bite-sized chunks.

Jerry Crasnick

ESPN Senior Writer