Elly De La Cruz #44 of the Cincinnati Reds slides into third base for a triple for the cycle in the sixth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Great American Ball Park on June 23, 2023 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

10.83 seconds. That’s all it took. Elly De La Cruz hit a ball into the gap into right center field and was on 3rd base 10.83 seconds later. Elly is 21 years old and 3 weeks ago he was playing AAA ball and we had no idea who he was. Now he’s the hottest name in baseball, at least to us Reds fans.

Elly has brought an energy to the Reds that I haven’t seen in quite awhile. Until my friend sang the National Anthem at the June 7th game, I hadn’t watched a single minute of Reds baseball this year. I moved from Dayton, Ohio to Southwest Florida, the Fort Myers area, about 20 years ago. There’s not a lot of Reds talk down here. Until now.

Here’s what Elly’s stardom means to me.  Elly wears number 44. That’s Eric Davis’s number. “Eric The Red” as he was called, was my favorite player growing up. My dad would take us to games and I’d watch him play. Davis played with intensity. He knew he had a gift and played all out. So when I saw highlights of this new guy wearing number 44  – playing at full speed, swinging hard at every pitch, and absolutely crushing it, well, it guess it reminds me of watching games as a kid at Riverfront.

Elly hit for the cycle on Friday night, and helped the Reds beat the Braves 11-10. They’ve now won 12 games in a row. I’m watching the games now. And texting back and forth with my parents who are 1,100 miles away. So yeah, this is special to me, too. I’m watching Reds games with my Dad again. And cheering for number 44.

I’m not the only one. The Reds average attendance this year is 19,659. In April, a game drew 7,375. Last night’s game against the Braves was sold out.

Elly De La Cruz signed with the Reds back in 2018.

In 2020, COVID cancelled that year’s minor league baseball season, costing the young players a year of development. In 2022 he played single A ball with the Dayton Dragons. He started 2023 with the Triple-A Louisville Bats.

Elly was called up to the “Show” on June 6th. On June 7th he hit his first major league home run. On June 23rd he hit for the cycle against one of the best teams in all of baseball. His stats are impressive. In just 15 games he is 22 for 61 with 17 runs scored. 3 home runs, 10 RBI, 7 stolen bases, and a batting average of .361.

Here’s what the last (less than) three weeks has looked like.

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