The 2012 Cincinnati Reds have partially fulfilled a destiny.
In yesterday’s 6-0 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers, Mat Latos threw eight dominant shutout innings. Jay Bruce and Brandon Phillips homered. Bruce’s 34th home run of the season was a matter of tradition; he’s homered each time the Reds have clinched a division title.
I sat in the farthest reaches of the upper deck at Great American that October night back in 2010 when the Reds were eliminated from the playoffs, and I told my wife that this group of Reds would be back. I had a strong feeling that the Reds were going to miss the playoffs entirely in 2011 and serve as a monumental disappointment around baseball. Check. I also told her that 2012 was the year. I told her that night that I had a vision of them storming back to make a run for the World Series in 2012.
Here we are.
In all of my life, no matter how long I live; I’ll never forget the 2012 Cincinnati Reds. This is both the most talented, and the most memorable group of Reds that have taken the field since I was nine years old.
I’ve never felt more proud to call a team ‘mine’.
A baseball season is such a weird thing. Compiled of so many highs and lows that serve as mere radar blip snapshots, it’s kind of hard to really know where a team sends until the cement has hardened and the final game has been played. But from the opening gun this year I knew that this team was good. Really good. I never panicked. Not one time did I ever doubt that this would be the outcome. I knew back in May that this team was going to outgun a loaded Cardinals lineup and find a way to win the division by double digits. I knew that a much higher prize should be the idea and that the division title should be table stakes for a roster that’s so talented. Sure, some of it was that vision that came to be back in 2010 (and even before the 2010 season I felt 2012 was the year this team was truly built for). But this team responded to so many things with so many different heroes each night, they never allowed you to doubt them for long.
Hold this moment in your heart if you’re a die hard baseball fan that loves the Reds. I feel that this is what sports are all about. Winning titles are the pantheon of why the games are played. But I’ve said before that Midas’ gold for the sports fan is in the climb. The struggle. The battle. The uncertainty. It’s in the grind that it takes to reach a title. That’s what defines greatness in players, teams and sports.
Reds fans have endured, and now it’s time to indulge. Take a few days, enjoy the fall air and know that a new season is about to begin. The final chapter for this group has not been written and I believe that a great destiny awaits them. Dusty phoned in his post-clinch lineup card.
Sit back, catch your breath, and get ready for a memorable and drama-filled ride that you’re never going to forget. Let’s go after that number one seed.
And thank you, 2012 Reds. I’ll never forget you.