A series this important and monumental for my favorite professional sports franchise leaves me struggling to find the words on the eve of it’s beginning.
There isn’t enough I can say about the 2012 Cincinnati Reds or the special place that they hold in my heart. When this season began, I had a vision that this team’s destiny ended up somewhere in the NLCS. I didn’t know what it held from it’s beginning to it’s end, but it’s one of those visions I’ve rarely had in all of my life watching sports. It came to me originally in the 2010 NLDS, it was the 6th or 7th inning. I knew that door was closing. But I knew if I could just live long enough the Reds would be back and they would make a run. I knew 2012 was that year.
This post is more about their opponent that stands in their way. Based on a few factors, the Giants are the toughest opponent that the Reds could have drawn to open up their postseason. After the initial reaction which was fear came some acceptance on my behalf. Then came the simple fact that if this team is going to win the National League pennant, there shouldn’t be any desires for them to dodge anyone. Lay it all on the line and carve out your legacy. Go through an NL West team. Be the team that knocks off the recent World Champions.
I know these guys know what’s at stake; and I know they’re going to fight hard. There are certain things I have gut feelings about in this series. I would bet my life that the Reds don’t get swept. Not this time. I would also wager that the Reds are confident in winning this series. They aren’t scared. They think they’re the NL’s best team. I have a feeling Joey Votto hits two home runs at some point in this series in the same game. If the Reds lose, I predict that Dusty Baker will retire with the looming health problems and tepid contract situation on the forefront.
If the Reds can find a way to get through Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, Buster Posey, Hunter Pence and company; I predict they’ll represent the National League in the World Series. No one else would be a tougher opponent for the Reds. There are no West Coast trips remaining in the rest possible paths to the pennant. This is the biggest obstacle, and the way through it must be passed first.
But there was something else about my vision of the Reds magical run; and I need to mention that they were probably baseball’s best and most balanced team in the 2012 regular season. If it does end here, we’ve been given a great team that I just knew would deliver up to this point.
The other part of the vision that I had–and I don’t know why–was the Reds season ending at the hands of an NL West team. I felt strongly about it.
I love this team and I’m so proud of them. I’ll lose a part of me during this series win or lose. I know they’re going to fight like Hell to advance. I think we’re in for the ride of our lives these next few days, and if the journey doesn’t end prematurely; some doors will open up with illusions we could only dream of behind them.
Enjoy this series Reds fans. When Johnny Cueto throws the first pitch tomorrow evening, it will have been exactly 18 years to the date since the Reds have won a postseason game. Think about that for a moment. It has spanned careers, lifetimes, relationships, hallmark events in your life.
My heart says one thing, while my head as a baseball fan says another. I’m going with what my head tells me on this.
Prediction: San Francisco Giants over Cincinnati Reds in Five Games