Leading up to the start of the 2009 Regular Season, Diamond Hoggers will preview each of MLB’s 30 teams. Today’s team is the Cincinnati Reds. Stay tuned as Diamond Hoggers will preview every team division by division until the start of the regular season.
There’s a certain innocence that comes with being a fan of the Cincinnati Reds. Part of it is due to the sport that they play. Throughout a baseball season you become married to your team and that roster of 25 that they field. You spend a TON of time together. They become like family. Even if a guy only spends a season or two with your team, you gain some memories of that player that last a lifetime. You almost become like distant family members.
That innocence I was speaking about with the Reds; it comes from that city. I’ve never been to such a friendly city in my entire life. From the time I was little until the present, I’ve got nothing but wonderful memories of the Queen City. I’ve been to New York, and I don’t know how they can classify beautiful Cincinnati with that monster of a place called New York as ‘major cities’. The other part of it is the people. The people in Cincinnati are right from the heart of Americana. There are some of what me and my father would call ‘Good ol boys’. There’s some friendly kentuckians. There’s regular people who aren’t from the country. It’s a fine ethnic hodgepodge. Those same people have such a great attitude about them, I guess. They are the opposite of rabid. I think it comes from following the Cincinnati Bengals and the Reds decade of futility.
Down at Great American Ball Park when someone hits a three run homer, no one gets pissed. That isn’t the word at all. It’s almost like you can feel the apathy. You can look around and feel the people saying ‘well we’re going to lose again but life goes on’. No one is throwing themself off a building after a 21-29 start like they do in the Bronx or Bean Town. You’re also not going to get your teeth kicked in for wearing a Cubs jersey. It’s just not like that. It’s a laid back city, with laid back folks, and they follow their teams in a laid back manner.
And sometimes it’s refreshing to be honest. When I go to an NFL game, I feel like yelling and jumping over people to see the action. When I’m at a ballgame (since there is 162 of them), I wanna relax and take it all in. There’s nothing more relaxing then seeing a game in Cincinnati on most nights.
Somewhere around the middle of each summer me and my buddies who follow this team have a few (and all in innocent fun) running jokes about the guys who play for us. For instance last season Brandon Phillips went into a tailspin of sorts. He was struggling. After he went down hacking hard once again I got an immediate text from a friend and from that night on when Brandon Phillips was at the plate it became known as a series of ‘pinyatta swings’. That is what they looked like. Phillips hit a hair over .260 last year, and the only way I could cope with that without going crazy is to laugh at him. The only way you can go through an entire season of Reds baseball without losing your mind is to laugh at these guys. With every season I guess I enter with the win-win outlook of either the Reds are going to be surprisingly good (and it will happen someday) or I’m going to have a lot of laughs.
So last summer as Bronson Arroyo became the MILF hunter with me and my buddies and we traded away Dunn and Griffey; we look towards a bright future. Our manager is a great and friendly guy. Dusty Baker is a gentleman when we go to the ballpark. Treats us really with a lot of respect. But we can’t help but make fun of his bonehead decisions and peg legs. This will all continue until the Reds are for real.
And maybe this will be that year. They’ve got a lot of youth. Teams like the Rays of 2008 give us Reds fans a glimmer of hope. The core is exciting to think about. Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, Johnny Cueto, Edison Volquez, Brandon Phillips, and possibly guys like Todd Frazier, Yonder Alonso, and Homer Bailey. That is an abundance of young talent. And there’s nothing better then young talent.
So while I’m not going to get suckered into making a homer prediction as I have in years past with this group, I’ll say two thing. The Reds will win 80 games and it will be fun. It’s a win-win year for us. Watch the kids grow up a little and gel together, and go through those magical weeks where we go 6-1. There’s also going to be unbelievable 8 game losing streaks where nothing seems to work out and make any sense. The jokes will be rolling.
The Reds are back for another summer and there will be times when all is right with the world. That’s what its all about.