Update: Off to the left, you’ll now find a poll asking when the Reds will clinch the NL Central. Not if. When. Let us know what you think.
Last night, we had some storms and a cold front moved in. When I stepped out this morning. There was a fall chill in the air. But for the still-green tree leaves, it could have been October. World Series weather is what it felt like.
Soon, we here at Redleg Nation are going to switch into postseason mode. We’re going to talk about the roster: Who’ll be on it. Who won’t be on it. Who should and who shouldn’t be on it. It will be a good time. I’m sure there will be healthy debates about all kinds of minutiae. I think you all know I love a good bit of minutiae as much as the next guy. But I want to talk about something else today.
I started writing for RN because of a Jay Bruce piece I wrote as a guest article for The Hardball Times a while back. I emailed Chad to tell him he might want to link it, and he invited me to write about the Reds here if I wanted to. I jumped at the chance.
I jumped at the chance because, yes, the Reds are my favorite team, but also because RN was (and is) my favorite Reds blog. I was a regular commenter, and I loved the level of discussion that went on here. People disagreed, but it was respectful. We rooted for the Reds and we were happy when they won. Losses were no fun, but there was always tomorrow.
Then something happened. In 2010, the Reds went to the playoffs. I don’t think most of us really expected that. It was a wonderful surprise and that season still feels like a dream. We had no expectations, so we had no reason to be anything other than thrilled. Even the humiliation that occurred at the hands of the Phillies couldn’t fully erase the glow. But, when you’ve won once – when you’ve gone to the playoffs – people expect more.
Last season was a disappointment. A terrible disappointment. It was a down year for a good team. An unlucky year for a good team. It was hard not to wonder if 2010 was a flash in the pan. A charmed year that we might not see again for another decade.
This year, the Reds have been excellent. They have the best player in baseball. They have top contenders for Rookie of the Year and the Cy Young Award. They have the second-best record in baseball and the largest divisional lead. Yet, to read the comments here and tweets that come into my Twitter feed, you’d think they were a mediocre team waiting to get annihilated if they manage to limp into the playoffs.
I don’t think we’re hearing all the voices we used to hear.
Wait, I don’t need to think. I know we aren’t.
Too often, the comments here are dominated by a handful of readers. I’ve seen the traffic to this blog. I know more of you are out there. I know the complaints are coming from a loud faction. I don’t want that faction to go away, but I want more voices.
I love baseball. I love this team. They will probably not win the World Series.
They will probably not win the World Series because there will be ten good teams in the playoffs. I think the Reds are among the best of those teams, but I don’t want to talk about that right now. You’ll see some of that coming up in the next few weeks. When I say the Reds probably won’t win the series, I say it because good teams lose in the playoffs every year. Teams that were cold in September get hot in October. Or teams come in hot and keep running over other teams. It happens. It’s baseball. Most of the time – nearly all of the time – your team doesn’t win.
That means you have to be optimistic. You have to assume they’ll win tonight. You have to know that they can win the series. If they lose tonight, you have to think, “They’ll get ‘em tomorrow.” If they don’t win the series, you have to be hopeful for next year. If you aren’t, this game will kill you.
And I know you’re out there. I know I’m not the only optimistic one because I see people retweet my optimistic tweets. Many more than point out how Boston had the worst collapse ever last year or similar nonsense. You are the people I want to hear from. Not just in the comments to this post, but in the game threads and the recaps. Everywhere. I want those of you who love this team to be the loudest voices. Richard got some of you going with his post a few days ago. I saw it in the game comments last night. But I want more. I want every night to be a Reds love fest. I want that because complaining isn’t fun. I want that because this is a good team. It might even be a great team. We won’t know that for years. But they are fun to watch. Even when they’re down, even when Chapman blows a save, you look at the players coming up and think, “Phillips, Votto, Frazier, Ludwick, Bruce. I better not turn the game off yet.”
We can argue about Baker and Cairo and Valdez and Stubbs some more later. Everyone has said what they have to say on that. Let’s put on a new record and turn it up loud and scream at the top of our lungs because this is a good team. Because we are fans and the best part of being a fan is when you get to cheer as loud as you can for your team. Because you love them and this time – this year – there is a chance they won’t let you down. In baseball, a chance is all you can ask for.