My deja vu you’re my obsession
My deja vu it’s always you
My deja vu…

”I don’t think it’s over,” Knight said. ”It feels like everybody is giving up – although, not the team – saying this is the worst team they’ve ever been around. Everyone is critical of everybody . . . finger points all around . . . it’s me . . . it’s (general manager Jim) Bowden. It’s just been bad baseball.”

http://www.cincypost.com/sports/1997/reds051997.html

Two days prior Knight had uprooted 3rd base during a dispute and slammmed it to the ground in anger, drawing a 3 day suspension from the league and giggles from Reds fans all across the nation.

Nervous giggles… If you listen real hard you can hear a few now as well.

CENTRAL				W	L	PCT	GB	RS	RA	
St. Louis			25	15	.625	-	213	167	
Milwaukee			19	21	.475	6	176	160	
Chicago Cubs			18	20	.474	6	171	165	
Pittsburgh			17	21	.447	7	141	167	 
Houston				15	24	.385	9.5	138	165	
Cincinnati			14	26	.350	11	183	238

Team Name                       W    	L   	PCT    	GB    	RS   	RA
Houston Astros                  22   	20  	.523     -   	170  	156
Pittsburgh Pirates              21   	20  	.512   	0.5   	166  	198
St. Louis Cardinals             17   	23  	.425   	4.0   	154  	153
Chicago Cubs                    13   	27  	.324   	8.0   	164  	199
Cincinnati Reds                 12   	28  	.300   	9.0   	139  	220

Above you’ll see the current Reds and their 14-26 record, below it is the 1997 Season, coincidently the last season that the Reds started out this bad. A season that found the Reds switching managers mid stream a season fraught with long losing and winning streaks, poor play, stagnate offense and poor pitching.

Will the Reds be able to even match the final record of 76-86 that the 1997 team ended up with, can the Reds go 62-60 the rest of the way?

Eight years ago today this quote was in the Post.

The Reds have been fooling themselves – and trying to dupe their fans – for the past two years. Even as their payroll shrunk, they continued to view themselves as contenders who were just a key player or two away from remaining a power in their division. When they couldn’t afford the good ones who became available, they took rejects from other clubs and hoped for the best.

Their fantasy came crashing down around them this spring.

http://www.cincypost.com/sports/1997/reds052097.html

How bad was it? Local Sportswriter Bill Koch grabbed at another straw straight out of the future ain’t as bright as the past section and posted this quote a week before he stated it was all over.

The Reds are a lifeless bunch without much personality. Thirteen games under .500 and eight games out of first place in mid-May, neither the forgiving National League Central Division nor baseball’s wild-card playoff setup holds much promise of rescuing this team from a long, dull summer.

So we offer a modest proposal designed to at least make them more interesting: Bring up Pete Rose Jr.

http://www.cincypost.com/sports/1997/reds051297.html

Classic solution… the team is soooooooo bad let’s bring up a worse player because his name is familar.

Lord help us.

Other notes of familarity.

Previously discussed last month was the uncanny resembalence the Rich Aurilia situation had with the Terry Pendelton situation in 1997. To compound it is the fact that Rich now dwells on the DL, apparently against his wishes and Pendelton started and pretty much finished up on the Reds DL. Another uncanny reason for their presence is found in this gem of a quote from June of 1997

If the Reds are going to keep from collapsing until he gets back, they’ll have to play a different brand of baseball than the one they’ve demonstrated to this point, a smarter, crisper, more intense version. That’s where veteran third baseman Terry Pendleton comes in. Pendleton, a former NL Most Valuable Player and a 14-year veteran, was signed by the Reds as a free agent to provide insurance at third base in case Willie Greene didn’t pan out and to offer leadership for the Reds’ young players.

So far, there hasn’t been much leadership.

Knight wants to change that.

http://www.cincypost.com/sports/1997/reds052097.html

So leadership will take care of the run diffrential and the poor offense from the FA signings Sierra and Pendelton, it will fix Larkins heel too.

Of course not, it didn’t do anything did it?

More Crazy 1997 stuff.

Further reaching into the big bag of baseball metaphors is this quote from June of 1997

The Reds are going to bunt opponents into submission.

They’re going to dazzle them with pitching, play airtight defense and execute all the little nuances that produce victories. With all-star shortstop and cleanup hitter Barry Larkin expected to miss two to six weeks with a strained left calf, manager Ray Knight was searching for alternatives Tuesday.

What he came up with was a lot of brave talk and not much substance.

Not much substance there, some small ball and teamwork comments….sound familar?

Fast Forward to 2005 and Dan O’Briens quote in the Enquirer today.

Q: “How do you give fans hope if you don’t make substantial changes?”

A: “There are two elements to this. You can change certain components. But you’ve got individuals not performing up to

their norm. It’s about doing the best you can to get them to a certain level of productivity, which automatically makes the ballclub better.”

And in the managers office Dave Miley a man who has yet to be labeled “Bubbly” had this to say after the Mets loss on Wednesday (which he was tossed out of, but did NOT throw any bases to stir his club up.)

“It is ugly and embarrassing,” he said. “You don’t have the letters on your computers and typewriters to write what I want to say.

And that’s all I’ve got for you.”

If that’s the reaction to the play (and managing) of late I would bet they won’t be getting much in return from the locals come this weekend..

About The Author

Brian first met the greatest game in Detroit in 1968, that team played in a league called the "American League".... but I digress. Later after a family move he started a dalliance with the Cincinnati Reds, who perchance were in the midst of their greatest era. It was a romance that was greater than many could hope to be. After barely stomaching the strike of 1981 Brian headed West but never forgot the Reds, and even despite being surrounded by Giants and A's fans who tried to entice him with things both Green and Orange he found himself wondering what was up with Kal Daniels and was that kid from Moeller ever going to make us forget Davey. A long time member of SABR and a baseball history junkie he currently lives in Portland and can be followed at @baseballminutia

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2 Responses

  1. Chris

    Thanks a lot, Brian. Bringing up bad memories…. 😯

    Who are this year’s Nunnaly and Stynes – scrap heap acquisitions whose early peaks give us false hope as the summer drags on?

    What potbellied, know-it-all, smokestack will replace Miley?

    Can we expect our “ace” Wilson to be dealt next opening day for a young, friendly-but-punchless first baseman?

    Will next season feature a “youth movement” centered around a loveably-sloppy DH-type and a horribly overrated shortstop prospect? (I guess that could be Stratton and Olmedo).

  2. Heath

    Better yet, who will be the next Pete Harnish?

    And where can we get Danny Graves, circa 1999?

    Can we find a Greg Vaughn type who abhors facial hair so the Reds recind the facial hair policy??

    Bizzaro world again….