The Cincinnati Reds, the baseball team we cheer for, is still playing.
The two teams in New York City can’t say that, including the one with a payroll over $200 million.
The two teams in Chicago can’t say that. They both finished in last place.
Last year’s World Series champion can’t say that. Ten games under .500.
That Washington Nationals team all the pundits said would win 120 games. They’re done.
Same with those Blue Jays that were going to win the AL East. Last place.
Buck Showalter’s media darling Baltimore Orioles. Done.
The Phillies had a payroll over $165 million. Sixteen games under .500.
The Angels, who’ve signed Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton the past two seasons. At home again.
The Reds didn’t accomplish everything we’d hope for this year, but they’re still in it. For now, forget about all the losses to weak teams in August and September, forget the crazy lineups, the bunt-a-paloozas, the controversy over Votto’s season, Chapman in the bullpen, Ludwick’s shoulder, Ludwick’s statement, the paralysis of the front office … forget it all for now. There will plenty of time to take an accounting of all that. Months.
If you dwell on the negative tonight, shame on you. There’s a word for those people and it starts with an “L” and ends “OSER.”
For the next 24 hours, get excited all over again because your baseball team is still in it.
Think about Johnny Cueto, master of the Pirates, controller of the running game, taking the mound. Think about Shin-Soo Choo and Joey Votto working the count to get on base. Think about Jay Bruce launching one of his majestic home runs, and maybe Super Todd Frazier, too. Think of Ryan Hanigan gunning Starling Marte out at second base and Zack Cozart and BP turning a fabulous double play or two. Close your eyes and watch the blur that is Billy Hamilton stealing second base and third, if you can. Then, imagine Sean Marshall, J.J. Hoover, Sam LeCure and Aroldis Chapman shutting the door. Two innings for Chapman.
Most of all, get excited tonight and tomorrow that the team is still playing. Don’t cheat yourself out of that.
The Reds may yet break our hearts, sure. But what’s the point of being a fan if you’re going to worry about that?
Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky’s Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve’s thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.