With Saturday’s loss in New York, the Reds guaranteed themselves yet another losing season. As of this morning, Cincinnati is 62-82. If they win every single one of their remaining games in 2017, the Reds will finish the season 80-82.
If you read yesterday’s recap, you may have noticed this little nugget:
Remember Y2K? Aaah, the year 2000, when everyone was filled with hope and optimism as to what the new century might bring. Think of all the amazing ways the world has changed in the last couple of decades. Handheld computers that everyone keeps in their pocket? Check. Hover skateboards, just like Marty McFly’s? Check. Baseball on your phone? Check. Flying cars? Not yet!
Back in 2000, Reds fans were incredibly optimistic, and they had good reason to be. During the 1990s, the Reds collected one World Series championship and three division titles (if you count the strike-shortened 1994 season, when the Reds were in first place at season’s end). They were almost always in the race; no last place finishes, as we’ve become accustomed to recently.
That decade ended with the absurdly-fun 1999 season, in which the Reds just kept winning and winning and winning, making it all the way to a one-game Wild Card playoff with the Mets. (Let us never mention Al Leiter here again, okay?)
So, sure, losing that playoff was disappointing, but in the off-season, the Reds acquired all-world center fielder Ken Griffey Jr. in a trade with Seattle. In 2000, the Reds went 85-77 and finished in second place in the NL Central. Junior hit 40 home runs in 145 games and made his 11th consecutive All-Star team. Life was great. The 2000s were going to be awesome, right?
Ummm…yeah, about that. Not so much.
In 2001, the Reds replaced manager Jack McKeon with the immortal Bob Boone, the Reds bumbled to a 66-96 record and a fifth-place finish in the Central division. And the rest is history…
In the seventeen seasons since Boone took over as manager, the Reds have compiled a record of 1293 wins and 1443 losses. Amazingly, that’s only the 24th-worst record in the big leagues during that span. Records as of this morning:
24. Reds 1293-1443
25. Rays 1290-1445
26. Padres 1290-1447
27. Orioles 1274-1459
28. Rockies 1268-1468
29. Pirates 1245-1487
30. Royals 1220-1494
Let’s look at those teams to see if they’ve been as inept as our beloved Cincinnati Reds during this span.
|Record||Seasons with .500 record||Division title||Playoffs||World Series|
|Tampa Bay||1290-1445||6||2||4||1 (lost)|
I also took a look at the Milwaukee Brewers, who ranked just above the Reds on the W-L list since 2001. Record of 1296-1438, 7 seasons with a .500 record or better, one division title, two playoff appearances, zero World Series appearances.
What can we make of this? I dunno, not much probably. I know that we’ve endured a lot of losing over the years, and I wanted to see if I could quantify exactly how much we’ve endured, and how it compared to the rest of the league.
Have we, as Reds fans, had a worse run than any of these other organizations? Only the Pirates have had as many losing seasons as the Reds, but at least the Reds got a couple of division titles out of their little run from 2010 to 2013. I’d take that over what the Pirates have accomplished. But I think I’d trade with every other organization on that list.
Even the Royals, who have had the worst composite record in the majors over this span, by far. They’ve won 73 fewer games than the Reds, won fewer division titles, made the playoffs fewer times…but they have that big World Series win. If the Reds had been able to win a World Series in, say, 2012, all this losing would be a lot easier to endure.
Since 2001, eighteen different teams have advanced to the World Series. None of them are the Reds.
Since 2001, twenty-six different teams have advanced to their league’s Championship Series. None of them are the Reds. The only teams who haven’t advanced that far? Reds, Pirates, Padres, and Nationals (who are in a good position to break that streak this season).*
*Interestingly, every single franchise in the American League has made it to at least one Championship Series during this span.
And it has been difficult to endure, especially since we’ve been writing about this team almost every single day for thirteen of those seasons. Since Redleg Nation launched in the winter of 2005, the Reds have won 1004 and lost 1084, the 22nd-worst mark in the big leagues.
But we’ll always have 2010 and 2012, right?
Loo, I’m the most optimistic guy on earth when it comes to the Reds. I truly believe they’re close to being competitive again, as soon as 2018, but the last three seasons — all of which will be 90+ loss campaigns — can wear down even the most optimistic of fan. And a 17-year run like this?
A book could be written as to the reasons why the Reds have been so inept for much of the last two decades. (No one would want to read that book, but still…) I’m not going to address those here, though I’m sure you guys will dig into some of those reasons in the comments below.
The fact that we’re still here — writers and commenters at Redleg Nation alike — is really sorta amazing. Why do we still follow this team? Why do we still love this franchise? There are a thousand different answers to those questions, but it’s a fact: we still love the Reds and obsess over them every single day. I hope Reds management doesn’t take that for granted. But even if they do, we’re probably still going to be obsessing over every little detail.
After all, the next 17 years have to be better, right?
Blame Chad for creating this mess.
Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, “The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds” is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad’s musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine.
You can email Chad at firstname.lastname@example.org.