As previously explored in this space, we have all learned that the worst thing anyone can do while remodeling a home is include walls, and if there is a wall, you had better hire someone to backsplash the crap out of it.
Now that the Reds are in the midst of their own remodelling, I, like everyone else, am eager for 1) results 2) a season to actually begin so I can complain about them in earnest. As the downtown area gears up, then gears immediately back down, then somewhat tentatively gears up again before gearing up one more time for parade prep as Opening Day (we have been promised) approaches, I see several signs proclaiming this as “Reds Country.” Which it may be. In the immediate area. Because we’re the only ones who will actually put up with this crap.
Marketing gurus like to pretend the Reds fanbase is a Property Brothers mansion, sprawling and freshly backsplashed; I suspect the truth is more in the neighborhood of Tiny House Hunters. THH is somewhat the opposite of Property Brothers; it’s about people seeking out living spaces under 400 square feet, sometimes entire families, in which case it should rightfully be titled Pending Murder Case. There are no backsplashes in THH. There is no room for a backsplash in a tiny house, or for full sized appliances or a coffee table or sanity. This is the situation in which Reds fans find ourselves.
We’re simply not “Reds Country” outside of the I-275 beltloop, God’s Waiting Room where everybody from the 275 loop went to die, and certain areas of West Virginia where everyone is too busy fighting off Appalachian mission spring breakers to change the channel from 700 WLW. Sometimes Reds spiritwear is experienced in the wilds of Arizona, Colorado, Texas, or DC. The number of times this has happened in my travel-weary life can fit well within a tiny house toilet, and it’s because the last time the Reds won anything they didn’t sustain it long enough to become a fashion statement. In the 90s you saw an influx of University of Miami (the wrong one, the one in Florida) caps, Dallas Cowboys jerseys, and Chicago Bulls shoes; you think people in Maine were snapping up 2010 NL Central Division tee shirts? No, Reds Country banner-makers. And I do not disdain this. We are who we are: A mid-market team with a movable parade and free cheese coneys once we figure out which day they’re actually available.
If we’re a concentrated fan base, that means we’re crammed up in this river valley all by ourselves, fending off Pittsburgh to the– whatever direction Pittsburgh is in, I really don’t care and don’t want that filth caught in my search engine–Cleveland to the North, St. Louis to the West and Chicago in hell. We sit here and argue over contracts and catchers and whatever else makes a baseball team work…or, in our case, not work.
These moments in our tiny little footprint are what make our Scooters and our Home Run Championships and our actual Opening Days worth sleeping in a loft and using the shower as a sink spray. We’re elbow to elbow for the moment, but, when the time comes, that’s how we know we real homesteaders from the cap-buying carpetbaggers.