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.

Proud aunt Mary Beth Ellis is a freelance writer and college teacher who lives in Cincinnati, OH. Her home site, BlondeChampagne.com, has existed in at least some form since 2003, and Mary Beth has been a regular columnist with one publication or another from the age of 16. Her first book, Drink to the Lasses, was published in 2006. She currently teaches college, runs personal wine tastings, gives literary readings, and stares into the middle distance.

Join the conversation! 32 Comments

  1. I’ve been waiting for your column … and I’m finally rewarded.

    Multiple +1000’s for using the word “crap” repeatedly and properly. You are us and we are you … that’s the nature of the flock as you said.

    Let’s backsplash the crap our of this season … I’m ready even though I’m a few hundred miles outside the approved building zone. I’ve never called Cincinnati my home, yet my heart is there and lives and dies with our Reds.

    Go Reds! Go Joey! Make us proud again. And let the major disaster remodel begin.

  2. “…don’t want that filth caught in my search engine….” That’s one of the funniest lines I’ve ever read, and it’s also a tremendously efficient bit of writing. You’re really good at this, Mary Beth.

    And kudos to RLN for continuing to feature writing like this amongst all of the more analytically-minded pieces.

    • Awwwww thanks. The integrity of one’s search engine is paramount.

  3. We are what we are. The other day, while wearing my Reds cap, a complete stranger, (vs an incomplete stranger???), donning a Cardinal cap, asked me, “you know your wearing the wrong hat”. It was my fault, I well outside the I-275 loop.

    • I saw a Reds shirt in Flagstaff, AZ. The good part of the rarity is that it’s enough to know you’ve found a true fan.

    • The Cardinals’ cap qualifies him as an incomplete stranger.

  4. I needed a little humor this morning. Thanks for providing it.

  5. I sport my Reds cap/shirt proudly in San Antonio. Don’t see many down here.

    • I do likewise in San Antonio, Florida, or as we locals call it, San Ann.

    • I need to expand my Texas destinations. That’s one I haven’t hit yet.
      Kind of a big state in case you didn’t know.

  6. This Reds cap has been worn in Cincinnati, Louisville, Austin, Nashville, and now Raleigh/Durham. It has made it as far as Bangalore, India, where I tried to explain baseball to a guy as he tried to explain cricket to me (it didn’t take). I’ve experienced only minimal amounts of crap from people about it, if only because I’ve not spent extended periods of time in the aforementioned CLE, STL, PIT, or CHI.

    Even having been born in Libertyville IL, as a Packers fan, I do appreciate your “Chicago in hell” comment, which I think bears even more significance on Good Friday.

    Surprise us, this season, my beloved Reds. Pleasantly. Surprise us.

    • You win the “farthest away” award so far.

    • I’ve worn it in Raleigh many times (since I live there). I don’t think I packed it when I was in Hawaii though.

  7. My Reds cap lives with me in Vermont, and never generates negative comments. Probably because it’s the same color as a Red Sox cap, but possibly because I’m reputed to be volatile.

  8. You are right. Not much beyond the I 275 loop. Although I lived in Findlay for about 4-5 years and that was pretty heavy Reds Country. Now however down in Virginia I have two Reds shirts that I have worn out and two Reds Caps. I still wear proudly. (Along with my UNC hat, I get much more grief for that one) The real issue is that however is that I don’t get grief for the Reds gear because no one around here cares about the Reds. They are insignificant outside of Cincinnati. Let’s move out of that tiny house into something better. Maybe we need to contact Chip and Joanna.

    • I have a Crosely Field cap that’s waaaaay cool. It really separates out the bandwagoners.

  9. I have had the good fortune to visit Saratoga Racetrack 3 times in recent years. I always wear my Ted Kluszewski shirt one day. It is so much fun to have guys my age and older(70) tape me on the shoulder. ” Hey, Buddy, I sure remember Big Klu, boy could really hittem” I only get a few seconds with them, but that shirt is priceless. My son made it for me and he stands and smiles knowing how much pleasure Ol Dad gets from BIGKLU 18 shirt. Always look forward to your pieces , keep them coming.

    • Oh! Thank you so much for bringing Big Klu to Saratoga! That sounds wonderful 🙂

  10. Wore my late 90s/early aughts black wishbone C hat in DC a few years back and lost count of people that came up to me and replied that they were huge Bears fans as well and what I thought of Jay Cutler.

    • I lived in DC when the Nationals began. It was… uncomfortable for me and my Sean Casey tops.

      • When were you in DC, MB?

        • Now that was the Era of the Ill-Advised Haircut, so judging by the photographs, 2008-2010.

          • Oh wait, I was around when the park opened, not when the franchise moved. Never mind. All I remember is a co-worker cramming his cubicle with all kinds of Nationals gear and me thinking, “Are you sure this is the kind of lifelong commitment you wanna make?”

    • Matt, I had a special Reds denim cap with a wishbone-C filled wth stars ‘n stripes, and I used to get the Bears thing from people all the time. uggh…

      • That sound wicked cool (the cap, not the Bears thing. That’s just sad.)

  11. We moved from just outside the I-275 loop 10 years ago to central Iowa where being a Reds fan is definitely in the minority. Hubby and I are in the midst of doing the MLB tour (20 down, 10 to go). I wear my Reds t-shirts at most games, regardless of who’s playing.

    Side note: Since leaving Ohio, the t-shirt I get the most comments on is my Skyline Chili one.

    I enjoy your articles, and look forward to another season of Redleg Nation recaps that often make me laugh when I want to cry.

    • Thanks Florence. Although the one I’m working on now is largely tear-driven.

Comments are closed.

About Mary Beth Ellis

Proud aunt Mary Beth Ellis is a freelance writer and college teacher who lives in Cincinnati, OH. Her home site, BlondeChampagne.com, has existed in at least some form since 2003, and Mary Beth has been a regular columnist with one publication or another from the age of 16. Her first book, Drink to the Lasses, was published in 2006. She currently teaches college, runs personal wine tastings, gives literary readings, and stares into the middle distance.

Category

2010 Post-Season, 2018 Reds, Baseball Is Life