Some industrious Reds fan with editing equipment and a lot of time made a hype video to match the audio of the Avengers: Endgame trailer. There’s not a lot to mock here. It’s pretty good, although there’s a moment of perhaps inadvertent flippancy when the line “all these people are dying” is cued to a closeup of Joey Votto.

There’s an admirable sense of history here (“I know I said no more surprises” is paired with images of the 1990 World Series upstart sweep), as well as acknowledgement of present difficulties (“Sometimes the best we can do is start over” leads to images of—well, the Reds, and “Whatever it takes” is laid over footage of Lorenzen dual roleing and Senzel in a minor league uniform.)

As homemade hype goes, it’s quite well done, but this video wasn’t made for people like me, who are largely in a good place after the last Avengers movie, which ended with mostly of my favorites in place (My spoily reactions to such exquisite details are here). But in baseball, we don’t always get to hang on to our favorites. And sometimes a wonderful surprise arises from Louisville or the trade wire.

The video’s sweeping views of river and bridges suggest urgency, an all-hands effort, and perhaps that’s why this year’s horrific beginning felt so crushing: We’re running out of time. It’s Marty’s final season, the sands are rushing from Operation: Get Joey a Ring, and with a 150th anniversary hyped to bobbleheads and back, there’s a sense that the rebuild has gone on quite long enough. We’re extra disappointed because we didn’t expect to be disappointed at all.

The end of the previous Avengers film, Infinity War, is marked by various characters digitally disintegrating, some more satisfyingly than others. It felt like that’s what was happening three weeks ago, the season flitting off like embers before it even got started. With a sweep of the Marlins, a winout of the Braves series, and an even-steven record with the Cardinals, it’s tempting to believe that the corner has been turned.

But even multi-run leads aren’t safe from the bullpen, and the offense seems to have all the stability of a half-eaten Butterfinger knocking around the dryer. You expect it to all fall apart at any moment. Scooter Gennett is weeks away from starting, Votto with his weird choppy half-swing looks like he’s playing hurt, and now the Cardinals loom.

The Reds’ front office is emphasizing that they have started over, that they are doing whatever it takes, but when the same pitcher who last week startled himself with a hit to the point where he failed to run to first is a bigger RBI threat than the starting right fielder, perhaps it’s time to start asking some questions.

Maybe some surprises are in store. Maybe we’re not anywhere near the end of the beginning. But when the greatest moments of a team seem as if they consist of archival footage ensconced in a top of the tech museum, we can be excused if it feels like ash from time to time.

14 Responses

  1. Eric

    Agreed. So many parts of being a Reds fan (Marty, Joey, 150) lend themselves to a feeling of “wouldn’t it be great if we just win NOW?” …and when we don’t, there’s the inevitably-resulting feeling of “well, if we can’t win now, when CAN we win?”

    Memo to Self:

    New Skipper.
    New Pitching Coach.
    New Hitting Coach.
    New (to the Reds) Players.
    …Including New Pitchers.

    We’re 24 games in. Fully 85% of the season is still in front of us.

    So…why the sense of urgency? I’m not sure…but I feel it, too.

    BEAT ST. LOUIS

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      Oooooh, 85% of the season left? Even that’s the kind of math I get. I like it.

  2. Sliotar

    Lot o’skepticism packaged with whimsy. Well done.

    Look, kudos to anyone that feels inspired to make a hype video. Never would I knock a fellow sufferer, from such a passionate fan base, let down consistently by sorry ownership.

    Personally, I felt all winter that the goal of Reds ownership was to avoid 90 losses…for the fifth season in a row, in the team’s 150th anniversary season.

    I still think they will get there, but based on the weaknesses MB identified, anything significantly more feels dicey.

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      You make a good point… it’s nice to want the championship, but also important to remember that just a winning season is an improvement at this point.

  3. MARK MOORE

    “The offense seems to have all the stability of a half-eaten Butterfinger knocking around the dryer”

    That’s GOLD, Mary Beth. Hot, messy GOLD!!! ???

    Oh, and we’re all pretty …

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      I think we can draw the line of prettiness at a Butterfinger in the dryer. But I’ll take it.

  4. Pete

    Nice article but 180 from where I’m at. I’m charged up about this season. Yes it started about as bad as one could have feared. However, the boys have hung in there and the bats are a long way from being where they are going to end up. All of this plus we add to the roster: Scooter, Wood, Kemp and Senzel. Add in a very good bench and what’s not to like? The team is on the come and the St.Louis series comes at the right time.

    JV should be cautiously optimistic about his immediate future. We can count on one certainty: he will figure out how to reach optimal production for the club – it may not involve much power but I’ll still take. Just keep up the OBA .

    Always love your work Mary Beth; especially, your sense of humor. Tell me you are doing the pregame tonight…..

    • Doc

      9-7 since the disastrous, and the start was not nearly as bad as last year. And this is without hitting. There is much to be optimistic about, at least for now.

      • Pete

        Actually 9-6:

        Marlins 3-0
        Cards 1-1
        Dodgers 0-3
        Padres 3-1
        Braves 2-1

        Dodgers are likely the cream of the crop in the NL. At least in my opinion.

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      Many thanks Pete 🙂 I’m done for the month but will be back in May for the stupid Cubs TWICE, yo.
      I really appreciate your reply and how we can express different opinions here without making the world a worse place. Let’s what happens tonight… I’d far prefer you to be right than I am on this one.

  5. SultanofSwaff

    As in life, our most precious commodity is TIME. In such a tough division the Reds have to linger around .500 for the next month or so in order to take full advantage of the return of Senzel/Gennett/Wood. If they don’t play well until then there won’t be time to stack up enough wins to make meaningful September baseball a reality.

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      That’s a great point, and ties in with what Lance M was talking about concerning rain delays this afternoon.

  6. jreis

    Great topic and write up! as an old, old reds fan I have found that with this team, history does indeed repeat itself. and this year reminds me so much of 1982 it is scary. both teams had really good pitching but just too many bonehead plays and not enough offense to win alot of games. so many games we lost 3-1 or 4-2 that year. the good news is that 1983 was a little better and by 1984 we were a respectable team again. we had these 2 guys coming up named Eric Davis and Barry Larkin that eventually brought us a world series championship. maybe Senzel and Trammel will follow suit. I do hope Joey gets a ring though!

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      jries, thanks so much. This truly helps put it all in perspective… I was around for these seasons, but largely in it for the Topps stickers and the sad Riverfront hot dogs.