Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Wait Till Next Year!

The Cincinnati Reds finished the 2009 season on Sunday, 13 games behind the Central Division leading St. Louis Cardinals. That's 9 losing seasons in a row for the storied franchise. What a far cry from the Big Red Machine of the 70's.

I became a Reds fan as a nine year old in 1960. The late Fred Hutchinson's magical 1961 team who lost 4-1 to the Yankees in the October Classic set the stage for a young boy's expectations. The 70's were a special time for Reds fans everywhere. The 1975 World Series between the Reds and the Boston Red Sox was arguably the greatest series ever. Then in 1976 the Big Red Machine reached their zenith by winning the National League pennant and sweeping the mighty New York Yankees in four games. I was busy raising a family and building an insurance business in the 80's and 90's, and even though the Redlegs won the 1990 World Series on my 40th birthday, it just wasn't the same as before.

For some reason, I began to keep up with the Reds this season. Not like I did as a kid - listening to every inning of every game on the radio. There's just no time for that. However, with the Fox Sports Ohio network carrying most of the Reds games, I was able to pick up a few innings here and a few innings there, and I began to catch the bug again. Young players like Jay Bruce, Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips set the tone with new hopes for the future.

There was no "June Swoon" this year, and excitement was building as I took the grandsons and another friend and his son to a game with the Cardinals on July 3rd. The Reds were trailing the Cards by only 1/2 game and I was really beginning to get that old time feeling again. But that very night seemed to set the stage for the disastrous remainder of the season.

Reds were on top in the 8th inning when one swing of big Albert Pujols' bat plated four runs, and started the Reds on a down hill slide through the entire months of July and August. To be honest, injuries played a big part in the Reds demise this season. But hope springs eternal. There are some fine young players coming back next season. If Aaron Harang can get back on track, if Bronson Arroyo and Homer Bailey can pitch next season as effectively as they have the latter part of this season, who knows?

Maybe next year!

No comments: