View Full Version : Last night, I was brought right back to childhood.

08-10-2006, 10:24 PM
I realize that today the Reds, and us as fans, suffered a rather tough loss in an important game, but I have to share my feelings and my experience last night.

Let me first go back to my childhood, I was raised a Reds fan, through and through, thick and thin. Some of my first memories are of being at Riverfront Stadium watching the Reds of the mid to late 80's and of course every year after that, which included the wonderful and magical 1990 season. I grew up in Louisville, Ky. so the drive to the park wasn't bad at all, and we owned 1/3 of a seasons tickets. Let me just pick out the 1990 season since obviously it was the Wire to Wire year, and at the age of 11, it was when I was first starting to understand baseball, and develope an unconditional love for it.

One of my favorite events for me in that year was when my oldest brother John, would come home from work on Friday night as I was at home playing video games or whiffle ball or doing whatever it is that 11 year olds do with their summer vacations, and would pull out tickets for the entire weekends series and tell me to "get in the car because we're going to a hotel and catching the whole series". I of course, beaming with joy, would throw my belongings in a bag and be raring to go in a matter of minutes, off we'd go to Cincinnati and I felt on top of the world.

I remember one of the greatest feelings was the general buzz around the city. In the hotel, everyone was talking about the Reds, in the streets, at a restaurant, everywhere we went, Reds Reds Reds, and as a kid, I was in awe of the passion that surrounded the team. My brother an I would stay up late and sit on the balcony, staring at the ballpark (we always stayed in that round hotel, the name always escapes me) and talk about how bad the Reds were going to beat their opponent the next day. The rest of the season was a blur to me, a blur of emotion, passion, and in the end, supreme joy and happiness. Since that season the Reds have had a few good years, mostly bad, but I have remained the same, I just missed that feeling, the feeling in the city, the buzz, the swagger, the passion.

Fast forward to last week, I live in Beavercreek now with my girlfriend of 5 years who is as big a Reds fan as I am. Her, myself, and my supervisor from work decided to go to todays(8-10-06) game a couple weeks ago and got
our tickets online. Well, on a spur of the moment decision a couple days ago I decided it would be cool to go down last night and get a hotel room. That would put us in the city close to the ballpark so we could get up and get there early. So last night we arrive in Cincy and the game is going to the bottom of the 8th, Reds down 7-6. I had it on the radio the whole way down and just kind of had a feeling that there could be some fireworks (literally and figuratively) in the 9th. So I run in to the front desk as fast as I can to check in so we could get to our room and a T.V. By the time we got it on it was already in the bottom of the 9th with Richy at the plate, he walks...I wring my sweaty hands at the possibility of a comeback win, and before I knew it, the magic happened!

My cell phone blows up with calls from my Dad, my brother, my cousins, friends, and then my girlfriends brother, who was at the game calls me, it was then that I heard it. At the other end of the phone I first heard him yelling "This One Belongs To The Reds!!" But his voice was quickly drowned out by the most beautiful, melodious sound in the world, the crowd. The crowd noise was deafening, I could almost feel the energy coming through my phone! I was so fired up I had to go outside to get some air and walk around for a while. I of course had to go my car to listen for Martys call on the play of the game, and not too long after I heard it, I saw what I had longed to see since my childhood. A bus, several cars, and a bunch of cabs pull up in front of the hotel while I'm outside, and out come probably a hundred people all from the game. They walk through the parking lot towards the hotel yelling, screaming, high fiving, and hugging everybody, including myself (I had a Reds shirt on), these people were flat out excited! Not about the Bengals, not about the Buckeyes, but about the Reds!! In August!!

At that moment I was taken back to my childhood, back to the innocence of being 11 years old, back to the fondest of memories of one of the most magical years of my life, and the Reds were the reason. No matter if this year takes a turn for the worse or not. For that moment, the feeling was back in Cincy, the buzz, the emotion, the passion. And I love it.

08-10-2006, 10:54 PM
Great story. It's nice to see some excitement in Cincy this time of year.

08-10-2006, 11:14 PM
Excellent story. :thumbup:

I was at the game (8/9) with my dad so I had a lot of flashbacks to childhood as well.

08-10-2006, 11:24 PM
Great story TJ25. As I watched the game on Weds. night, I was once again reminded of the purity and majesty of baseball. In just about every other sport, the people who are expected to be the big producers usually are the ones to come up with big plays. Baseball is still a sport where players who are realtively unknown outside of fan circles (Brandon Phillips and David Ross) can come up big and be the heroes. Weds. night reminded me of everything I have always loved about the game of baseball and more important THE Cincinnati Reds. Thanks for the post.

This got me thinking about a case in point. The 1983 World Series. I loved watching the O's beat the Phils that year. But, with all that offense that the O's had (Eddie Murray, Cal Ripken Jr. etc..) who would ever have thought that Rick Dempsey would emerge as the hero?

08-11-2006, 12:46 AM
I was 10 years old when the Reds bet Boston in the Series,saw my Mom and Dad jump off the couch screaming..been a Reds fan ever since

08-11-2006, 07:25 AM
Thanks for your memories TJ. That was a great story! I think one reason we all stay sports fans is that we can connect our childhood to it and brings it all back during great games like the one Wednesday night.

08-11-2006, 09:04 AM
I've been reading some lately some theology and the writer talks about "the narrative" - I think that is the beauty of baseball, the ongoing narrative of the story. Not to make this a mystical thing, but it's more than just our childhood. If you're a fan, it's always.

I love to have the chance to talk to fans of different ages.

Stories told by the office supply owner whose store was once across the hall from my business who played in the minors (during that time that baseball had an alphabetic amalgam of lower leagues - D, C, AA, AAA etc.) and how Johnny Vander Meer was his manager and reamed him for failing to follow through on a double play because the runner was coming in standing up. Vander Meer said he didn't care and if he doesn't get down then drill him. In the second game of the doubleheader, sure enough, another run comes in like that, the guy fires, the ball smacks the guy right between the eyes and shoots straight in the air, dropping the runner in his tracks.

Or my buddy and I sipping a couple of beers while we leaf through our older friends scrapbook of his years in the minors with the Reds in the late 50's. Looking at boxscores (Hey, Don, Brooks Robinson hit two homers off you in a game at Williamsport [or wherever it was]?) and seeing who his teammates were (I remember Vada Pinson).

Being at Monday nights game and this guy in his 70's politely ribbing us that the Cardinals were killing us. Since my wife's a native Missourian, I'm always curious if folks are from there, but no, he said he'd been a fan of the Redbirds for 70 years growing up in Wisconson. He said, "Who else was there to root for?" (I guess the hatred of Chicago by Wisconsinans is pretty deep) and how he'd listen to them on the clear channel St. Louis station.

And on and on. It's the narrative, like a sports version of "The Kevin Bacon" game: Griffey played with Jeffrey Leonard on the 89 Mariners who played with Manny Mota on the 77 Dodgers who played with Harvey Haddix on the 1963 Pirates who played with Enos Slaughter on the 52 Cardinals and suddenly you're back to a player who began his career with the 1938 Cardinals and in five players, you're back nearly 70 years.

It's great. Thanks again for the great narration (narrative!) of your experience.

08-11-2006, 09:40 AM
Thanks for the compliments! I'm usually not much of a writer, but when it's about baseball it becomes so organic. It truly comes from the soul. :thumbup: