View Full Version : Survival Ploys for 'Unwatchable'

05-07-2008, 01:09 PM
I have been a Reds fan a long time so I'm not going to let the current mess ruin the season - I'm just going to change gears from expecting to win to looking for things I can root for.

Watch for Jocketty as he maneuvers things around. This is a slow watch but this team is so bad I don't care who Walt trades anymore. What's here hasn't worked for years now. If the losing continues, this team is going to look very, very different after the deadline.

Enjoy Johnny Cueto, Edinson Volquez. Both are worth watching regardless of how the offense/defense hurts or helps them.

Root on EE and Joey. If there are any pieces of offense left worth hanging on to, its these two. Both are capable of being forces to reckon with. EE is breaking out and Joey starting out.

Harang. I'll appreciate his starts and pitching while he's here which hopefully is for a long time. Dusty said and I paraphrase "Aaron needs to get it going for us" - Huh? He is one of the best hitters on the team when he pitches. The offense is so bad behind him Aaron should bat cleanup in his starts. That is only mildly tongue in cheek. Aaron made maybe 2 mistakes yesterday. The Cubs made him pay. Zambrano made about 33 mistake pitches and the Reds let him off every single time. So, Harang, yes, I'll enjoy watching this kind of pitching in a Reds uni while I can. Maybe Aaron will be the best(peripherals) worst(record-run support) pitcher ever by the time its all over.

Junior - I know his days are numbered. I want to watch these last moments in a Reds uni, the 600th, the sweet swing that IS baseball in motion, the last vestiges of "the kid" glimpsed from time to time in that fading body.

Dunn. Each time Adam comes up now I know I may be watching the end of an era of Reds baseball. The final shards of a shattered dream outfield - Dunn and Kearns and Griffey Jr. Remember when that was going to be one of the great OFs of all time? I see Dunn bat fifth or 6th and all I can think is "Blinded by the Power". I still watch for one of those prodigous blasts but I know his true value each time he reaches base, yet again, with no one behind him to drive him in.

Root like mad for Mike Lincoln, and for Kent Mercker. Hey, if the Reds were in the thick of it maybe I'd wish for younger better arms but let this be the resurrection and the swan song. Two great stories here buried in the muck of a losing team.

Gold from the Mines. Jay Bruce and Homer Bailey. Lesser lights like Janish, Dickerson and Rosales. Step down a level to Chattanooga and see Thompson and company. Watch the raft of talent developing at Dayton and Sarasota. In a bad year you can be forgiven if you tune the radio to a Lookouts game or buy tickets to see the Dragons instead of the Reds. Maybe catch a glimpse of the future. Despite this year's Reds team that future remains bright.

Root for Ks. Unlike hitting, where strikeouts really don't matter, few markers of pitching effectiveness are better than K/9 and BB/Ks. Reds pitchers are gathering Ks by bushel baskets. When was the last time the Reds had so many power pitchers who missed bats? Even Arroyo is K'ing guys. But a game with Volquez for 7, Burton in the 8th and Cordero closing? You have to go back to Rijo and the Nasty boys to see anything like that.

Watch the lineup. Dusty has started tinkering. How far will he go. How long will he keep the same players in the same crazy spots? BP hitting 3 or 4. Dunn 5th or 6th - will he go even lower? Dusty watching. Crazy quotes. Inane lineups. Hey, he adds to the next point.

And sometimes, being the perverse creature I am, its just finding the humor - I mean bad becomes funny at some point. At some point it becomes morbidly comedic when
the bases are loaded with none out and you watch a three pitch K followed by a 1 pitch GIDP and they're scoreless AGAIN. Comedy fans should recognize the genre. The hapless slapstick heroes, the Charlie Browns losing yet again. Finding the comedy is defense against the pain.

I am an optimist but a realist. I can do nothing but accept that I was very wrong about this team's offense. 34 games is no longer early. It's a true indicator of the team's level. I'll still defend the pitching. Given solid defense and some offensive support this staff could compete. The offense is horrendous. It's a case of the sum being much less than the parts. I don't think that's rash or giving up. I just think it's time to pick and choose what to look for outside of winning the division and for the Reds to make moves based on what is best for 2009 and beyond.

SO, what do you look for when the Reds are going really bad? Can you find ways to still enjoy the games? Do you move more to rooting for individuals on the team?

Chip R
05-07-2008, 01:23 PM
Don't necessarily focus on the macro. They're losing a lot and it's not pretty to watch. Focus on the micro. Last night Votto had a great AB against Zambrano and eventually walked. Cueto was nails in that first inning on Monday.

05-07-2008, 01:24 PM
This was a good post. I don't mean to sidetrack what you are saying.

However, I think we have to give Cast a little bit of credit that he recognized that many fans were feeling the hopeless vibe. Thus, the demands to field a winning team NOW.

Instead, we have a very boring team now that loses about 60% of the time. That's obviously not going to sell a lot of tickets.

Let's hope Jocketty is able to make some moves before next season that push us closer to respectablity. I actually hope the plan is not to start from scratch (yet again). Watching this team makes me feel that we have regressed over the last several years, not improved.

05-07-2008, 01:28 PM
Or if you're C. Trent, you can do things like wonder if Paul Bako is going to wear his socks high or low today. Scintilating stuff.

05-07-2008, 01:29 PM
Awesome Post.

I've rooted for great teams.
I've rooted for lousy teams.

There is ALWAYS something interesting happening on the field.

05-07-2008, 03:06 PM
My list is very similar to yours (and great thread idea Jake):

1. I will make sure I can watch/listen to every game that Volquez/Cueto are starting. It is just too new and wonderful a thing to see that kind of young talent with that kind of stuff wearing a Reds uniform to miss a pitch, if I can help it.

2. Echo on watching for the Jocketty moves.

3. Hope that Votto and EE continue to develop. If this year comes to a close and they have .850+ OPS' with 20-25 homeruns, that would be awesome.

4. Watch for the development of Burton, and Bray when they recall him.

5. Will Dusty come to realize that hitting Phillips where he has been hitting him is counter-productive? If so, what will finally drive that point home?

6. Looking forward to eventually seeing Bruce and Bailey up. When they are here, along with Cueto, Volquez, Votto, EE, and Burton, it will be well worth it to watch the youngsters play.

05-07-2008, 03:19 PM
Yeah, we've had a rough start this year. It's been painful, especially since so many thought we'd be contenders in the Central.

The guys we count on for offense came out of the gate barely limping and we've paid the price.

But it's not "unwatchable". It's still Reds baseball. There are a bunch of compelling stories on this team.

We've got two of the most exciting young pitchers in baseball. We're watching Joey Votto step up and claim his place in the starting lineup. Jay Bruce and Homer Bailey are on the horizon.

The way we've played the first month isn't the whole season. Yes, this start has made being "in contention" a long shot, but they're not "unwatchable".

05-07-2008, 03:23 PM
Agreed. And I would even go beyond "watchable", because at this point Volquez's starts are like must-see TV. I feel the same way about Cueto even though he has struggled a bit more. I love watching the future of the Reds pitch.

Falls City Beer
05-07-2008, 04:28 PM
Maybe they'll be fun to watch again this season, but I'd encourage you to look at the Reds' matchups with the Mets this weekend.

I'd say that's shaping up to be pretty unwatchable.

05-07-2008, 04:34 PM
The Arroyo vs. Santana match-up on Saturday definitely seems problematic...

05-07-2008, 04:38 PM
...Belisle vs anybody doesn't fill me with a ton of confidence either

Always Red
05-07-2008, 04:41 PM
they took 2 out of 3 against the Cubs...

Chip R
05-07-2008, 04:46 PM
Too many rally killers today.

Caveat Emperor
05-07-2008, 04:49 PM
But it's not "unwatchable". It's still Reds baseball. There are a bunch of compelling stories on this team.

We've got two of the most exciting young pitchers in baseball. We're watching Joey Votto step up and claim his place in the starting lineup. Jay Bruce and Homer Bailey are on the horizon.

The way we've played the first month isn't the whole season. Yes, this start has made being "in contention" a long shot, but they're not "unwatchable".


After the putrid crap that has passed for starting pitching around here for so long, I don't see how you could ever find watching Edinson Volquez and Johnny Cueto to be "unwatchable," or Aaron Harang for that matter.

There's nothing more beautiful in baseball than watching your team's pitcher just baffle opposing hitters. The looks on their faces as they realize they came up empty on 0-2 or the defeated expression as they watch a 94 MPH fastball paint the black of the plate at the knees for strike three.

If you've stuck with this team through the Jeff Austins, Brian Reiths and Jimmy Andersons of the world, I don't see how you can find an Edinson Volquez start to be "unwatchable."

Spot on, RFS - as usual.

05-07-2008, 05:02 PM
Most fans, teams, managers, and players want to see the team win and a good pitching performance sometimes is an exercise in futililty. I agree that it is heartening that the pitching of Volquez, Harang, and more often than not Cueto is fascinating, and when it all comes together like today, it's a joy.

I'll always watch the Reds. It's in my genes. I can't help it.

05-07-2008, 05:21 PM
Sure wish I had watched today's game...unfortunately, I had to work. :(

05-07-2008, 05:25 PM
Certinally if all you care about is the ultimate win and loss totals you are going to be miserable this year.

While we all would be happier with a winning record or division title, there's plenty of good "back stories" going on this year to find some entertainment value. If you can't find them I'd suggest you either aren't looking, just love to be miserable or are myopically focused on the final W/L column.

05-07-2008, 05:35 PM
Harang + Volquez + Cueto + Cordero closing is enough to buy tickets 60% of the time this season...

I would actually rather be 14-21 and losing games 1-0 and 3-1 with the promising emergence of Volquez/Cueto and Votto to complement Harang then be a softball team posting a 21-14 record with a mirage of a pitching staff held together via duct tape like we've be blessed with witnessing the last decade+ on the Riverfront.

With the current #1-#3 arms and the offense due to come around to at least average, at some point this season the team is going to go on a healthy and enjoyable run for a month+ which might actually make the season pretty darn interesting after all.

Ron Madden
05-08-2008, 03:47 AM
It's the first week of May, we have baseball.

Beats the snot outta the off season.


05-08-2008, 05:35 PM
I'm all about the back stories. If I just wanted to root for a winner I'd be a Yankees fan or something.

These tough times define us as fans. I consider it a privilege watching a young team grow.

I mean, our loyalty has to be rewarded at some point. Right?

05-08-2008, 05:36 PM
Perhaps not.

But I am grateful that we have a collection of really interesting and talented young players to watch at this point.

Ron Madden
05-09-2008, 03:49 AM
I am grateful that we have a collection of really interesting and talented young players to watch at this point.

Me too. :beerme:

Lets hope that Big Bob and WJ can rebuild a really interesting and talented organization from top to bottom.

Right now it's pretty interesting. I'll say that.

Only time will tell just how talented the Ownership, GM, Scouting, Coaching and Developmental Staff will prove to be.