Re: The 2010 Central Division Champions...
I just got back in from the game and post-game celebration down on fountain square.
Tonight was one of the most amazing nights I've ever spent at the ballpark. There was an electricity in the air at the park -- one of the liveliest crowds I've ever seen at a Reds game. People on their feet for innings at a time. Loud chanting whenever players were at bat. One kid even brought in one of those damn Vuvuzelas and was blaring away during key moments. When Bruce connected with that ball, I saw people hugging strangers, beer go flying into the air, kids hoisted up onto shoulders. Everyone had a camera out or a cell phone in hand trying to capture some part of this moment.
The fireworks went off, the crowd roared, and slowly started to drift off into the night. Yet, a few thousand (including me) lingered. I suspect we were all still soaking in exactly what we had just seen -- trying to reconcile years of futility and awful play with the amazing moment of success we'd just seen. There were times over the past few years where I was convinced this team was doomed to the also-rans of baseball: A Kansas City East, a Pittsburgh West. I'd wondered aloud to friends if I'd ever see another Reds playoff team in my lifetime. At every turn this year, I waited for "My Reds" to show up -- "My Reds" that choke in big games, acquire bad players and miss opportunities to succeed. But, this year, "My Reds" never showed up. This was different, and I wanted to soak this moment in.
Then, as we all stood there, a funny thing happened: Bronson Arroyo emerged from the dugout, beer in hand, and started jogging around the outside of the stadium giving high-fives to the fans. No fanfare, no cameras following him, just Arroyo taking a lap, thanking the fans and taking it all in. Then, slowly, the rest of the team emerged from the clubhouse and all circled the field, thanking the fans who had remained. It was a really neat moment, scripted or unscripted.
I wish every person who has contributed to this community could have been at GABP tonight. It was an amazing night to be a Reds fan, and the first true celebration in over a decade. For those of us who spent too many nights talking about teams that couldn't compete run by managers who couldn't win and suits who had no idea what took to succeed, it's been a night too long in the making. But, those awful nights and awful years just made everything that happened all the sweeter.
Goodnight, RedsZone. The new magic number is 7 -- the Cincinnati Reds are going to the playoffs, and they're now 7 wins away from the World Series.
23 Years and Counting...