Re: Is it OK to call it a choke and still be proud of them?
This hurts so, so much more than 2010, but it's also worth so much more, if that makes any sense.
In 2010 they were lucky to be there. In this postseason, luck didn't go their way. I don't think they choked. I think they were not well managed, and I think they had as many miscues as any team will have in a high-pressure five-game series.
And then they had some bad luck. They had their best pitcher go down. They had their best hitter playing, really, at about 50%. They had some crappy calls. I don't think it's to the degree of a curse or conspiracy. It's bad luck. It's baseball.
They also had jaw-dropping performances by Arroyo, Bailey, and just about everybody who stepped up to pitch in the first game. They had some clutch hitting and some clever hitting. They had Ryan Ludwick. They had Brandon Phillips, and if there's anything I'm going to remember about Brandon Phillips this whole series, it's going to be him grinning ear-to-ear standing as a runner on his own base in the bottom of the seventh. I was ready to chew my own ear off and he was having the time of his life.
The bottom of the ninth was probably the most stressful half-inning of baseball I've ever experienced, and this was as crushing a loss as i hope I'll ever have to take. That said, I don't think I'll remember this badly. I can't hate the Giants or blame the umps. The Reds fought very hard, sometimes more successfully than others, but over five games, I really think they did everything they could with the luck they were given. I love this team. I love baseball. I hate losing. But the team and baseball both showed up for this series, and sometimes that's still a loss.
There is no such thing as a pitching prospect.