Join Date: Nov 2002
Re: Your rooting interest
Copy and pasted from the 2010 Central Division Champions thread:
Re: The 2010 Central Division Champions...
A bit of time has passed, and now I'm able to post on Tuesday night.
As many others have observed, the atmosphere at Great American Ball Park was in a word electric. From the first pitch of the ballgame until we got in the car to drive home, it was just intense. I've heard many on this board over the years, including myself at times, say that a specific game had a "playoff atmosphere" at the ballpark. No. Tueday night was the definition of a playoff atmosphere and it dwarfed any big game I've been to and I've been to a lot. Opening Day '05, Dunn's walkoff grandslam, all of the Major League debuts of everybody but Votto, the three game set against the Rangers when Junior was on 499 in 2004, the Civil Rights game this year. All of those games had points in the game which felt like Tuesday night, but can't even touch the excitement that night had to offer. The entire crowd was literally hanging on every single pitch of the ballgame. It was just amazing.
When I thought the atmosphere couldn't get any better, along came the bottom of the 6th inning. Cabrera leads off with a single and Votto follows that up. Then all 30,000 plus rose to thier feet. Outside of Junior's at bats while on 499, never have I seen that ballpark on it's feet for so long at a time and making so much noise before the last out of the 9th inning. As Rolen walked, the noise level reached deafening levels. Gomes comes up and battles hard but eventually pop out and you could hear a pin drop at that point. You could cut the nervousness in the air with a knife. That feeling intensified when Phillips got to two strikes. But the elation returned when he drove in the tying run. Even before that point, the third out of the inning drew standing ovations as the Reds were returning to the dugout.
Then came the bottom of the 9th. I, as many others did, had a feeling something big was about to happen. I turned to my fiance as Bruce was taking his warm up hacks in the ondeck circle and told her to have the camera ready cause we're about to win this division on a walk-off. I believe it was CE earlier in the thread who said time seemed to stand still while that ball was in the air and he was correct. Off the bat, you knew it was gone, but there were still 30,000 plus willing the ball out of the park. When it hit the grass....absolute joy. Jumping up and down and screaming. High fiving your neighbors. And then for me....emotion set in.
As others have mentioned, this had such special meaning for me because I, too, lost a grandparent this season. My Grammy died in July while the Reds were in Houston. Her and my Grandad had season tickets just behind the Reds dugout in the blue seats in Riverfront for the 1975-76 runs. After he died in 2000, we bonded once again over Reds baseball. She became such a big fan again of the game. She so looked forward to watching the games on TV every night. She'd always call me at work the next morning after a big or exciting win to talk with me about it. I will never forget the night Adam Dunn hit the walk off grandslam she was with me at the park and even my (at the time) 89 year old grandmother jumped up and down as that ball left the park into the visitors bullpen. She was enjoying this season so much and couldn't wait until Aroldis Chapman made his debut.
The night she died, she was laying in her hospital bed slowly letting go. Her mind was starting to go as her body was shutting down. I had told her the night before while she was still doing good and there was a chance she could go home that I'd come down the next night and watch the game with her in her hospital room. The next day we got a call that it wouldn't be much longer and when we got there she was barely there with us. As I said, her mind was starting to go and she was talking some jiberish. But then just before first pitch of the game at 8:00, some devine intervention came upon us and she was herself again. Still struggling for every breath she took, but her mind was as strong as ever. I sat by her bedside, held her hand and by God we watched that game together. She knew what was going on and tried to have conversations about it, such as who was batting and so on. It was so hard for me because I knew she wasn't going to make it through the night but I made a point to savor every last second of that experience.
She passed away in her sleep after the game.
At the funeral that next Wednesday, after all was over and the family was saying our goodbyes before the casket was shut, I walked up to her with my fiance and put my hand on her shoulder and whispered to her "I'll get the Reds into the playoffs for you." It's hard even as I type this to not get emotional.
Back to the game Tuesday night. After a few minutes of jumping around after the ball left the yard, I was watching the fireworks explode overhead and all of the sudden it hit me.....I got them into the playoffs. At that point, it was extremely hard to hold the tears in. I hugged my fiance, she gave me a kiss and told me Grammy was so happy right now and then we continued to enjoy the night. It was a night I will never for as long as I live forget.
We stayed at the park and took part in the on field celebration with the players. Got tons of great pictures including my fiance and I sitting on the dugout with the celebration going on behind us both with huge smiles and our number 1 fingers up. That will go over the mantel and never leave. The atmoshphere outside the park was unreal as well. High fiving random people on the street, horns blaring and Reds appearal being displayed out the windows of cars. I can't wait to experience that feeling again.
Outside of my family, the Cincinnati Reds are my life. Throughout the decade of losing, I took alot of flack and a lot of teasing about the Reds. Never once did I ever consider switching aliances. I've made the two hour drive to Cinergy Field and Great American Ball Park close to 150 times over the last 10 years. I've traveled to other cities in the country to see them play. I've sat through Joey Hamilton, Jimmy Haynes, Jose Acevedo, Eric Milton, Brandon Larson, Joe Mays, Royce Clayton, Tony Womack and dozens upon dozens of others. And (outside of the hating the losing) loved every minute of it because it was "MY" team. No matter how bad the season was, the first Monday after the season ended was pure hell. I love baseball and I love the Cincinnati Reds. Tuesday night made every last minute I've ever spent at the ballpark or watching on FSN Ohio worth it.
Thank you to Redszone for allowing a place for us long-suffering fans to come together and bond over our common love. Thank you to the Reds organization for finally bringing us a winner. Just thank you thank you thank you for a truely unforgetable night no matter how far we happen to go in the playoffs.
And now, my rant has ended haha.
The Reds (and my wife, I guess
) are the love of my life. Last night in the bottom of the first when St. Louis scored right off the bat, I threw my remote control and said 'I've seen enough of this for the night.' I turned on The Big Bang Theory. That lasted about five minutes before I was right back on FSN. I cannot quit this team....
Never have, never will.
"Strickland Propane... Taste the meat, not the heat." - Hank Hill