Join Date: May 2005
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Re: Your rooting interest
One thing most serious baseball fans would agree on, even if they may not realize it, is that baseball is a part of your life. It's a part of your family. It's a part of who you are. It's a connection to so many good things in your life, whether it's a friendship with other fans or a connection to a loved one who's passed on.
Each year in the fall when the baseball season comes to a close and the Reds are finished playing, I feel lost for a little bit. My daily life is one in which I'm mostly a creature of habit. I like my routines, I like my days relatively planned out and I like to usually unwind with a Reds game in the evening. And for six months out of the year, that's the precise fabric of my daily life. Of course, I don't watch every second of every game - west coast games are tough - and there are times when I have other social obligations. But no matter where I am, or what I'm doing, there's a familiarity of knowing that the Reds are playing and that I can take a peek at the game action or the score at any moment. When the season is over, however, the games are gone and the familiar moments are gone. It's almost like there's an emptiness in my daily life, and it takes a bit of time to adjust.
If you're a serious baseball fan, and a serious Reds fan, ask yourself if you feel the same way. Ask yourself if you feel like there's a sudden void in your life when the season is over. I think most serious baseball fans would understand that feeling.
The length of the season is one reason why the game intertwines with so many daily lives. It's constant, day after week after month. Other than the All-Star break or the occasional weather delay, there's no more than a one day break between games. No other sport has the familiarity and consistency that pulls your heart in night after night.
I would also venture to guess that most baseball fans and Reds fans have a connection that goes back to their youth. For me, it was watching games with my grandfather and dad. My grandfather was a big time Reds fan from his youth in the 1920s all the way up until he passed away in 2003. He regaled me with stories of the Reds from yesteryear, guys like Walters, Derringer, Lombardi, McCormick, Blackwell, Klu, Frank, Pete, Joe, Tony and Johnny, among others. His stories piqued my interest in the game's history, and I soon began to realize how special it was to watch some of the great players of today. Watching baseball is like watching history unfold right in front of you, each and every night. Some day I hope I can entertain my own kids and grandkids in much the same way by lighting up their faces with stories of Larkin being Mr. Everything, Phillips dazzling with the glove and Votto taking control of the batter's box.
There are certain years where I have memories of emotions so strong that I can still feel them pulling at my heart. I was a 17-year-old high school kid in 1999, and more often than not I chose to watch the Reds with my dad and grandfather over doing anything else. Those are some of my fondest memories growing up, and I wouldn't trade those moments for anything. I can remember having to work an evening part time job the night of the one game playoff and missing the beginning of the game. There were no cellphones with data packages at the time; I had no idea what the score was for the first 90 minutes of the game. After my shift was complete, I raced out to the car and turned on the radio, only to feel dejected and down when I heard the score and the tone of Marty and Joe's voice. The game wasn't over, but everything coming through my speakers suggested it was over before it was over.
Other years like 2010 were simply special, and it's amazing to think how special it was even for a simple division championship. My grandfather used to wear an old Reds Starter jacket back in the 90s, and I have that jacket today as a sentimental keepsake. During the waning weeks of the 2010 season before the Reds clinched, I took his jacket out of the closet and set it on a chair facing the television. Even though he had been passed away for several years, it was my way of riding through the joys of a Reds pennant chase with him. It didn't matter that every guy on the 25 man roster was different in 2010 than when my grandfather last saw them on the field. The Reds were still his family, and they were also my family.
Now what about stats and intangibles? I'm sure most anyone who's been on this board for any length of time can tell I enjoy the statistical side of baseball. But it's not because I like math (I don't), it's mostly out of curiousity and trying to make a connection to the game's rich past. Stats can tell you a bunch of information, they can tell you who helped their team win (or lose) and they can foreshadow a bit how much a player might be able to help their team win (or lose) in the future. They allow you to measure a whole bunch of sequences that you'll watch at the ballpark.
But stats can't create that feeling that being immersed in the game can create when you find yourself on the edge of your seat, your eyes fixed on the diamond.
Stats can't create that hope that this year might be the year. They might help inflate hope or dash hope, but we all know there is always hope, even if it's improbable.
Stats can't create the anxiety of October looming around the corner.
Stats can't create the excitement of being lost in a crowd of 40,000+ at Great American on a wild fall Friday night.
And stats certainly can't create that emotion every Reds fan felt when Jay Bruce went deep off Tim Byrdak late one September night, or when Benzinger was backing and calling, or when Little Joe shot one back up the middle into center field at Fenway.
The names on the back of the Reds jerseys are forever changing. Griffey came and went, same with Dunn, same with every other player ever to wear the Reds uniform. Some players will live on in our memories forever, others will fade away to become a long lost trivia answer.
But the name on the front of the jersey will always be family, and it will always be a part of who we all are.
Barry Larkin - HOF, 2012
Put an end to the Lost Decade.
Last edited by Cyclone792; 08-28-2013 at 09:33 PM.