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Thread: Your rooting interest

  1. #16
    Ripsnort wheels's Avatar
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    Re: Your rooting interest

    Quote Originally Posted by Lonnie Wheeler View Post
    This is some great stuff, guys, and I haven't even gotten to the private messaging yet. I find it very interesting that, already, two people have traced their Redsness to Rose; that, 24 years after being banned, he remains, in that way, current.

    Love the little personal touches. I think this is gonna work. When the editor talked about what he wanted to add to the narrative, I had my doubts that it was doable. But Redszone to the rescue.
    Why does everyone else in the media seem to ignore this place? It's an absolute treasure trove.
    "We know we're better than this, but we can't prove it." - Tony Gwynn

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  4. #17
    Haunted by walks
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    Re: Your rooting interest

    Quote Originally Posted by Lonnie Wheeler View Post
    * whether your rooting interest in the Reds is at all related to the character, effort, and personalities of the individuals who make up the roster;
    Growing up in Southeastern Ohio and Kentucky, I was meant to be a Reds fan. When I was about 7, my mom bought me a shirt with Vada Pinson's number on it and he became my favorite player. I read all I could about him and I liked his speed and grace. That he was somewhat overshadowed made me like him more.

    * whether, and why, your attraction to the team has fluctuated over the seasons;
    The Dick Wagner years nearly snuffed out the flame, but there was enough of an ember to be rekindled. The Reds have been fortunate that they've almost always had a great player who spent his entire career with the team, from Bench to Concepcion to Larkin. There's a chance that Votto or Bruce will add to that.

    * whether your affinity for the club declined or picked up (if either) after Griffey and Dunn were traded;
    I felt that Griffey and Dunn didn't deserve the grief they were getting, but it was clear that the team needed to be rebuilt and it wasn't working with them.

    * whether you believe that Jocketty’s penchant for bringing in players with evident character/leadership assets—Rolen, Cabrera, Ludwick, perhaps Gomes—has played a substantial role in the organization’s competitive upturn over the past few years.
    We grew to distrust the "veteran presence" label in the lean years because it seemed like it was the only thing you could say about the aging down-siders the team could afford to sign. He's a presence in the clubhouse, but the game is played on the field. It's like calling a pitcher an "innings eater." If he were good, you'd call him a winning pitcher. I admit to assuming Rolen would be more of the same, but he actually made a difference. I always wonder, though: How many do you need at one time?

    Reds fans who remember the Big Red Machine sometimes admit to being spoiled. No one will see the likes of that again. And there's a deep love for the Pete Rose-inspired scrappy little dudes like Ryan Freel. That runs deep, and sometimes makes it harder on immensely talented players with cooler personalities like Eric Davis or Joey Votto.

    [/QUOTE]

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  6. #18
    Tired of talk. Win! Joseph's Avatar
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    Re: Your rooting interest

    Quote Originally Posted by Lonnie Wheeler View Post
    This is some great stuff, guys, and I haven't even gotten to the private messaging yet. I find it very interesting that, already, two people have traced their Redsness to Rose; that, 24 years after being banned, he remains, in that way, current.

    Love the little personal touches. I think this is gonna work. When the editor talked about what he wanted to add to the narrative, I had my doubts that it was doable. But Redszone to the rescue.

    Anytime Lon, anytime.

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  7. #19
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    Re: Your rooting interest

    Quote Originally Posted by BCubb2003 View Post
    I admit to assuming Rolen would be more of the same, but he actually made a difference. I always wonder, though: How many do you need at one time?
    [/QUOTE]

    You hit on a key point there, and one that speaks to the complexity of the intangibles issue. There are no blacks and whites. A player like Rolen is bound to have a different effect on one team than he will have on another, depending on their respective compositions. Along the same lines, a team can sometimes have too many leader types if, in fact, there aren't that many players on the club who actually need leading. The leader's assets, in effect, are squandered. That goes to what I classify as chemistry, which is not, as so many people believe, a matter of everybody getting along in a kumbaya kind of way, but one of everybody's talents and styles complementing each other to the fullest effect.

  8. #20
    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: Your rooting interest

    I'd agree with the sentiment that the "Reds are my family", but perhaps in a different way.

    I didn't choose the Reds. I didn't look around, consider my options and pick them. I was born in Columbus in 1982 and was a little league SS in Dayton in 1988 when the Reds had a guy named Barry Larkin. It was inevitable.

    Once that happened, I was a Reds fan. And that's where the family thing comes in. You don't pick your family. You grow up with them. You go through life with them, good, bad and otherwise. Sometimes you're close to them, sometimes not. You realize that it's basically arbitrary at the end of the day, but you've got to have somebody.

    People change. Rosters turnover. People learn and grow. What defines the fan experience to me is precisely that it isn't a choice. My fandom is rooted in knowing that I'm not going to stop being a fan simply because they trade for a superstar or pick Dusty Baker to be their manager.

    And really, how much do we know about the real people we're rooting for anyways. It strikes me as silly to think that we could know so much about so many players' real personalities so as to base a decision such as fandom on that.
    Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.

  9. #21
    Bread Gloves Razor Shines's Avatar
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    Re: Your rooting interest

    * whether your rooting interest in the Reds is at all related to the character, effort, and personalities of the individuals who make up the roster;
    Born into rooting for the Reds. Growing up in Indianapolis and having a father that was a huge Reds fan, I didn't have much say in the matter. It's strange the Reds are so much a part of my identity that I can't imagine having to have made a choice. I almost feel like someone who chose to be a Reds fan is more of a fan than I am because at some point they made an eyes wide open decision to root for the Reds.


    Personality probably plays a small part in whether or not I like a particular player but I like players from all over the league and I root for the Reds unconditionally.

    * whether, and why, your attraction to the team has fluctuated over the seasons;
    Yes, but more because of my life than anything that the Reds management or players have done. Through high school and college I still thought I could be my favorite Reds players. It wasn't until after college that I really viewed myself as a fan. I followed the Reds through college but I thought they were more future colleagues than anything else. It's funny to admit that now.


    * whether your affinity for the club declined or picked up (if either) after Griffey and Dunn were traded

    Yes, for a short time. As I stated above until, 2003-2004 I still thought that if I could stay healthy I was going to play professionally, so those two seasons I really started to become a fan. I came to this board in 2006 and one of my first posts was posting that I thought the batting order should be the pitcher hitting 8th (no matter who) and Dunn hitting 9th. I had never heard of advance statistics and I thought for sure I was so clever that I would be praised for my creativity and hilarity, because obviously every other Reds fan felt the same as I did. I was shocked out at how my post was torn to shreds. OPS!? Strike Outs are just outs!? I pushed back for a while but it wasn't long before I realized these new stats made too much sense for me to ignore and I became a believer.

    Dunn was soon one of my favorite players right next to Junior and I was one of their staunchest defenders. Intangibles fell further and further down my list of things that were important in a ball player, give me talent and give me production.

    It did sting when they were traded. I didn't disagree that it was time but I had developed a connection to those guys. For my short time I considered myself to have been an active fan those were the first two guys I'd really made that connection with. When they were traded it felt almost as rough as when Reggie Miller retired from the Pacers and Peyton Manning was released by the Colts.

    I didn't root for the Reds any less. I wanted them to win just as bad but honestly for a while I did miss seeing Dunn and Griffey out there. Luckily this Joey Votto character has come along and he's not a bad ball player.


    * whether you believe that Jocketty’s penchant for bringing in players with evident character/leadership assets—Rolen, Cabrera, Ludwick, perhaps Gomes—has played a substantial role in the organization’s competitive upturn over the past few years.
    I don't think their character/leadership assets has had a great deal to do with the upturn. Rolen was fairly productive and was an excellent defensive 3rd baseman. Ludwick had a productive season last year. I believe their leadership skills are a positive but marginal impact on the overall upturn. I believe the upturn can be much more accurately linked to overall talent improvement, specifically the pitching staff.
    Last edited by Razor Shines; 08-28-2013 at 02:51 AM.

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  11. #22
    nothing more than a fan Always Red's Avatar
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    Re: Your rooting interest

    Quote Originally Posted by Lonnie Wheeler View Post
    This brings up an aspect that I didn't get into, but is certainly relevant. I suspect that, for all of the game's romance and aesthetics, there are some fans whose attraction obtains in no small part from the numbers. We love to quantify. We love to parse and figure out. I believe I'm kind of AC/DC in this respect. In any event, I'm certainly open to hearing from folks who are drawn to baseball by the math, if that's the case. I don't want to be deaf to the other side.
    That's the beauty of the game, I think, that it can appeal to those so inclined to math, and those who enjoy the beauty and history of the game. The newer sabr stats have only increased the number of left brained addicts to the game. That's why I love this site so much- the are plenty of folks very interested in the numbers mostly, and I have learned so much from them, and understanding that more has increased my enjoyment of the game. And there are also plenty of guys (and gals) more like me, who are Reds fans, and enjoy the esthetics and history of baseball.

    I don't think you can really separate the numbers of baseball from the history of the game. Everybody knows what 60 HR, 61HR, 714HR, 755HR, .400, 4256 - what they all mean and signify. They are as much a part of the game as Yankee pinstripes or the goat cursed Cubs.

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    Re: Your rooting interest

    One of the biggest decisions I ever made in my life was to move to Cincinnati for college. Ever since I did, I have loved this city with a passion. The Reds are such a big part of this city. It affects people every day. The water cooler chat around the office.

    When the Reds are in a pennant race (as they have been recently) the atmosphere in the whole city changes. Everyone suddenly has something in common. We all talk about meeting up before or at the game. My brothers are calling and texting me after each big hit. My friends are excited.

    I root for the team because I'm a fan and I like baseball. Maybe more than that though, I root because I want that positive energy that flows through this city when the Reds are the talk of the town.

    I realize none of that directly answers your question about intangibles on the team. I guess my answer is that it's not any specific players that I'm concerned with. This team and this city drive my passion for the players. While I "feel" close them at times after rooting for them for years, they are mostly interchangable.

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    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

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  17. #25
    Moderator RedlegJake's Avatar
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    Re: Your rooting interest

    I learned to love the game on my grandmother's lap. Before my father's coaching came my gran's stories. Her dad played in the early days of west side stoop ball. She was a rabid Reds fan and Vada Pinson was her favorite player in those early days of my childhood. Before Vada was Wally, before Wally was Frank Mc or Buck, before Buck was Sunny Jim and on and on back into memories fed me at night the way other children got Brer Rabbit or Cinderella. I had no choice in the matter, really. Summer was ice cream, swimming, a couple weekends at Coney Island and BASEBALL. Only baseball got the caps and baseball was synonymous with the Reds.

    I was an odd duck as a child. I always liked the role payers for some reason. Elio Chacon, Don Pavletich, Billy McCool, Art Shamsky. Maybe because I knew they were much, much closer to my own skill set than the superstars. Still a world away but role models on how to grind away at being part of team even if you're not the one with the spotlight on you.

    Vietnam came. I joined the Marines just in time to miss most of the BRM glory years. I watched and listened from afar but I was kind of busy. War interferes with your enjoyment of a lot of things. And that haze of smoke you are trying to escape said war with. Came stateside to folks spitting on me and such pleasantries in Southern California so my new bride and I started civilian life in KC where her family was from. Cut off from Cincy and my family my fandom never waned but in those years getting Reds news was sketchy. A box score here or there and the weekly SN. Al Gore hadn't done his Internet inventing magic yet. Funny thing happened. My three sons grew up White Sox or Royals fans. White Sox!!!!! Damn that Frank Thomas! Hang you George Brett!!!

    This is no laughing matter actually. A family is in crisis! A genealogy of Reds fandom about to be severed. The baton unpassed. My father died, a Redszone fanatic and huge, huge Reds fan. He got me hooked on Redszone. Well, to make a long story shorter, about four years ago I had a heart attack and open heart. It has been touch and go - complications. My health has been iffy. My youngest son Rich has suddenly come around and we've opened my collection of Reds cards and memorobilia. He's avidly listened to all the old stories and touched and looked at the stuff with that unmistakeable glint in his eyes.
    "Dad, what are planning to do with all this stuff...you know...." He left it unsaid.
    "I'm gonna leave it to a Reds fan somewhere"

    We've watched a bunch of Reds games this summer together. Last night he was cussing those damn Cardinals and demanding Rolen to get back in the clubhouse.

    I know where that collection is going now. And that legacy is safe for another generation. I wish I had a Hudie to drink to Gran...

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  19. #26
    Waitin til next year bucksfan2's Avatar
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    Re: Your rooting interest

    * whether your rooting interest in the Reds is at all related to the character, effort, and personalities of the individuals who make up the roster

    Yes and no. Its easy to go out there and root for good guys. Its easy to root for guys who get their uniform dirty and run out even the most mundane outs. But the reality is I root for the Reds to win. I am glad my team went though the PED era pretty much unscathed but that also coincided with a decade of losing. I have yet to see a banner taken down because a particular player or team was juicing. Winning the right way is something everyone achieves to do, but overall winning is what makes people happy.



    * whether, and why, your attraction to the team has fluctuated over the seasons

    The only time my attraction fluctuates is when football starts. When baseball starts there is always excitement for a new season. There are always hopes that team will overachieve and make the playoffs. My wife is from out of town and during the Reds decade of losing would always remind me that I said "They are going to be good this year."

    *whether your affinity for the club declined or picked up (if either) after Griffey and Dunn were traded

    I think that the players, organization, and fans needed a change. For a decade the Reds had built a team around offense but pretty much nothing else. Griffey was great to watch but we got to see his decline as a player. He was riddled by injuries and father time during his tenure with the Reds. I think the trades of Griffey and Dunn signified a new direction for the organization. It was a sea change from the way the organization once operated to the way successful organizations operate. My affinity for the club didn't change, but it sure has been much nicer rooting for a team that has won 2 out of the last 3 years.

    * whether you believe that Jocketty’s penchant for bringing in players with evident character/leadership assets—Rolen, Cabrera, Ludwick, perhaps Gomes—has played a substantial role in the organization’s competitive upturn over the past few years.

    A 162 grind of a season is tough. I remember when it was reported that Rolen had a talk with Phillips about show boating after a HR. Rolen basically told Phillips that if he catches a ball in the back because of his antics they were going to have words. I believe there is an aspect of learning to win over a 162 game season. Learning to deal with not only the highs and lows. Learning not to get too worked up over losing streaks and the only way to do that is through experience. At the end of the day you need immense talent in order to become a major leaguer. But I firmly believe that character and leadership go a long way in a sport that encompasses 7 to 8 months.
    Last edited by bucksfan2; 08-28-2013 at 12:25 PM.

  20. #27
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    Re: Your rooting interest

    PM's are welcome. I remember Crosley field, but not Frank Robinson as a red. I work with numbers so that colors my fandom. I'm not a member of Sabre, but that's because I'm not a joiner.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lonnie Wheeler View Post
    whether your rooting interest in the Reds is at all related to the character, effort, and personalities of the individuals who make up the roster;
    Boy there are some loaded terms in there. I'm a lifer. I will root for the home town nine as long as I breathe.

    ....I think Joe Nuxhall said it best when the reds traded for Deion Sanders the first time "Well he may be a son of a ...gun, but now he's OUR son of a gun."

    Quote Originally Posted by Lonnie Wheeler View Post
    * whether, and why, your attraction to the team has fluctuated over the seasons;
    When I lived on the west coast pre-espn, I followed the reds less than during other times in my life.

    The 1994 strike really hurt. I have family members who will not go to the park because of that strike.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lonnie Wheeler View Post
    * whether your affinity for the club declined or picked up (if either) after Griffey and Dunn were traded;
    Neither. If they wear the right color laundry, I will pay attention.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lonnie Wheeler View Post
    * whether you believe that Jocketty’s penchant for bringing in players with evident character/leadership assets—Rolen, Cabrera, Ludwick, perhaps Gomes—has played a substantial role in the organization’s competitive upturn over the past few years.
    ....I think O'brien and Krivsky's drafts had more to do with the reds recent success than Jocketty filling in around the edge with minor free agents.

    I think Bob Castellini trying to recreate the winning atmosphere that he tasted in St. Louis has more to do with the reds recent success than Scott Rolen.

    I find it curious that "veteran leadership" is being credited with the reds recent success when the board is currently flooded with threads about how the current home town nine lack cojones when they play the Cardinals.
    Last edited by dfs; 08-28-2013 at 12:39 PM.
    "Even a bad day at the ballpark beats the snot out of most other good days. I'll take my scorecard and pencil and beer and hot dog and rage at the dips and cheer at the highs, but I'm not ever going to stop loving this game and this team and nobody will ever take that away from me." Roy Tucker October 2010

  21. #28
    Box of Frogs edabbs44's Avatar
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    Re: Your rooting interest

    Thanks for the opportunity, Lonnie.

    * whether your rooting interest in the Reds is at all related to the character, effort, and personalities of the individuals who make up the roster

    I will be a Reds fan no matter what however, for me, character/effort/personalities will always play a part in my "rooting interest". When you root for a team you root for the organization (top to bottom) and if the FO were to start to not care at all about the character of the team, that would definitely have an affect on me. I am also a Falcons fan and I was very impressed by the way the organization handled the Vick scandal.

    * whether, and why, your attraction to the team has fluctuated over the seasons

    It was tough to root for this team in the dark years of the steroid era, especially as a NJ resident while the Yankees were collecting pennants on a yearly basis. However that has made their more recent success even sweeter.

    * whether your affinity for the club declined or picked up (if either) after Griffey and Dunn were traded

    No. But I do believe that these were cases of addition by subtraction for multiple reasons.

    * whether you believe that Jocketty’s penchant for bringing in players with evident character/leadership assets—Rolen, Cabrera, Ludwick, perhaps Gomes—has played a substantial role in the organization’s competitive upturn over the past few years.

    Yes, without a doubt. We are talking about human beings whose performance can fluctuate due to many different factors, both on and off the field. Conditioning, environment, home life, maturity, contract status, general employer satisfaction, etc can affect one's performance.

    Talented players have succeeded and failed in the majors for years...why is that? Why are we seeing Phil Hughes and Homer Bailey (ranked by BA in 2007 #4 and 5, respectively) head in different directions at this stage in their careers? What about BA's Top 5 prospects in 2006 - Delmon Young, Justin Upton, Brandon Wood, Jeremy Hermida and Stephen Drew. What happened to them? The party line for years has been that baseball prospects are a crapshoot. Well, could there be a reason for that besides "that's the way it is"? Would/Could Jeremy Hermida have succeeded in another environment? Why did the light turn on for Brandon Phillips when he came to Cincy? Would it have clicked for him if he had stayed in Cleveland?

    Getting back to the topic, I believe that having certain veterans on the team can only help younger, more impressionable players. Jay Bruce could easily have gone the way of Delmon or Hermida. Is it because of Rolen? Probably not, but you never know. The fact that Bruce, Votto, Cueto and Bailey have all had success in the majors may not be a coincidence.

  22. Likes:

    Lonnie Wheeler (08-28-2013)

  23. #29
    Mon chou Choo vaticanplum's Avatar
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    Re: Your rooting interest

    My head tells me that the personal aspect of baseball is not what draws me to it, or that it shouldn't be. I usually roll my eyes when people talk about the benefits or drawbacks of "intangibles". My sense is that a lot of people who are drawn to baseball more than other sports -- myself included -- are pulled in that direction because baseball is so measurable. And, ironically, the measurability of it seems wide open: people are now constantly inventing new stats, new ways of analyzing the game, new numbers. Baseball is less frenetic than other sports, so you can actually see -- or believe that you see, anyway -- these numbers at work. Each movement is very calculated, and you can see stats take shape in real time to a degree that you can't in other sports.

    I find great comfort in this. I love uncovering the scientific evidence that Joey Votto is a better hitter than most of baseball seems to see, and I love steering myself for a slide when my team is outperforming its Pythag. (Of course, I love it better when it surprises me in that case.) I often feel that baseball is my measurable compass within a completely intangible, unexpected world.

    Beyond that, I take serious issue with our culture of celebrity. And I don't just mean the Kardashians on E! I mean holding celebrities, athletes included, to arbitrary standards that we as a culture apply to them: big things like morality and religion, but also simple things like how they communicate, how intelligent they are, how "seriously" they take their "responsibility as a role model," how much time they spend signing autographs, how nice they are when they're approached in a public restroom, how appreciative they seem to be of how much money they're making in deference to all of us plebians, etc. I like the Derek Jeters of the world, but my overwhelming belief is that none of this is part of their job. The older I get, in fact, the less I want to know about baseball players personally. I just don't care. Does that mean I'm losing that level of "personal interest" in the game? Maybe, but my interest in the game itself is maybe stronger than ever.

    So I say all that, and all that is true. At the same time, I am a hypocrite, because my interest in the sport and my teams are rooted in the personal and by default will always remain there, because I sure as hell am not switching teams no matter what happens. I still get inordinately attached to certain players, and most of the time I can't even tell you why; there doesn't seem to be a correlation between my connection to them and how good they are. I respect Joey Votto but I don't looooove him, whereas I loooooved Scott Hatteberg -- a mediocre ballplayer who came to the Reds on the downside of his career -- and still check on his employment status every other month or so, waiting for him to come back to coach the Reds. I root for Homer Bailey's successes because I want him to succeed as a pitcher. But I also root for him because I feel he's been unfairly maligned on a personal level, and because he debuted for the Reds on my grampa's 90th birthday and I'll never forget that day. Adam Dunn has been a keeper on my fantasy team for the last five years, pinpointing me as the subject of much ridicule which I constantly fend off with endless diatribes about how underrated he is even now. He hasn't been a Red for years and I follow his career as closely as anybody's. I cry over baseball several times a week. No joke.

    I know that part of this is due to my being someone who instinctively goes for the poetry in all things as well as someone who is, to put it mildly, deeply in touch with her emotions. But then why am I most drawn to the sport that I view as the most measurable and calculated? More and more, I think, at least part of it has to do not with the sport itself, not with the athletes themselves, but with the connections and touchstones it provides. I love my family and we get along well, but I have very little in common with them. They have no understanding of what I do professionally. We are polar opposites politically. We do not aspire to the same things in life. I spend a lot of my life trying to meet them where they are, understanding what they do and what makes them tick, but I get burned out on it, honestly. The one and only touchstone we have where we can meet in the middle is sports, and specifically our team the Reds. And conversations about stats tend toward the dry, so the conversation ultimately ends up steering toward specific incidents, specific players. There's no point in my spending a lot of time telling everyone in Pittsburgh about how bad a manager I think Clint Hurdle is (HERE ARE THE STATS, GUYS, I PRINTED THEM OUT AND MADE COLOR-CODED PIE CHARTS FOR YOU), so we end up talking about something we can all enjoy, which is, usually, Aroldis Chapman's awesome episodes of nutdom. And then maybe a deeper conversation about his background and what's really going on with that nutdom. Specific human stories. Specific issues or controversies that we all have opinions about, and in hearing those opinions and pursuing debate we all get to know each other as people a little better. I guess that's the crux of it really: I don't know that the human aspect of baseball has as much to do with my appreciation or love of the sport as it does the place the sport holds in my life and the people in it (who have nothing to do with the sport). I'm not sure if that sounds obvious or not, and maybe it sounds exceedingly self-centered. But more and more, as I get older, I feel this is the case. I'm increasingly aware of my fascination not just of sports, but of the sociology and psychology of sports fans.

    That's even true as far as this message board goes, for example. As I said, while I love Joey Votto as a ballplayer, I don't have much vested interest in him beyond that -- but my avatar is in reference to something someone once said about his personal life. I have that as my picture not because I care about his personal life, but because what was originally said here in reference to it was so hilarious, and was so ruthlessly picked up and is still pounced on at every opportunity, that I love it and feel that it's almost a connector among people on the board. And I tell people about that quote often, because it really was so. hilarious. And a perfect exemplifier, actually, of the absurdity of getting personally involved as a sports fan.

    I love to watch and listen to baseball on its own merits and given my rooting interest in a land of the enemy, I quite often end up doing that by myself. From a young age I've been interested in baseball history and how the sport developed, which has a lot to do with personalities and society but also just the evolution of the game. So I would never belittle my very real interest in the way the sport works, and this interest sustains me whether my team is good or bad, because there are always numbers to crunch (sometimes they're more interesting in the bad patches, actually). But it's crazy for me to try to admit that the personal side isn't a huge factor. I think I veered pretty off-topic here, but hopefully that makes some sense. I actually wrote an essay about this a few years ago; it touches on a lot of this -- I'd be happy to send it to you, Lonnie, if you're interested.
    Last edited by vaticanplum; 08-28-2013 at 05:01 PM.
    There is no such thing as a pitching prospect.

  24. Likes:

    *BaseClogger* (08-28-2013), Always Red (08-28-2013), Chip R (08-28-2013), KittyDuran (08-28-2013), Lonnie Wheeler (08-28-2013), RedlegJake (08-28-2013), RedsManRick (08-28-2013), RichRed (08-28-2013), Roy Tucker (08-28-2013)

  25. #30
    Start the Reactor! *BaseClogger*'s Avatar
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    Re: Your rooting interest

    Quote Originally Posted by wheels View Post
    The Reds are my family. I cannot say that about any other sport. I find most atheletes to be robotic, one dimensional, banal and self absorbed. Baseball players somehow transcend that. I don't feel dirty, as if I just lowered my IQ by twenty five points after watching a ballgame. Every other sport makes me feel that way.

    Everything about Baseball (rythm, nuance, suspense, frustration, joy, etc) feels so much different and more layered than any other sport.

    Where does my rooting interest come in? Why did I choose the Reds? Why do I stick with them? I can't come up with a definitive answer. Maybe it's because the Reds aren't perfect, like the Cardinals. Somehow I see Jay Bruce as the embodiment of the entire franchise. He's the twenty five year old with the sweet swing and cannon arm. He also swings at balls on his shoetops, and loses track of fly from time to time. But I root like hell for him, because he's a nice kid that works hard. I can say that about most of the home grown players on the current team. I find the warts endearing, and I think it's going to make winning a World Series that much sweeter. A Cardinals fan will never know how that feels.

    The whole Jocketty, Rolen thing? They're great guys and all, and it probably makes for a better time in the clubhouse, but I wouldn't say their presence was a major factor in the club's resurgence. I mean, Paul Wilson, Eric Milton, Joe Randa, and Rich Aurilia were solid, well respected veteran clubhouse guys. How much of an impact did those guys have?
    You are a terrific writer, wheels--I'd read you describe the grass growing...
    "On-base percentage is great if you can score runs and do something with that on-base percentage," Baker said. "Clogging up the bases isn't that great to me."

  26. Likes:

    KittyDuran (08-28-2013), RedlegJake (08-28-2013), wheels (08-28-2013)


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