All season long I've wondered why our relatively good/positive season hasn't felt particularly good or positive to me. I've often found myself drifting during games and this team has left me with a general feeling of disappointment. But then I look at the standings and realize we are having a fine year and a year that so obviously trumps pretty much every year we experienced from 1996-2009 (99 being the exception). That is when I tell myself to get over myself and enjoy the fact that the Reds are in a race in September.
But I can't shake the feeling and this sort of malaise of an attitude I've experienced all year. What is more frustrating is that I can't really figure out WHY. I think for the first time last night it revealed itself.
I'm not over the playoff choke last year. I will admit it. I have subconsciously gone over the final two at bats in that game (Bruce and Rolen) over in my head many, many times since that day.
I didn't think so at the time and I didn't really realize it al off-season or through the course of this season, but that series shook my faith in this team. I don't believe in them anymore or in their ability to rise to the occasion.
Last night I was as into the game as any all year. But as it wore one I felt convinced we would lose-- this feeling of dread I believe all stems from that series with SF last year and the game five loss. Last night was a case of a team who has excelled in that situation for years versus one who bombed in their most recent attempt at October success.
Even though we are up 2-1 in the series and have one very nice win under our belt in this series, it still somehow manages to feel like the Cards are getting the best of us because they managed to win that epic game. Now, if we win today there really can't be any complaints--taking 3 out of 4 would be nice, but if we don't it really amplifies the loss last night. And regardless I do think the loss illustrates to me what might be confidence issues on the team.
Baseball players are not robots. They have emotions and stresses too. I don't think it's insane to think that what I feel is 100% different from what they feel. They control the situation of course, but I sense a tightness in these games. I think it is quite possible that the playoff series last year lingers in their minds just as it does in mine. Not on the surface perhaps, but it kind of sits there like a fog.
Losing those three games in a row last year was brutal. It has undoubtedly affected my perception of this team--- even though I really haven't wanted to admit it. And what I wonder is if it has also affected the perception of themselves a bit. I don't think it's hocus pocus or reading too deep. The Reds are an organization that haven't had many of those opportunities over the past 25 years or for their best opportunity to end in they fashion.... Well, I think it stands to reason that it could leave everyone a little shaken.
Obviously, it hasn't stopped them from being a solid team. And because they've won enough they will keep giving themselves chances to exorcise the demons from last year--- it would probably only take one huge win or one series win to do it. But right now, I will admit that I have no confidence of that happening.
Not ripping the team here, just giving an honest assessment of where I'm at as a fan and wondering if maybe it can explain a few things.