My brother posted this on his blog after today's loss.
Reds Have the Record, but don’t Have the Heart
It’s been over a year since I have blogged anything about the Reds, thanks to the shocks of an abysmal 2011 season and the disappointment of the 2012 NLDS against the San Francisco Giants. Now I find my beloved Reds again at the end of another season with the team holding the second National League Wild Card spot behind the team holding the first, the Pittsburgh Pirates. I feel like I am having déjà vu from 2012.
When the Reds appeared to have the Giants on the ropes in 2012, after the game 3 loss to San Francisco, I knew the team was done. I told fellow fans about my prediction that the series was over and the Reds would lose the series 3 games to 2. Like a witness to a car accident I was horrified to watch the event unfold. Whatever team that played at GABP last October was not the same team that played in San Francisco. These Reds played like they had the whole series wrapped up after winning just two straight. It was even worse watching post-game interviews after the game 5 defeat and seeing players like Joey Votto basically state that the team that wanted it more won (and eventually, won the World Series that season), was beyond frustrating.
I am seeing ghosts of that same team.
Fast forward to late September 2013 and we see the Reds in third place behind the Pirates. The Reds serendipitously, are in their final series of the year against this same Pirates club. Any dreams of an NL Central repeat championship went out with series losses to the Maligned Brewers and hapless Mets. The Reds must face the fact they will have to play a one-game Wild Card playoff game against the surprise Pirates. Regardless of the one-game playoff being the equivalent of the NCAA Final Four right-to-play-in-the-tounament game, this Reds team remembers nothing. They don’t remember how stark-raving, maddeningly hungry they were in 2010 to win the division and make it to the playoffs after a 15 year drought. They don’t remember to grind to the NL Central crown in 2012, only to let hubris and overconfidence beat them. News flash, Redlegs! The Pirates ARE the Reds of 2010! They are hungry to madness to bring playoff baseball back to Pittsburgh. Do you know how long it has been since the Pirates have smelled October baseball, Reds? Lee Greenwood was singing “God Bless the USA” and then Reds owner, Marge Schott was erroneously stating that Desert Storm participants were “…over there in South-East Asia.” That’s how long it has been. An entire cohort of Pirates fans have been born, grown and graduated college never knowing what it is to hear that the Pirates were going to the playoffs. I know, I have coworkers that fit this description.
What does this mean? It means Reds, you need to put these ‘Bucs down and down now. Remember your lesson from 2012. When the opponent is on his back, you keep him there and don’t let up until you hear the 3 count and the bell. If you get reversed, you fight like the nine-hells are on your back and put the opponent away, because they are fighting for themselves to stay in the playoffs. Most of all; when it does come to the Wild Card game, remember the most important lesson that you have over the Pirates. Act like you’ve been there before! Don’t blame the fans for your lack of heart or drive. We can’t get out on the field and play the game for you, otherwise we’d be paid your salary! I’m talking to you, Ryan Ludwig. I understand your frustration, but take it to your teammates, in the privacy of the club house to fire them up. If I were your boss, Walt Jocketty, I would hand you your release papers for comments like that. There are other Left Fielders that can do what you that can be signed or promoted to fill that void. Fans broke attendance records at GABP to support this club. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.
I have railed enough about this team. I’d like to see the now 40 of you prove me wrong. I’ve been a Reds fan all my life; even when the seasons were over in July. I’m going to let the faux pas slide, Mr. Ludwig, if you make me this deal along with the other 24 players that will travel to Pittsburgh on Monday: I promise to listen and follow every out while this team is in the playoffs, as long as you represent this city of Cincinnati for what it is, a hard-working town that doesn’t stand for bull****. We can smell lack of effort a mile away. You want to know what this town likes, Mr. Ludwig? It’s a guy with his fists clenched, sliding into a base head-first with grit in his teeth that plays with EVERY fiber of his being. You give us that, and we’ll sit through hell on gasoline soaked seats to watch you play ball.