One thing I've seen alot of this year is an uncanny resembalance to 1997, not completly mind you but bits and pieces.... BTW 1997 was the first year many of us posted togather on Fastball.com

I covered some this elsewhere last month and in April, but the Kearns demotion brought up more 1997 comps as well.

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From late May


My deja vu you're my obsession
My deja vu it's always you
My deja vu...

''I don't think it's over,'' Knight said. ''It feels like everybody is giving up - although, not the team - saying this is the worst team they've ever been around. Everyone is critical of everybody . . . finger points all around . . . it's me . . . it's (general manager Jim) Bowden. It's just been bad baseball.''
http://www.cincypost.com/sports/1997/reds051997.html

Two days prior Knight had uprooted 3rd base during a dispute and slammmed it to the ground in anger, drawing a 3 day suspension from the league and giggles from Reds fans all across the nation.

Nervous giggles... If you listen real hard you can hear a few now as well.

Code:
CENTRAL				W	L	PCT	GB	RS	RA	
St. Louis			25	15	.625	-	213	167	
Milwaukee			19	21	.475	6	176	160	
Chicago Cubs			18	20	.474	6	171	165	
Pittsburgh			17	21	.447	7	141	167	 
Houston				15	24	.385	9.5	138	165	
Cincinnati			14	26	.350	11	183	238

Team Name                       W    	L   	PCT    	GB    	RS   	RA
Houston Astros                  22   	20  	.523     -   	170  	156
Pittsburgh Pirates              21   	20  	.512   	0.5   	166  	198
St. Louis Cardinals             17   	23  	.425   	4.0   	154  	153
Chicago Cubs                    13   	27  	.324   	8.0   	164  	199
Cincinnati Reds                 12   	28  	.300   	9.0   	139  	220
Above you'll see the current Reds and their 14-26 record, below it is the 1997 Season, coincidently the last season that the Reds started out this bad. A season that found the Reds switching managers mid stream a season fraught with long losing and winning streaks, poor play, stagnate offense and poor pitching.

Will the Reds be able to even match the final record of 76-86 that the 1997 team ended up with, can the Reds go 62-60 the rest of the way?

Eight years ago today this quote was in the Post.

The Reds have been fooling themselves - and trying to dupe their fans - for the past two years. Even as their payroll shrunk, they continued to view themselves as contenders who were just a key player or two away from remaining a power in their division. When they couldn't afford the good ones who became available, they took rejects from other clubs and hoped for the best.

Their fantasy came crashing down around them this spring.
http://www.cincypost.com/sports/1997/reds052097.html

How bad was it? Local Sportswriter Bill Koch grabbed at another straw straight out of the future ain't as bright as the past section and posted this quote a week before he stated it was all over.

The Reds are a lifeless bunch without much personality. Thirteen games under .500 and eight games out of first place in mid-May, neither the forgiving National League Central Division nor baseball's wild-card playoff setup holds much promise of rescuing this team from a long, dull summer.
So we offer a modest proposal designed to at least make them more interesting: Bring up Pete Rose Jr.

http://www.cincypost.com/sports/1997/reds051297.html

Classic solution... the team is soooooooo bad let's bring up a worse player because his name is familar.

Lord help us.

Other notes of familarity.

Previously discussed http://redlegnation.com/archives/200...its-1997-again was the uncanny resembalence the Rich Aurilia situation had with the Terry Pendelton situation in 1997. To compound it is the fact that Rich now dwells on the DL, apparently against his wishes and Pendelton started and pretty much finished up on the Reds DL. Another uncanny reason for their presence is found in this gem of a quote from June of 1997

If the Reds are going to keep from collapsing until he gets back, they'll have to play a different brand of baseball than the one they've demonstrated to this point, a smarter, crisper, more intense version. That's where veteran third baseman Terry Pendleton comes in. Pendleton, a former NL Most Valuable Player and a 14-year veteran, was signed by the Reds as a free agent to provide insurance at third base in case Willie Greene didn't pan out and to offer leadership for the Reds' young players.
So far, there hasn't been much leadership.

Knight wants to change that.
http://www.cincypost.com/sports/1997/reds052097.html

So leadership will take care of the run differential and the poor offense from the FA signings Sierra and Pendelton, it will fix Larkins heel too.

Of course not, it didn't do anything did it?

More Crazy 1997 stuff.

Further reaching into the big bag of baseball metaphors is this quote from June of 1997
The Reds are going to bunt opponents into submission.
They're going to dazzle them with pitching, play airtight defense and execute all the little nuances that produce victories. With all-star shortstop and cleanup hitter Barry Larkin expected to miss two to six weeks with a strained left calf, manager Ray Knight was searching for alternatives Tuesday.

What he came up with was a lot of brave talk and not much substance.

Not much substance there, some small ball and teamwork comments....sound familar?

Fast Forward to 2005 and Dan O'Briens quote in the Enquirer today.

Q: "How do you give fans hope if you don't make substantial changes?"

A: "There are two elements to this. You can change certain components. But you've got individuals not performing up to their norm. It's about doing the best you can to get them to a certain level of productivity, which automatically makes the ballclub better."
And in the managers office Dave Miley a man who has yet to be labeled "Bubbly" had this to say after the Mets loss on Wednesday (which he was tossed out of, but did NOT throw any bases to stir his club up.)

“It is ugly and embarrassing," he said. "You don't have the letters on your computers and typewriters to write what I want to say.

And that's all I've got for you."
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And today..............

Earlier this season we visited http://redlegnation.com/archives/200...n-version-20/" the time doppelganger that dogs the 2005 season like an eager howler monkey on Animal Planet. On Sunday the Kearns demotion once again scratched the surface of the 1997 season, specifically the June, 20th demotion of Bret Boone.

Mired in a horrible slump all April Boone entered May with a pitiful .133/.224/.173/.397 stat line, struggling like only a Boone can he meandered through the next 5 weeks with little power and barely acceptable on base skills.

Boone like Kearns had burst upon the Reds scene with a bang and his first season was batting average driven with a nice display of power for a middle infielder. However like Kearns the next two seasons showed a decrease from the original version that got everybody so excited. Dropping in every category and eventually creating less runs than the average being created by their peers.
Code:
 			 AVG      OBA      SLG      OWP     RC/G     RCAP  
Bret Boone		.320     .368     .491     .583     6.27       13 
Bret Boone		.267     .326     .429     .474     4.71        2   
Bret Boone		.233     .275     .354     .295     3.18      -13  
	   
Austin Kearns		.315     .407     .500     .646     7.54       12   
Austin Kearns           .264     .364     .455     .564     5.91        2 
Austin Kearns		.230     .321     .419     .443     4.30       -9
The act itself was eerily similar as well, with the Kearns move we got a end of the weekend attempt to shake up an underperforming player, with Boone the move was made on a Friday morning, rippling through the clubhouse and getting this reply from Bowden:

''This isn't punishment or demotion,'' Bowden said.

''It's a matter of straightening him out and getting him back here. You need to make adjustments in this game, no matter who you are. I think that message will get through the clubhouse. This is not intended to be shock treatment.''
Today concerning Kearns demotion Dan O'Brien said:

"It just didn't come together for him," general manager Dan O'Brien said.

"Right now our only focus is to get [Kearns] back to where he should be and needs to be," O'Brien said. "That's our one and only focus."
On the morning in 1997 Boone took the quite route out and refused to speak to reporters, the next day he reported to Indianapolis, only to be replaced on the Reds roster by his younger brother Aaron.

When in Indy the first day this is what transpired.
Bowden lauded Boone for handling the news professionally, even though the second baseman had called the demotion ''extreme.'' Boone said that he hadn't seen it coming, that he was called in to see Bowden and Knight and was shocked at the news.

He hung around Jacobs Field for an hour or so and gathered his things, then decided to drive back alone to Cincinnati and gathered his thoughts. Boone could have taken 72 hours to report to the minors, but called his younger brother, Indianapolis third baseman Aaron Boone, in the clubhouse after that team's doubleheader and told him he was reporting Thursday.

''I think he's handling it tremendously and very professionally,'' said Indianapolis manager Dave Miley.

Oh, there were so many chances to speak up and to speak out. He gave a mass pregame interview to the gathered media, but chose perspective over outrage, saying, ‘‘in the big picture, there are worse things in life.''

Before he addressed the media, though, he realized he had forgotten his Indianapolis hat and politely asked a team representative if he wanted to retrieve one for him to help publicize the team for the cameras. Done. Boone also wore a T-shirt to the interview that spoke his attitude, ''Shut Up and Play.''
http://www.cincypost.com/sports/1997/boone062097.html

Kearns on the other hand was quoted as saying:
We've got an outfield problem here," he said. "We've got guys who can play every day who are trying to establish themselves as everyday players. Even if I go down and come back, it's still going to be the same situation. It just comes to a point in everyone's career where you want to establish yourself and be in there every day. Call that selfish or anything you want, but that's just how it is.
http://cincinnati.reds.mlb.com/NASAp...=.jsp&c_id=cin

.224/.306/.394/.700 in a 170 ab's is not doing it and on a team with lots of power and limited speed and fielding in the outfield; carrying a LH PH and a guy who needs more ab's than he's going get as a backup screams for a change.

Making the move equally strange is the following tidbit from the same morning
The timing of the move was curious. The Reds were already without outfielder Curtis Goodwin, who was given permission to return home to California to attend his grandmother's funeral.
In today’s notes on Kearns this could be found at the end of the article.
LaRue on leave: Catcher Jason LaRue was placed on the bereavement list to attend the funeral of his grandfather, Carl LaRue, in Crockett, Texas. He is expected to return to the Reds on Tuesday, and he'll be activated Wednesday
I'm telling you this 1997 connection is a strange one.

So down goes Kearns, much like Boone did..... will he come back as quick? Boone's stay in AAA was was short due to an injury on the Reds and 3 games later he was back. His post All Star numbers were decent for a middle infielder .258/.326/.396/.723, but hardly anything to write home about.

What's next for Kearns? Who really knows? One thing for sure is his stay in AAA won't be forever if he'll ''Shut Up and Play.''