Reading the boards I got to wondering why I wasn't as "crushed" or "sad" as many of my fellow Reds fans. Also saw a number of threads comparing the Game 2 to the worst loss they've ever experienced-- especially when compared to the one-game playoff in 1999.
I really wasn't even close to feeling those emtions in this series. Why? Well, let's start back in 1999.
The loss to the Mets was MUCH more devestating to me than anything we saw in this series. I was legitimately sad after that game-- had a pit in my stomach for several days and even ELEVEN years later it still stings when I think about it. Why?
1. That team was "sepcial." The had a magic about them...they did some amazing things that year.
2. I believe had they made the playoffs, the WS was a VERY legitimate possibility.
But MOST IMPORTANTLY....
3. I knew that was it. The 1999 team caught lightining in a bottle. I knew we wouldn't be able to recapture it. It had a "do or die" feel to it at the end. That team was built mostly on veterans and some overachieving young guys who all peaked at once. The moon and the stars aligned perfectly for the Reds that year. It doesn't normally happen twice. The minute that game ended, the magic died with it. Horrible luck for that team (and us fans) that 96 wins wasn't good enough that year-- hasn't happened since, coincidentally.
The 2010 Reds were not magical...not by a longshot. the "comeback wins" stat is cute, but also misleading...you notch a comeback win even if you rally from a 1-0 deficit in the first inning. This Reds team didn't really do anything overly special in 2010...there was no 9 game road winning streaks against top notch competition...there were not utterly improbable victories and aside from the first half of the season from Johnny Gomes, there really weren't any vets logging career years (I guess add Rhodes as well).
This Reds team wasn't special, they were just good. Not great though...we struggled mightily against top tier teams...those teams didn't necessarily kill us ecvery time out, but they always seemed to be a run or two ahead....just enough to be better.
The Reds did what they were supposed to do all season long...we beat the average to below average teams and always avoided dipping into a tailspin when things looked to be turning bleak. The team was resilient all season.
And let's face it, we were aided by a pretty significant collapse down the stretch by the Cardinals. But I'm offering no excuses...we did what we needed to do and they didn't. We earned the division, they didn't.
The 1999 season was filled with "moments"....the 2010 season was filled with consistency.
I guess the reason I'm not sad or overly upset right now (I was highly frustrated after Game 2) is because I never thought this team had a chance to make noise in October. Philly was a horrible draw for us and we never showed any indication all season of being able to string together consecutive wins against top notch competition. I knew our stay in October would be a short one.
The other reason I'm not too down is because there is no reason to believe we can't get here again. There are no guarantees in sports... the 2008 Brewers probably thought they'd be back, and now they seem to be headed right back to the sub .500 club they were the 20 years prior. But I have faith that this organization is built for longterm success. The young arms are there...we have 6 quality rotation choices for next year already (and that assumes Chapman stays in the pen).
We need to make some moves, but we don't need to make many. Walt does not need to go nuts this off-season trying to plug the holes to push us over the top. He can very easily stay the course, add a piece or two, and we can enter next year favored to go toe to toe with the Cards again for the division.
I do not believe it will take any sort of miracle run to reproduce (or improve upon) what we did in 2010.
It was a very, very good season. I am 100% pleased with what happened and where we are headed. But there was never greatness present...but unlike 1999, I do think it seems like it's around the corner.