Look Out Below.
An ode to the 2012 I'm hoping and expecting to see.
Today is Game 2 of the 2012 LDS. Playoffs only started two days ago. Anything can and will happen between now and end of the month when the World Series concludes. Today, Reds Giants in the second of two in San Francisco. At a pitcher's park thanks to its dimensions and wind.
The Reds won in an almost-unprecedented and surely memorable way last night. Exorcising the demons of the past 22 years, and the 2010 postseason implosion in particular, these Reds are different. They have experience, wisdom, talent and heart. They look adversity in the face and then cooly trample it. The come together in ways that go way beyond the tired cliches of team. They play the game the way the game is supposed to be played. Balanced play from long ball hitters and lights out pitchers to the kind of hustle, never-say-die defense that determines game outcomes. Pete would be--probably is--proud. The way Brandon Phillips backed up a wild throw to first last night; key play in a game where a dozen other plays were more cited and more shown afterward.
Conventional wisdom, particularly in the odd postseason format of 2012 that has the higher-seed, "home field advantaged" teams starting out with two on the road, has it that splitting the first two is what you need to do. That with Cincinnati's thrilling win last night, today's game 2 is gravy. If they go home 1-1, no problem, the experts will tell you. We'd take the bet on the Reds taking 2 of 3 from the Giants at Great American any day of the week.
Nope. That's all BS. Conventional wisdom can't apply. Today is critical. It's critical beyond the mere game. Beyond the mere fact that a win would make the series 2-0 with a sweep a real possibility. Beyond the fact that any post season win is huge.
It's critical because a win today offers big opportunities.
It offers the opportunity for MVP Joey Votto to show he's not too hurt to contribute this postseason. It offers the opportunity for the long-maligned Drew Stubbs to show last night wasn't a fluke and he's here for lasting redemption. It offers the opportunity for The Cuban Missile to put any worries to rest and show the nation what we've all known for some time...though he likely won't have that chance after hurling 28 or so pitches last night.
Most important though, today's game 2 offers the Reds a huge opportunity to bellow something loud and clear to the other seven teams (five of them coastal) still in the hunt.
We'll never take our foot off any gas pedals.
There's no team we can't beat.
Call it flyover country if you like. Trophies live here.
Look out below, the rest of you teams out there. Here come the Reds, vintage 2012. If they take the second of two today, a game 'they don't need to win,' nothing will stop them. Not the upstart Nationals or Cardinals. And not the powerful Tigers, amazing A's or tyrannical Yankees.
Number 1 was in 1919. Number 6 awaits. 2012 Postseason. I can't wait.