This post is going to be about baseball, just so you know.
When the season started, I was skeptical. The Cincinnati Reds haven’t had a good team in almost 6 years and they haven’t threatened to have a serious shot at post season play in over a decade. They have a good offense, sure, and they have had a few decent pitchers over the years, but for the past couple of seasons they seem to have lacked that extra “something” that turns a good team into a great team.
The Reds have done well this season, but the question of legitimacy has sat at the back of my mind throughout all of it. They’ve started well a couple of times, and one season they even made it to the All Star break in first place. But each year they fall apart. They loose a couple of close games, they loose a couple more, and before you know it management has traded your favorite players to Pittsburgh for a bag of Doritos and a six pack of Iron City Ale (which sucks, by the way).
Last night the Reds’ de facto ace, Bronson Arroyo, was on the mound and he was stellar. He pitched eight innings of shutout baseball with 8 strikeouts and only 1 or 2 walks. He got a little wild in the eighth inning, so they took him out in the ninth and sent in the closer, David Weathers, with a one run lead. He promptly gave up a run to send the game into extra innings.
The Reds were deep into the bullpen with their fourth pitcher by the eleventh inning, and things weren’t good. White gave up a homerun to Nick Johnson, and the infield followed that up with a series of blunders that let the Washington Nationals take a 4-1 lead into the bottom of the ninth.
It was getting late and I was tired, so I went to bed without watching the bottom of the eleventh. There was no way they could pull it out, I thought. The Reds were doomed. That’s it. Game over. Zip up your fly.
So, imagine my surprise when I checked the newspaper this morning and saw that the Reds came through in the bottom of the inning to win 5-4. The winning hit was a three run homerun by Ken Griffey Jr. who, before last night, had been on the disabled list for over a month. I imagine it was very exciting.
The Reds are certainly not the best team in baseball, and they do have a lot of questions; most notably the bullpen. But I’m beginning to believe that they finally have the confidence it takes to win. It probably doesn’t mean anything to you, but it does to me.
It’s a nice feeling.