Saturday, March 22, 2008

Why Im a Reds fan

When I started tee ball around 1986 I had a kid on my team who's entire family was a Cincinnati Reds fans. This kid and I hit it off and we luckly remained on the same team through tee ball, pee wee, little league, senior league, high school and even softball after graduation. I mention this because I think this kid and his dad was the driving force behind making me a Reds fan. See my father was not a athlete of any kind. By the end of my first year in tee ball I could throw the ball better than dad. Now I dont and never did hold this against him, at least he "had a catch" with me. But this friend of mine and his dad would pick me up two or three times a week and we'd go out to the ball diamond and his dad would pitch to us and work on our fielding. During breaks they always talked about the Reds, and it didnt take long for me to learn the team roster and some of the teams history.

Eric Davis was my orginal favorite player the one thing that Ive always admired and thought was a great accomplishment in MLB baseball was the 30-30 club. Davis only accomplished this feat once in 1987 when he hit 37 home runs and stole 50 bases. Just 3 home runs shy of beating Jose Canseco to being the first 40-40 man in MLB history. Davis flirted with the 30-30 club every season from 1986 to 1990. During the 1990 World Series Davis suffered a injury that plaqued him for the rest of his career. He finished his career with 282 home runs and 349 stolen bases. The 1990 season was very special for Cincinnati fans, the team at least on paper did not look like a World Series contender that spring. However at the end of a unlikely 4 game sweep of Canseco's Oakland A's. The Reds had went wire to wire leading the divison from day one to the end of the season and then sweeping through the playoffs. That team also had a devestating and intemidating tandem of closer's nicked named the Nasty Boys. The Nasty Boys consisited of Norm Charlton, Randy Myers and Rob Dibble. This team also featured 2 of the Reds greatest pitchers in team history Jose Rijo who won the World Series MVP and Tom Browning. This all took place a year removed from Pete Rose's ban for gambling on the game. The Reds however would not return to the playoffs untill Davey Johnson was manager in 1995. They probably would have made it in 1994 but due to the players strike we will never know. In 1995 the Reds swept the Los Angeles Dodger in 3 games in the NL Divisonal series but was swept by the Atlanta Braves in the NLCS. In 1996 under Jake McKeon the Reds would play a one game playoff game against the New York Mets in a attempt to make it to the post season again. But fate wouldnt allow it and the Reds went home, and they've yet to return. The team hasnt finished over .500 in a season since 2001.

The reason Ive stuck with them through the tough times, is the same reason many old timers recall upon seeing the greats, like Mickey Mantle, Roberto Clemente, Johnny Bench, and Sandy Koufax. Its the memories of my youth, the good time. Plus a main thing I think alot of sports fan fail to understand that is in baseball or professional sports in general. All things run in cycles, and adventualy the Reds will be contending again. And who knows maybe now my son can experience a World Series Championship like his dad did. He is only 2 so I do think its possible. And the other thing to rember, is just because your favorite player doesnt play on your team. Doesnt mean you have to jump ships. I learned this in 1996 when my favorite player Ron Gant signed with the Reds after missing all of 1995 with a broken leg. And I think alot of Reds fan found their favorite player in Cincinnati when Ken Griffey Jr. was traded and then re-signed with the team in 2000.

So know its time to look toward the future. Dusty Baker is in town, Adam Dunn is a free agent at the end of 2008, Ken Griffey Jr isnt "The Kid" any longer. But we have guys like Jonny Cueto, Edison Volquez, Homer Bailey, Joey Votto, Jeff Kepplinger, Jay Bruce, and Drew Stubbs preparing to step in and be the next great group of Cincinnati Reds and I for one know that I will be there when it happens.