And fans of other teams wonder why the Cincinnati Reds fanbase are so in awe of one Joey Votto. This quote here will summarize practically every reason.
“We’ve played very successful baseball this year, and we’ve competed with the best teams at a very high level. We’ve done a lot of winning this year, but I think anything but setting the World Series as our standard, I think anything less would be selling ourselves short. Whether we achieve that or not is kind of irrelevant, but that’s our goal.”
—- Votto on the Reds clinching a playoff spot.
And we honestly shouldn’t expect any other player within this organization to believe anything different. With the expectations that were firmly placed upon this team heading into the 2012 season, this could become more common thought than as has been the case in the past. Could the days of contending for a mere couple of years every other decade be out the window?
One would hope, but let’s look a little more into what Votto said here.
“We’ve competed with the best teams at a very high level.”
The Reds have competed against those teams. Looking at their record against NL teams that currently sit in a playoff spot, the Reds are 17-15. The Nats were the only team to own a winning record against Cincinnati this season, but there is a caveat to that statement. Cincy still has three games remaining against the St. Loius Cardinals. Here’s the breakdown…
Now consider the two teams that are within striking distance of the Cards for the final wild card spot: Los Angeles Dodgers (1-2 with a three-game series set to begin this evening) and the suddenly surging Milwaukee Brewers (7-5). Take the combined 8-7 record from these two teams and add that to the previous four and the combined record is now 25-22.
Of the interleague games Cincinnati played this season, the Reds only played two teams that are in any likely position to make the postseason: New York Yankees (2-1) and Detroit Tigers (1-2). Even a 3-3 mark against these two teams results in an overall record of 28-25.
Won’t exactly knock your socks off, but it is over .500. By contrast, when the Reds won the NL Central in 2010, Cincinnati was a combined 7-12 against the NL teams that made the postseason (Philadelphia, Atlanta and WS Champions San Francisco). They did not own a winning record against any of those three teams.
“We’ve done a lot of winning this year…”
The Reds currently own 91 wins, tied for the most in baseball along with the Nats, the same number of wins from what some Reds fans still perceive as that magical season of 2010. Well, they will topple that mark this season and have a shot, albeit a slim one, of 100 wins. Going 9-3 in their final dozen games will do such. I honestly did not see this team with the potential of winning 100 games at the onset of this season. I thought 95 wins may have been a bit of a stretch, but was certainly an attainable goal.
If anyone predicted 95 or more wins, I will demand proof…and I will acknowledge such.
“…but I think anything but setting the World Series as our standard, I think anything less would be selling ourselves short. Whether we achieve that or not is kind of irrelevant, but that’s our goal.””
Why shouldn’t this now be a yearly goal? That was kind of a rhetorical question, but think about that for a minute or so. Is there honestly anything wrong with having that mindset on a yearly basis? It shows competitive drive, and we all know that Votto is just that, a competitor.
As a youngster, I can still vividly recall the days of the Big Red Machine. That was the reason I fell in love with the game of baseball. I still have flashbacks to when the Reds won Game 6 of the 1990 NLCS against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Long time, or so it seems, between 1976 and 1990. Well, this time span has been a little longer. Time to change the thought process.
This also shows that Votto has a confidence in the team and the organization. Of course, some could dismiss such a statement considering that Votto is the one with the dough, but that in itself is a flawed thought. With the large contracts being extended these days, the guy making the money should be the guy delivering the message. I think it could be referred to as leadership. That’s a side from Votto appearing more and more evident this season.
All the money that Votto has made and will make has not changed his mentality except for possibly one aspect. He has taken a larger lead as a voice within the Reds clubhouse.
And this is one of many reasons Reds fans have further embraced the 2010 NL MVP.