So the Reds flirted with the best record in all of baseball and then suddenly…they forgot how to win a game in the friendly confines of Great American Baseball Park. There really is no sugar coating the way this season ended, it still winds up tasting a bit sour. In the aftermath of the Cincinnati Reds trip to the gallows…you know, a short drop followed by a sudden stop…there are stages I must navigate. Let’s take time and review them:
- Denial. This stage took me a week or so to negotiate. I simply avoided baseball in any and every form. Hid from twitter, pretended to like football more than I actually do. I think you get the drift. Avoid, avoid, avoid. That was the name of this game.
- Anger. Occasionally during the last three games and intermingled with my attempts at denial and avoidance, flashes of anger came to fore.
Anger that Brandon Phillips was caught trying for an extra base after stealing 2nd. Anger that the sure handed Scott Rolen made TWO errors in one playoff series. Anger that the Reds have now played 4 playoff games at GABP and have earned exactly ZERO wins. I might still be harboring a small amount of this emotion.
- Rationalization. This may be the stage I find most irritating. I tell myself I won’t rationalize and then… The obvious rationalizations are three: The Reds ace was down for the count injured 6 pitches into the playoffs; the team just faced the very real health crisis Manager Dusty Baker survived in Chicago; and more than any other, the inability of Joey Votto to be…well…Joey Votto. His injury had improved but never seemed healed. The thing is, they were close to winning and they really needed just one player to step up. It didn’t matter who did it but someone needed to rise above.
What steps are left for me to face? I am not sure but at the end of the day I need to face a brighter tomorrow. The pieces are still in place. Hal McCoy wrote a great piece, just after the last out was recorded, illuminating where the Reds need to go from here and the point that resonated with me was that this team is ready to go but need one final piece. A leadoff batter who sets the table for the lineup. His odd man out was Drew Stubbs and I too after 3 seasons of hope have finally arrived at the same conclusion. Drew Stubbs has amazing physical gifts but for reasons I can’t explain it doesn’t appear he will ever contribute to the Reds. I wish it were not true but over 3 seasons I see nothing to give me additional hope. With this new TV deal in place will the Reds take one more shot at the promised land and bring a player such as Michael Bourn into the fold? Or will the Billy Hamilton Experience come to GABP?!?
Follow me on Twitter as I continue to explore the Reds 2013 choices @JohnHeitz