Reds Round Table: the NL Central

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Welcome to BRM’s inaugural Reds Round Table for Reds bloggers. I hope all Reds fans will enjoy the next few days as we gather some Reds bloggers and “chat” a little about baseball.

You might be wondering why I conceived this idea of gathering Reds bloggers onto one blog and talking a little baseball. Seems like a different concept, I know, but I do have two reasons for this. One is that I hope this event will be done by all Reds blogs in some form. The Reds blogging community is a tight one and this will only strengthen that.

Second is built on the first. There are readers of BRM that may not read Red Reporter. Readers of Big Red Redemption may not even know BRM exists. And those that peruse Rockin’ Redlegs may not be aware of the other mentioned. Believe it or not, these statements could all be true. This Round Table will hopefully provide all Reds fans a chance to experience those.

Now, on with the quick intros and Q&A…

We had three other blogs outside of the staff or BRM that were willing to participate. We have BK and JinAZ from Red Reporter, Ronnie Ginter from Big Red Redemption, and Tina Cisneros from Rockin’ Redlegs along for today’s ride.

The first questions isn’t really a question. I made the following statement: “I am of the opinion the the Pittsburgh Pirates are the division’s biggest surprise and that our Reds are the biggest disappointment. Would you agree or disagree?”

Well, it was no surprise that all of our esteemed panel agreed with the first half of my statement regarding the Pirates. The second part of my statement met with a little more resistance. In fact, with one exception, the panel felt the Chicago Cubs were actually the division’s biggest disappointment.

Batting leadoff is Ronnie Ginter from Big Red Redemption…

Pirates without a doubt have been the surprise of the division. I am a huge optimist and can’t fully agree that the Reds have been the biggest disappointment; that still goes to the Cubs hands down. There is always some big payroll signing that is going to improve the team yet it never happens. Most of the disappointment that you’re seeing from Reds fans boils down to the fact that we’re not running the table on the division. When you really look at the big picture most of the games that we’ve lost are 1 run ballgames that could go either way and the luck just hasn’t been on our side like it was last year.

But I also found the following answer beyond intriguing. I just had to give it a spotlight all its own. All I can say is…cue Tina of Rockin’ Redlegs!

The phrasing of this question, to me, is a little off. I think that more accurately, the Reds are the biggest surprise and the Pirates are the biggest disappointment. I’ll explain.

Remember when the Reds clinched the division last year, sending Cincinnati (and Reds fans everywhere) into a state of jubilant pandemonium? After watching the Reds come from behind all season and end up the NL Central Division Champs, everyone couldn’t wait to see what 2011 had in store for our Cincinnati Reds. We knew we had a team that could only go up from where they ended the 2010 season – or so we thought. After the 2010 season, the Reds finally started to get the recognition they deserved. Whether it was Joey Votto being named NL MVP, or the fact that we were finally getting adequate face time from all major media outlets, everyone thought the same thing – the Reds were for real and they weren’t going anywhere. Reds fans, for the first time in 15 years, were finally able to brag about their team. To say that expectations for the Cincinnati Reds 2011 season were high would be an understatement.

We started 2011 off hot, still riding the high of winning the division title. I remember the Reds’ first loss of 2011, and people practically had to talk me off a ledge. I honestly believed the Reds were going to win every single game of the season. Since then, however, things have only gone downhill. Sure, we got bumped out of first and managed to reclaim it in May, but once Interleague play began, every night was a different story. Now, here we are at the All-Star break, four games out of first and in fourth place behind the Pittsburgh Pirates who haven’t had a winning season since I thought N’Sync was the greatest band to ever exist. I don’t think I’m incorrect in saying that the fact that the Reds are having this type of season – and not the Pirates’ sudden “success” – is the biggest surprise in the NL Central. So many people, whether they be fans, analysts, players, or coaches, were expecting for the Reds to do something big this season and the fact that things aren’t going well for our boys in red is more shocking and surprising than anything.

Now, coming from the perspective of a Reds fan/blogger, the Pirates are the biggest disappointment of the season thus far. If you would have told me on Opening Day that the Pirates would be ahead of the Reds in the NL Central by the All-Star Break, I would have told you to lay off the crack. In all my years as a serious Reds fan, I could always count on one thing – we’d be better than the Pirates. Whenever the Reds would go on a bad run, I could say, “Hey, at least we’re not the Pirates.” I even used this as ammunition when the Steelers went to the Super Bowl – “At least Pittsburgh has a decent football team because their baseball team can’t do squat.” I thought I would always be able to count on the Pirates to be worse than the Reds. That is what is disappointing to me – the fact that we can no longer rely on the Pirates to cushion the blow of whatever ill-fate has befallen the Reds. Do I think the Pirates will actually be able to contend? Frankly, no.

On to #2….