Cincinnati Reds: Thank you for the memories Yasiel Puig

CLEVELAND, OH - JUNE 11: Yasiel Puig #66 of the Cincinnati Reds (Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - JUNE 11: Yasiel Puig #66 of the Cincinnati Reds (Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images)

The Cincinnati Reds traded Yasiel Puig to the Cleveland Indians. It was fun while it lasted and I just wanted to say thank you.

Dear Yasiel Puig,

Not much has gone right for the Cincinnati Reds in recent years. Fans had become accustomed to 90 loss seasons, disappointing finishes, and empty promises from the front office. You can ask just about anyone in southwest Ohio; 2014-2018 was one of the worst stretches in team history, and being a fan was hard, if not nearly impossible sometimes.

You being traded to the Reds last December was the first good news in years. It was the first time since 2013 that I felt like the Reds actually wanted to win and were trying to get better. Maybe the rebuild was finally over and the playoffs were within reach.

That trade alone made me feel hopeful. I didn’t care what we gave away or whether or not it was an even trade, I just knew we got one of the most exciting personalities in baseball and I couldn’t wait to see you wearing a Cincinnati Reds uniform.

It was amazing how quickly you seemed to embrace this team and the city of Cincinnati. Seeing you wear a Reds hat and giving Reds gear to your entire family just hours after the trade was made official made me smile.

Your first visit to the Queen City was so fun to watch. Calling the Ohio River beautiful, meeting with the mayor and youth baseball teams, you were ready to get involved with the community from the moment you arrived. Even if none of it was genuine, I absolutely loved seeing you in my city before you put on the uniform.

The fight against Pittsburgh (the first one), is probably one of my favorite memories from your time with the Cincinnati Reds. It was the ninth game of the season and you were already taking on an entire team to defend one of your teammates.

Finding someone that will do something like that is special. That helped set the course for the rest of the season and put every member of Reds Country squarely in your corner. We knew you would do anything to defend your teammates and it showed for the next 96 games.

Maybe the season didn’t go how you hoped it would. Starting 1-8 isn’t fun, and you were batting .220 well into May. In past years, that’s when most people stopped watching the Reds. This year, there was no reason to stop. Losing isn’t fun, but the 25 guys on the team were having the time of their lives and it was entertaining to watch, no matter how badly the team lost.

That’s right. You, Yasiel Puig, were the sole reason most fans continued watching this season. Attendance is up at Great American Ball Park in a year in which it is down everywhere else. Maybe it’s because you gave the fans hope that this is a product worth watching. The countless Yasiel Puig jerseys seen at every game would be a good indicator of that.

Not only are the fans more excited, but the team seemed to come together better than ever. I loved seeing you on Instagram in the clubhouse, or out to dinner with the rest of the team, or hanging out on you days off.

I saw a different side to the players that I’ve loved for years, and you helped bring that out. The team chemistry was amazing this year, and I hope it stays like this even after you leave. I will miss you, but I can’t even imagine how much the team will miss you.

I wish you the best in Cleveland and wherever else you end up beyond that. Perhaps you and the Cincinnati Reds front office can work out a deal once the season is done. You’re always welcome back in Cincinnati.

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Thank you for giving the fans hope in a season that seemed hopeless. Thank you for providing a fun atmosphere around the ballpark. Thank you for putting your heart into every game, no matter the score or the situation. Thank you for all of your work in Cincinnati with the Wild Horse Foundation. Your impact will be seen in this community long after you are gone. Thank you, Yasiel.