Hope? Let me tell you something, my friend. Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane. It’s got no use on the inside. You’d better get used to that idea.

Is it a coincidence that those words were spoken by a character in “The Shawshank Redemption” whose nickname was “Red”? After nine years of ugly baseball, that’s the only thing Reds fans have left: hope. We’re clinging to the hope that the Reds might have a competitive team again like we cling to the dream that our children might not have to grow up in a world where Duke is the NCAA champion. Most days, both those dreams seem unrealistic.

First things first: obviously, it isn’t is way too early to give up hope. That’s just silly. Yes, the Reds looked pretty bad yesterday. Yes, they looked like the same old Reds, unfortunately. Yes, the left side of the infield is old and slow and yes, the Reds made some mental mistakes and yes, the bullpen was very shaky and yes, the manager is going to hit his worst batter in the second spot in the lineup every single bloody day. All that’s true.

Yet…

…this team is the same team it was on Sunday. One game doesn’t change things. I’m every bit as enthusiastic about this team as I was in our Season Preview Extravaganza podcast over the weekend.

The Reds still have great young pitching. They still have Joey Votto and Jay Bruce and Brandon Phillips and Drew Stubbs and Ramon Hernandez (wait, what?). The future remains bright.

I’m not going to tell anyone to stop being so critical and to stop examining all the minutia surrounding this club. Hey, that’s what we do here, and it’s why I love the Nation. I’m just urging everyone to keep the hope. It’s a good thing; right, Andy?

Remember, Red. Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.