I’ve been trying for a few months to get everyone to believe in this team. I know some of you have gotten sick of the “Believe” mantra. Heck, it’s gotten a bit tiresome to me, but I found that I was enjoying myself much more after I decided to relax, enjoy, and believe that this team was going to do something special. I wanted every one of you out there in the Nation to have that same feeling. And you know what? They have done something special this season. Division champs: that’s just awesome.

Yes, we’re all down after the way the good guys lost the first two games of the National League Division Series. I doubt I could have scripted a more miserable way to open the series. Just brutal, especially to those of us who have lived and died with this team.

Tonight, I’m not going to tell you to believe. If we’re going to be honest with ourselves, we have to acknowledge that it is going to be very difficult for the Reds to come back and win three straight games against the Philadelphia Phillies, who might be the best team in baseball. It’s certainly not impossible — four teams have come back from a 2-0 deficit in the Division Series — but it’s going to be exceptionally hard.

Last night, I finally got around to watching the latest ESPN “30 For 30” film, which centered on the 2004 ALCS. You remember: Boston was down three games to none to New York, and came back to win. There were some familiar faces in that series. Bronson Arroyo, Orlando Cabrera, and Pokey Reese played for the Red Sox, while Miguel Cairo was a Yankee.

Only Cairo has a chance to play in tonight’s game, but Arroyo, Cabrera, and Cairo will all be in Cincinnati’s dugout. Those guys all know one thing: it’s possible. They lived it. It’s possible.

I know that it’s going to be difficult for the Reds to come back. There’s one other thing I know, too: the Reds team we’ve seen so far in this series is not the same team we’ve been watching all season long. Why can’t the Reds go back to playing the way we know they can? That still may not be enough to win the series, but…maybe. Just maybe.

Tonight, I’m not asking you to believe. I am, however, asking you not to give up hope just yet. Cincinnati is hosting a playoff game for the first time in fifteen years. This has been a special team. Cheer hard for them tonight, whether from your living room, or from your seat at Great American Ballpark (where I’ll be). Enjoy a chance to watch the team you love playing a home playoff game. There’s no reason tonight shouldn’t be a celebration of what this team has accomplished. Perhaps we’ll even get a win, too. Tomorrow? Who knows?

The Reds are a good team. They wouldn’t be here otherwise. Don’t give up hope yet. Maybe, just maybe, this team has a few more special moments to provide us.

101 Responses

  1. RedinTenn

    Thanks, Chad. Have a great time, and savor the moment for us. You’re right that it’s been a great ride so far this season, and we have a lot to look forward to in the future.

  2. mytwovincents

    no matter what happens today – the reds are not the bengals, and that makes them winners.

  3. RedinTenn

    That’s HOPE, Chad.
    Or is it desperation? I’m still hoping the wheels don’t fall off like in game 2….

  4. MikeB

    Speaking of managers costing a team a game…anyone watching the Braves right now? Bobby Cox, man, he screwed up, with all the pitching changes.

  5. Truman48

    The first 20 or so posts on here are a little redundant. We get it. You don’t like Dusty Baker. You haven’t liked Dusty Baker all year. You think he is the worst tactician…..

    The silent majority on here get it already.

  6. MikeB

    Here is my theory on managers: No fan base likes their manager. Well actually, there is always a loud group of fans who don’t like their manager. Twins fans hate Gardenhire. There are a lot of Angels fans who can’t stand Scocsia. There were even a lot of Yankee fans who never liked Torre. It’s part of the game, and here is why:

    Baseball, as we know, is a game of failure. Most at-bats don’t result in hits. Many tactical moves don’t end up working. And because of the nature of the game, it’s incredibly easy to second guess. Most baseball outcomes are a zero sum game. As such, it’s easy to blame a manager for what is actually a random but expected outcome. I think Dusty does a fine job with this team. I don’t think anyone would do better, or much worse. It is what it is.

  7. Wil Payne

    The reason I don’t believe in momentum in baseball are for your reasons, MikeB. If a guy can go 0-4 one night, then 3-4 another, then 1-4 a third straight, then has similar numbers in the next series, that’s not momentum, that’s just a player being cyclical. You have your ups and your downs, and the difference between an amateur and a pro and an MVP and a hall-of-famer and the guys on their team’s ring of honor, are how well you play when you’re down.
    How well the Reds play win they win means little compared to how well they play in peril.

  8. MDM

    how beautiful is it to see GAB full of fans in October?

  9. MikeB

    @Brien Jackson: A bad tactical decision is only bad because it doesn’t work, but the fact is, most tactical decisions don’t work. But it’s much easier to point to the ones that don’t because they’re more obvious. And the beauty of the critics is, they can’t be proved wrong. If Dusty’s move doesn’t work, then you are right. But it doesn’t mean that the alternative would have worked either.

    There are always going to be people who disagree with the manager. That’s baseball. But the loudest critics need to admit that they don’t know shit, either.

  10. MikeB

    @Brien Jackson: I’m not defending anything. I’m just pointing out that all the critics of Dusty (and I have been one, believe me) really don’t know shit, either. People will always find something to criticize about the manager. Doesn’t mean they’re right.

    As for Bruce at 7…I don’t know. And I don’t think it makes a whole lot of difference. Most sabermetric studies show that batting order is not nearly as important as who is in the lineup in the first place.

  11. MDM

    im a big rolen supporter, but you gotta ask: why is rolen still batting 4? why not have bruce, phillips, gomes bat 4?

    he’s really wearing down, and being ignorant to that fact isnt going to get us better ABs.

  12. Wil Payne

    If we lose by one run, fire Dusty Baker.
    Why the hell do you put a guy on the roster and intentionally not start him?

  13. MikeB

    Rolen shouldn’t be in there at all.

  14. Truman48

    Holy 1995 Batman. The Reds 3-4-5 are a combined 1 for 21. Not going to get anything done with hitting like that.

  15. Truman48

    The Phils have already hit three balls to the same spot in right. And another Phils hit. Not sure about Cueto so far.

  16. MDM

    @MikeB: Rolen is still better than Fransisco, ciaro, and valikia, but we could move him down in the order.

  17. Truman48

    Ok announcer, Cabrera is not a gold glove defender anymore and he cannot hit.Rolen does need to get it going.The Phillies are hitting Cueto fairly hard to start out.

    He’s falling behind hitters which is not going to help.

    Nice catch by Cabrera.

  18. MDM

    godo hit bruce. Got the wood of the bat on it.

  19. Truman48

    That hit him!

    Yeah no kidding. I like how the Reds fans were ready for that one. I wish the team would give them something to cheer about.

  20. MDM

    @Dave Lowenthal: Dave, Im all for a short leash, but it might be a little early. Depends on the situation – if we have a chance of scoring, then go for it, but if not, lets not pull JC based on his pitching.

    • Truman48

      Is Hamels really trying to throw around Orlando?

      Apparently he was and OC still swung at ball 4.

  21. MDM

    did anyone just hear the announcers? OCab wanted to bat 8th because he might not be able to finish the game. Seriously? He SAID MIGHT NOT BE ABLE TO FINSH THE GAME. Yet dusty still starts him in the MOST important game of the year.

    We are going to be down a bench player because OCab wants to play.

  22. Truman48

    Why are none of the Reds pitchers hitting is high on the radar gun? It seems like everyone is down 2-3 mph in velocity except for Arroyo who is always slow.

  23. MDM

    @Truman48: Could be that its colder out now than mid-summer. Chapman hit 105 in SD, but is (only) throwing 101 back in the mid-west.

    Also, could be the radar guns are just a little off…

  24. Truman48

    Is anybody else going to commercials in the middle of innings? This is ridiculous!!

  25. Truman48

    I just missed watching the cheater K! Darn it Verizon or Frontier or whatever crappy carrier that I have that has to run extra commericials. It is the playoffs for Pete’s sake.

  26. MDM

    @Truman48: 96,95,96 from cuaeto.

    could be just trying to hit the edges more against the philis.

    • Truman48

      @Truman48: 96,95,96 from cuaeto.could be just trying to hit the edges more against the philis.

      Yeah I noticed. But it hasn’t been that high until this inning.

      No more breaks for the Phillies. They should be out of their lucky break quota after that crappy infield hit.

  27. MDM

    @Truman48: i think the infrequent high-90s might just be that the radar guns are a little off…I’ve noticed high fastballs usually get higher #s than lower ones….

  28. Truman48

    Keep crushing them. They eventually find the gaps!

    Hope you’re right.

  29. Truman48

    That’s exactly how all bad innings start.

    Yep. We will now be sweating this one out.

  30. MikeB

    Good job that inning by Cueto after the leadoff walk.

  31. Truman48

    Redlegs are going to need a home run from someone tonight. Who’s it gonna’ be?

  32. SGT Ethan

    Gotta be Bailey queued up for long relief tonight, no?

  33. Wil Payne

    Scott Rolen got a base hit? Someone, check to make sure the gravity is still turned on!

  34. Wil Payne

    Come on guys. I can feel it, something’s gotta happen tonight. It’s just gotta.

  35. Truman48

    Nice, Gomes….way to swing at ball 4

    I guess we can’t too mad at him because the ball Hernandez hit would have been a sure double play.

    Somebody is going to have to jack one if the Reds are going to get on board. They really seem to have a terrible time scratching them out against these top level pitchers.

    • Truman48

      They beat Oswalt like a rented mule….but haven’t done anything against their bullpen.

      I didn’t consider him in the same class. However, I know that he has been good since the move.

  36. Truman48

    @Y-City Jim:
    Gameday had it in the zone. Ball 3 too.

    It is amazing how one “computer” has it clearly out of the zone while another has it inside.

  37. Truman48

    HR under review

    Unfortunately there is nothing they can do about it.

  38. Truman48

    Got to hit for Cueto in this inning.Down 2 to Hamels is a huge deficit.

    I think you are right. Not really an option.

  39. Truman48

    Time to break out the Wonder Boys!

    Is that a Natural reference?

  40. Truman48

    They just can’t get anything going against this guy.

  41. MikeB

    Cueto pitched well, he did his part.

  42. Truman48

    Wow these guys do have ERAs above 2 right?

  43. MDM

    not against the reds. Hamels has a 1.07 against us.

  44. John D.

    @Crutch23: I’m not sure it’s even the worst this year. The Twins lost twice at home and have more playoff experience.

  45. MDM

    @Y-City Jim: i dont think we can complain about the starts that much. Aside from Volquez, we’ve had vert strong starting pitching vs a great hitting team.

    We need 1 more good hitter in the lineup. A big upgrade at LF would be much appreciated.

    • Truman48

      @Y-City Jim: i dont think we can complain about the starts that much. Aside from Volquez, we’ve had vert strong starting pitching vs a great hitting team.
      We need 1 more good hitter in the lineup. A big upgrade at LF would be much appreciated.

      I agree. I really hope they look at left field.

  46. Truman48

    …and possibly third base as well.

  47. Truman48

    Santa Walt got you 2 more years of Rolen for Christmas.

    Yeah, I have been a big fan from the beginning. But I am now starting to have some doubts.

  48. MDM

    @Y-City Jim: fiar enough. they all have the talent to grow and become a great staff. but let’s not worry about next year. I want more baseball this year!

  49. MDM

    Way to go, homer. He’s been great for us over the last 2 months.

  50. SGT Ethan

    Hopefully we get to pinch hit for Homer this inning!

  51. SGT Ethan

    Am I a bad man? I just put down reservations for 2011 season tickets…

  52. MikeB

    Hey guys, let’s look at the bright side…coming into the post season, everyone was worried about bringing in Cordero in a save situation, and as it turns out, we worried for nothing.

    • SGT Ethan

      Hey guys, let’s look at the bright side…coming into the post season, everyone was worried about bringing in Cordero in a save situation, and as it turns out, we worried for nothing.

      Brilliant. Quote of the night.

  53. SGT Ethan

    GREAT season. Ugh – disappointing. But a great season.

  54. Ethan D

    Who else is excited for March 31st?

  55. RFDRED

    Embarrassing and disappointing end to a great season. You gotta hand it to the Phillies though, they are the obvious better team and the class of MLB.
    Even though I’m disappointed with the way the year ended, you can’t be disappointed with this season.
    In March/April, I thought I would be content with a winning season from these young guys. We finished 20 games over, Central champs… It’s hard to be upset.
    On top of a surprising season, we saw a lot of great individual improvement and a lot of great, surprising players. i.e. Travis Wood, Mike Leake, etc.
    Looking at the silver lining: this debacle in the playoffs will give our guys great experience that will help us in the long run.
    You can’t help but be excited for next season. With a couple moves, this team could easily be a National League contender next year.

    • SGT Ethan

      Even though I’m disappointed with the way the year ended, you can’t be disappointed with this season.

      Definitely. Great season, in the end.

  56. Ethan D

    I’m impressed with how Cueto has maintained his composure thus far.

    He was awesome tonight. I really can’t believe that he is still only 24

  57. RobD

    As bad as I feel about the past few days, I feel a bit better after listening to Marty and Jeff a moment ago. (I live near Charlotte, and bought a smart phone JUST so I could get mlb-at-bat2010 and listen to the games.) Anyway, Marty talked about 2007, when the Phillies made the postseason for the first time in 14 years, got swept by Colorado. Then they came back in 2008 and won it all. Maybe the Reds can follow that path….

    How many days til pitchers and catchers report?

    • Ethan D

      As bad as I feel about the past few days, I feel a bit better after listening to Marty and Jeff a moment ago. (I live near Charlotte, and bought a smart phone JUST so I could get mlb-at-bat2010 and listen to the games.) Anyway, Marty talked about 2007, when the Phillies made the postseason for the first time in 14 years, got swept by Colorado. Then they came back in 2008 and won it all. Maybe the Reds can follow that path….How many days til pitchers and catchers report?

      119 or so

  58. jon

    I just want to say thanks to Bob Castellini and all of his support guys for this year, Thanks so much to Dusty Baker, Billy Hatcher, Bryan Price, Mark Berry et al, thanks to Marty, Jeff, Jeff, Chris, Paul, Thom, Jim and anyone I missed for this so very special season of baseball but most of all I want to thank this team for busting it from February until October 10, 2010. You guys made Cincinnati baseball relevant again and I could not be more proud of a team if they had won the World Series. Thanks Joey, MVP, Thanks to Brandon, Scott, Mike Leake, Miguel for your clutch hitting, Jay for your whole year of hard work, all you guys, take a break, get some rest, come back in Spring 11 ready to roll again and take this to the next level. Love all you guys, see everyone soon!!

  59. Reds03

    Just got back from the game. I thought Votto was going to homer in the 9th, but it wasn’t meant to be. I agree with Steve, the error in the 1st kicked everyone in the stadium in the gut. This is going to hurt in the morning, but it’s a good learning experience heading into 2011.

    • Ethan D

      Very true. I wish it had been a little longer experience, but valuable nonetheless.

      I wish the NLDS was best of 7

  60. Myles

    I’m interested for the first time in forever in what they’ll do over the winter, and I think you’ll have a good idea before pitchers and catchers report whether the “braintrust” has what it takes.

    The least fun part of the postseason wasn’t just the defense, it was also that Votto got totally shut down and that Rolen was about as horrible as he could get.

  61. Reds03

    @Steve: I wish I could wake up and this was all a dream and game 3 hadn’t been played yet. The stadium went dead silent when Votto grounded into the DP.

  62. Reds03

    Whenever Rolen struck out to end the game the Phillies acted like they won game 68 of the regular season. They expected to win.

  63. Reds03

    Gomes smoked a ball in the 6th or 7th. Bruce hit one hard in the 7th to end the inning.

  64. Reds03

    I’m off to bed, good night Reds fans. Looking forward to ST.

  65. Damian Kristof

    The Reds’ 11 hits in this series are the fewest ever in a post season sweep in the history of baseball.

    The 1984 Royals in the ALCS vs the Tigers are the only other team to have 7 errors in a series sweep loss.

    However, the Reds’ 4 runs scored are not the fewest ever in a series sweep:

    The 1998 & 1999 Rangers only gained 1 run each year against the Yankees in the ALDS;

    The 1981 Royals only pushed across 2 runs against the Yankees in the ALDS, and the 1966 Dodgers only mustered 2 runs in a four game sweep in the World Series by the Orioles, including three shutouts;

    While the 1970 Pirates only managed 3 runs against the Reds in the NLCS.

    6 times were teams held to 4 runs in a series sweep:
    The 1990 Redsox in four games in the ALCS vs. the A’s;
    The 1963 Yankees in four games in the World Series against the Dodgers;
    The 2007 Angles in the ALDS vs. Boston;
    The 1998 Cubs in the NLDS vs. Atlanta;
    The 1984 Royals in the ALCS vs. the Tigers;
    The 1981 A’s in the ALCS vs. the Yankees;

    This series for the Reds may go down as one of the worst series ever in baseball post season history, though none of those listed above are that much better (especially the Mariners and ’66 Dodgers). However, many of our young guys got valuable post season experience and hopefully, they can follow in the shoes of the 1970 Pirates and 1984 Royals and win the World Series the very next season!

  66. Annalise

    @Steve: The main concern is weather. Once you start getting deep into October, weather becomes a real factor, especially in the northeast.

    I’m not sure they’re going to be able to do it without shaving 2-3 games from the regular season schedule. The way it is now, the playoffs started on the 6th and the last day of the World Series would be on the 27th. Adding another potential two games, and then additional travel days, likely pushes the season into November, and I think baseball doesn’t want that.

    The other thing is that pretty much every team this season had some crazy stretch in which they played 22 games in 23 days, which is insane. The schedule is already compressed too much as it is.

    Think of it this way — MLB is actually leaving money on the table, deciding not to cash in on the two potential extra games. That’s how serious the current condensed scheduling is now.

  67. The Mad Hatter

    The Reds go into next season with 7 legit starters. Volquez, Cueto, Arroyo, Chapman, Leake, Bailey and Wood. I’ll be shocked if Bailey isn’t traded in the off season. Not that I think that it’s the right move but he seems like the odd man out with management. Just a quick look at Volquez since July 1st, 2008: 1.4 WHIP, 4.35 ERA, 9K/9 innings, 1 HR/9. Add the fact that he’ll be 27, coming off surgery, and a PED offender and I would prefer to see him go over the off season.

    Great season. I wish I could have been in the states to watch more of it but thanks to Chad and everyone at RN I was able to keep tabs on my favorite professional sports team. Thanks everyone.

  68. phillies_phan

    Hi everyone. I guess by my screen name you can tell where I’m from. I just wanted to say that I was very impressed with the talent the Reds have. They do remind me of the ’07 Phils that got swept by Colorado and then came back the next year and won the world series. I think with a few minor changes, the Reds will be the team to beat. See you guys next year!!!!! 😀