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.