Is there such a thing as a “championship window” in sports? If so, is the current window closing on the Cincinnati Reds? Perhaps a more important question: Was there a real window to begin with?
The Reds have qualified for the postseason three of the past five seasons. Do three postseason chances in five years qualify for a “window?” Depends how you look at it.
The Reds failed to win a postseason series in any of those three chances. Meanwhile, another team qualified three out of the past five years: The San Francisco Giants. Bruce Bochy and Buster Posey have three World Series rings to slide on at their leisure.
Plenty examples of failing to get it done within a perceived window exist in sports history. The late 90’s/early 2000’s Sacramento Kings. The early 1980’s Montreal Expos. The mid/late 1980’s Cleveland Browns. These are teams that had great success in the regular season over about a half-decade yet failed to reach the pinnacle. And then, after repeated failures, ownership either stood pat or overreacted, resulting in “the window” closing.
What about this current Reds era? After fifteen years of ineptitude, winning returned to the Queen City as the calendar flipped to 2010. That year, the Reds weren’t quite ready to handle the spotlight or the powerful Phillies. They were swept in three games, including a Roy Halladay no-hitter and a devastating blown lead in Game 2. Two years later, the team returned to the postseason and won the first two games in San Francisco only to lose three straight at home. The following campaign saw a lethargic, dreadful end to the regular season and a quick exit from the postseason.
And then 2014 was about as frustrating as a major league season can be.
Regardless of the postseason failures and ridiculous contracts signed by the front office over the past five season, the 2015 Reds certainly do have a lot of talent and a handful of established superstars.
Here’s the question: Did the Reds miss their chance, is 2015 the last chance, or did they never really enter a serious championship window?