I spent the Independence Day weekend in our nation’s capital (Washington, D.C., for those of you who flunked Civics), and it was a good time, as always. I lived in that town for three years during the 90s, and it holds a special place in my heart.

Since I was with my family on this trip, we did a lot of the touristy things that most American families do when they’re in D.C. Ford’s Theatre, White House, Lincoln Memorial (where I saw no fewer than six selfie-sticks taking pictures of Lincoln at the same time).

The trip also got me thinking about the State of the (Redleg) Nation. (A little political metaphor for you there. You’re impressed, right?) So let’s talk about this little website that you’re reading, and what the future holds for us.

I guess I should start with this: The state of the (Redleg) Nation is strong.

There is no question that I’m biased, but I’ve always believed that RN provided the best Reds-related commentary available on the interwebs. That hasn’t changed in recent years, under the guiding hand of Steve Mancuso, who stepped in when I needed a break some time back and has managed the day-to-day affairs of Redleg Nation extremely well. I’m eternally grateful to him.

Steve has also been integral in recruiting a new generation of writers to the Nation, who have combined with some of the old guard to make a fantastic group of writers and editors that are dedicated to our mission of providing Reds content that is different than anything else you can find out there. (Although, to be honest, I’d love to feature more women writers here at RN. I know you’re out there, so contact me — dotsonc AT gmail DOT com — if you’re interested. After all, Mary Beth is getting lonely at our staff parties.)

When I say that we have provided the best Reds-related commentary over the years, I really mean that. That’s not a criticism of other Reds blogs, which I enjoy every single day (they do great work over at Red Reporter, in particular, and Doug Gray’s daily minor league coverage is second to none).* But the analysis we provide is different than you’ll read at any mainstream media site.

*I’m compelled to add that we’re fortunate to have Doug contributing here at RN on a regular basis, with his A Minors Obsession column. Check out today’s excellent piece on Aristides Aquino.

Cincinnati has a terrific group of beat writers — C. Trent Rosecrans, Mark Sheldon, Zach Buchanan — but they’re providing a different product than we are. They’re reporting, we’re analyzing and commenting. What Redleg Nation provides is more akin to the old-school baseball columnists who used to appear weekly in your local newspaper. We’re here every single day, and I’ll put our product up against Paul Daugherty any day of the week and twice on Sundays.

We are, however, trying to expand our footprint in the media landscape surrounding the Cincinnati Reds. For example, Nick Kirby covered yesterday’s coaching staff shakeup in fine fashion. At the end, Nick reminded you that new Reds’ bullpen coach Ted Power was a guest on the most recent episode of our podcast, cleverly titled “Redleg Nation Radio.” You can listen to his talk with Jason Linden here.

Unless you are a regular listener of the podcast, you may have forgotten that just a couple of years ago, Cincinnati’s new pitching coach, Mack Jenkins, also appeared as a guest on the podcast. Here’s his interview with my frequent RNR co-host, Bill Lack.

I want to encourage everyone (or at least everyone that listens to podcasts) to subscribe to Redleg Nation Radio. We’re posting a new one every week and I really think they keep getting better and better. Here’s the iTunes link, and here’s the link for other podcast devices. We should be available on Stitcher soon, as well.

I’m making a real effort to improve the audio quality of the podcasts — although you’ll just have to endure my silly accent — but I’d love to get your thoughts to help make it a better product. So I have some questions:

–Do you listen to podcasts? If not, why not? If yes, how do you listen (phone/computer, in the car/at your desk)?
–Do we need a new name for the podcast? I came up with Redleg Nation Radio on the spur of the moment back in 2007 when we recorded the first episode.
–Are there any regular features you’d like to see on the podcast? Anything other podcasts do that we might want to incorporate into our show?
–What other sports-related podcasts do you listen to?
–This one is not strictly podcast-related, but do you regularly watch any online-only video shows via YouTube, Periscope, Facebook Live, or elsewhere?

RNSnapchatSpeaking of Periscope, I did our first live broadcast the other night from D.C., and got a great response. That night, we also did some snapping or chatting or whatever you do on Snapchat (username: redlegnation, or use the image over there on the right). I’m going to be doing more of that in the future.

The digital pages you’re reading right now will always be the mothership, and I think we have an incredibly strong group of writers here at Redleg Nation right now (seriously, this group is fantastic). I’m so proud of the content you read here every day, and I’m amazed that we’re still going strong after 11+ years. But we’re always looking to expand our coverage of the Reds, so we’re trying to have a presence everywhere. If it’s your thing, go like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and/or Instagram.

The online world is different than it was on February 28, 2005, when I hit “publish” on the very first post here at the Nation. So we’re trying to change with the world, and that means expanding onto every platform where there are people eager to discuss the Reds.

After all, I started Redleg Nation with the idea that it would be kinda like an old General Store, where we could all sit around and talk about our favorite baseball team. It has succeeded far beyond my modest dreams more than a decade ago. We’re trying to figure out the path that will ensure that the Nation is around for a 20th anniversary in 2025. That may include video or holo-cast or whatever they’re doing in 2025, but I can guarantee that we’ll always strive to have the best print analysis of the Cincinnati Reds that you’ll find anywhere on the interwebs.

I hope that future includes all of you. There has been nothing more gratifying than being able to say that I’m part of such a vibrant community of Reds fans. Your contributions, particularly in terms of the civil, yet passionate, discussion that we see in our comment sections, have made this entire venture worthwhile. It is not an understatement to say that I am overwhelmed by your continual support of Redleg Nation, and I’ll always be in your debt.

Over the next couple of weeks, I hope to be able to announce a date for a meet-up in Cincinnati, so I — and our writers/editors –can get to know as many of you as possible away from the screen. We haven’t done that in a few years, and it’s time to get that tradition back in place, because this community is just the best. I love you guys and gals.

Go Reds.