The Cincinnati Reds are 1-7 and in last place in the National League Central. They have the worst record in baseball. Yes, it’s only a week and a half into the season. And to truly panic may be a bit much. But if you are among the ownership group, it’s time to panic. The last few years have been disastrous for the Cincinnati Reds when it comes to the product on the field and as a result, the gate receipts and general interest in the ball club.

During the homestand the Reds played a game against Pittsburgh that drew a grand total of 7,799 people. And that is paid attendance, not actual people walking through the gate and finding their way to the seat. It was a cold, miserable Monday night in Cincinnati. But those numbers are minor league baseball attendance numbers. That is what the Dayton Dragons or Louisville Bats draw on a given night.

After last season it seemed that enough was enough somewhere in the organization. The front office seemed to finally be able to have the power to put their people in place. For years it seemed there was a disconnect between what the front office people were saying publicly about the kind of things they believed players should be doing, and what was happening in the dugout and on the field. And we saw a complete turnover of nearly every coach in the dugout. Then we saw the team add about five additional coaches to that group. Things were drastically different both in personnel and in what that personnel was saying they were going to do.

There has been a grand sense of apathy lately in Cincinnati for their sports teams. Between the Reds simply being bad for most of the 2000’s, to the Bengals continued failures in the playoffs – professional sports in the city has killed many fans from buying in. Fool them ten times, shame on you. Fool them eleven times, shame on them.

A few years ago FC Cincinnati kicked off their franchise as a small-time minor league soccer team. But they put 20,497 butts in the seats at their first USL game and never looked back. Over the next three years FC Cincinnati garnered national and international attention for what they were doing in terms of attendance, particularly at a lower level of professional soccer. That all led to them earning an expansion bid as an MLS team in 2018, with their first season being the current one.

While the Reds and Bengals don’t directly compete for eyes and ears, the Reds and FC Cincinnati do. The seasons overlap. While not everyone is choosing between one or the other, plenty are. And if you had to choose between the kind of atmosphere below, or whatever the heck was happening between 2016-2018 at Great American Ballpark, which would you choose?

The Reds may not say it out loud, but they absolutely know what they are going up against. And this offseason they didn’t just go out and change up the entirety of the coaching staff. They went out and got players, too. The Reds made trades with the Yankees, Dodgers, and the Nationals to bring in three starting pitchers and two former All-Star outfielders. Losing was supposed to be something of the past. Developing at the Major League level and rebuilding were things that happened under the past regime.

Apathy had set in, but the offseason for the Reds had people excited. Sonny Gray, Alex Wood, and Tanner Roark would stabilize the rotation along with Luis Castillo. Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp would add to an already strong offense. The 2019 Reds were supposed to look a lot different than the team that began 3-18 in 2018 and ultimately led to wholesale coaching changes in April of last season.

Even after losing Scooter Gennett to injury late in spring training, the outlook still looked solid for the Reds. And then the season started, and it started well. The Reds won on Opening Day over the Pittsburgh Pirates. They’ve played seven games since then and they’ve lost every single one of them. One win. Seven losses. After the past few seasons the casual fans who may have been excited about the offseason is fighting each other to leap off of the bandwagon. The die-hard fans that are left are feeling dead inside.

Bob Castellini headed up a group that bought the controlling share of the Cincinnati Reds in 2006. In the introductory press conference he said “we’re buying the Reds to win. Anything else is unacceptable.” There’s been a lot of unacceptable since then. The Reds have had three winning seasons since that press conference. They’ve had ten losing seasons in that span, not accounting for this year.

From any and all accounts, Castellini isn’t just an owner, he’s a huge Reds fan, too. Rumors that he lives and dies with each win and loss are out there. But it’s not just his emotions that take a hit with each loss. His pockets do, too. And things aren’t looking great moving forward in 2019. While the wins-to-tickets-sold usually takes a year to fully kick in, the “out of it by the second week of April” feeling will get the sales department immediately.

The wins are going to come. How many, who really knows – but the Cincinnati Reds aren’t going to continue down a 1-7 path for the year. They will get better. They will even have some good runs where they win a lot more than they lose. But will anyone but the absolute die-hard fans still be paying attention? The Reds have gotten off to a start that is about as bad as possible, and it is the absolute last thing they needed. Not only because it’s tough to start out so poorly and still make the playoffs, but it’s killed every last bit of enthusiasm in the fan base for the good will built up with the offseason moves that they made.

96 Responses

  1. Optimist

    Perhaps they reverted to the 154 game schedule without telling anyone? Opening Day is tomorrow.

    • Jim

      All the new guys have not disappointed… They slotted right in and the team is still the biggest bunch of losers. Is it too early to be looking at the Reds magic number to be mathematically eliminated? Will it happen before the 4th of July?

  2. jazzmanbbfan

    I used to attend about 25 Reds games a year. I haven’t been in 3 years and my attendance had dropped from 25 to 12, 8, 3 then 0. I likely will go to a few games this year, despite this horrible start. I’m a season ticket holder to FCC. It is an exciting atmosphere full of families with kids, people on their feet cheering for the team, players showing appreciation for the fans. I love baseball, root for the Reds, but at this point I am much more entertained by FCC soccer than I am by Reds baseball.

    • ToBeDetermined

      jazzman
      I’ve never been to a soccer game. I’ve seen it on TV before, and am bored after 2 minutes. What makes “it an exciting atmosphere” ? I’m curious.

      • jazzmanbbfan

        ToBeDetermined: There is constant action, the clock doesn’t stop every time the ball goes out of bounds. To be honest, other than watching an occasional World Cup match, I didn’t watch soccer until FCC arrived. First season I went to 2 or 3 matches and was hooked, without really understanding what was going on. Just loved the enthusiasm and atmosphere. Through colleagues and friends who are soccer fans I’m slowly learning more, like I can tell when someone is offsides, lol. Soccer and baseball are completely different sports to watch and I now enjoy watching it on TV as well as live. It is possible, despite some comments here, to enjoy both sports. I never dreamed when I went the first year, that I would become a season ticket holder starting their second season but I did and I’m happy with that decision.

      • ohiojimw

        I realized over the weekend that I currently know more Premier League managers by face and name than MLB managers.

        I am not far from being in the same situation with NHL head coaches versus MLB managers; and that’s saying a lot because a 7 game losing streak can get even a really good NHL coach fired.

        Soccer and hockey are both about speed and movement away from the ball (puck) about as much as what happens around the ball. This is a different perspective. It has taken years but I have come to enjoy both. I’ll watch soccer or hockey just to see the game. I rarely watch baseball except for the Reds. And the Reds are getting very hard to watch.

    • Colorado Red

      I will probably make it to one game this year. (of course it will be at Coors).
      Got the MLB package again, and beginning to wonder why.
      If everything thing went right, they might have made the playoffs, but nothing has gone right so far.
      Long season (as a buddy who love the Rockies says), but you can lose a division in April, and the Reds are trying.

      • ToBeDetermined

        Colorado

        Coors — That’s a great ball park. And the surrounding area is likewise. Along with the trolly that we took from our hotel.
        They really gentrified the area. Felt real safe walking in that area.

  3. Klugo

    With all the change and the same results, I can’t help but wonder: what is the common denominator. The answer, as I see it, is the core players. The “team leaders”. Or maybe, it’s our fault: the fans (tongue firmly planted in cheek).

    • Hanawi

      The other thing that didn’t seem to change, but just get reshuffled are the ones in the scouting and development departments. The Reds inability to develop a second star behind Votto has been a killer for a small market team. They haven’t developed an elite starter since Cueto. The drafts have been a disaster for far too long and the strategy for Latin America even worse.

  4. matt hendley

    Good Article. Off all the people getting destroyed in the Management and Front office. Bob C, has come off looking squeaky clean. it was advised that he should step back and ‘let the professionals do their job, which they did, and for a while it looked good. So Rather then forcing nameless manager to run Havoc out every day at the top of the lineup, he delegated. Now he needs to decide what to do. Delegate some more and fire some of the current people or run the course. I am familiar with trusting the process, but i am not an idiot either. These moves during the offseason were not meant for a 4th place club. 1-7 is not the process. Maybe it is an aboration, if so it will correct. but if it continues, Bob C may have to make a move.

  5. Sandman

    You basically asked if we’d choose between soccer bcuz of the fun atmosphere or losing baseball.

    For this particular fan, it’s always gonna be baseball. I cannot begin to express to you, just how much soccer doesn’t appeal to me. I’m not gonna bash the sport, it’s just not my cup of tea.

    So, for me, the worst day at a baseball game would still be more fun than the best possible day at a soccer game.

    • Doug Gray

      But see, I didn’t ask you. I very specifically referenced people who were interested in both.

      • Jazzmanbbfan

        Exactly Doug. I love both sports. I hope at some point the Reds will give me a reason to really want to go to see them but right now they don’t. They’ve been unwatchable (although I still watch on tv). As miserable as it was at Nippert last Saturday I was still happy I was at the FCC match.

      • Sandman

        When you asked, which would you rather see, you were asking which environment/sport we’d rather be in.

  6. Don A

    And the __________ Red Machine keeps on rolling!!

    • Sandman

      And if you had to choose between the kind of atmosphere below, or whatever the heck was happening between 2016-2018 at Great American Ballpark, which would you choose?

      This is where he was asking which sport we’d rather see.

      • LWBlogger2

        I like soccer, but I LOVE baseball. It’s hard and I’m frustrated but am with you that I’d rather see a baseball game.

  7. Bill J

    If BC dies with each loss, he has died around 943 times.

    • Joey

      Dr. Strange has him in a time loop so he can keep dying over and over again…

  8. JayTheRed

    What happens if we start the season 3 – 20 or 3 – 18 again… Did they make a mistake bringing in a rookie manager?? Are analytics being considered too much!! There is an old adage in baseball that may need to be put back into play a little, especially with the hook I have seen from our new manager coming pretty fast for our starters.

    On the flip side we are without Scooter who is a pretty good hitter and without another good on base person in Senzel.

    In today’s game we actually got some hits I don’t know how many more losses happen before maybe a team meeting needs to happen or might be 10 games out of first place by the end of April.

    Something has to change, Maybe bat the guys who are hitting a little together instead of spreading them all over the lineup. I know there is only a few but lump them together in the lineup I say.

    Here is to hoping a turn around is coming soon at this point I would be happy with maybe 2 wins in a row.

    • Doc

      Might say ‘projected on base man in Senzel’. His on base percentage during ST was what, .300? I believe that is wirse than Hamilton.

    • Scott C

      If I remember correctly after the first few weeks of 2018 the Philly fans were asking the same question about Gabe Kaplan. Give Bell and the Reds some time.

      • greenmtred

        Good point. I’m pessiistic, but it seems to me that the Reds are losing because they aren’t hitting. They might start–they seemed to yesterday–and they might not hit well all season, but there’s little the manager can do about that.

  9. Mason Red

    Unfortunately this city has two professional sports franchises which are owned by those who aren’t in it to win. Make money yes. Win consistently no. It’s all about cutting corners when it comes to scouting and player development and absolutely no big name free agents signings. Occasionally the stars align and there’s some success but it never lasts long. This offseason the Reds made some moves but it was to appease the fans. If it all fails it’s back to the rebuild with prospects I’m not sure the Reds have much confidence in. Or they are held back because of years of service. I grew up during the BRM years. The Reds were not only the best team but the best franchise in baseball. It pains me to see them now as one of the worst but it’s been that way for awhile. I haven’t been to a Reds game in 3 years and will continue not to go. It’s not worth driving 50 miles and spending the money.

  10. TR

    A good writeup about a dispiriting situation after the positive offseason moves of the Reds front office. As an elder fan, I would choose the 2016-2018 action at GABP. But I’m glad that the city and metro area that I love has FC Cincinnati as a franchise in MLS and there is excitement and support as they begin their first year. It seems to me the Reds terrible start, if it continues, has to result in change, perhaps not on the scale that occurred in 1993 with manager Tony Perez, but this situation cannot continue. The Reds are no longer the sole professional franchise in Cincinnati.

    • ToBeDetermined

      I know I thought of the Tony Perez situation.
      But, I can’t possibly see them firing the manager and staff for quite a while. They have to give this thing a reasonable period of time.

  11. Jon

    Really a shame the team has played so poorly and D Bell appears to be in over his head. If someone gets fired it should start in the front office specially whoever wanted Bell who sounds like he is sleep walking.

    • JayTheRed

      I have watched some of his interviews and I think to myself, Where is the intensity.. Where is the drive. Has extra batting practice been put in? So far this guy reminds me of our old manager that started last year. The only thing I have seen thus far that is quick is his hook on starting pitchers that are doing a good job.

      As I said its only about a weeks worth of games but honestly I’m a little nervous.

  12. steve

    The Reds ownership doesn’t seem to understand that a few extra million a year for a strong manager is worth 10-15 games a year. They seem to want a bargain for a manager and that approach is proven to be a losing approach…every time. I hope Bell turns it around, but we are getting what we paid for.

    • Doug Gray

      I don’t believe that any manager is worth 10-15 games a year. I’d put it at a max of 5, assuming we are talking about people actually being qualified for the job. By-and-large it’s the players that are going to make the difference for the manager.

      • matt hendley

        hire dusty baker…. then fire him the day the season ends. THe Cubs who at that pont miss the playoffs…. fire Joe Maddon, we hire him…. win the world series… all is well.

      • Mason Red

        It depends on the number of close games. A good manager can be the difference if a team plays a lot of one run games. Sparky Anderson always said the measure of a good team was its record in one run games and even with a team of HOF players Sparky won his share of close games. He was ahead of the times with his use of the bullpen. Sparky was worth more than 5 wins a season.

      • greenmtred

        I always liked Sparky but, as you say, he had a team of HOF players. Of course they won close games. Also lop-sided games. The players were great. I’m not clear on how you can determine that he (Sparky) was responsible for a certain number of wins. He himself used to say that all he had to do was fill out the lineup card. Modesty, yes, but with a measure of truth, too.

      • Mason Red

        I say that easily. Do I have actual numbers? Absolutely not but if a manager only wins 5 games a year then why bother hiring and firing managers?

      • VaRedsFan

        Price directly cost the team 5 wins a month.

        Mismanaging has a bigger effect than you think.
        I don’t believe Bell has cost them a win so far this year, but he could have made different choices that might have changed results.

      • greenmtred

        I think it’s hard-to-impossible to quantify how many wins per season a given manager accounts for. Some, maybe. As a contributing factor in a number of them, probably. Why do they get fired? Maybe because it’s easier than firing the whole team. Chuck Schick used to be fond of pointing out the losing records that highly-regarded managers had when they managed teams with little talent.

  13. Mark Lang

    Someone needs to give them the “Lollygaggers” speech…. they don’t play with edge/hustle. Scooter had it, but no one else does – it’s like a team full of anti-Pete Roses… I think part of this “team malaise” comes from the team leaders (*cough *cough Votto)

    • VaRedsFan

      It sure doesn’t help when he makes mistake after mistake on the bases and in the field. Now for 1+ years, his bat isn’t making up for the mistakes.

  14. matt hendley

    Extend Scooter and Puig, Wood if he is effective healthy. Kemp walks no later then the end of the season, obviously if there is an ability to get him moved earlier do so. In 2020 Trammell moves up and supplants Schebler, who is traded or Non-tenders NLT 2021. Siri is given the appropriate time to develop 2+years. Roark Walks, and as the Reds wait on Greene, let the appropriate names try to get a rotation spot. Again this is a hole, but one win tomorrow and the Cubs are in a bigger one than us.

  15. George

    I really feel that after the last 3 years a lot of fan “capital” was lost. The steps and changes the front Office demonstrated over the winter only brought the baseball staffing and thinking to the minimum in comparison to many other MLB teams. The one-year contracts on many of the new acquisitions show the lack of commitment. The move of Senzel to AAA for time issues shows that the front office is still concerned about pennies, not winning.
    As long the name Castellini is still on the door we will not drive the 2 hours to attend Saturday night-game, spend the night, and attend the Sunday afternoon game and drive home. It was a great treat. Never again.

    • Doc

      Doug Gray wrote an excellent article a couple of weeks ago which clearly showed that the Reds do not have a history of playing the service time game.

      A comparison of Scott Schebler’s SPRING TRAINING performance versus that of Senzel is a no brainer that Schebler won the job. Senzel himself said that he was given every opportunity to win the job and Schebler just beat him out.

      If you are going to take into account Schebler’s regular season start, then let’s compare it to Senzel’s regular season start. Oh, wait, he is injured again and his season hasn’t started, making his contribution to Louisville even less than Schebler’s to the Reds.

      Forty four games in AAA followed by seven months away from competitive baseball and a ST OBP of Billy Hamilton quality does not support this being a service time issue. Philip Ervin was far more deserving of a roster spot than was Senzel, based on Ervin’s performance last year, this spring, and not having missed half of last year.

      • vegastypo

        And I would add this to what Doc said. If it IS a service time issue, so what??? Maybe it’s “saving pennies,” but it’s also giving the team an extra year of control of a player who is expected to be very, very good.

  16. Mike

    People wanted full blown, analytics run team. It’s been great so far!

    • ToBeDetermined

      Mike
      I know RLN sheepishly could admit that.

      Now with some perspective, AJ Hinch was down their in Arizona with the fullblown Analytics approach, and it was a complete disaster. I personally felt sorry for him, it appeared he had no clue.
      I was surprised he was given another chance when Houston picked him up. But that worked out beautifully.
      I guess really the ultimate difference was the performance of the players on the field.

  17. jessecuster44

    This isn’t Bell’s fault. He’s had 8 games to make moves. You have to think his patience with Lorenzen has run out by now, as 21 has been responsible for 2 losses. And every team goes through a hitting slump – maybe the Reds just had one for 6 games. And Scooter and Senzel are both hurt. And there’s a 4 position player bench (which in hindsight is very bad)

    So who’s to blame? It’s the players. They haven’t played well enough.

    As a fan, this is becoming tiresome though – two straight years of terrible starts? Maybe a 6th straight losing season? I don’t expect Bell to be fired, but I do expect some different people to be playing if the current ones can’t step it up.

    • Michael E

      This is why I ranted that they should just make Lorenzen a CF, get him some AAA ABs and see what you have. HE is nothing more than a mediocre pitcher. He has a solid fastball, but hey, what handful of pitchers in MLB don’t throw 93+ these days?

      He hit’s better than he pitches and he played the field and hit more in college too. Now, if he develops a decent 2nd or 3rd pitch under the new PC, okay, maybe he becomes a good/reliable RP/SP, but right now he is just about he last pitcher I’d signal for in a close game…he would be my long-innings filler in a blow out game.

  18. Oldtimer

    Reds attendance in 2018 was lowest since 1984.

    • Colorado Red

      If they do not start winning, 2019 may be much worse.

      • ToBeDetermined

        I think that’s what Oldtimer was getting at.

        They can only give so many bobble-heads away and keep the fans coming back.

  19. Jreis

    Great article Doug. I think the problems with the reds started in 2013. After Scott Rollen left there seemed to be a silent battle for team leader between BP and Joey. Somehow BP won that battle and the quality of play and effort has been declining ever since. BP was a great talent, no doubt but played with a lackadaisical, hotdog style that unfortunately is too prevalent on this team now.
    I felt David Price didn’t do much to change that culture and it doesn’t seem DB will either. Say what you want but the best baseball this team has played in the last 6 years was last June and July when Riggleman was at the Helm really pushing the fundamentals and trying to bring some discipline to the team.
    I know the game has changed and now analytics and relating to the players is important these days but I also believe that history repeats itself and the reds have always done better with high intensity managers. I go back to the Fred Hutchinson days and he was intense. As was Sparky, Pete, Pinnela and McKeon. Maybe he will change but it doesn’t seem like Bell has the right demeanor to lead this team to success. And as long as holdovers from the BP days are the team leaders, ie votto and Suarez, I don’t see this team having much success.

    • TR

      Jreis: A good overview of the Red’s situation. I also favor managers who do their job with obvious intensity, and among those you list I would include Bernie Tebbets. This is David Bell’s first managerial job and he has deep family ties to the Reds, so I’m sure he’ll have a good run at it. As a low key type personality he reminds me of Walter Alston, one of the most successful managers in ML history. We’ll see what happens.

    • Scott C

      If you want high intensity from a manager, you certainly got it today.

  20. Andy

    When I went to FC home opener this year it was the first professional soccer game I’d ever been to. My family did have a good time, but it wasn’t perfect.
    We parked on campus nearly an hour before game, but only got to our seats with less than 5 minutes to spare. Foot traffic inside Nippert simply didn’t move. We had trouble finding bathrooms and the available options seemed to be Port-a-Potty’s. The seats were all benches, with numbers rubbed out so we weren’t totally sure where we were supposed to sit. We did not explore food options because the concourse was too crowded. My wife missed 30min of 2nd half (including 2 goals) on bathroom trip. I missed the amount of information available at GABP (or to a lesser extent, PBS)… as far as I could tell, the scoreboard wouldn’t even say which players had scored the goals. Following the news the past year, I thought FC and the MLS were screwing the city into buying a new stadium (seemed like everyone was happy at Nippert, right?)… but now I see that Nippert is really not a long-term answer. Maybe PBS would be OK, but half-empty stadiums can be depressing, which is a big part of Reds problem right now.

    I remain skeptical that a Lindner owner will really invest the dollars necessary to compete at championship level, especially if MLS tries to advance the salary cap to start competing with Europe for players. FCC built a lot of goodwill last year by outclassing minor league teams with a near-MLS roster. They will not be able to pull off that trick again.

    And yet… my 11 year old daughter loved it and wanted to go back. My kids act like going to a Reds game is a punishment. She loved the player announcements and the diverse international roster. Her favorite moment (back heel 2nd goal) was an actual game moment, not a kiss cam. We waited after the game and got a soccer ball signed by Jeff Berding and 4 players (admittedly, not sure if this is an every day thing or special for the MLS inaugural game. Also, I’ve never tried this at Reds game so not sure how common that is.) The crowd was lively and broke into chants a few times that helped keep the kids invested. The constant motion is a welcome change from pitching changes, time-outs, free throws, 3 minute huddles waiting for commercial to end, etc. There was some fun taunting back-and-forth with the Portland seating section (until they quieted, down 3-0.) There was a Portland section! This is so much better than having Cubs fans spread out everywhere, outnumbering Reds fans.

    MLB has problem with over-exposure. Too many games with sparse crowds take away from fun factor. FCC’s 17 home-date season fits the price point (and commitment ability) for season tickets to make sense. MLB also has an issue with winning strategy (Strikeouts and HR’s) being less than entertaining. The Reds rightfully released Billy Hamilton for lack of offensive production, but he was far and away the most fun player to watch. His defensive skills were a reason to go to the game, and were more impressive to watch in person than on television. A better version of baseball emphasizes his skills with bigger outfields (more running catches, and more balls finding the outfield gap with fast baserunners flying around.) Votto has clearly been the most valuable Red over the last decade, but his game does not really have a “must see this in person” flair. MLB, I think, MUST MUST MUST find a way to make sure putting the ball in play is more desirable than working a walk. They also should find a way to encourage some risk in baserunning; Stolen base attempts may not be great strategy but they ARE entertaining. Shortening games is missing the point, game action should be better. The “three true outcomes” of K/BB/HR all miss the soul and fun of what baseball can be.

    Another MLB (and most pro leagues, it seems) problem… The entire concept of “tanking” should be stamped out of all sports as soon as possible. Any policy that rewards intentional non-competitive play needs to be re-evaluated now. Part of this is the draft order, but the bigger issue is MLB salary structure. The most-fairly paid players are probably in 2nd year ARB. Before this, players, especially minor leaguers, are drastically underpaid. Starting around 3rd year ARB and in free agency, players are expecting pay 20-30 times higher than pre-ARB guys for about 1.5-3 times the production. The whole scale needs to be evened out, so that paying to keep quality veterans is not gross financial lunacy. As much as I want the Reds to go all-in to improve in free agency, getting burned by a Pujols- type deal (or Homer Bailey or Eric Milton deal, if you prefer) is a real disincentive to try. Those deals absolutely can hamstring an organization into a non-competitive funk for up to a decade if financial flexibility is hurt too badly. Thus the Reds, fresh off a 4-year run of excitement and playoff-caliber play, settled for AAA level talent and expected losing for way too long.

    The Reds have a long history, an excellent museum, a great community fund and a top-notch stadium with plenty of good food and bathrooms. These are advantages over the FCC experience. The sabermetric baseball revolution has emphasized the least entertaining aspects of the sport and damaged the fun factor, and baseball is paying for it with rising age-related disinterest. The salary structure is creating too many intentionally non-competitive teams that lose local interest. The Reds lost the benefit of doubt by tanking the last few years, and deserve the empty stadium until they can show on-field results.

    FCC has started on the right foot and must continue to strive for championship level on field product, because the new-car smell will only last for a couple years after the new stadium opens.

    • ToBeDetermined

      Andy

      wow, you had a lot on you mind

    • Armo21

      Thank you Andy….well done comment.

    • jazzmanbbfan

      Andy: the first MLS match did have its challenges as you noted with congestion inside Nippert. A lot of people like Nippert for matches and it has worked out ok but a soccer specific stadium will make for a better fan experience and hopefully less of what you ran into. I would hesitate to suggest that last year’s roster was near MLS other than Adi and Alashe who came from MLS teams. Adi is on suspension due to an OVI and Alashe has yet to appear in a match. Lasso, Ledesma, and Richey are the only players from last year’s team to play significant minutes (Bone too in the first match). FCC has some talented players but no one who is necessarily a game changer, which the top teams all have so that needs to change in the next year or so. Garza, Saief (at least for now although he’s scheduled to go back to Europe in July), Waston, Hagglund, Mattocks, Cruz, Ulloa, Bertone, Deplagne, Manneh, are all capable MLS players.

      It is a nice thing that MLS teams designate a section for opposition supporters (USL did too). Players staying after to sign autographs is the norm and something that FCC management has made clear is an expectation, along with attending community functions (you see players at the zoo, aquarium, and other places around town).

      Your 11 year old’s reaction seems pretty typical of many kids. Baseball’s pace seems slow to them. Is it reflective of the need for immediate gratification nowadays? I don’t know. I have adult friends, family, colleagues, who would never watch a baseball game because of the pace. I like a 3 hour baseball game but also like a 2 hour soccer match.

      I agree with you that for FCC, the good will only lasts so long. They will have it for a few years but eventually they will need to be competitive on the field or fans will drift away, like I have with the Reds. On a FCC fans page on facebook some people try to compare attendance figures and I (and others) remind them that if FCC is in last place 5 years in a row and outclassed every match, they will suffer the same fate the Reds currently are dealing with.

  21. Scott Gennett

    By “being optimistic” and “live and die with each win and loss” is not enough, it should be translated into positive results. The cemetery is full of optimistic people. Look at other organizations that have successfully became winners after loosing for a long time (i.e., Cubs, Brewers, Astros). Usually, bad decisions translate into bad results (i.e., Cueto’s trade, Chapman’s trade, Votto’s contract, etc.). If the city wishes to continue having a major league team, an ownership change must be in the horizon.

    • ToBeDetermined

      Scott

      I’ll have to think about that one – “The cemetery is full of optimistic people.”
      I don’t know what you mean by that.

      But, I do agree about your “Usually, bad decisions translate into bad results (i.e., Cueto’s trade, Chapman’s trade, Votto’s contract, etc.)”.
      Basically, we can’t white wash these really bad trades and decisions and some how magically we are going to be good this year because of some of the offseason moves the Reds made this last year.

      This could take years to get the shipped righted. Also, some luck.

    • greenmtred

      Cemetaries are also full of pessimistic people. It gets us all, in the end. Enjoy each drink as if it’s your last. Someday, it will be.

  22. vegastypo

    I just don’t know what I find more humorous: that people were really sure we had a contending team in the first place (especially in this division), or that if even we did, or do, that it’s suddenly all out the window after a 1-7 start. ….

    I’d be more concerned if the front office panicked about the poor attendance and made moves to try to go from a 75-win team to a .500 team, and began to cut into the depth in the minors to do it.

    The front office doesn’t want people thinking in terms of rebuilding, but c’mon. Kemp, Puig, Wood, Roark, Scooter, all to be free agents, maybe a few more as well? And I’d be shocked if Scheber is anything more than a pinch hitter on a next good Reds team. Sounds to me like we’re still rebuilding.

    As much as I hate to play the ‘wait til next year’ game, I think a truer measure of what this front office can accomplish starts in the next offseason, when more of the existing contract restraints are gone.

    • Jay

      Will never watch soccer. Give me the 3 hour long games, pitcher changes, aging Joey Votto and his 7 pitch BBs. The Reds could lose 130 games and I would still never watch FCC.

      • jazzmanbbfan

        Jay: you are welcome to that choice. I can do both, watch a 3 hour baseball game or a 2 hour soccer match and enjoy both. At present with the last several years’ version of the Reds, I’ll take the soccer over baseball.

      • Sandman

        That was supposed to say Agree 100%

  23. Yea its me

    Soccer wasn’t born professionally in Cincinnati Ohio in 1869,if you you enjoy soccer good ,if you enjoy soccer more then baseball your just a assimilated commie of next world order status.Baseball is American life,you have to understand it to even appreciate it when it’s wrong.Analytics may win games whenever you get your stats in order ,but by then the socialists will have taken over and baseball will be as important as the nba.

      • LWBlogger2

        Yep, it’s easy to say things like that when you can just type any name you want. Some of us don’t change ours. You can see our idiotic comments for as long as the site administrators keep them.

  24. redsfan06

    Unfortunately, vegastypo is right. The Reds are harvesting the results of years of poor management decisions – bad trades , blowing 3 years of international signing money on a SS who can’t hit and multi-year signings that you could blame on bad luck with injuries to Bailey and Mesoraco. We have yet to see the value of the top draft picks in Senzel, Greene and India.

    The team was going absolutely nowhere with Bailey and Hamilton. And the fans were already walking away. That management was able to salvage anything out of the last year of Bailey’s contract is a wonder. They spent some money and brought in a bunch of one year guys without trading away their top prospects. The plan was to field a competitive team while gaining another year of development for the prospects in the minors. In other words, this is still a team that is rebuilding.

    More important to the future, the Reds made a strong commitment to implementing modern analytics into the organization. That shift in philosophy has just started. It’s only had a partial off season and 1-1/2 weeks of playing time to start working.

    We will find out how good of a manger Bell can be. It appears his desire to protect the starting pitchers the 3rd time through the opponents’ batting order is hampered by an inconsistent bullpen, which is one area that was not bolstered by off season moves.

    There are better days ahead once the bats start waking up. The real success of this season will be determined by what the Reds can do with all of the one year players. Puig, Wood, Roark, Kemp , Gennett, Hernandez and Hughes have potential deadline trade value. The Reds will free up some money by ridding themselves of these contracts and might consider bringing a couple of them back. No matter what the Reds decide, this is still a work in progress and next year’s team is going to be different than this year’s.

  25. Steven Ross

    Nice article Doug. Too far to attend games unless the Reds are out West Coast so I get the MLB package. I used to enjoy watching games but there’s a malaise carried over from the past few seasons and so far, I feel the same apathy. Doesn’t sit well with me either. Hope I’m wrong but I just don’t see this team going anywhere. I already question Bell’s lineups and moves. I just don’t get why Schebler leads off.

  26. scotly50

    The Reds miss Scooter Gennett. This cannot be overstated enough. He has been the most valuable player since he became a Red.

    • Michael E

      Yes, but it doesn’t explain why the other 7 or 8 hitters decided to phone it in the past two weeks. They are professionals after all and missing Scooter shouldn’t impact their averages, just a couple of runs/RBI’s worse after 9 games.

      I’d guess even if Scooter was playing he’d probably be 2-20 as well…the cold weather and the lack of fire/intensity seem to be main causes. I wonder if the OFs playing intermittently and privately stewing about it (if I were Kemp, Schebler or Winker, I would not be thrilled about choppy playing time) are causing some contagious pouting/indifference? No, I don’t have any facts, just putting myself in their shoes to see if I can explain going 1-15 or 2-20 or whatever. Hopefully better weather will get these guys rolling…not a good excuse seeing Brewers and others raking in the frigid temps.

  27. Cyrus

    Two of the last three World Series winners are sporting records that are one game better than the Reds. Both these teams are top 5 in payroll. The ERAs of these two pitching staffs, especially the starters, are horrible and most of their losses are by well more than 1 run. Just sayin’.

  28. CFD3000

    This is a better team than last year, with the possible exception of the bullpen. Better starting pitching (a lot better), better offense (even with Scooter hurt), better bench (a lot better), and at least in my opinion a better coaching staff. Outfield defense is worse without BHam, but offensive upgrades will more than offset that loss. And at some point this team will add Gennett and Senzel. I’m disappointed by the 1-7 record of course, but I for one – maybe I’m the only one – am optimistic about this team. It’s a long season. Ask me again in a month or two. Maybe I’ll be depressed. Maybe you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

    I live in Atlanta, a town with a crappy fan base for pro sports. It’s a college football city. But in the last two years it’s gone soccer mad. Atlanta United attendance is off the charts and it’s a fun experience. But I’d still choose GABP and a Reds game.

    • TR

      Atlanta has grown by leaps and bounds. I find it a tough city to get thru or around: too many roads and traffic. Cincinnati, although smaller, has a well defined downtown in contrast to Atlanta. I have no interest in soccer except when the World Cup rolls around every four years. But, it is the world’s most popular sport and is catching on in the U.S.

    • Michael E

      Atlanta (woodstock) native here too…Atlanta traffic is off-the-charts terrible. I am sure census is wrong and we have 20 million people in the metro area…that or they all get on the road the few times a week I do…sigh.

      Yes, college football town first and foremost. The Braves fans are as fair weather as any, but the weather has been very fair indeed since 1991 for Braves fans, a few “Reds-like” seasons aside. Funny, used to be the Reds were good and the Braves sucked for the first 20 years of my life…tables turned.

  29. WVRedlegs

    They can’t fire David Bell. With the offense sucking so badly, that seat for Turner Ward had to be getting a little hot.
    Out of it before April ends. The Reds way. The Bob Castellini way.

    • Oldtimer

      Not in 2010, 2012 or 2013. Experienced MLB manager Dusty Baker. Experienced GM in Walt Jocketty. Only Reds playoffs since mid 1990s.

  30. Scott C

    The starting pitching is looking good. The collective slump is not going to continue. Votto is going to hit, Puig is going to hit, Winker is going to hit, Suarez is going to hit.
    And as for me, I would choose baseball anytime. But then I would have to probably be dragged to a soccer game. But I understand those that like soccer the choice could be pretty easy.

  31. jr53

    Schebler in center is a firing offense.

  32. Vada

    Does anyone know if the Owner reads the fan comments on RLN?

  33. BP

    I find the howling during the game to be extremely annoying. It sounds like a bunch of kids at a middle school baseball game screwing around.

    For that reason I don’t attend and don’t really care to watch the home games. It’s nice to watch the away games on tv without it.

    • CFD3000

      They Woooo at the Pirates games even more than at GABP. It’s embarrassing and annoying.

  34. Muntaineer Redleg

    Scooters value to this team has never been more apparent. Votto is not a leader and never will be. Puig and Kemp will come and go. Winker will eventually be a good major league player. Saurez and Peraza you can win with. If you don’t give Scooter a contract you have three more years of this team being a ship without a rudder

  35. BK

    I see the slow start as a little bit of an aberration. However, to the average fan this start is not going to cause families to make plans to come out to the old ballpark. I’m quite certain Red’s ownership was expecting a bounce-back year for attendance. A jump of 400K, very reasonable if you look at historic averages, would mean $12-15M in annual revenue based on average gate revenue per attendee. Putting competitive teams on the field each year provides more resources player salary–they’ve got to be pretty bummed. Nice article Doug!