The last time the Bengals were in the Super Bowl, pop station Q102 instructed everyone to “get your tape recorders ready” at a certain day and a certain time because they were going to play a block of Bengals-related Super Bowl music. So we all taped over the gaps at the top of our cassingle of “That’s What Friends Are For” and hovered our fingers over the record button at the appointed hour.

This year, news stations broadcast a fan’s phone video of Zac Taylor and Kevin Huber presenting a game ball to fans at Mt. Lookout Tavern.

The last time the Reds were in the World Series, they hosted it in Riverfront Stadium. Riverfront was demolished in 2002, a full two decades ago now.

This year, Great American Ball Park banned fans from bringing backpacks into the stadium– except for team-branded Reds Head bags.

The last time the Bengals were in the Super Bowl, my mother was driving me to crafting lessons, and I prided myself as borderline competent at it. Behold:

This year, I scraped my SUV crossover against a pole because I struggle mightily with driving a larger car, but I needed it because my mother can no longer physically manage the act of bending low enough to get into the likes of a Corolla. I turned down an invitation to a “Sip and Paint” party because as a college senior, I discovered I have learning disability that affects fine motor control, and I would wind up with a humiliatingly ruined canvas that I’d carefully dry, cart home, and hurl directly in the trash.

The last time the Reds were in the World Series, Lou Piniella was the manager.

This year, Lou Pinella is 78 years old. He retired after 50 years in the sport back in 2010. Our current manager is David Bell, third in a generation of Bells to engage with the team. David Bell has a .492 winning percentage. Tony Perez, who managed the Reds for a grand total of 44 games in 1993, had a winning percentage of .455.

The last time the Begals were in the Super Bowl, it was an age in which winning sports teams were expected to get in a recording studio and release a single. I wish I were making this up. The 1988 team’s result, “The Who Day Rap,” was released as a 45 single.

On the YouTube copy of the music video (they also had to do a music video, children), someone typed a comment about updating the song for the 2009 Bengals team. That team lost in the Wild Card round. The song was recorded 33 years ago. The comment was left 12 years ago.

This year, the song was remixed, and a company specializing in social media releases and podcasts shot an accompanying video. The single will release on all streaming platforms this week. Ickey Woods is 55 years old.

The last time the Reds were in the World Series, they were invited by President George H. Bush to visit the White House.

This year, the Reds ended the season third in their division. Since the 1990 team, four men have served as President, one of them Bush’s son, and three of them for two terms. Bush has been dead for four years.

The last time the Bengals were in the Super Bowl, I was in sixth grade and eager to become an astronaut. The only way to be a writer was to start as a newspaper journalist with a word processor or maybe a novelist with a typewriter.

This year, Joe Burrow is a factory of gladness. The space shuttle I wanted to fly was retired over a decade ago. I am a mid-career writer on a laptop that weighs four pounds. To become a columnist, you just tap your phone a few times.

The last time the Reds were in the World Series, fans were enjoying a fancy new JumboTron video screen that was installed for the 1988 All Star Game. One pixel burned out and remained so for many years.

This year, Cincinnatians gathered before a giant screen mounted in front of Great American Ball Park. To watch the Bengals in the AFC championship game.

Maybe next year I’ll link to this post marvelling at how far away our pessimism seems, applauding the Reds for putting the right people in the right place at the right time and updating every single reference here.


14 Responses

  1. LDS

    That was close. I thought the “For the last time” was going to be your signoff post. Your columns give us all a nice break from the hardcore baseball arguments that Doug’s columns often engender. However, your last paragraph? Overly optimistic, way too optimistic.

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      Given that I was surprised this team even made it into the Wild Card round and the Reds were in the basement of their division in 1989… stranger things have happened.

      • David

        Well, the Reds had four straight 2nd place finishes, from 1985 through 1988. The 1989 team got everybody hurt (except Eric Davis, this time) and fell apart.
        They all came back in 1990, and really, in August, they tried to give it away, but no one was buying.

        And the rest….is history!

        And I think it is “Who Dey!”, remembering that weird chant that started in the 1980’s. I even once had a souvenir (Hudepohl ?) beer can that was a “Who Dey?” beer can. Threw it away or something years ago.

      • Mary Beth Ellis

        I think the cans had Hu-Dey on them? I remember those and how the street signs on Montana were changed to Esiason.

        On man I remember how close they came to losing the wire-to-wire claim late in the season. Checking the standings in the sports page every single morning LIKE A CAVEWOMAN.

  2. Scott C

    Maybe but I just can’t seem to buy into it till the Reds actually do something to give us hope. Ickey Woods is 55? Wow! Now I feel really old.

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      Ickey Woods is 55 and Boomer Esiason is a grandpa 🙂

      • Scott C

        And so am I, with three grandchildren, the oldest will be 16 next month.

  3. KDJ

    “I wish I were making this up.”

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      Is it different enough from “I am not making this up?” I tried so hard not to outright sockpuppet Dave Barry.

  4. Mark Moore

    Such a nostalgic walk down Cincinnati Memory Lane. I’m all-in for the Queen City Tiggers this year, though the Detroit Lie-down cast-off Matthew Stafford has shown his mettle out in LA. Of all your listed events, watching them implode Riverfront on my computer is the strongest. Two.freaking.decades.ago!!!

    Like LDS, I was afraid this was your swan song … so if a title is supposed to hook the reader, bravo and 1,000 points for you!! You got me.

    Dreams are still alive, but the current “hope” is that we see major league games at some point … and soon. It would be very long season if we don’t. But at least we’d have each other.

    Thanks for all your work, MBE. I love to see the BBIL posts each week. They are a breath of badly needed oxygen to me.

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      awwww, you’re stuck with me as long as Doug will allow! Thanks so much for the kind words.

  5. Mike Adams

    Can’t lose sockpuppeting Dave Barry IMO

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      That man is still teaching this young Padawan!

  6. Mike Adams

    Should have been under MB’s reply to KDJ. Sorry