TO THE FLORENCE Y’ALLS:
Hey Cincinnati baseball fans ?
We’re located just 10 minutes South of Downtown Cincinnati.
We ?? our fans.
— Florence Y’alls (@florence_yalls) March 14, 2022
You have our attention.
When the Cincinnati Bengals stunned everyone, especially us, by putting in a Super Bowl appearance, the Reds’ response was to ask themselves what was the worst possible thing they could do. Then they did that thing.
To tank in the aftermath of a generationally defining season from the boys next door, in the wake of a lockout, on the heels of a baseball-stunting pandemic, while mired in a particularly toxic cultural split, is… is… well, it is giving my favorite dumpster fire gif quite the workout.
My fellow fans, hear me now and think about it later and maybe do something about it in May but make a note of it now: We are the side chick. We are the booty call, the road gig, and the #8 friends-with-benefits dial after numbers one through seven send the call to voicemail. The Reds are just really busy with work right now and they’ll hit us up as soon as they have time to hang out.
The players wearing Reds uniforms might care, in a general sporty sense, but the Reds themselves certainly do not. Because we’re the whole entire second family nobody knows about until after the main character is dead and then there’s a second-act reading of the will and everyone screams “The tea is PIPING HOT!!!” on Snapchat, and the MLB likes it that way.
So, Florence Y’alls, you and your large disturbing fuzzy water tower are hereby presented with the golden opportunity of all golden opportunities: A losing team with a fed-up, intensely family-driven fan base that’s mad at the whole world except maybe Joey Votto and even he’s on thin ice because that’s how mad we really are. If Northern Kentucky can adopt Cincinnati sports, there’s no reason why Cincinnatians can jump right into bed with y’all’s Y’alls.
Dearest Cincinnatians, fear not that gathering round the large disturbing fuzzy water tower constitutes sports bigamy. In fact, it’s taking a self-preserving and active interest in the cool non-chain bagel shop that just opened up down the street from the near-empty mall. As members of the Frontier League, the Y’alls are a partner league of the MLB— but the Y’alls are not a minor-league franchise.
That means pledging allegiance to the Bluegrass Blowouts isn’t an act of trading out. It’s a whole new way of living. It’s a delightful match on the Burn it Down bonfire that’s needed to happen for at least a decade.
Yes, there are fireworks.
Yes, there are bobbleheads.
Now, Y’alls, we place our affections, our mentions, and our beer money on the table before you. But first, we’d like you to answer a few questions.
1) A once-in-a-lifetime star is in your keeping. His sculpted Canadian head will one day see enshrinement in the Hall of Fame.
How do you treat this person?
a. Give him all the money and build the best team around him you can.
b. Give him all the money and then shrug because he now has all the money. Oh well!
c. Tweet “THAT’S OUR FIRST BASEMAN!!!!” when he wears a tee shirt you like and pretty much leave it at that.
2) Everyone is talking about Current Thing. Current Thing is deeply divisive, complex, and emotional, and North America is desperately in need of a neutral place that everyone of every possible group can enjoy for a couple of hours. A thin, rare, slowly unfurling thread to hold us all together. Something like, I don’t know, a baseball game.
a. Festoon every available visual space with Current Thing hashtags, because who doesn’t want to stare for nine innings at PASS H.R. 98765434567 NOW!!!!! spilling across the outfield of your thin, rare, slowly unfurling thread?
b. Say without saying that 50% of the people who paid for entry to see your baseball game are very very bad. They’re Hitler. All 50% of them. Literally a bunch of Hitlers, right there in the hot dog line.
c. Put on a baseball game.
That’s your job.
You put on a baseball game.
3) In your care is a singular fanbase that stretches back 153 years. Over 15 or so generations, attention to your baseball team was intentionally handed down from parent to child. You are the very birthplace of professional baseball. You are in the understitching of the earliest memories of their great-great grandparents. This fanbase has seen war, famine, flood, decades of futility, and multipurpose stadiums. Still they come through the gates. In the earliest reaches of spring, they throw a parade because they are so happy simply that you’re showing up for work.
This fanbase is a historic, one of kind, custom-built muscle care. You can’t own it, even though you own the team. You’re just the caretaker for a few precious years, and then you gratefully pass it on to the next.
How do you treat this fanbase?
We eagerly await your answers, Y’alls.
Appreciate the invite.