TO THE FLORENCE Y’ALLS:

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.

Do you:

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.

23 Responses

  1. Jimbo44CN

    Nice article Mary Beth. I lived on the south side of Chicago for a few years and became a Sox fan. Did not feel like I was cheating on my home team(Reds) cause they were in the American league, and I got the best Sox years in 100 years when Ozzie was the manager and Buehrle was on the mound, including a World Series win, the first in over 100 years, and it also worked due to my hatred of the Cubs. The northside fans were snobby, didn’t know baseball, and just generally a PIA. Anyway, I digress, think I’m going to dust off my Sox hat and start watching them again. Love Joey, and he doesnt deserve this disaster of a front office. With the Chief Dunderhead at the helm, and Big Bob holding the purse strings, nothing will change until they are both gone. Oh, and good luck getting anyone to sign here that is worth anything. No way are they going to do that with the Slash and Burn twins running things. Just so freakin sad overall.

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      I just might add Slash and Burn Twins to the dumpster fire gif.

  2. Gonzo Reds

    How do you treat this fan base? Well, besides the obvious slap in the face from the owner this off season we get slapped in the face by MLB who has us not playing a game at home a day before the rest of the league, not playing a game at home at all, has us instead starting the season on the road. Well, who can blame them? Who wants to see all those empty seats shown on ESPN highlights as fans boycott the product being put on the field while the owner puts those $ in his pocket. Hopefully, fans will show up with “Sell the Team Bob!!!” signs and just stand in the street outside the stadium waving them at the cameras.

    And your Hitler reference is So last century. Get with the times and insert Putin in those spots going forward.

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      I try not to be offended by Opening Day slights since there have been so very many, but I’m still angered whenever we open on the road/late. THE DISRESPECT

      Also thank you for reminding me that Putin is now Current Thing! I will update all my socials so that he knows he’s on notice with me.

  3. Mark Moore

    My choice to visit the Queen City for a game or two is likely tabled due to this ownership malfeasance. I’ll stick with my local MiLB teams and, perhaps, see the one in NW Georgia or Chattanooga if we visit DD#1 at the right time. Beyond that, watching games on a streaming service will be secondary at best and probably less than that. Unless we somehow catch lightening in a bottle, I’m afraid the dark clouds will remain over GABP. I, too, feel bad for Joey. He deserves better and I hope we find some way to give it to him, even if it means he finishes a stellar career in another uniform.

    Looking forward to hearing back from the Y’alls!!

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      It’s so disheartening because even a Reds championship run won’t fix the many, many things wrong with the MLB. For example, I wonder how Astros fans live with that trophy. I’m now fully in “burn it down, start it over” territory.

  4. Bet on Red

    And the weirdbuild continues. Amir Garret Shipped to Kansas City for Mike Minor….. not prospects…. what is going on?

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      This assumes there’s an overall plan instead of basing all of this on the current relative humidity at the time of the trade proposal, which is clearly what’s going on here.

  5. Scott C

    This off season is enough to make any real Cincinnati baseball fan cry. This is to much like the Natural. Is the Judge running things? Unfortunately Roy Hobbs is no where around. Joey is close but unless he has Wonderbat somewhere I don’t think he can do it. Or perhaps it is Major League, unfortunately I think we just traded the Reds version of Wild Thing.

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      We’re owned by an unholy mash-up sequel of The Natural and Major League.

  6. LDS

    Way too dark for you Mary Beth. Not that I’m disagreeing in the least. I’m not. Still, don’t join us old guys in the Reds’ fan abyss.

    • Mark Moore

      But we’ve got a fully stocked bar, fridge, and snacks here in the abyss, LDS!!

  7. Daytonnati

    Paragraph 3 is a masterpiece! Very funny. The first time I’ve smiled reading anything about the Reds since Sunday. Thank you!

    • Mark Moore

      Yep. It’s absolutely a genius turn of a phrase. And it’s funny because it’s true.

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      Awwww thanks! I’m about 20 years past being a side chick. We need a healthy relationship.

  8. Melvin

    Good job Mary Beth. Something tells me you’re not too happy with Big Bob. 🙂

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      I’m not happy with A LOTTA PEOPLE and they’re gonna HEAR ABOUT IT…

  9. Brad Schlueter

    Have been saying it for years. Owner of Reds doesn’t care about the fans. When he first bought the team and said all the BS about running it like the cardinals and being a contender he flat out lied. Every year it’s the same thing lets rebuild. Florence has the best deal for baseball fans who love the game. It’s affordable and a good family event.