I try to be an optimist, so let’s consider the good part of losing: In sports, somebody has to lose. After all, when the Reds lose, the other team is happy, right? Their fans are happy, right? At least somebody gets to be happy.

The binary nature of sports–there must be a winner, and a loser, and this is why Americans will never fully trust soccer, with all its ties– means that this can become very brutal very quickly. Having noticed so much losing this year (so much losing, so very very much losing), my initial reaction upon hearing that the Reds had won a series was to feel sorry for Pirates fans. That’s harsh, right? Losing to the Reds?

This didn’t occur to me when I was in grade school and the Reds were beating the As in the World Series, primarily because that was a sweep that was supposed to go the other way. Let them hurt. Evil, arrogant A’s people. You don’t know the power of the Nasty Boys!

Taking a worldview that’s beyond this realm eases the sting and creates comfort that there might exist a larger reason for adversity, even if we don’t see it in the present. The struggles of the Bengals made the Super Bowl run all the more emotional– but did that really have to go on for three decades? I’m sure that once the Reds are righted again (and that’s assuming it will indeed happen), winning will be all the sweeter for it– but even though all teams usually endure cycles of rebuilding from time to time, this is a bit much.

In the meantime, we must face up to our role as the new, pre-World Series Cubs. But thanks to decimating trades and owner outbursts, we don’t even maintain the comfort of being lovable losers. There has to be some effort from the front office for that. At this point, we’re losers, and we’re mad at everybody but the players. That makes it difficult to enjoy even the bright spots.

So this is the equivalent of “He dumped me, but I’m so grateful I got to know such a great person.” The Reds have a role to play, and it’s a W for the other team. We said during COVID and the lockout that we just wanted baseball… and, hey, here’s baseball.

Like Phil says, “Be careful what you wish for.”

14 Responses

  1. Mark Moore

    Yeah … we’re not the lovable losers the Stupid Cubs were back in the day. It’s sad. It’s largely a binary world. Today we walked away winners, but even that took a toll on us as we tried hard to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

    Keep us grounded, MBE. We’ll need each other a lot this season … and maybe for a few more as well.

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      Sticking together is the important part :)Thanks.

  2. LDS

    Good article as usual but pointing that you were in grade school when the Reds last won the World Series – well maybe that was a little harsh.

    • Mark Moore

      Same thought … but I pushed that back down when I read it.

      • LDS

        Especially since I was in jr. high when Johnny Bench played his first All Star game and in high school by the time Brooks Robinson racked up his WS MVP.

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      I mean, if it makes you feel any better, Josh The Pilot recently flew with a guy who announced that he was in preschool on 9/11 and doesn’t remember it at all.

  3. Andrew Brewer

    Mary Beth is right. Now every win is special ! I would go so far as to say every run is wonderful ! Now is when real fans need show up and root the Reds home ! Every win is special and Cincy needs to rise to the occasion ! Who cannot be elated when the Reds win ? I follow the Bike Races. Everyday of a Grand Tour is an opportunity for the victory of a life time for some pro-rider. It’s not just about the overall winner. The same with baseball. There will be many great moments this year, and each win will be special !

  4. Rednat

    good points Mary Beth. I think the problem with baseball is that, this decade in particular, you have the same winners and losers. eventually, if this continues.. the league will begin to lose legitimacy and start to unravel. it is already starting to happen when you look at attendance numbers in Miami, Oakland and Pittsburgh. And now, this year it looks like Cincinnati is entering that relm. on 30k for this 3 game series with really good weather. that ain’t good. these big tv contacts wont last forever.

    i personally think it is time for the league to contract. there just isn’t enough talent to go around now to fill 30 rosters.

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      I was surprised when it expanded. We’re paying for that now.

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      Awwwww, thanks for reading. My dad’s formal name was Melvin, so it made me smile to see this 🙂 I feel like he’s saying hi.

      • Melvin

        That’s awesome. I’m glad it made you smile. 🙂

  5. Scott C

    Yes unfortunately in any contest there has to be a loser, I understand it and can accept that, the issue with me at least is not the losing, it is the attitude of ownership. They have no regard for the fans. I can understand letting Castellanos walk, though I wished they had at least made an offer. What makes this even worse are the comments from Nick about his love for Cincinnati and its fans and even positive comments about Krall but really dissed the ownership. I don’t understand the letting go of fan favorites Gray, Winker and Suarez and Miley for nothing. I watch this team now and their is not the same enthusiasm or passion that last years team had, maybe it will come but it hasn’t yet. Joey has been on then IL for awhile perhaps he doesn’t have COVID perhaps he is just sick of losing.

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      Joey released a video of him in the cages today… hopefully he’s feeling better 🙂