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.”