On Monday night, I went to cover a high school volleyball game between the Knoxville and Lewistown for one of the newspapers I write for here in Illinois.

Knoxville made quick work of the game, winning in two sets over Lewistown by scores of 25-22 and 25-14 and after interviewing a pair of cousins that play for Knoxville (Lexi and Abby Harshbarger) I went to one of those Wing Franchises for supper and to catch the Monday Night Football game between the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Giants.

I sat at the bar and the game was a quagmire of penalties, poor offensive line play, and Daniel Jones playing quarterback. In other words, it was boring. It was just before halftime and the Cowboys clung to a 6-3 lead.

But out of the corner of my eye, I saw another television set – among the 40 or so in that joint – that had on the Cincinnati Reds playing the Pittsburgh Pirates. Now that caught my attention.

How can that be?  Obviously, this was a Clash of the Titans game that couldn’t be missed. The bartender noticed me watching it and kindly offered to get that game on instead of Monday Night Football so it would be easier to watch and I took her up on it.

The score was 2-2 in the 7th inning when I started to watch but I knew it wouldn’t last with the current edition of the Reds bullpen. I was right. The two journeymen relief pitchers the Reds employed (Law and Kuhnel) quickly made the score 7-2 in favor of the Pirates by allowing seven hits and six runs in the two innings of work they shared and the final score was 8-3. It was so pathetic I laughed and ordered another cold one.

But I did see Chuckie Robinson catch. I met Chuckie years ago after he led the Class A Quad City River Bandits to the Midwest League championship in Class A. And I saw David Bell, our esteemed manager, make a trip to the mound to yank Law. That was truly inspirational.

With the sound off, I missed Jeff Brantley’s rant about the Reds being on the path to losing a hundred games this year. And while I didn’t hear it, I agree with The Cowboy. Losing a hundred games is terrible and it’s only happened once in Reds history. I lived through that 1982 season, went to Cincinnati that year and watched a few games and caught a lot of them on WLW.

Was it embarrassing as a fan?  Yes. Just six years earlier, the Reds were World Champions and rightly considered one of the best baseball teams of all time. The Great Eight. Sparky Anderson. No platooning. The best catcher ever. Tony Perez. The Hit King. Two-time MVP Joe Morgan. Geronimo roaming centerfield.

But in 1982, Alex Trevino was our catcher. Remember him? Jim Kern was supposed to bolster our bullpen and that didn’t work out. Neither did Paul Householder (.211) in rightfield.

Credit for that season goes to Dick Wagner, the General Manager of the Reds at that time.

And if Frank Robinson was an “old 30” when he was traded in 1965 (he wasn’t), Cesar Cedeno certainly was an old 31 in 1982 when he could only hit 8 home runs, drive in 51 runs, and steal 16 bases. Cedeno was awesome for Houston in 1972. He hit for the cycle against the Reds in a game that season and was dynamic. Not so much in 1982.

Those Reds lost #100 in Game 161 to the Astros by a 4-2 score in that 1982 season Ironically, the Reds best pitcher that season was Mario Soto and he took the loss.

So Monday night was a wash for me. The highlight for me was the Knoxville Blue Bullets winning and interviewing a couple of high school athletes who are playing for the sheer fun of the game. How refreshing is that?

This has been an awful baseball season, one that I’m glad will be over soon.  Maybe The Bull can make his priority in fixing the bullpen because the one they have now is just plain pathetic. I naively thought Bell would be fired after their historically bad 3-22 start this season but evidently Reds Ownership believes in this guy for whatever warped reason.

The Reds are a culture of failure right now. Bell and his coaching staff are a part of that. Cut the cord, rebuild the bullpen, and give us hope.

I’ll probably miss it when this crew loses their 100th game. A “wise” man said this past Opening Day that Reds fans didn’t have any other place to go.  I’ve seen and read all sorts of incredibly dumb quotes this past year – from politicians, bureaucrats, athletes, and coaches but that one broke the mold.

I’ll make sure I have a place to go on that night, Phil.

24 Responses

  1. LDS

    Spot on. The Reds need to abandon dumpster diving this offseason and acquire some talent, staring with a new field management team.

  2. Mark Moore

    New owners, new field management and coaching, and a renewed approach to what baseball should mean for the Queen City Redlegs. That’s the kind of stuff that would rekindle a lot of interest from me and others.

    One thing I recall about Paul Householder … his uniform. Back in the day, those longer names didn’t fit completely. So his jersey sported “USEHOLD” on the back at least for a bit. I definitely recall that. Nothing prophetic there, but it always struck me as odd.

    Four more games to go and then we can call it “done” for the year. 100 or more losses kind of looks and feels like a lock at this point. Guys are just phoning it in, or at least that’s what I’m seeing for the most part. Frankly, I’m not in a position to judge or blame them.

    • Frankie Tomatoes

      Are they phoning it in or is the roster just full of players who are bench and utility guys that are mostly now starting?

      • Mark Moore

        Fair point, Frankie. We know the roster is made up of what amounts to a weak bench for a competitive club at this point. But even against equally weak teams, it just looks to me like the grind of a wretched season has taken it’s toll and the white flag is flying high.

        I know they’d all prefer to win the season out. But I think they are also “prepared” to lose them all. There really isn’t much skin in the game given where we stand and who we’re playing. That’s what I’m seeing. I’m probably wrong, but who really knows?

  3. Steven Ross

    I naively thought Bell would be fired after their historically bad 3-22 start this season but evidently Reds Ownership believes in this guy for whatever warped reason.

    Truer words have never been spoken. 100% agreement on everything you wrote. About time someone said what I’ve been thinking all along. Cowboy is right & so are you. Excellent article.

  4. Gpod

    managing your team to a 100 L’s should mean a dismissal the second you walk off the field after the last game. I find it hard to believe there are actually people who post on this site that can defend Bell in any way. If you say: ” no manager could win with this roster”…. well you forgot about last season! That was a good enough roster to at least make the playoffs…..yet, down the stretch, against the easiest schedule of all the contenders, Bell drove them into the dumpster. HE SHOULD HAVE BEEN FIRED AFTER LAST SEASON! God help us if he is actually brought back after this pathetic season.

  5. burtgummer01

    Firing Bell and the coaches accomplishes nothing unless there’s new ownership.In 16 seasons as majority owner 0 playoff series wins and 11 seasons with a losing record 7 of those with 90 plus losses

    • Mark Moore

      Mostly correct since the new coaching staff would still operate under the weakest ownership group in the galaxy. They might squeak out a few more wins, but this fish stinks from the head down for certain.

  6. David

    I think “culture of failure” is a good way to describe what is going on with the Reds organization.
    Not only is the ML team lousy, but most of the minor league teams have losing records too.
    And, I think the Culture of Failure starts at the very top. The team and the organization have a culture of failure because the Top People with the Reds do not have a commitment to winning, despite their rhetoric to the contrary.
    Recalling 1982, I did feel real sorry for John McNamara. He managed the team to a divisional title in 1979, with a modestly talented team. The 1981 team had the best winning record in baseball, but stayed home because 1981 was a strike interrupted year and the commission invented some silly rules about who was qualified to go to the playoffs. In 1982, he was given a lousy team.
    Paul Householder was supposed to be the next Mickey Mantle, a switch – hitting power hitter.

    • Oldtimer

      I think McNamara had success after 1982. Didn’t he manage the Red Sox in 1986?

  7. Oldtimer

    Bryan Price was fired after starting out 3-15 a few years ago. I think Bell should be fired after this year. Start fresh next spring. But in fairness to Bell, the 2022 Reds are a bad AAA team playing in MLB.

    The Reds were bad in 1982. But they had the best record (66-42) in MLB the year before in 1981. They a few good players but even those had bad seasons.

    Kern actually had decent numbers in 1982 but was traded away. Alex Trevino later played on the 1990 WS champion Reds.

    The lineup was 1B Driessen 2B Oester SS Concepcion 3B Bench C Trevino LF Milner CF Cedeno RF Householder P Seaver Soto Berenyi CL Hume.

    • burtgummer01

      Price also had back to back 64-98 seasons interesting that you didn’t include that.Price was set up to fail by the same ownership thats promoting failure this year

      • Oldtimer

        No, it’s not relevant to my point. Neither Price nor Bell will ever manage anywhere after their Reds tenure. They are both bad managers. The 2022 Reds teams had lot of injuries, traded away most MLB caliber players, and was filled out with AAA caliber players.

      • burtgummer01

        It’s not relevant ??? Really ?? Probably one of the dumbest things posted here this year

      • Oldtimer

        I’ll type it slowly. It’s. Not. Relevant. To. MY. Point.

        My point is that the 1982 Reds had some MLB caliber talent (eve two future HOF-ers) but even they had bad seasons.

    • burtgummer01

      Good lord,Are you really this ignorant ? Never mind you answered that question already, You cherry pick a few numbers and ignore the rest. Smh

      • Oldtimer

        That response is inappropriate on Redleg Nation. Doug doesn’t allow that stuff.

        The 1982 Reds had some decent players but even they had bad seasons that year.

        Period. That was my point.

        Bell had two decent years in 2020 and 2021. Price never had a decent year.

      • VegasRed

        Burt for you to call other folks’ opinions “ignorant and dumb” is unacceptable for the reason that every opinion you offer ( virtually identical to my thinking) is objectively contrary to reason and simple observance of the reality you are apparently blind to.

        You are entitled to your opinions, such as they are, but you are certainly the pot calling the kettle black with your name calling.

      • Doug Gray

        I’ve spent the last 20 minutes or so going over the last 150 comments that burt’s left here and decided that he needs a break from commenting. More than half of his posts were calling someone ignorant or an idiot and being very confrontational.

  8. Jim Walker

    Phil C saying we don’t have other places to go just underscores that either he isn’t a sports fan or is out of touch or both.

    Yesterday, Saturday, I watched enough of the Reds game to get bored until it was time for the Buckeyes football game. At the end of that, I dialed up the last quarter and half of UC football. Then I streamed the BlueJackets preseason game. And wasn’t there an FC Cincy soccer match for those into attending live?

    • Mark Moore


      I wonder how the tarnish on his sliver spoon tastes

  9. Mike Adams

    Fan for 52 years here.
    I don’t know if David Bell and staff should be fired or not because he has never been given a good team to manage.
    I think the problem lies with owners and front office.
    The 1975 Reds team was 108-54 and the 1976 team was 102-60.
    Sparky Anderson was known as captain hook or something like that. Sparky and Bell aren’t that far apart on bullpen game management but Sparky had major league talent relievers.
    Give Bell and staff the 1975 team and he still probably would have won high ninety some games.
    I said a few years ago on this blog that even if the Reds team wasn’t very good for a particular year it was still major league baseball to watch.
    It is getting harder and harder to still say this with all the AAAA guys playing for the Reds.

    • Oldtimer

      All due respect and you are entitled to your opinion but David Bell and Sparky Anderson aren’t in the same universe as MLB managers. Not in results. Not in methods. Not at all.

      • Mike Adams

        I would agree with that absolutely. I was NOT defending Bell.
        My point was not that Bell was anywhere near Sparky as a manager.
        Managers matter a lot less than quality of players.
        Give Bell the 1975 Reds roster and even he would have a problem messing that up.
        My point was that the problem lies with the owners and front office due to quality of players.
        All due respect and you are entitled to your opinion.