“Look,” one of my fellow Twitter denizens remarked, “I know we need to be realistic about this team. But I don’t think it’s too much to ask that this team avoid plummeting to the basement in April.”

I rushed to the fore with my word-sword in January when Phil Castellini (who hasn’t been seen since, come to think of it) issued a rousing PowerPoint presentation to some of the most august members of the fanbase and complained that the Cincinnati Reds were already out of first place by Opening Day. It was the pre-complaining, the absolute desertion of hope that insulted me; without a ball leaving a glove in regulation, how on Earth was a team already eliminated from contention?

Well, this team came pretty farriking close. The Reds are currently seven games back, a seat in the basement they currently share with the Cardinals, if you please, and if you’re not uncomfortable enough with that, the prom queen Pirates are 16-8 and contemptuously flipping their hair over their shoulders. It didn’t happen on Opening Day– but it did happen awfully quickly.

The Pirates, however, made smart trade moves that are now manifesting in the form of not sucking. They’ll probably burn out well before Soak City opens, but for one brief shining moment, they foisted all punchlines involving ineptitude downriver. The action in Pittsburg is that of an EMT squad triaging a decapitated body, but at least triage is happening. It’s far more than we can say for the home team, which just announced the look for this year’s Mother’s Day cap!!!

I don’t agree with premature doomsaying, but the current numbers are… well, they’re there. We should not feel in the doldrums before the bloom is off the lilacs.

The doldrums is a physical place, you know– it’s at the center of the planet, near the equator. Due to a convergence of air currents and other weathery things, it’s a space where the wind doesn’t blow. The doldrums are ever the same, sunrise to sunset, year upon year: Motionless. Sailors were becalmed for weeks on end with not so much as the promise of a breeze for relief from the pressing humidity.

It strands the finest sailboats and it does not dissipate. Even as winds careen towards it from both ends of the Earth, they seem to bounce off the impenetrable doldrums, where muggy, humid air wards off any vestige of relief.  It is the dirty secret of the tropics, and even modern boaters zip through the area to avoid its deceitful calm.

The only time the doldrums isn’t too-still, it rocks with violent thunderstorms that spin into hurricanes. It’s either death by standing still or death by destruction in the doldrums.

This is a team in the doldrums, and we are weary of remaining becalmed in last place for decades. I don’t want the lethal passiveness of this period broken only by the fear and devastation of a tropical cyclone.

But a little breeze in the sails– a current of happy expectation– would not go amiss.



12 Responses

  1. Mark Moore

    MBE, I love, love, LOVE that this posted just as Nick Senzel and the boys took the broomage to the Rangers in fine fashion, breaking a couple of droughts along the way and getting out of the doldrums, at least for the moment. But your points are well taken and correct. It stinks to share quarters with the Dirty Birds at any point. And the “hair flips” from the Pie-Rats are annoying to no end.

    Phil has been quiet. Maybe you had a hand in that after all. I, for one, wouldn’t doubt that.

    We ride the breeze we caught this week for now until it dies down. Perhaps the trip to Oakland to face the Vegas Ace-theletics will keep that wind in our collective sails.

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      Yeah. Trust them to pull off two fun wins right when I’m posting about how unfun they are. I should’ve known.

  2. LDS

    It won’t last, but you have to admit the Reds ahead of the Cards at this point in the season is fun. Swept by the Pirates, not so much.

  3. Andrew Brewer

    As Yogi Berra once said, “When it comes to baseball, you don’t KNOW nothin’ ” But it was David Bell that said we are heading into a hard stretch and He was right. First the Phillies, then Tampa Bay (Is that really Tampa Bay ? because we wanted to be in the AL East after playing them last year.) and then the Pirates, who are playing like the gods are with them. That we took three from the 1st place Texas Rangers… was just not probable. Having some advantage playing at home, you can’t discount that. But this team is playing like they have something. Last year, it was the bullpen that always let us down. This year we only have 3 legit starters. The fact that St. Louis is in the cellar early this year, and not the Reds means what ? And the Pirates are killin’ it ? Personally, I dislike the Pirates more than the Cardinals because of the kind of ball they play. Many things remain less than certain in baseball and the Reds are one of them.

  4. Rednat

    i don’t know MBE. I feel as reds fans we have been in the doldrums since the 1999 season. the injuries to both Griffey JR. and Votto and the terrible Cueto deal have really hampered us this century. maybe things are turning around. this team has at least shown some fight!

  5. Scott C

    At least we have had a little hope, even if for just three days. I am hoping this is proving to be Senzel’s turn around, that would be a good sign. “… hope springs eternal in the human breast.”

  6. Mike S

    “doldrums are a physical place”…. I think it’s in the right field bleachers at GABP