I absolutely promise you that I had this topic loaded in the chamber before that almost-debacle in Milwaukee tonight. You’d think a team christened the Rally Reds wouldn’t panic at the prospect of actually winning a game against the Brewers, even in the Brewers’ house, but a comfortable 4-0 lead vanished like blown beer foam by the 8th inning.

There were so, so many places one could have Cleted out and gone to bed with a clear conscience: The bases slowly loading. The 3-run homer. The Brewer who took a ball to the face. I would have dinged none of your Cleting privileges if any of you gave the remote OFF button a healthy stab after any of this. “Holy cats. Geez,” Clete could have said at any point in the last two innings of the game, and the holy cats would have absolutely applied.

Oh, they pulled it off in the end, but not after the world’s weirdest baseball game conclusion, which actually took place a good 20 minutes after my scorekeeping app sent an alert that the game had in fact reached its final form.

What’s darky amusing about this is many Baltimore fans chose to Clete out, such a crowd that it was noted on the TV call. I believe the term “mass exodus” was used. As this took place, I paused in my typing and took a moment to appreciate the moment, when we, the Reds fans, were now watching, live and in color, the opposition Cleting out. They were us for once.

At last, at long, long last, we could walk past a TV in the 7th inning, see that it was 4-0, and remain relatively confident that it would remain that way. For the past three decades, our automatic expectation was that they would somehow find a way to blow this; it was just a matter of how. Even in those dark days, however, “hitting the opposing batter in the helmet on a 3-2 pitch” was not something I’d have necessarily chosen.

I suppose I should remain in wonder that the win was eked out at all; commentators were grinning about “a big win” but I felt deflated. I should not have to consider the optimum moment to Clete out when two minutes ago I’d just seen the other team’s fans doing it.

What is the opposite of rallying? Collapsing? in my family we always used “blowing it,” a phrase spoken with the jaw clenched and lips pressed tightly together after rendering judgement. But adjusting the rules for coming from behind… this is new.

I must learn how to apply the Cleting as it relates to the 2023 Reds. I’ve clarified the finer points of it before in this space, but never made an allowance for a team noted for its comebacks. Although– maybe I need to table this discussion, because now we’re causing the opposition to fake-Clete.

Do we consider whether or not De La Cruz is next in the order, and whether or not he has been taunted by the Brewers’ scoreboard?

How many pitchers are still clinging to the bullpen fence, and how many of them have been used in the past 5 hours? Has anyone complained about bat flipping today? Has the same nation that put men on the moon managed to engineer sliding mitts to look less stupid? Has someone made sure Votto got his calcium chew? When the stadium advertises Graeter’s on the mound and UDF Homemade on the backstop, how are can we possibly avoid ripping open a transdimensional portal?

So many factors. So many opportunities for disappointment, and for registering that disappointment. We’re all exhausted. No wonder the kids are getting most of the work done on this team.

39 Responses

  1. John Walsh

    FYI – I think that you confuse Baltimore/Camden a couple times in the article.

    To answer your question, it’s never okay to “Clete out” with this offense and (tired) bullpen. It’s going to be a wild August and September.

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      Sorry! I fixed it! Thank you for pointing it out. This is what happens when you DON’T Clete out and therefore don’t finish your column until 2 AM 🙂

  2. BatsLeftThrowsRight

    Baseball and life are reflected by the present. Every team and person are judged by their results and their “last at bat.”

    Sometimes we get lucky in life and lucky as baseball teams. Momentum will always be defined by the next day’s starting pitcher.

    Winning today will go a long way in helping the mindset of players on this team going forward.

  3. Jeff S.

    My wife Cleted after the hit batter, but I soldiered on until the end.

    Camden Yards?

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      I really wanted to but Josh The Pilot was watching and I felt he needed emotional support. Glad I pulled through.

  4. greenmtred

    I do factor multiple things into the decision: how many times I’ve thrown the remote, who is due up, but, sometimes, what time it is. I don’t clete west coast games because I don’t start watching them. I wake up early and retire early. Judge me if you must. I can check the score in the morning. An old logging partner of mine–a guy who atypically didn’t like to fire up a saw before 8:30 am, used to say: “the hell with it. You don’t have sneak up on the trees in the dark.” That nicely illustrates my attitude. But I will confess to watching entire games more often than I have in years: these guys are just too exciting to miss very often.

    • redfanorbust

      Hey Greenmtred. I have MLB TV. You probably know about it but it comes in handy for us away Reds fans. I now live in Nevada and games with the Giants/Dodgers/Diamond Backs and the like, I have to wait two hours after the game is over (sadly/stupidly) to watch them. The good news is I can fast forward the interminable same old commercials they show over and over and over again between
      innings. It can be a little pricey for some, not for me I get mine for free from T-Mobile but it is my lifeline out here to watch Reds games. Have a good one.

  5. hokiebo

    Cleted out on the entire season. Even though the Reds are doing well, I’m told, I still haven’t seen the first pitch of any MLB this year. I love baseball and I hate the owners and rule changes for making me feel this way. But I’m a nobody…the Reds aren’t missing my money.

    • Mario

      You’re missing out on a really fun season watching all these young players and amazing games. You’re not a nobody. The teams needs as many fans as it can get. Attendance has lagged behind St Louis, Chicago, and Milwaukee for several years.

    • greenmtred

      It really is a fun season and the rule changes are, I think, partly responsible for that. You should give it a try, hokiebo: more running, shorter games, more opposite-field hitting.

      • Mary Beth Ellis

        I wanted to see Votto’s return and planned to indeed Clete out myself, but they’re just so gosh-darn young and adorable 🙂

      • Mary Beth Ellis

        The biggest thing I noticed is when they (rarely) won in the past, they depended on the long ball. Now they’re playing little ball.

  6. Terry L

    Was this written by your AI bot? Where did those Baltimore references come from?

  7. LDS

    Never underestimate the Reds’ ability to blow a lead. They tried hard last night.

    • Mario

      LDS, all this winning must be killing you inside. I joke, try to enjoy it. Even if they don’t make the playoffs. I can imagine the collective disgust from RLN if that happens.

      • LDS

        If the Reds want to make the playoffs, they need pitching, outfielders, and management.

      • wkuchad

        LDS, the Reds need outfielders?? Their three starters have an OPS of .926, .829, and .785. The have a fourth outfielder in AAA (Fairchild) that could easily be starting for some teams.

  8. Steve Schoenbaechler

    Many clete out early simply because they want to miss the traffic, get out in front of it. I can understand that.

    It’s the odds of something happening, and what is your preference possibly.

    Taking the latter first, I remember at the 1996 Olympic games, I wanted to see the USA Gymnastics team with the team title. Many were wondering why I wasn’t going to the individual sessions. I simply didn’t want to see one of our individuals win. I wanted to see our team win.

    I could see some wanting to see us win in a dramatic 9th inning comeback. And, I have no problem with it. As long as they have no problem with me looking to beat the traffic home.

    With the former, are we going to come back from 7 runs down? Probably not. So, I would be gone. If we do, that’s great. I just wasn’t going to hang around and wait for it.

  9. Mark Moore

    Lead gone like the foam on a cheap ultra-light beer … that pretty much describes it.

    My wife told me we were in good shape with the 4-0 lead. But obviously that didn’t turn out to be the case. The 8:10 start really pushes the limits for me, but I stuck it out both nights and didn’t complete the “Clete loading” process.

    Always good stuff, MBE. you bring a unique and wonderful perspective to us with each article.

  10. Jim Walker

    I’m guessing the transpositions of Baltimore and Milwaukee was not a late night brain pain possibly induced by watching the Reds nearly forfeit a 4 run lead versus the Brewers Tuesday night.

    At Camden Yards on June 28, the Reds frittered away a 3 run lead in the bottom of 8th. The game ended up in extra innings. The Reds scored 4 runs in the 10 and secured the win.

  11. Rednat

    it is weird when i am at the game or listening on the radio I never clete out. watching on tv however I clete out all the time for some reason. I can only watch when the reds are batting because I am quite sure the other team will score if I am watching on tv. Bizarre and neurotic I know!

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      Well, Cleting is not permissible when you’re attending in person, so you’re fine there. But I think preferring the radio brings happy childhood memories, so you’re more inclined to stay 🙂

    • greenmtred

      I entertain similarly dark thoughts when watching, Rednat. I’m not superstitious, but I might harbor superstitions where the Reds are concerned.

  12. Scott C

    I am working part time in my retirement, so I got home just in time to see Taylor’s home run. I should have waiting till the game was over, I’m sorry today was my fault.