On Opening Day, I yelled at everybody within the sound of my voice and my social media feed. The Reds were ahead and all were gloating over how wonderful everyone looked, what a great season it was going to be, and look how well these boys were doing despite all the starter injuries.

I couldn’t have that. I tamped it all down.

Let’s not get excited, people. This team once blew a nine-run lead. Getting out of slam range is not enough. The Reds require further insurance. I don’t care if they are leading by six and it is the Nationals: We. Cannot. Be Too. Careful. And on that glorious day, my apprehensive vigilance paid off.

You didn’t know that was me, did you?

Well, that was me.

Defense Mechanisms 

Now, this emotional guard against potential disaster is just common good sense; any person who lived to see the 1982 Reds will tell you that no amount of pile-on runs is enough to secure the outcome until the concession stands close. There were times when the home team got bored of losing the usual way and sought ways to spice up the defeats. They’d see how long they could hold on to a losing streak. They’d welcome their faithful fans back to baseball by dumping 22 games out of 25. Once they even no-hit the enemy and still manage to lose.

But we must affirm that we are in a new story now, a new day, with an almost sinfully fast runner who can also hit.

Still. I have more defense mechanisms than James Bond in a Russian nuclear warehouse. And I shan’t be hurt again, I simply shan’t. Not like before.


And so I must admit to pre-Cleting on the Reds’ recent loss to the Phillies. Pre-Cleting is a recent evolution in the original form of Cleting out; the advent of the DVR has made it possible to watch the previous innings of a game while the game is still going on until you catch up to the game still going on. The Rules of Cleting must occasionally shift with the technological times.

Therefore, if one is alerted to a particularly lopsided score in a game one is not watching, it is permissible to pre-Clete. There are many ways to do so: Never checking the score again, sullenly discovering the outcome on social media by accident, and– the classic, one I appreciate more with each passing year– bypassing the game entirely and going to bed.

Last night’s titanic struggle required a certain level of dexterity and foresight that can only come with a lifetime under Clete’s tutelage. I was working late, the game started without me, the ballpark down the road was suspiciously quiet, and I became apprehensive. What exactly was going on down there?

Deleting the Game

Four to nothing with the bases loaded and one out. That’s what was going on down there.

This particular  pre-Cleting required a complete extinction event. Losses after sweeps usually do. This game, and all memories of it, must vanish from the Earth. It was tricky: The game was still going on, and I knew Bally Sports Ohio would appear on the screen as soon as I pressed go. But I’m not Clete’s granddaughter for nothing.

I accomplished this feat by picking up the remote, muting immediately so as to avoid exposing myself to the sad sounds of losing and failure, quickly changing the channel so I didn’t have to look at it either, and extinguishing the game even as it came into the world.

Then, in a preemptive strike that would have made Winston Churchill proud, I deactivated recording the postgame version of Reds Live. This sucker wasn’t even going to tape. I was denying its existence before it even existed, because people who watch Reds Live after a loss are the same people who slow down on the interstate to stare at a slightly dented car pulled over on the median.

Watching the Win

You can watch the postgame all you want after a win. Roll around in the highlights, judge Sam LeCure’s fashion sense, place bets on which player will have had a shower before the press conference. But after a loss, please remember to turn off the external speakers as well as the flatscreen.

We still must remember our responsibilities, however.  If the game is still close enough so that a reasonable person might be cautiously pessimistic, it is your duty to tune in and apply your teambuilding skills to the mighty effort.  You can always fully Clete out later if it goes sideways anyway.




10 Responses

  1. LDS

    Great article MBE. I’ve adopted the pre-Clete approach a lot so far this season. I just didn’t have the naming rights. I like wins but my confidence in the season isn’t that high. And I like the list of Bell’s past accomplishments. What a manager! Keep it up.

  2. David

    Awesome, you captured me in one article.

  3. Mark Moore

    Great stuff. I love that we continue to evolve the entire “Clete” process. And I’m right with you, though I was watching last night when Cruz pulled off that minor miracle to get out of a major jam.

    Back at it this evening and hoping for the best.

  4. Melvin

    “We still must remember our responsibilities, however. If the game is still close enough so that a reasonable person might be cautiously pessimistic, it is your duty to tune in and apply your teambuilding skills to the mighty effort. You can always fully Clete out later if it all goes sideways anyway.”

    haha Good article. 🙂

  5. Melissa Cook

    Great article, I came over here just to check on what you were saying about my Phils. Glad you all enjoyed that comeback win yesterday. Perhaps Harp’s paternity leave helped?