I have been a diehard fan of the Cincinnati Reds my entire life. Heck, I even have them tattooed on my right arm. Like many of you, I’ve spent many late nights watching the team throughout the season, and during West Coast road trips, I fought heavy eyelids during work due to a lack of sleep.
However, watching the Reds this year has felt like homework. It hasn’t been unbearable, but it hasn’t exactly been enjoyable either. There just hasn’t been much from this team to instill confidence or excitement.
The Cincinnati Enquirer’s acclaimed journalist Paul Daugherty said it best: “This is a hard team to write about, day to day, because nothing changes but the calendar. The Reds drift. And drift.”
That is the absolute truth. We know exactly what to expect from this team day in and day out — superb starting pitching, low scoring, excellent fielding, runners left on base, prevalent running game, inconsistent relief work and strikeouts (both pitching and hitting). The Reds are just as likely to win a blowout as they are to lose a one-run game.
Aside from Todd Frazier providing pop in the Reds’ lineup, there isn’t really one player who provides excitement at the plate. Even Joey Votto has become lackluster to watch on the season. Again, that isn’t saying he is bad; it is just to say he isn’t entertaining. That is the best way to describe the Reds — not entertaining in the least.
It is a weird contrast when looking at the entertainment on the field as opposed to fan perception of the players. Ask any fan and they will tell you how the players are exceptionally wonderful to fans through their willingness to take pictures and sign autographs before the games. As a whole, the team is one of the most personable and easiest to like in Reds history.
I cover the Reds for a living, so I continue to watch and listen to them on a daily basis. However, I find myself easily distracted except for when Billy Hamilton is at the plate or on the bases. This is the complete opposite of how invested I was in games over the past two years as nothing could deter my focus from the games. But 2014 has brought a type of stagnant nature to the viewing experience. As Daugherty said, the team just continues playing the same baseball (sub-.500) without any signs of progression.
Perhaps it’s time for us to stop complaining about this Reds team; maybe this is exactly who they are — a .500 team. Maybe things will change when the team is able to field a completely healthy 25-man roster.
But hey, at least we still get bobble-heads and fireworks to enjoy until then.