As someone who has visited and read this site pretty frequently over the last two years, often as a silent observer rather than a full participant, I thought I might add some observations I have had over the last couple of days.
The signing of Aroldis Chapman came in the midst of the RR Community Prospect Rankings, and seems to have fueled discussion of the Reds future while drastically brightening the potential of that future. Signing a player like Chapman, for whom the sky is the ceiling, should warm the heart of every Reds fan. The fact that he was sought by many other teams with deeper pockets, larger media markets, and a much more recent history of winning has renewed the hopes of myself and many others here that this is a legitimate baseball franchise.
The tone of so much of the reporting and commenting on the site has been pessimistic - usually with reasonable justification. I will point to JinAz's recent excellent analysis of the 2009 Reds. We have collectively cursed crippling acquisitions, questionable trades, T-Virus, Corey Patterson, and of course Dusty Baker. Slyde may even be close to giving up hope. We have bemoaned, analyzed and quantified the failure of our beloved team. We have assigned blame. To be sure, there have been bright spots: Joey, Jay, Homer, Cueto, Volquez and a host of young studs who may raise our hopes or crush them. We have had dim hopes for success, tempered with a Gatsby like resilience that "one fine morning . . ." But something has changed in what I see since Sunday.
And that is what I wanted to point out. The threads since Sunday have been remarkable. I don't ever remember seeing so many comments go green in such a short amount of time. Everyone has truly enjoyed each others company, such as it is. The discussion has been lively, dynamic, and bubbling with child-like optimism. While Chapman could squash our expectations, our excitement is completely justified in my opinion. While we still do not have too much pitching, this young man makes our farm system shimmer. Combined with many of our other prospects, and young players just beginning to establish themselves in the Bigs, I cannot remember a time when the prospects for near-term success have seemed brighter from my perspective. We have ceased to assign blame in favor of showering Walt, Bob and company with praise - and I believe they deserve it.
Its been a thrill reveling in the Chapman signing with all of you, albeit from a distance. I'm enjoying this tide of optimism. Lets hope that the Reds give us no reason to break that tide.