2011 was the middle child of the family of the early 20-teens Reds dynasty. While last year was the beginning of a new age, and the years to come will surely be marked by pennants and rings, this year was completely forgettable, slightly below-average, and sometimes embarrassing to witness. This team is the Jan to last year's Marsha, the The Brak Show to last year's Space Ghost: Coast to Coast, the everything Adam Sandler has done since Happy Gilmore to last year's Happy Gilmore. And just like all those things, it's probably best to just forget about the 2011 Reds.
So when Commandant RijoSabes strolled over to my cage, peered contemptuously at me with his mirror lense sunglasses, spit into my bowl of gruel, and began tapping the bars with his Asking Stick (which is all together different from his Teaching Stick, and not at all the same as his Yelling Stick, and only vaguely similar to his Telling Stick, and nearly physically identical to but functionally different from his Whomping Stick), and he asked me to write up a piece on the best and worst things about this season, I was kind of at a loss. I mean, this season was just so utterly forgettable, so over before it was done, so completely unremarkable. Just how am I to pick out the highlights and lowlights of a season that has been flatlining since forever? But as he rained blows upon my head and upper body with his Inspiration Stick, I began to see a way. So before he comes at me with his Cutting Stick, here are the (made-up) best and worst of the Reds 2011 campaign:
Worst player-sponsored breakfast cereal ideas:
Clutch Man Monie's Clutch Crunch - It's the clutch crunch you love to munch when you need an extra punch to perform in the crunch before lunch!
Miguel Cairo's Average O's - For kids who know their station and are content to reside in the meaty part of the curve.
Coco Cordero's Fruity Ringers - These should have been chocolate. Like this season, a total wasted opportunity.
Paul Janish's Tasty Pop 'em Ups - Leave it all on the (in)field!
Juan Francisco's Children Nugget Dipperoos - Made of kids, not for kids.
Best player-inspired desserts:
Worst films (h/t to ken):
Bronson Arroyo in The 40 Homerun Virgin - A flyball pitcher who lives on the edge dares to cross the threshold of gopherball ignominy. Eric Milton guest stars as the evil influence.
Ryan Hanigan is The Hoss Whisperer - Hanigan must break Bailey, the mercurial colt. He succeeds in improving Bailey's control, but only against Texas teams.
Chris Heisey in Witness - Nearly invisible to his manager, a simple lad from Eastern Pennsylvania witnesses a parade of horrors in leftfield at the beginning of the season. But even after the team trades Jonny Gomes, Heisey remains hidden in obscurity, appearing only as a pinch hitter and spot starter.
Drew Stubbs in Easy K - The big-hearted Stubbs makes an unusual arrangement with struggling opposing pitchers, in which his bat rests on his shoulder for pitches in the strike zone.
Ramon Hernandez in The Monie Pit - No matter how well he hits, he can't help the dilapidated Reds from falling deeper in the standings.
Worst facial hair:
Johnny Cueto's chin-strap was ugly. I really hope this earned him a promotional deal with Gillette.
Bronson Arroyo's goatee - it always made the ladies uncomfortable when he would mention "sweeping under the rug".
Miguel Cairo's homeless guy shadow. It made him look homeless.
Chris Heisey's beard looked like a 12-year-old wearing a really clever false beard in order to get into an R-rated movie.
Best guy to have on your side if you were ever in a situation where something really bad was going to happen to you - like maybe you were being chased by dinosaurs, or zombies, or sharks that could somehow swim on land; or maybe it was getting dark and there was no way you were going to make it home in time before curfew and your mom was going to be really really really really mad and she wouldn't let you go to Skeeter's this weekend if you didn't make it home in time; or maybe you had just eaten like 13 ice cream sandwiches, and not the plain ones neither but the ones with chocolate ice cream and chocolate chips; or maybe the earth was going to explode or something like that, I don't know, just something really bad - and somehow the only way to get out of the situation was to steal some t-shirts:
Best Halloween costumes:
Brandon Phillips and Dontrelle Willis as Garfield and Odie
Jay Bruce as Captain America (he says he's going to make it himself, not just buy the one from the movie at Party City)
Travis Wood as "monkey business". This one is so cute! He's going to dress up with little monkey ears and a tail with a suit jacket, a tie, and a brief case! OMG!!
Bronson Arroyo (for the 11th year in a row) as a boner.
Best new artist:
Florence and the Machine
Mumford and Sons