This is the first of four Fox Sports Ohio "Classic Rewinds" and, for the blog, a sort of "manager and writers report" tune-up for spring game threading. Watching these rewinds, especially the one airing tonight, is a little like watching Titantic - we already know the precise details of the dramatic finish. But that doesn't mean you can't enjoy the surprise nudity and Celine Dion vocal stylings along the way.
Chuck Klosterman wrote an article exploring the question, "Why is watching a prerecorded sporting event less pleasurable than watching the same game live?" We can cross out some of his reasons why for this particular game - such as, "If this game has already ended and I don't know anything about what happened, it was probably just a game" - because this was a fun and exciting game for Reds fans. You can also choose to forgo using DVR to avoid treating the game like a highlight reel, while preserving some of the dramatic breaks inherent in live TV.
Better still, you can use this real-time game thread to create the illusion the game is unfolding live. You could get a really precise lobotomy to, if not remove the 2011 season, at least Opening Day so that you can experience it anew. In fact, I would recommend rejecting the ridiculous notion that this game is being broadcast from archival material and, instead, embrace the reality that there is no such thing as objective time - moments are relative and perpetual. It's just as plausible that Fox Sports is hooked up to the past through whatever wormhole Dennis Quaid was using in the movie Frequency. The game could turn out differently if you don't comment hard enough.
Whatever you choose to do, let's remember that March 31, 2011 was a happier time in a season that peaked way too early. Ramon Hernandez has since left for purpler mountains (I won't ruin anything, but he has some cool scenes in this one). While the bottom four spots in last season's Opening Day lineup are due to turn over this season, the core of the offense is intact and will be counted on to carry the load this season. Contrast that with the Brewers' lineup: the two pillars of its offense will be gone this Opening Day (Braun for the first 50 games, as of now) - although so will Yuniesky Betancourt.
A quick accounting of the offseason says the Reds stayed at least steady offensively and took a big leap forward with their pitching staff, as the Brewers took a step back on offense. After the first series of 2011, I never would have predicted the Brewers would go on to (SPOILER ALERT) become division champs, but that was myopia in a long season. The Brewers were aggressive in the offseason last year. The Reds let them test out that strategy before they jumped in.
One more SPOILER: the first inning is pretty graphic and not for the feint of heart.
Lineups and vintage game thread content after the junk.
Here's original game preview by Charlies Scrabbles:
Now begins the 2011 season of Cincinnati Reds baseball. This Opening Day feels different from those of recent past. For years, the offseason felt impossibly long. When the previous season is effectively over by August, the winter months are that much colder. Opening Day has meant a new beginning, a fresh start, the chance to finally rinse the stale, festering taste of defeat from our mouths.
Not this year. This year, we have remained fat and vibrant through the lean months, sustained by the images of a pennant still projected on the backs of our eyelids. This has been the most comfortable offseason I've ever experienced as a Reds fan, so to be perfectly honest, it feels a bit early for Opening Day. That doesn't mean I'm any less excited, though.
These first three weeks of the season could be huge for our Reds. After the Brewers leave town, we get the Astros, Diamondbacks, Padres, Pirates, and Diamondbacks again. That looks to me like the perfect opportunity to build an early five-game NL Central lead. But first thing's first, and we have to deal with this formidable Brewers team. Fortunately, we will miss their new ace Zack Greinke as he will begin the year on the DL. Yovanni Gallardo is a legitimate ace though, so it won't be any easier.
Baseball is back, Reds fans. Now let's go win ourselves a World Series.