With a fresh new design, it's only fitting that we should look backward. Back to a time when the site was just a crude HTML 184.108.40.206 design.
Around this time in 2010, Reds fans were killing time during the lame duck session of the season with the same questions we're asking right now. "Which 25th guy that we sorta hope doesn't play should be on the playoff roster? Do I spend this 3 month's salary on a wedding ring or playoff tickets? Jim Edmonds is retired, yes?"
One of the more important ones, I think, is about who the Reds get in the first round. I don't think there's a really a right answer, especially this season.
Former-RR king Slyde preferred the Braves in 2010 and summed up a sensible view of short series:
My personal preference is Atlanta. I don't think any team is particularly more beatable in a short-series than any other, and I honestly don't have any analysis, but the game on May 20 deserves some payback, and I want it quick.
Red Reporters agreed, with 45% saying they'd most want to see Atlanta in the NLDS. But no one listened.
Especially with some of the elements distinct to 2012 - the NLDS format, Strasburg out of the picture, etc - anything can happen in 3-5 games. A short series is a crapshoot, so you might as well go with a good story.
With that in mind, I hope it's the Cardinals. The Reds have played them to a tie in the season series (ahead of the teams' final series of the season in St. Louis). It would likely be a hard-fought series, but against a team the Reds have proven they can sweep. There would also be the intrigue around staying in St. Louis to play the Cards after that final regular season game. It would mean the Reds had secured home-field advantage in the NLCS and the advantage of playing the Cards after they've burned a 1 or 2 starter in the play-in game.
Most importantly, it would be the opportunity to knock off: (1) a rival, (2) a team that's plagued the Reds in recent history and (3) the defending WS Champs -- all in one series.
It's not the symmetry of beating the Phillies, but it's much better. Potentially.