This is something I'm sure every Reds fan has asked him/herself this year, and in the past few years.
Like Al, I've recently been reading a book called Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer (link to website). Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer is written by a NY Times writer named Warren St. John, who grew up an Alabama Crimson Tide football fan. Years later he finds out about a group of fans who follow the Tide around in RVs. The people St. John meets are extraordinarily dedicated to their team. One guy actually misses his daughter's wedding because she has the temerity to schedule the nuptials the same day as the 'Bama - Tennessee game.
But Reds fans also display quite a bit of dedication. The Reds have been pitiful in the past few years, and haven't been to the playoffs since 1995 (not counting their one game tilt against the Mets in '99 of course. &*%^% Al Leiter and all.). And yet we're all still paying attention, even in the midst of the trainwreck that has been the 2005 baseball season.
I've been a Reds fan my entire life, starting out by watching games with my Dad. The Reds weren't anything special in my formative years, but they weren't terrible either. This was the mid to late 80's when finishing second was a yearly occurrence. It wasn't a foregone conclusion that I would end up a Reds fan. In my household we watched just as many Braves games on TBS as Reds games on WLWT, for no better reason than the fact that they were there. Those were some terrible Braves teams, and I enjoyed pulling for them simply because they were so bad. I've always loved an underdog.
See: a lifetime of being a Bengals fan
See: years of watching the Bearcats exit in the second round
But I ended up a Reds fan, and it was never really a contest. The Reds were on the radio, and it was actually possible to see them in person. To a little kid that was unbeatable.
And yet I have to admit that 1990 does seems like ages ago, especially as we tune in tonight to watch our last place, 38-53 Reds take the field.
I know many of you are from out of town, and I know this site has readers of all ages, so I'm sure we've got quite a few interesting stories of how we got to where we are.
So tell me. Why are you here? What's made you a Reds fan?