Happy Thanksgiving 2011, Red Reporters! While our favorite team may have had a season to forget I am here to lift your spirits and remind you of the good that outshines the bad.
First and foremost we should all be thankful, if for no other reason than the fact that we got to spend another summer watching our favorite team play the most beautiful game in the world at the highest level while taking us along a roller coaster ride of emotions. Feeling is living, and baseball gives that to us.
I'm here to tell you why we should bow our cyber heads and thank the good baseball gods above for the graces he/she has bestowed upon us. All praise our favorite turkey!
I hereby give thanks that:
- Dusty Baker is the manager of the Reds. Complain if you will but the man brought playoff baseball to Cincinnati for the first time in 15 years and the players love playing for him. I dare you to say you would prefer Jerry Narron, Dave Miley, or Bob Boone.
- Joey Votto is a Cincinnati Red - It's looking more likely by the day that Joey won't retire a Red so please, enjoy him while you can. The man is one of the best overall hitters I've seen in my lifetime. I get chills watching him hunker down and fight off borderline pitch after borderline pitch before lining a fastball off the plate to left center for a 2 RBI double. His at bat against Broxton was an absolute thing of beauty and the best part was as you were watching it happen, you KNEW Joey wasn't going to make an out. I might have an unhealthy crush on this man.
- Brandon Phillips is a Cincinnati Red - We may have become spoiled with 2B defense over the years with Bret Boone and Pokey Reese, but BP has taken it to another level. If you haven't had the opportunity to see one of his masterpieces in person, get to the ballpark this year please. It's an unbelievable experience to see a sharply hit ball to the right side go from single to Web Gem in 2 seconds. If you're like me you'll start cheering late because you're looking to the person next to you yelling "HOLY SHIT, DID YOU SEE THAT?!?!!?". Seriously folks, we're going to miss him when he's gone.
- Jay Bruce is a Cincinnati Red - There's been talk recently as to whether or not Jay Bruce has peaked as a hitter. For the record I don't think he has, but if he plateaus at 30 HR/100 RBI for the next five years with great RF defense for the next five years you're going to have to find someone else to color disappointed.
- Johnny Cueto is a Cincinnati Red - Johnny seems to have figured it out and has gotten better each year, to the point of dominance last year. He's become the bulldog I wasn't sure he could, and I couldn't be happier to be wrong.
More thanks given after the jump.
- Aroldis Chapman is a Cincinnati Red - Ah, the polarizing question - should he start or close? I honestly don't care, either way he's going to make the hair stand up on my arms when I'm in the stands and he throws a baseball 103 mph.
- The future is bright - The Reds have more positional talent than spots available, which bodes well for the future. You know what every flailing team wants in exchange for their one dominant starter? A major league ready position player that can hit. We've got a ton to give should we decide to chase pitching help.
- Great ownership and front office - This is one of my personal causes and I feel very strongly about it, so bear with me. The Reds FO doesn't get enough credit in my opinion; as Cincinnatians we have to live with the fact that Mike Brown takes our money while smiling through his lying teeth and telling us that the Bengals are "building a winner". The Reds didn't talk the talk, they walked the walk, put their money where their mouth was, and fulfilled every other cliche I can think to attach to the situation. We frustratingly looked on for years as the Reds' front office held an annual "everything must go" yard sale in July while blaming it on the money crunch created by us not coming out to watch a subpar product but that changed with the current ownership group. A huge tip of the cap should go to Bob Castellini and the Reds front office for investing in us first, making attending a Reds game a desirable experience again while rebuilding the franchise from the inside out. They've been creative when the success had yet to come and to their credit they haven't rested on their laurels, still promoting the hell out of the ballpark experience, Redsfest, and the team in general. I love going to the ballpark and recommend it to anyone that will listen. For me personally the Reds have passed the Cyclones and now claim the "best bang for your sports buck" title in Cincinnati, which is saying something. Get your asses out there and support the team, they're worth it on every level.
- The NL Central is ripe for the taking for the next three years - The Cardinals are in flux (see below), the Brewers can't afford Prince, and the Cubs are the Cubs for now. The next three years are a perfect opportunity for the Reds to make a move and chase a title. I promise you that the Reds know this and are positioning themselves accordingly.
- Tony LaRussa retired - Historically great manager, insufferable prick. Good god damned riddance.
- The Cardinals are about to make a terrible mistake - Unless I'm wrong (and it has been known to happen) the Cardinals will sign Albert Pujols to a completely unreasonable deal to ensure that he retires a Cardinal and joins the ranks of greats Stan Musial, Bob Gibson, et al. Good for them for preserving their franchise history, good for us that it will financially cripple their team with the help of the Holliday deal. By year three of that deal I think the rest of baseball will be looking on in amazement at the Titantic Pujols contract as it crashes into the Old Age iceberg.
- The St. Louis Cardinals are paying Kyle Lohse $11.875 million in 2012 - In the words of immortal comic Larry The Cable Guy, "I don't care who ya are, that's funny right there". Good luck with that, shitheads.