You thought you got rid of me with this new internet change, huh? I bet you figured if you switched everything around like this and made ol' Fred try to remember his password, you would never see me again. But you thought wrong! Ol' Fred finally got with it a few years ago and started writing down all my passwords to this here internet. So you'll have to put up with me a bit longer. At least until they bury me.
So the Reds are heading to the playoffs for the second time in three years. It seems like yesterday to ol' Fred that they were doing this all the time. But that was 40 years ago. Excuse me a second, I need to get a drink.
Ahhhh, there we go. So there is just one game left in the season and this team has a chance to get the best record in baseball. They just have to win today and the Washington Generals have to lose. Last time I checked, they have a habit of doing that.
So ol' Fred figured it was about time to take a look around the league and get an idea of what the competition looks like. So without further to do, Fred is going to show you around the National League and size up the Reds' competition this October.
Washington Nationals - This team came out of nowhere this year to win the tough National League East. What happened to the Phillies? Unfortunately for them, MVP Ryan Howard didn't play for half the season. So they were DOA without him. The Nationals took advantage with strong pitching from Steven Strassberg. It was like Valenzuela Mania in the Nation's Capitol this year with this guy. With him anchoring their playoff rotation, this is a team the Reds probably do not want to face. Who knows where they would be without him.
San Francisco Giants - This team is always tough in the playoffs. Tim Linasum will probably win his fourth Cy Young Award this year. The tall left-hander is like a modern-day Sandy Koufax out there. They also have a top young catcher in Buster Olney who looks like a new Johnny Bench.
Atlanta Braves - You heard it here first: Chipper Jones is going to the Hall of Fame. You can take that one to the bank. He's making his victory lap around the National League this year and the Braves are hoping to send him off in style. And with another Hall of Famer, Bobby Cox, patrolling the dugout, you can never count out these bad boys.
St. Louis Cardinals - Surprise, Surprise! Tony LaRussa has led his team to the playoffs for the 83rd time in his storied career. They got their ace Chris Carpenter back just in time, too. Is it just me, or is every pitcher in baseball now getting the Tommy John surgery? It's like a routine check up at the dentist anymore. They all have so many plastic parts nowadays, they are all practically binomial.
And that leaves us with your Cincinnati Reds. Ol' Fred usually hates to be the bearer of bad news (who are we kidding? I love it!), but the odds are not looking too good for the hometown team this year. I talked with some of my colleagues in the Reds media about it for this piece, and ol' Fred came away worried. These Reds strikeout too much, they can never seem to get down the bunt, they are hopeless with runners in scoring position, and they can only score with home runs. That's no way to win in the playoffs. That's no way to win. Period.
Fred Regorter's bold prediction - Reds end this season still looking for their first playoff win since 1995. Sorry folks, but better start looking forward to Bearcats basketball. I'm just sayin'.