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The Ohio River Yodel: A Woooooo de Coeur

Say "wooooo!" one more time. I dare you. Credit: Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE
Say "wooooo!" one more time. I dare you. Credit: Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE

Much has been made of the howl/woo/barbaric yawp that has found its way in Reds fans' chests and on our electronic transmissions in the past couple of victories. There is no Official Red Reporter stance on this, but tl;dr has given me the imprimatur to say my piece on the wacky craze that is taking over fandom.

It is truly stupid, and it is also fantastic.

These are not mutually exclusive expressions. I am sure that I will look back on The Yodel with an eye-roll and full of apologies for my young self, but that's not the point. Yelling out "WOOOOOOOO!" is fun. Do it! Right now! Try not to enjoy yourself yelling WOOOOO! at the top of your lungs! And if someone nearby gets upset, tell them they ought to do it too! Something as simple as opening up your mouth in that way is more fun than it should be, and so is baseball. So there's no reason why the two should be divorced.

There's more to it than "it's fun!," even though there probably doesn't need to be.

To reiterate, this has the potential to be the most obnoxious thing on a national scale since the Thundersticks. But you know what? The Angels won the World Series that year and have had only two losing seasons since. They won the World Series behind Darin Erstad, Ramon Ortiz, and David Eckstein, for Pete's sake! I would gladly take minorly inconveniencing national telecasts for that opportunity. Having 20,000 - let alone 40,000 - shriek "woooooo!" for no other reason than it's fun is a reminder that we only care about sports for fun. Is yelling stupid? Yes, but sports are stupid, too! After all, shouldn't you be working instead of cheering on these goofuses and gallants?

You will hear people grumble about this, talking about the sanctity of a game and all of that. Like we're all supposed to wear jackets and trilby hats while we chain smoke and politely clap. Screw that.

I think that part of the Reds' identity is and has been to be the bad guy, to be the storyline destroyer and a sportswriter's worst enemy. This goes back behind this year, this goes to 1975's Game Six (and the subsequent Game Seven). This goes to having the best record in 1981, to the Bash Brothers A's. It is only now about destroying the post-Pujols Cardinals and the Pirates with a monkey on their back that is now legally able to drink. The Reds don't have a storyline of their own, they merely exist to destroy the storylines of others. They are frighteningly good at this.

Even the individuals have played their parts: Pete Rose is still somehow All That Is Wrong With The Game, Joe Morgan has somehow become synecdoche with All That Is Wrong With Announcing, and Johnny Bench is an asshole. The Reds are responsible for the Rise of Charlie Sheen and the slow, inextricable decline of Ken Griffey. Nowadays, their star players are:

  • Brandon Phillips, troll extraordinaire
  • Johnny Cueto, destroyer of both careers and at-bats
  • Joey Votto, still as well known for having ladyparts and Italian stereotypes attached to him by sportscretins as he is for being one of the best hitters in the game
  • Aroldis Chapman, who did somersaults like he's allowed to have fun or something

The Reds are difficult to typecast, frustrating to play against, and obnoxious to root for. They are everything Bill Simmons hates. This is not something to be ashamed of, this is something to root for.