I thought it'd be fun to talk to the former managers of RR to see what they have to say about their tenure in charge. We've had 5
brave stupid unfortunate souls driving this ship in the last 10 years, and as the most recent, Josh will be the first in this series.
What was the Reds team like when you took over?
I took over in December 2010 and the team was in a better place than it had been in a decade. The wounds of the NLDS sweep were still healing, but optimism abounded. The Reds were seen as having a talented core that was going places, as we were patronizingly told by gracious Phillies fans. Joey won his MVP that year, Chapman had been signed to much fanfare the previous offseason and scared the hell out of everyone in his major league debut. Jay Bruce had his breakout season at 23, which I think got a little buried under Joey's reign of terror. I think the first official post I wrote was about RedsFest, which is probably the high-point for good feelings in the offseason - helps tide you over during the winter months until you start missing baseball acutely around mid-January. We needed some tiding that offseason, because Walt didn't really do much. I think the general consensus was that was OK and standing pat was what a winning team did. Winning was very new and confusing. Cueto, Bruce and Arroyo all got extensions, which worked out to varying degrees. And Edinson Volquez reportedly turned down an extension, which was kinda weird but ultimately also good.
What was Red Reporter like when you took over?
It was a well-oiled machine. Slyde (Joel) and the community here - which was already almost 6 years old - had built something special. I would say it was more like a mid-70s Big Red Machine (with some cool Bash Brothers undertones), rather than a 1990 Charlie Sheen debauch. So I stepped into a situation I could really only mess it up. Admittedly, it took some learning to get used to running things. I was a real Twitter dummy, for one thing. A little "Behind the Music:" I think I feel backward into running the blog as an 8th-string option. I had told Joel something like, "I'm pretty new and a bad choice, but I might be interested if no one else is." I was already writing during the previous season, though, and knew the community pretty well, so I tried to stay true to what already made Red Reporter great -- a good mix of analytics and humor, positivity in fandom and rampant self-indulgence.
What was the most exciting event to cover in your tenure?
2011 season was kind of a gray void, but Opening Day that season was the most exciting in recent memory (Ramon "Clutch Man Monie" Hernandez's walkoff wanger). 2012 gave us Homer Bailey's no-hitter and traumatic divisional series. The most excited I remember being that season was during Jay Bruce's at bat in the 9th inning of Game 5 with Votto at 2B. I think I almost barfed. He was the winning run in that game. I had to look that up: it still feels like they lost 12-0.
How do you think Red Reporter has changed since your tenure?
The most obvious way is with all the design changes and back-end changes that happened with "SBN United" and have continued to happen since then. I think the community has stayed true to its roots, but we've lost some heavy-hitters. That just happens. No one is agonizing over the choice between caring for a newborn and projecting how Wladimir Balentien's NPB platoon splits translate to the major leagues.
What was the most fun thing about running Red Reporter (and what do you like about writing for RR currently)?
I mostly look forward to hearing what the writers and RRs in the threads have to say on any given day. That's consistent whether I've been the manager, a writer or casual reader of RR. Growing up, I was told "Stop talking about and reenacting a Reds game right now, it's time for dinner" more than a few times. That doesn't happen at Red Reporter. I'm glad there exists a place where everyone knows (Paul Janish's) name. And knows that he would've had that. I'm grateful that I have a forum to explore a piece of Reds minutia or weird premise for a post and that I was never specifically told to stop doing that.
What do you think the future holds for RR?
- Red Reporter will secure the blog equivalent of the EGOT (Emmy-Grammy-Oscar-Tony): the WABK (Webby-Australian Web Award-City Beat Best Blog-Kids Choice Award)
- Deep space is obviously something we've talked about for a while, but let's not overlook the Earth's core.
- As one of the remaining outposts for baseball sanity in town, Joey Votto will have a regular feature here before too long.
- Fred Regorter will probably sue us a few more times.