Today is a Monday. There's Cincinnati Reds baseball tonight, as they will tangle with the St. Louis Cardinals in #Bush Stadium, with hopes that they can string together a few victories and knock the Filthy Cards out of the playoff race altogether.
It'll be Monday again in seven days. On that Monday, however, there will be no Reds baseball, just like there won't be for some 22 consecutive Mondays after that. We've somehow managed to wince, grumble, and cheer our way through 155 games of this 2016 baseball season, watched as the team's pitching staff broke unsightly records, and grimaced at the absurdity that was the bullpen in May. We again saw Devin Mesoraco's season end before it ever had a chance to start, again saw Homer Bailey appear more as myth than reality, and openly wondered if another coaching and managerial change will hit the reset button for the franchise yet again.
We watched the Cincinnati Reds lose 90 games (again) and reach the cellar of the NL Central (again). This we cannot deny.
That'll be the takeaway of the 2016 season when the Winter Meetings roll around in December, when Dick Williams finally gets to make the calls his own way, and when Spring Training finally picks back up when pitchers and catchers report to Goodyear in late February. And rightly so. But there'll be plenty of dark, cold, baseball-less days in the coming months, and even the worst of baseball seasons provides ample ability to pull the corners of your mouth into a smile during that part of the year.
In many ways, that's the perfect argument for why the baseball season - which is admittedly long - is precisely as long as it is. It was long enough for this Reds team to win 65 games to date, which is a lot of times for fans to exit the turnstiles high-fiving with a great beer buzz. It provides a ton of chances for fans of even the worst teams to type exclamation points on the regular, to enjoy the game even if you're more a fan of "winning" than you are of "watching baseball." It provided the platform for Eugenio Suarez's walk-off over the Cardinals, allowed us to marvel at the time Billy Hamilton covered a nautical mile to make one of the most absurd catches I've ever seen, and led us to say "this guy may be an ace in the making" when Anthony DeSclafani fired his first complete game shutout.
This awful baseball season provided us the chance to watch greatness for months-long stretches, as Joey Votto is attempting to become the first big-leaguer in a dozen years to hit over .400 during the second half of a season. Through the torrential losing and dinger-manufacturing of the pitching staff, we witnessed Dan Straily emerge from the scrap-heap to have a season that will forever etch his name next to Pete Schourek's on the "Holy Hell, When Did That Guy Do That for the Reds?" trophy.
This awful baseball season had Adam Duvall - Adam Duvall - hit 32 dingers and represent the Reds in the All Star Game. It gave us Jose Peraza hitting .326, playing four different positions, and out-slugging both Suarez and Brandon Phillips. In fact, it gave us the chance to watch a damn fine, damn enjoyable game be played day after day for some seven consecutive months, and we've now got just seven days to enjoy the last of the current crop while we still can.
It's easy to miss winning baseball when your favorite team is in the gutter of the standings, the bottom flag flying above Wrigley Field on a windy day. It's also easy to get so caught up in wanting your team to win that you lose track of watching them play at all. Yes, the 2016 Cincinnati Reds will be nothing more than a footnote in the franchise's long and storied history, but if there's anything life has taught us through baseball in the last two days, it's that we should all soak up the joy presented to us while the opportunity is there. For the Reds, that opportunity is there for seven more days, and I'll sure as hell be watching with a smile.