There has been an endless barrage of waiting for the Cincinnati Reds around these parts.
Waiting for another World Series. Waiting for anything akin to even a run at one, for even one postseason series win.
More recently, it’s been waiting for the godawful rebuild to finally end. That rolled into waiting for the free agents that were signed for record amounts to pay off, for the evolution of the Reds to hit its next stage.
Even that, though, begat more waiting. The 2020 season took ages to commence, consumed in large part by the global pandemic still crippling much of everything today. The modifications to said season eventually afforded the Reds an outside chance in an expanded playoffs, but there we were again left waiting - waiting for a single run to be scored in a painstaking fashion that never came.
It was on that note that we were launched into the offseason, one that saw us put on hold for inevitable upgrade at shortstop. It was the clear need on the roster, and with the bountiful peck of names available to be had over the winter, waiting for one of them, any of them to fall into the Reds lap became a months-long affair.
Again, though, that came in a painstaking form with a result that never materialized.
It’s in that vein that this offseason has seemed, in part, to take forever. The dragging of feet ground it all to such a halt both for the Reds and much of the league, a snail’s crawl that gradually lent itself to obvious austerity around these parts.
In another vein, though, is the recency. That the world is still stuck in this pandemic in makes it seem like an entity with its own calendar, our meager methods of measuring arbitrary blocks of time not binding. Almost exactly twelve of our months have elapsed, with the start (eventually) of last year’s baseball season one of the first huge disruptions to the cyclical sports model around which we’ve long grown accustomed. With that the case, it’s evident that the 2020 and 2021 baseball seasons will forever be linked as their own mini-era in the game’s history.
The Steroid Era. The Dead-Ball Era. The War Years.
It’s perhaps this looming, inexorable link that makes the 2020 season feel like it just ended a minute ago, or never truly ended at all. It barely started, too, with only a 62 game taste of what these newfangled Reds are supposed to be. Or, were supposed to be, I guess.
Despite the overarching frustration with the ownership’s decision to immediately scale back this winter after one small step forward the year prior, there are a handful of aspects to the 2021 club that still deserve optimism. That optimism, thanks to the date listed on our own calendar, once again gets its shot to be realized in the course of the coming hours, as pitchers and catchers are taking over Goodyear, Arizona in their uniforms as you read your way through this.
We’re on the cusp of baseball again, even if it’s again set to be one of the weirdest seasons of our lives.