Yesterday’s loss on the Fourth of July rendered the Cincinnati Reds a full 25 games under the .500 mark. After only 79 games, they’re 25 games under .500.
Their 27 wins is tied for the fewest in all of baseball, as the penniless Oakland Athletics have matched them in that futility. It’s also not lost on me the plight of the Kansas City Royals, whose tanking/rebuilding effort has them with a mighty 29 victories so far this season. What’s worth having a ha-ha there is remembering the Mike Minor for Amir Garrett deal at the dawn of the season where two obviously tanking teams shook hands on a trade for non long-term pieces where one team - the Reds, of course - ended up on the hook for more millions than they did before the deal.
Why do that? Why?
The season’s official midpoint is later this week, when 81 games will have been filed away in the record books and 81 more will be on the docket. Imagine browsing Netflix and coming across a 16 episode show called This Boat Will Sink and six minutes into the second episode the ship springs a leak and sinks its ass to the sea floor - no, I’m probably not going to care about what happens in episode 14.
It’s felt reminiscent of the eviscerated 2016 season for quite a while now, sadly. After the previous iteration of Reds was torn to shreds across the 2015 season, what was left in 2016 was dominated routinely, After having lost 98 games the season prior, they lost 94 that year after sprinting to a 29-52 record at the season’s midpoint and reaching 25 games under .500 eight games later.
It’s like they were just never there to begin with, an observation that’s ripe when compared with the owner of that team, and this team, asking where we fans are gonna go when they fail to show up. Once again, though, we’re tasked with trying to hang on each swing from a minor league invite as if it’s miraculously going to turn out better than expected, tasked with hoping a pitcher who’d not be on the roster of any other club can somehow stop the leaking in a high-leverage spot in the 8th inning. We’re tasked with watching the Washington Generals while being asked to pretend we don’t know what to expect, again.
Maybe, just maybe, there will be a late-July week where things begin to jade us again. Tyler Stephenson will be back and healthy, and Jonny India will finally get hot. Joey Votto will have tweaked his swing over the All Star break and found the glitch. Jose Barrero will get called up, and Hunter Greene will dial it up to 103 mph in a part of the zone where it’s impossible to turn it around for 469 foot homers.
Maybe we’ll get that week before the inevitable trades of Tommy Pham and Brandon Drury, and the likely one of Luis Castillo further send this team down the tube. Maybe we’ll get it before Greene hits his innings limit and is shutdown alongside Graham Ashcraft. Maybe, just maybe, we’ll get to see our boys of summer play some good baseball at the good baseball time of year before it’s bottled up and stored away for some future use once again.
Frankly, it’s the least we can ask for.