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Cincinnati Reds: Counting Blessings Of 2021 Campaign
As the Reds are stumbling to the finish line, looking up at the Cardinals in the Wild Card standings, many fans have given up on the 2021 season. After so many losing seasons, and the disappointing and short-lived playoff run last year, frustration is at an all-time high for many in the Queen City. While all those emotions are real and valid, I don’t want us to forget about the many highs this season has brought us.
It’s not Thanksgiving yet, but it’s never too early to pause and take a moment to count your blessings.
No. 1: Fans in the Stands
I missed cheering on the team with other fans, Skyline cheese coney in hand. I never realized how I had taken this experience for granted ‘till 2020. Hey, you never know what you’ve got until it’s gone, right?
I was lucky. Coming into the 2021 season, I was able to score tickets to Opening Day. Opening Day tickets are already hard to come by in Cincinnati, let alone when the stadium is at 30 percent capacity. Returning to the confines of Great American Ball Park was a thrilling and emotional experience, in spite of the rough loss.
Let’s never take this for granted again.
No. 2: Votto’s Resurgence
I’m a huge Joey Votto fan, and he will probably go down as the greatest Red whose career I followed start to finish. The last several years have been rough for him, and he looked completely lost at the plate. He had appeared to transform himself after his famous 3 game “benching” last year, but many questioned whether the transformation was sustainable.
Over the length of a full season, we now have our answer.
Joey Votto has returned.
No. 3: India’s ROTY Campaign
I’m ashamed to admit this, but I was the low man on Jonathan India coming into the season. I had heard positive reports from the alternate site last year, but I didn’t know what to expect from a full season of him in the Majors.
He has not disappointed. As we come down the stretch, Jonathan India has a slash line of .268/.373/.456 with 20 home runs, good for 3.5 Wins Above Replacement (Don’t @ me analytic haters).
He’s played himself, not only into a starting role for the Reds, but also into the Rookie of the Year conversation. Right now, many writers are saying that it’s his award to lose. Whether he wins it or not, I’m excited to say that I was wrong about him.
No. 4: Winning Baseball
I’ve followed the Reds my whole life, but I started closely following them in 2000 when my family moved to the area. Since then, the Reds have only had four winning seasons. If they can close this year out strong, that’ll be five.
Over the span of the last 21 years, that’s a lot of losing to put up with, and there’s a decent chance that a lot more losing is on the way. Whether or not we make the Wild Card, I’m very grateful to be watching winning baseball in September. I’m grateful to be excited about this season’s chances, rather than wondering about the future.
Let’s enjoy the winning while it lasts.
No. 5: Decent Starting Pitching
I can already anticipate comments about the bullpen, but hey, this is a positive post! Let’s focus on happy things for a minute.
Over the last few years, Reds fans have had to put up with some truly awful starting pitching. I can remember being at many games where it felt like the Reds were tossing batting practice to the other team. It never really felt like we had a good chance to win, and my personal enjoyment came more from watching the careers of individual players-like Votto-and less from the team’s success.
This year has been different.
We don’t have what we had last year, but the 2021 Red’s starters are nothing to roll your eyes at. From top to bottom, we have reliable guys that deserve to be on a big league roster. No matter who toes the rubber, Reds fans know that they have a decent chance of seeing a win.
We’ve seen how bad it can be. Let’s hold on to this.
Bonus: No Slurs
I mean, this is pretty self-explanatory right? It’s one of those things that as there’s a drive into deep left field by Castellanos, and that’ll be a home run. That’ll make it a 4-0 ballgame.
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