Monday, August 18, 2008

Stuff to root for

It could be worse. We could be Pirates fans. I have to believe that Pirates fans are the worst of the evildoers in a past life, like maybe Joe Shmoe who works in a steel factory in Western PA was Ghengis Kahn or something, because that sure is fandom hell.

But if they are in fandom hell, we are in fandom purgatory.

Eight years of losing. The Reds had had no fewer than three losing seasons in a row since the second half of the twentieth century began. And we haven't had a single winning season since the new century - no - the new millennium began.

But there is still something to root for this year. The Louisville Bats clinched first place about a week ago and they're are going to the playoffs!

It's awesome that new media allows us to get closer to our whole system rather than just the Major League team. I vaguely remember the days when I had to read about Reds games in Hal McCoy articles in actual newspapers. Man, did I love to see that little Reds smiley face at the top right corner of the Dayton Daily News! But there was nothing about the Reds farm teams.

I'm sure the Reds brass is annoyed with that, to an extent, because we fans know what's coming or what should come, and we have just something else to shout about. Remember how long it took them to get Jay Bruce up here? Remember even Rosecrans was telling us to shut up about Bruce? But what has Bruce done? Only proved that he should have been up here and starting on our Holy Opening Day. And we started this year with He Who Should Not Be Named/He Who Has Bad Photos of Dusty Baker. Geesh.

Now, normally a Triple A roster is filled with guys who will never be good enough to be everyday Major League players or who had shown flashes of brilliance but never panned out, but there's a reason our Bats are in first by 13 games. We are loaded with prospects. On the current roster, Homer Bailey, Carlos Fisher, Danny Herrera, Matt Maloney, Tyler Pelland, Ramon Ramirez, and Josh Roenicke are the pitchers we really have to look forward to. The player side is less loaded but still there are some very solid if not good players on the roster, including Adam Rosales, Drew Stubbs, Drew T. Anderson, Shaun Cumberland, Paul Janish, and Danny Richar.

So, since we have nothing Reds related to look forward to (I mean, really, people think playing the role of the spoiler is something to cheer about?), let's cheer on the Bats.

And hey, everyday I am starting to really look forward to September callups. I would LOOOOOOOOOOVVVVVVEEEE to see them try out Todd Frazier in leftfield even though he's never played above high A. Or Juan Francisco at third base. Two weeks ago, he won his second player of the week honors:
Florida State League
Juan Francisco, Sarasota
.379 (11-29), 10 R, 1 2B, 0 3B, 5 HR, 12 RBI, 3 BB, 5 SO, 0 SB, .931 SLG
Francisco extended his hitting streak to eight games, with 11 hits in seven starts last week for Sarasota. The 21-year-old has an RBI in eight straight contests, as well, including back-to-back three-RBI nights against Fort Myers Friday and Saturday. He hit a home run in each of the three games against the Miracle after belting two long balls in the previous series with Dunedin. The outfielder now has 20 home runs and 85 RBIs on the season, both good for third in the league.
And get Chris Valaika up here to play some games at short. It's September callups! We get 15 extra guys. No reason to not try out as many as we are allowed.

Man, do we have a future to look forward to. Good thing, because I find it is the only thing keeping my head above water. In fact, it gives me goosebumps to think about. I mean, look at our rotation! Volquez, Cueto, Bailey, Harang, Thompson, on and on...I can't help thinking Glavine, Smoltz, and Maddux.

It's amazing how we can still love this game though it breaks our hearts time and time again.

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