Friday, March 16, 2018

My Reds Preview

Let's see if I can do this before my attention span wanders. Writing a blog post on spring or something. Blah blah insert cliche here blah blah poetry of baseball blah blah time of rebirth blah blah flowers and stuff blah countdown to Opening Day blah blah blah blah.

I think I ruined my own enthusiasm with an overuse of spring passion in the past. I've run out of things to write. Or read, for that matter. So much baseball writing has become statistics-based or arm chair analysis and I find so much of it boring and cliche. I have such a diminished attention span these days I can't focus on that kind of tripe. I don't read blogs anymore unless there's a link on Twitter. I love baseball history and history in general and often relied on baseball memories for content when I was writing on this blog. Writing is hard for me these days and I can't figure out why. It's not just a lack of focus, which is a big issue, but a struggle to find words and write well in general. It's like I just lost the language skill. Maybe it's a lack of practice (yes, writing takes practice like any sport or musical instrument) that was brought about by the inability to focus. I don't know if the attention span thing a result of social media or the fact that I started seeing Chris and now never have the right environment to write in. Maybe it's stress or brain damage or a tumor or depression or straight up apathy.

I'm trying to write a guide to Opening Day in Cincinnati for Nationals fans but I am realizing how much I don't know about the new Cincinnati since I am never there more than once a year and sometimes none at all. Still, I could do a history and some tips and stuff, and maybe give Reds fans some info about baseball here in Washington, too. I'm mad as hell that MLB and Findlay Market have ruined 99 years of tradition by scheduling Opening Day on a Thursday and not holding the parade on Opening Day - a baseball history-lacking fanbase like the Nationals should be treated to the full spectacle that makes Opening Day in Cincinnati a holiday. I don't care that it's Easter weekend. You could have started the parade at another location AND kept the market open. I feel like you have stolen this from us. If I had lived in Cincinnati, I would have organized a protest of sorts. Fans have failed us, too.

As far as the Reds go, I'm not sure what to think. I am tired of going into every season not knowing if the starting rotation will get outs. I am tired of going into every season thinking it will most likely be a 90 loss season. Management blew it in the early part of this decade by not going all in when they had a chance (Ryan Ludwick in LF? Really?) and the rotation was one of the best in baseball. Three years (four?) of dumpster fires has really put a damper on enthusiasm. We can get excited about Castillo but the rest are question marks, except for Bailey, whose inconsistency is consistent. I don't want to sit through a couple of more seasons of crap before Greene is in the rotation. Sure, Mahle, Romero, and Garrett are promising, but promises in baseball are broken more often than not. (Evidence A: Bailey.) If I remember correctly, Mahle wasn't even considered a prospect until last year. In addition, I don't think the team should count on Finnegan or DeSclafani given their constant injuries. I think hiring John Farrell as a pitching scout shows 1. a commitment to find better pitching and 2. a lack of confidence in the pitching they have. Which gives me no confidence in the immediate term.

The offense is pretty fun but you can win games when you're scoring six and they're scoring seven.

I want to feel excited again, the way I felt in 2010 until the dismantling of the team after the 2013 season. Even in 2009, you could feel change was in the air. I remember the opening line of a post on Minor League Ball by John Sickels about the Reds farm system in 2007:

Good Lord.

The rest of the post explains:

This system is loaded. You have the top quartet of Bruce/Cueto/Votto/Bailey, but even beyond them there is a good combination of performance guys and projection guys. My initial run through came up with 49 names worth writing about. I have narrowed that down to 39, which is the most I can put into the book. Even that, some of the guys I cut I wish I could put in.

Take heart, Reds fans. You have a lot to look forward to.

I remember the feeling with depressing nostalgia given that Bruce and Cueto are gone, Bailey never lived up to expectations, and we never got past the NLDS. At least we still have Votto. I wouldn't trade him for any player in baseball, but I hate that we are wasting his prime years, some of the greatest seasons in the history of the game. Let's not forget that farm system also included Frazier, Mesoraco, and a host of other players who went to be major leaguers. Sickels says today's farm system is good and underrated. I hope he's right.

I'd like to be surprised. I have no expectations. I'd rather cling to those fantasies of hope in August when you logically know your team is out but you still root like hell for fate to make everything go your way than be out of it in April. I think I'd settle for those August fantasies at this point. At least that's progress.

Sometimes being a sports fan is pure nihilism.

As the internet saying goes, "Eat Arby's."