The Cincinnati Reds lost their 76th game of the 2021 season last night, just minutes after the St. Louis Cardinals won their 17th straight game in simultaneous cataclysms that spelled the end of the Reds’ chances of this season going. anywhere. And before we go much further here, before we get too emotional, that’s what this article is about.
It was, as you would expect, yet another failed season for this franchise. In the most objective sense, this club have tried to qualify for the playoffs and do not have, perhaps, the most glaring failure in their long, long streak of failed seasons in recent times.
It was a different kind of failure than the ones we’ve been through, of course. It was not a year of rebuilding, no season with nebulous goals as part of a multi-year plan to no longer be a doormat. 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 all roll together in a big scoop of the season in my mind, all geared towards a future attempt at discord and therefore not singular failures in and of themselves, but that too is the disappointment of the way this particular campaign fell apart all the more frustrating.
It’s been a year we’ve been waiting for years. When Dick Williams, Walt Jocketty, and Bob Castellini knocked down that load-bearing wall and gutted the old kitchen in 2015, it was the new open concept living space they had promised. That’s why we lived in a hotel room during construction, only to see it when we got back for the big reveal.
Keep in mind that this is the second year of the emerging phase. The 2020 season was foiled before it even started due to the veracity of the global pandemic that still grips us at this date, but even what happened to this season ended in a dud on the side of the Reds. Sixty-two games in total played, as many losses as wins, not a point scored in a pair of “playoffs” and “playoffs” that only existed due to a single extension to include half of the game. all the teams there. This, you will remember, was the first year of The Great Reds Spendathon, the first year after which they have finally, thankfully, spent money on free agency like the rest of the sport they have played in for years. .
It is this last aspect that has the futility of this particularly disconcerting season. It’s not a franchise that has ever dipped its toes into free agent spending, and they have now had both 2020 and 2021 to reap the rewards of their potential $ 164 million spending before last season. The over 30s of Mike Moustakas, Shogo Akiyama and Wade Miley were brought in to ramp up what was supposed to be an otherwise out of the box club, the theory being that it might be necessary to pay them longer than you. would like to reap rewards on the front-end of their time in town.
This has been the front end, however, and it hasn’t been good enough. And with those contracts still on the books, it’s a very valid concern whether or not the frugal mid-market Reds will be willing to treat them as sunk costs and invest in the club again this winter as they go. ‘they always pay elsewhere. Not committing to that type of investment would be one thing if it seemed like the club were good enough around them to make up for it, but despite the breakthroughs we’ve seen from Jonathan India and Tyler Stephenson this year, I don’t am not convinced that it is a kernel that can make this claim.
It’s all a matter of perception here, of course. With so little to do as Cincinnati fans, we allowed this property to get away with not trying deliberately for five years under the cunning they would try at one point. Adhering to that, we couldn’t treat individual seasons as failures for a while, as they were part of the future attempt to try that they would get at some point. Those years have passed, we finally had this “trial”, and that trial didn’t work either. We waited for him for years and he failed.
I think that’s what stings this morning in particular, the first of this year that watching baseball in 2021 feels more like a continuing education seminar than something passionate. There are a lot of other franchises that, if they got 84-78 or whatever, would treat it’s like a blip on the radar, minor frustration, and go from there to realistic expectations almost immediately. Here, however, these types of even potentially promising seasons have been so rare that it looks even more disappointing, as if their once-in-many luck has been wasted.
Like Halley’s Comet, or if Luke missed that escape port with his proton torpedo.
Hope it’s not that extreme. Nick Castellanos is almost gone, unless the Castellinis are willing to commit a large sum of money for a player entering a 30-year season again. Moose and Shogo will be 33 of 34 disappointing consecutive campaigns, while Miley’s $ 10 million team option will serve as a barometer for the frugality expected of this team this winter. Still, this team will have the indomitable Joey Votto back alongside what could still be a hell of a good list of starting pitchers, with Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo also for the 2022 race.
There’s hope the Reds can finally whip up a skill chain to finally make the sting of winning just 84, 85 games in this rebuilt year look like a blip instead of a waste. of a generational chance. It’s the kind of “innocent until proven guilty” concession to this franchise that I’m just not sure I want to give them more, because that’s pretty much how we got here in the first place. .
See you next year, guys.