Yeah, yeah, I get it: You’re extremely frustrated with this Cincinnati Reds ballclub right now. They can’t hit. Jay Bruce REALLY can’t hit. They aren’t pitching as well as they did before the All-Star break. Even that #1-ranked defense has had some breakdowns. You’ve been saying things like “I can’t watch this team” and “Mmmff, what a lineup,” and you’ve been taking out your frustration by yelling expletives at the umpires and venting to your friends.
You’re thinking and saying, “It’s over.”
Well guess what? It AIN’T over. I’ve got three reasons why:
1) See video below
The New York Metropolitans somehow found a way to split a 4-game series in Milwaukee this weekend, which means the Reds only lost 1/2 game in the standings as they dropped two of three to the Washington Nationals at Great American Ballpark.
“Six games back” sounds like a lot at this time of the season, especially when there are two teams (St. Louis and Pittsburgh) also in front of you. But in reality, six games ain’t that much. Figure it like this. If the Reds were to win 8 out of 10 while Milwaukee plays even baseball, all of a sudden you’re only three games out. Plus, you’ve still got a bunch more games against the Brewers, Cardinals and Pirates.
With the way the Reds have been hitting, I realize the deficit seems insurmountable…but it’s baseball. Anything can happen.
Right now, the Reds sit with a record of 52-52. I’d estimate that 89 wins actually may be enough to squeeze into a wildcard spot because the teams in contention for that are no more than 12 games over .500 right now, and an 89-73 record puts you at 16 games over. So that means the Reds have to go 37-21 the rest of the way.
37 and 21.
Here’s how the Reds can do that:
A) Make hay in the next 20 games
Based on team records, the schedule gets easier for the next 20, when the Reds host Arizona (45-60) for 3, go to Miami (51-53) for 4, go to Cleveland (52-53) for 2, host Cleveland for 2, host Miami for 3, host Boston (48-57) for 2, and then go out to Colorado (43-60) for 4. Gotta somehow scratch your way to at least 13-7 in this stretch.
B) Pack their lunch for the final 28 regular season games
Down the stretch the Reds play Pittsburgh 6 times, St. Louis 7 times and Milwaukee 6 times. Mixed in there also is a 3-game set at home against the Mets and 3-game set with the Cubs at Wrigley Field. They’ll have their chances. Just gotta pack that lunch and take it to ‘em.
3) Jimmy V and Yogi
Facing terminal cancer in its final stages, former North Carolina State head coach Jim Valvano somehow mustered up the courage and energy to deliver that spine-chilling iconic speech at the ESPY Awards back in 1993. The message: “Don’t give up, don’t ever give up.”
It’s a great speech to listen to any time you feel like you’re up against it, whether in your personal life, health-wise or what have you.
I know you’re ready to give up on this Reds team. You may even be like my dad’s long time friend Barry Snyder, who gives up on ‘em when they lose on Opening f***ing Day.
But like Yogi Berra famously said, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.” And right now, heading into this 3-game set with the Diamondbacks, it ain’t over. No, far from it. As bad as it’s been (and I know, it’s been REALLLLLY bad), Cincinnati is only six games out with 58 to play.
For Cincinnati fans, the typical response to a miserable stretch like the Reds are in right now is to give up, to write it off, to stop believing. Well I’m here to say, “Screw that. What good does that do? Why don’t we get behind our team when the going gets tough for once? Believe in the Reds. Believe in Bryan Price. Hell, even believe in Jay Bruce, who, bless his soul, is doing the best he can to handle this vortex of a slump. Even believe in Chris Heisey! Sure, Phillips and Votto won’t be back for a while, but we’ve got some lesser teams coming up on the schedule, and then when they come back, they’ll be able to help down the stretch and into the postseason………….
Yes, I know, you think I’m getting extremely carried away here. And maybe I am. But I’m choosing to take a page out of my brother Andy Swaney’s book and believe…and continue to believe until the final, season-ending out is made.
58 games to go. 37 wins. Let’s do this!Follow @juxberg