I’ve been working with the Reds television crew for going on 7 or 8 years now but it wasn’t until this season that I actually got to travel with the team to other cities and get a feel for how a professional sports team actually works together. I’m not gonna lie…I’m an outsider. I’m a t.v. guy. So of course the players & coaches have no idea who I am or what I am doing when I’m on a plane or a bus with them. But it’s still pretty cool that for my first time in, I got to be with 2010 Cincinnati Reds as they won the N.L. Central and are heading to the playoffs for the first time since 1995. For a majority of the season I’ve been watching this team go through a lot of ups (Aroldis Chapman’s first appearance, 22 wins in the last at-bat, lots of defensive heroics by a variety of players) and a few downs (a sweep by the Cardinals, a September swoon) and I can honestly say that watching these guys get through an entire season filled with so much adversity (most sports outlets had them pegged for 3rd or even 4th in the N.L. Central) and come out on top is a very cool thing.
It’s funny…I do so much work in sports that sometimes it’s easy to forget that most of these moments get lost. Working all kinds of events from pro football to lacrosse, I forget that at one point I also loved to play sports and that there is nothing like the feeling of being a winner. Sometimes, as I watch the celebrations that occur after a big win by any team, I get kind of put-out by it. Champaign everywhere, cities get turned upside down, people get obnoxious (players AND fans). Somehow we’ve managed to take the idea of winning and turn it into a spectacle. We lose sight of what the celebration is about. Winning a championship on ANY level is not an easy task. A lot of it isn’t up to the players. A lot of it is a little luck and good timing. For these Reds, who are still trying to make a strong push for a higher seed in the playoffs, this season has been very much about a young team striving to be better and taking their ability and some luck a long way. I’m excited for them and I’m very excited for out little city here along the Ohio River.
It’s been a long time since the Reds were in the playoffs and it will be fun to see them in post-season play. With some veteran leadership (Rolen, Arroyo, Cabrera) and a lot of fresh, young talent (Votto, Phillips, Bruce, Chapman), here’s hoping the 2010 Cincinnati Reds can get on a roll and take it to the next level because they’re gonna have a lot of competition with Philadelphia and Atlanta being in also. So they need to now focus on the task at hand and bear down a little bit but not lose sight of what got them there in the first place. Last night, after Jay Bruce hit a walkoff home run that clinched the N.L. Central division, he ran around the bases with a huge smile on his face, like he was playing a kids’ game once again, without a care in the world. And that’s how the team should play from here on out. They are “The Little Team That Could” this year and they will be the underdogs in the playoffs. There are no expectations. They have exceeded every goal that was set for them in the beginning of the season and now it’s just cake. So now is the time they need to take their cake, eat it and smear it all over their faces. And man is it gonna be sweet!
So here’s to our team…one long season now whittles down to this…a playoff run and a lot of excitement! I’m hoping the magic lasts a little longer. It would be really cool to say I was there when this all went down. Even if it was just a view from the back row…