We are, who we are.

I apologize profusely that this blog has fallen so far from what it started out to be,
I take a good chunk of responsibility for the lack of updates, and a general departure
from online posts. I feel like we’ve put so much into the podcast last season and early
this year, that it just seems like we’d be subjecting ya’ll to the same information.

But take this first post for the 2014 season as a starting point. We’ll do better to
keep you all in touch with our series previews as the season goes along.
All of that out-of-the-way, the Reds instagram account has had a contest running for
the last month. Each day is a new Reds related post, that has your personal touches
(and unbelievable filters).

This past week, I added what was only my second contribution, when it was a culmination
of sorts for everyone else. What being a Reds fan, means to me, or how we got here.

So let’s do a little history lesson, a quick rundown of how I got here.
Baseball is in my blood. My grandfather had one hell of an arm, and in the early 50’s
was in fact invited to the St.Louis Cardinals spring training. Personal circumstance
brought him back before he ever really got a shot, and instead started a family
with my Grandmother. My dad and his brothers all played baseball, so I grew up around
an entire generation of baseball players, and I cannot overstate how those summers would influence me as not just a baseball fan, but as a person.

Yeah, I know, hiss and boo because I have family ties to the enemy.

My mom’s side also has strong Pittsburgh roots, so feel free to run me out-of-town any
day now. And it was her father, my Grandpa Traverse, that really brought me into the
game. We would go on these province wide road trips that usually involved camping
myself and my three sisters in a pop up camper with both grandparents. It wasn’t the
trips, the swimming, the bonfires, or the wilderness hikes that I remember with
absolute clarity. It’s the late nights after everyone had gone to sleep, laying in a
bunk with my Grandpa, listening to Tom Cheek call Toronto Blue Jays games on the radio.
Where most kids had a lullaby, or stories to safely send them off to Neverland, for me
it was Kelly Gruber, Jesse Barfield, Tony Fernandez, Dave Steib and Tom Henke. I was
raised to cheer for the boys in blue. The sounds of the crickets chirping, the wind
playing the creaks and groans of the camper like a terrible orchestra backdrop to the
boys of summer. That’s where I came from. A good Canadian kid, that couldn’t skate, but
learned to throw a curveball.

I would split my summers between both grandparents’ towns. My Pops on my Dads side,
would tell me how the only player worth following was Pete Rose. He never slowed, he
never gave anything less than 100%, and how he’d kill a guy to win, and almost had at
one time. He never explained just how influential the Ray Fosse play was in defining
Charlie Hustle, but it’s something I still point to as a character moment for Pete.
At the same time, my Dad is a lifetime Phillies fan, so the Pete Rose influence for me
started early. It’s just that he was wearing a different jersey than I associate with
him now. My dad wanted me to be a third baseman, desperately, he’d send me out during
my practices to take grounders at third. My bruised and beaten arms and chest left a
lot to be desired, this is also why I gravitated to the outfield, the ball seemed far
less of a sociopath when it was hurtling back to earth, and ultimately my glove.

My relationship with my Dad early on was exceptionally destructive, his lifetime of
having an angry father took its toll, and had direct impact on his own four kids in
return. Don’t get me wrong, I do not begrudge or blame my dad for how he’d physically
reprimand us early on, it was all he had known. But this is also the catalyst for the
relationship and bond we share now.Dad entered anger management, where we’d have family sessions and openly discuss our feelings. With three sisters, I often felt left out of
the loop on time with either of my parents, mostly my father.

In 1995 my dad and I took our very first, and certainly not last, trip to a live ball
game. I had been to a few others, but with my Moms folks, never my own dad. We would
drive the two hours to Toronto, and talk about everything. How to read a ball off the
bat, what school was like. We began to develop a relationship that my own father came
to realize, he had always wanted with his own. My grandpa died in the winter of 1995,
one of two moments I have ever witnessed my hardened Dad cry. And not like, one of
those solitary tears and it’s over type deals, a full on emotionally devastated cry.

We had finally begun to cultivate a relationship ourselves, and it made my Dad realize
just how much he had missed out on as a kid growing up. So our baseball trips became a
yearly event, often times outside of Canada just to visit different ball parks. Our
first big road trip was to Jacobs Field in Cleveland, Ohio. I was enamored with Jim
Thome, and so badly wanted to see my favorite ball player live. And after a four-hour
rain delay, and a nine-hour drive home, I would be stuck waiting for another few years
before that came to fruition.

Our second trip, was to see the Los Angeles Dodgers take on the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. Needless to say, I was fully behind the boys in blue that day. I detested the
stadium. From the trough style urinals, to the belligerent ticket lady that refused to
give me the Budweiser giveaway, because I was under the age of 21. The entire
experience left me disappointed.But hey, deep dish makes everything better.

Our third big trip, was to Veterans Stadium in its final year of hosting the
Philadelphia Phillies. I wish I could explain how excited my Dad was. A Phils, Eagles,
and Flyers fan, walking down Broad Street. At that point, I realized just how important
our road trips were. It didn’t matter where, because it was taking us to these
historically significant stadiums, cities, and seeing the teams that hundreds of
thousands of fans shared a love with. I saw Jim Thome play that day. But it was the
first time I saw the Cincinnati Reds in person. Years previous, we had been part of a
Scout Troop that visited Wright Patterson in Dayton, and while there a marine handed me
this rolled up paper. Years later, I would find it again. Great American Ball Park
plans, art work, blue prints.

It’s weird how this works, huh?

Our next three trips were back to Chicago, to see Frank Thomas, and the White Sox. If
you know me, you know my heart is broken into three pieces for baseball. The pale hose,
Jays, and our beloved Redlegs. I saw the Sox receive their world series rings, my dad
and I waiting in line outside of USCF for four and a half hours to ensure we got our
replica rings as part of the first twenty thousand through the gates. They had brought
Aaron Rowand back for the ceremony, and I teared up. It happens, baseball is so deeply
rooted in our hearts, that tugging at the strings of the old ticker happens a little
more easily. They lost to the bastards from Cleveland that day, Freddy Garcia pitched
like garbage but I finally experienced a chance to see my team celebrate a World Series.

We went to Detroit a few times after that, some minor league ball parks in Michigan, and finally back to Chicago in 2010 to see the same White Sox retire Frank Thomas’ number. Crying in baseball #2. I love the Big Hurt, and always will.

We’ve been through 12 years of baseball road trips, and in 2011, my dad and I made a trip to Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Reds Museum and Hall, a weekend long series against the Barves, and a Jonny Gomes bobble head later, we had our most memorable trip to date.

Friends from Wisconsin, Toronto, Michigan, and all over made the trip that weekend. We had 10 of our closest friends all in one place. After the Friday night game, and I will never forget this, Dad and I stood out on the concourse in center field above the Reds bullpen, the stadium lights the only thing left in the stadium. Dad turned to me and said one of the few things that ever really caught me off guard.

“These trips, make losing my Dad a little bit easier. Thank you”

I never realized how important it was until that moment, and even two years after our first trip, when we made our third pilgrimage to Cincinnati, I cannot express how full my heart is, knowing that while these moments have meant the world to me as a fan, they mean more to my Dad as a father.

Baseball is my heart, I share it with my best friends, my family, and the love of my life. So while we get ready for another season, I urge everyone to reflect on the moments that defined them as a fan. How they came to be Reds Country.

What’s your story?

Cincin13 081 Cincy20112 086 Random Mobile 031Cincy20112 023

THE PIPING HOT STOVE – BY JOHNNY D

I understand that there’s a potential trade candidate that would cause riots in the streets of Cincinnati. I get it. We all have our favorite players. And I know for a fact, that a few of you that will read this, are genuine fans of this particular player, and this is not addressed to you. You folks are Reds fans, start to finish. No beef.

I want to see some sort of logical, well thought out response from one of these “fans” that plan on “protesting” or ceasing to cheer for Cincinnati baseball if that dude is traded.

I’m not angry, in fact, you have every right to cheer for whomever, and however you like. But it concerns me, that one player defines you as a fan of this club. This is a business, and not all business decisions are easy. In fact, the toughest things in life, usually wind up being the most worthwhile. There is no guarantee that this trade even happens, but it seems to me that trading a guy that fills one hole, and acquiring multiple players that fill a range of issues is a wise move.

Regression at this point is inevitable, and if last season is any indication has already begun with Brandon. So what is the reason for clinging on to what will eventually be an albatross contract? Sentimental justification? If you’re using your heart to build a team, you’re going to lose a lot of games. If you can maximize a return on a player that is on the back nine of a career, you pull the trigger.

A lot of people love number 4, and I’m doing my best to keep my personal feelings out of this post. But I have to see some sort of logical, fact based response as to WHY this potential trade is a bad move.

Post below! Just a heads up, anything but respectful posts will be removed. This is a forum for open discussion, not an opportunity to make this a personal issues.

Intrigued for the replies!

Link

Just as the title says, I collected a bunch of the suggestions from a whole bunch of Reds fans earlier this afternoon. Put together a little jam session for everyone to get them through until first pitch! Get it cranked! LETS GO REDS!

It’s looking like a #Reds October. Again.

I wrote this at the start of last August, and using it even today, I still get chills. Huge weekend series coming up, so I felt a re-posting would be appropriate. Get loud, Cincinnati…we’re here. Make sure you watch at the end, tell me how pumped you’re getting…this is what we CHEER for.

Can you feel it building? The realization that what this Reds team is doing right now is a historic run that has *rarely* been seen by previous generations. This team has almost passed the legendary team of the 70’s. This drives me as a fan, this motivates me as a member of Red Nation. So as to prepare myself and others for this weekend. I am meticulously putting my travel bag together, note sarcasm, and I can’t help but feel like this weekend is about more than baseball. Though it most certainly will be the most prevailing theme throughout, there is something different in the air and the energy it will illicit from anyone who dares look beyond the tree line.

There’s something grand about baseball, that people who do not follow the sport will never, ever understand until they have immersed themselves into a fan base. Laughed, cried, cheered, and jeered. Been to the pinnacle, and suffered in the shadows. The legends that built our franchise, that were once figures we held up next to the masked men in the Marvel or DC universe, they were our heroes. The guys who would save the day with a catch, a hit, or a pitch. There’s something next level about the mystique of the game we all love. The kids of the spring, boys of summer, and men of the fall…classic.

It’s Pete Rose and Carlton Fisk crushing anybody that stood in their way, Johnny Bench and Frank Thomas carving a legacy that likely will never be replicated. The Go Go White Sox, and the Big Red Machine. Good guys wearing black, and the hunt for a Red October. If you cannot experience the chill running down the sides of your neck, spreading across your back and raising every hair on your arm…you need to re-acquaint yourself with the icons that gave us the moments we re-enacted on the dirt of our neighbourhood diamond. Those guys gave us an identity as fans. A reason to smile and cry as a fan.

To my original point. I am sitting here, listening to the start of Hells Bells. One cannot help but feel it’s pertinent to this weekends series against the Bucs. The Reds have the hole dug, shovel in hand and leering over a team that is on the cusp of potentially ending their season. But Pirates fans, listen closely. Can you hear it? The soft *thump*…*thump*…*thump* your pulse is slowing down. The chill of defeat is beginning to make it’s way up your spine…the song lyrics ring hauntingly close to reality on the eve of this series…

I’m a rolling thunder, a pouring rain

I’m coming on like a hurricane

My lightning’s flashing across the sky

You’re only young but you’re gonna die.

Listen carefully Pirates, you can hear the pulse of your season…the dull thump of of your heart rate as it slows…that chill…listen carefully…stare into the grave. Houston lies there beside Chicago and you can see the writing on the wall…Cincinnati is the reaper, and he’s ringing the bell for you.

Reds fans. I don’t want you sitting down as the boys take the field the next three days. Get up, get obnoxiously loud. We want those people sitting around at Newport suddenly stopping in their tracks wondering where the thunderous noise is coming from. We are not the Big Red Machine, no…this team is something more…a different animal all together that has momentum and a hunger for the one thing the fans in Missouri constantly hang over our heads. They’ve won. A lot. But while they clutch to pictures and memories, this team has something much more tangible. This team has it’s foot in the door, and an opportunity to drive the nails a little further into the coffin reserved for the 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates.

Can you feel that electricity? Your heart rate picks up… I humbly request that whatever differences we have as fans of this team, are set aside for three days. For three days, we nod in silent agreement that any previous transgressions are being put on the back burner until after this series. I don’t care if you’re team A or team B. We need to be one team right now, without division amongst the ranks. This team needs the fan support, the players know what having their backs represents. Get on board with Ludvig Von Swattenheim, steady yourselves and deafen the city as they Release The Chapman. If you’re sitting at home, get off your couch and cheer for every play, because from the banks of the Ohio River…even now…they can hear us in October…

Johnny…

Pete…

The Nasty Boys…

Sparky.

A new chapter of the fall classic screams to be written, Reds fans…they can feel it…destiny awaits this team…a legacy waits to be left…new legends born…there’s a new generation of kids waiting to fall in love with this team and remember what happened in 2013.

How ‘Bout Them Redlegs…

Last week, in my latest blog post, this is what I had to say:

“I want a double sweep in the worst way possible. Do I think it’s realistic? You bet your bottom dollar I do. There’s no telling what kind of roll this team can get themselves on if they play up to their potential. So, you heard it here first. REDS SWEEP CARDS. REDS SWEEP DODGERS. And if I’m going to get really crazy, I’m calling 3 walk-offs out of the next 6 wins.”

Now, I often make bold predictions about my Redlegs, but this one may have been the craziest. Instead of going 7-0, they went 6-1. Instead of 3 walk-off win, they got 2. If we look back at that one loss against the Cardinals on Wednesday night, it was a 16-inning affair. If the Reds would’ve won, I might have just made the best prediction of my life. Whatever. I’ll take what I can get.

Enough about how smart I am….

HOW BOUT THEM REDLEGS?!?!?!

I may not like his sarcastic and almost childish responses on twitter, but I think John Fay put it best:

Honestly, other than the night of Clinchmas in 2010, I don’t remember a time it was more exciting to be a part of Reds Nation. We can bring up that time last year when the boys returned home from San Fran up 2-0 in the NLDS, but we’re not going to be a Debbie downer. Within the first hour it was announced that the Reds would host the Dodgers on Sunday Night Baseball, I purchased sun/moon deck tickets. (By far my favorite place to sit at in the most beautiful ballpark in the country.) I had this feeling that the series against the Dodgers was going to be the Reds coming out party. Well, sometimes we get funny feelings that you just can’t ignore. I’m so happy I didn’t. I sat about a third of the way up in section 141. Basically splitting the position of Bruce’s homers. The only annoying part was the group behind me heckling Puig. Now, don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good heckle every now and again, but I can’t stand when it’s just generic “you suck” nonsense. Obviously, Yasiel does not suck in the least. He’s got a higher batting average than anyone on our team and generally higher than 99% of the rest of the league. So, if you’re going to heckle someone, make sure that:

A. They do actually suck

B. You have something better than “you suck“.

Now where was I?

Oh yes, the game. So yeah, the electricity at the ballpark was amazing. I wish it wasn’t a school night because I hate seeing empty seats during such a pivotal game. But all in all it was a great game to attend.

I try to do a post every Monday, so I’ll leave you with my weeks predictions. Reds will split both Series with the Cubs and Brewers going 4-2. I don’t see a lot of change in the NL Central standings this week. The Pirates may fall a game or two behind the Reds as they take on the Rangers. But the Reds and Cards have fairly favorable match ups.

So, I’m going to tomorrow’s night’s game and to Wednesday’s day game. If anyone is going I would love to stop and say hey. So, just shoot me a tweet and I’ll try and stop by. Until next week…..

As always, comments are welcome. Questions may be answered. Concerns may be looked over.

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