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Red All Over: The Suffering of Long-Time Reds Fans

Marty Brennaman is at it again. He called Carp a “whiner”, Duncan “infantile”, and the Cardinals perhaps “the most hated team in baseball.” Previously, he referred to Tony LaRussa as “Mr. Baseball…because he thinks he invented the game,” and even Joe Pettini can’t escape mocking criticism.

Sigh. You know, let me address a few of his comments real quick, and then we’ll get to the heart of the post.

First off, the “whiner” (and “excuse maker”) comments aimed at Carp were in regards to his request of the grounds crew to work on the rain-soaked mound in Cincy as well as his pause on the mound when smoke covered the field after GABP fireworks. Really? So, are we to now believe no Reds pitcher is ever allowed, from this day forward, to ask a grounds crew, in any stadium, to address a wet mound? Really?! Come on, Marty…you’ve been around longer than that. Every pitcher in baseball does that. It only makes sense. If you don’t, you risk injury and ineffectiveness. It’s standard procedure…and fyi, I’ve seen him do the same in Busch. And the smoke? Hell…I could barely see the outfielders on TV! With the same cameras that can make a downpour look like sprinkles. (It should be noted that Carp said nothing about either to media)

Second…Dave Duncan as “infantile”? You’re talking about perhaps one of the most well-respected pitching coaches in the game…perhaps history. You’re talking about a pitching coach who has been identified by some as having a shot at the Hall of Fame…as a pitching coach! And yet he’s “infantile” for yelling at a pitcher who, from Dunc’s perspective, just hit his best player (remember Freese was lost for months on a similar HBP) and was now glaring into the dugout. Was it Laird’s fault? Maybe. I didn’t see what happened. But I do know, as a fan who has watched Duncan for years, that Dave Duncan is regarded by the media members that cover him as a “straight shooter”…even when TLR is more coy. And Duncan said the yelling was more about the gestures and glaring of Cordero than the HBP. I tend to believe him.

Third…Pettini said, “It’s always something when we come in here.” Uh…that’s ’cause it is, Marty. 1) Baseballs improperly rubbed. That did actually happen, Marty. And remember, it wasn’t some long-time Cardinal that said that. It wasn’t the coaches that started it. It was John FREAKING Smoltz. ‘Nuff Said. 2) Brandon Phillips calls the Cardinals Bitches. Yeah…that actually happened, too. Your thuggish second baseman suddenly thought he was playing football with his pal Chad Johnson…uh…I mean OchoCinco…and popped off. 3) In response to the comments, the Cards/Reds end up in a brawl. Sure…equal culpability there. We were just as responsible for the way that escalated as the Reds were…but then Cueto kicks LaRue in the face, ends his career, and NO ONE in Cincy can even admit that Cueto was acting aggressively…not defensively “to protect himself.” By the way, I have a pdf file to prove that, if any one is interested. Just email me at krcounseling@gmail.com and I’ll send it your way. 4) We come in here, you sweep us…good for you! You should be proud of that…no sarcasm intended. Really. You played great. We did not. Now go act like you’ve won something before and be professional about it. But that’s not what you did, is it? Because Cordero had to gesture and glare…and then Cueto had to run out and get involved (although, I’m pretty sure Carp got criticized for getting involved in a similar way by Reds fans…but that’s totally different, right?)…and somehow the Cards are to blame for responding? Look…for whatever reason (call it the rivalry, call it chance, call it whatever), it IS always something when the Cards come to GABP. It’s just the reality of the situation.

Fourth…Tony LaRussa doesn’t think he “invented the game”…but look at his history, Marty. The man is an “elder statesman” of Major League Baseball. Whether you like it or not, that means something. To Tony (I think), it means it falls to guys like him to pass on the tradition, knowledge, history, and culture of the game to new generations of players and managers (and he’s consistently credited previous managers and professionals for doing the same with him). That’s how this game has always worked. That’s part of the beauty and richness of the game. As a Hall of Famer, I would think you would see yourself as carrying a similar responsibility…but maybe not. Maybe you’re just a self-centered old man who can’t keep his mouth shut long enough to consider his place and position in the game through the haze of his liquor-soaked booth.

Finally…Again with the accusation that the Cardinals are somehow one of the most hated teams in baseball from a member of the Reds’ media. Last year, it was Hal McCoy (also someone who should know better). It’s funny…I don’t hear these comments surfacing from other teams. Sure, some may think it…but I think most professionals are smart enough to realize that consistently contending teams like the Cardinals generate a certain amount of jealousy, animosity, and dislike amongst the teams in their division…and they realize it’s not the Cardinals’ fault for being well-run, consistent, and a winning ball club. Geez. What the hell do you want? You want the Cardinals to come up to your booth, address all of the fans in the NL Central, and politely say, “We’re sorry we’ve been a smarter, better organization than your organization for years…we’re sorry your front offices, managers, and owners can’t get out of their own way long enough to win…and we’re sorry that we didn’t hit the brakes long enough for you to catch up…thank God the Reds finally got a GM worth a crap so we don’t have to win this thing anymore.” Is that what you want? Sheesh. Enough with the baseless accusations born of bitter jealousy, Marty.

Okay…enough of that…let’s move on to the point of the post.

My brother-in-law is a Reds fan. His family has roots in Ohio, and he’s been a Reds fan for as long as he can remember (and he’s quite a bit older than me 😉 ). The man is a wonderful guy and truly a dedicated fan of the Cincinnati Reds. In addition to him, I work with a guy around the same age as my brother-in-law…his family has roots in the Reds organization (work related) and he has been a fan, also, for as long as he can remember. Nice guy…good knowledge of the game.

With both fans, I engage in good-natured ribbing and “rub it in” teasing. When the Cards swept the Reds last year, I gave ’em hell. When the Reds swept the Cards this year, I caught it back. All in fun. But let me tell you about their suffering…

These guys have waited years for a winning team to again grace the fields of Cincinnati. They’ve bought the merchandise, endured the ridicule, congratulated other teams in the division that have won, and been absolutely wonderful about their experience as Reds fans. Last year, when the Reds were contending, my brother-in-law said to me, “I’m just excited people are still talkin’ about us in August!”

And now the Reds are winners…division winners, playoff contenders, and all around good baseball team…and long-time Reds fans like my friend and my brother-in-law can’t even brag about it. They can’t hold their heads high and proudly crow about their winning Reds. Instead, they rarely…sheepishly…almost apologetically talk about their team of thugs and hot-heads and mouths. They drop their eyes, lose their smiles, and reluctantly say things like, “Yeah…I couldn’t believe he did that…yeah, he shouldn’t have said that…” and on and on.

Poor Reds fans. Sure…just like in St. Louis…there is a generation of Reds fans that crave the aggression and the thuggish, loud-mouthed style of this decade’s Reds team (and media, apparently)…but the majority is a classy group of fans that just want a team to be proud of.

The long-time, truly dedicated Reds fans out there waited years and years for a winning baseball team in Cincinnati…and they got an NFL wannabe squad instead.

I truly feel for the Reds fans that are “red all over” with embarrassment as they listen to the comments of Marty Brennaman, or read the tweets of Brandon Phillips, or watch the cowardly aggression of Johnny Cueto. I picture hard-nosed, long-suffering fans of the game sitting in their living rooms (’cause they sure aren’t at the games) and shaking their heads at the antics of their beloved Reds.

Come to think of it…maybe that’s why Reds fans aren’t packing the stadium at GABP. Maybe they’re too embarrassed to show their face in support of a team led by a hot-headed, thug-inducing manager like Dusty Baker.

As a fan of the Cardinals for many, many years…I know what it’s like to value a professional, respectful baseball team that wins. Too bad Cincinnati doesn’t.

GO CARDS!!!

UPDATE: Looks like Bernie Miklasz has the truth about Carp’s “whining” and “excuse-making” below.

Honest, I’m getting tired of writing about the Cardinals and Reds (for now) but this is revelant.

Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter on Wednesday calmly offered some information in the aftermath of accusations (from a Reds broadcaster) that he whined and made excuses during and after Sunday’s loss at The Great American Ball Park.

About that scene where Carpenter stepped away while the celebratory blast of smoke cleared from the ballpark following a Reds’ homer?

And what about the Cincinnati grounds crew working on the pitching mound in the bottom of the first?

Carpenter says home-plate umpire Tim Welke, who worked Sunday’s game, instructed him to wait until the smoke drifted away from the playing field. Carpenter is always impatient when he has to wait to resume pitching, so if Carpenter looked irritated out there, what do you expect? He’s about as intense as it gets.

And in a brief discussion before Carpenter went to work, Welke told him to look at the mound. There had been rain in the Cincinnati area over the weekend and so things weren’t in perfect shape. Carpenter said Welke told him to ask for assistance if the footing was a problem. And Carpenter did so. But he didn’t squawk about it; he was following through on what Welke told him.

“I don’t see what the big deal is,” Carpenter said. “I never complained about anything or made an excuse. Welke wanted the smoke to clear because it was pretty thick. And he was aware of the mound and offered to get it taken care of to help both pitchers. That that was something to benefit both sides. The Reds’ pitcher, too.”

Excuses?

“I’ve got to make better pitches, improve on my command and hit my location,” Carpenter said. “That’s all there is to it.”

CLICK HERE for the link to Bernie’s piece.

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Discussion

2 thoughts on “Red All Over: The Suffering of Long-Time Reds Fans

  1. As I said on my blog yesterday, I’ve got family that are Reds fans and, like you, I’ve never had much of a problem with the Cincy group. The last couple of years have tested that, though.

    Also, where do you draw the line between reporting a problem and whining about it? I guess it depends on which side you are on. That smoke was pretty strong, though, even though there was probably nothing the Reds crew could do about it.

    Posted by Cardinal70 | May 18, 2011, 9:42 am
  2. Honestly, I think Carp was ticked about the home run and I think he uses pauses in the game – like clearing the smoke – to cool down before throwing a pitch. That said, a bunch of white smoke hanging over the field is a problem for fielders attempting to pick up the ball in the sky. I don’t fault the stadium for firing them off…the wind probably just kept it there…but regardless, they had to wait for it to clear before continuing. A white ball in white smoke is a visibility problem.

    As far as the line…I think a wet mound is one of those things that any pitcher just HAS to have addressed. One slip when planting or pushing off and your pitcher is out with a pulled hamstring. I think you request it fixed, but after a point, you just realize the grounds crew has done all they can and pitch on.

    Posted by deckacards | May 18, 2011, 10:34 am

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