Cincinnati Reds Baseball: Latest Collapse Brings About All-Too-Familiar Feeling

Alex CallosCorrespondent IOctober 13, 2012

CINCINNATI, OH - OCTOBER 11:  Dusty Baker #12 of the Cincinnati Reds looks on against the San Francisco Giants in Game Five of the National League Division Series at Great American Ball Park on October 11, 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

When Scott Rolen struck out on Thursday and the Cincinnati Reds season came to a devastating end, it was the culmination of one of the biggest collapses in postseason history.

For most Reds fans in Cincinnati, it was the end of the Dusty Baker era, at least in their eyes.

The city of Cincinnati has suffered more than its fair share of postseason disappointments. That goes without saying.

Most fans not only thought this could happen when Cincinnati led two games to none, but a lot even expected it to occur. 

The current state of Cincinnati sports is usually over-reaction. No matter how good a team is, the city expects it to fail, particularly the older, more negative generations of fans. Probably because they have seen it all too often.

No matter who the manager is, every local citizen wants him out because he is no Sparky Anderson or Paul Brown or even Bob Huggins. So why keep him?

Not a day goes by during any baseball season where the great Big Red Machine from the 1970s is not mentioned in some fashion, and compared to the team of present day.

The vast majority of the city wanted Baker gone, not after the season when his contract expired, but during the season.

That's right, during the middle of the greatest regular season this city has seen since the Big Red Machine in 1976, fans were clamoring for his departure.

Most pessimists argue that he is no Sparky Anderson. Well news flash for everybody, Baker is not working with five Hall of Fame-caliber players, just in the infield.


This is what a lot of fans fail to realize. There will never be another team like the Big Red Machine.

With the exception of the 1990 Wire-to-Wire World Series season, the postseason has been an epic fail for the city of Cincinnati over the last 35 years.

No Cincinnati native will ever forget Kenyon Martin breaking his leg in the 2000 Conference USA Tournament as the Bearcats were about to enter the NCAA Tournament as the No. 1 overall seed, and heavy favorite to bring home the national championship.

Fans also remember the 2005 NFL playoffs when Carson Palmer had his knee torn to shreds by a rolling defensive tackle named Kimo von Oelhoffen. The Bengals were one of the best teams in the league that year and had a legitimate shot to get to the Super Bowl.

Then this season came the injury to star pitcher Johnny Cueto eight pitches into the playoffs, and while the Reds were able to overcome it for two games, they could not do it for an entire series.

These three injuries are just a small sample of what fans have had to go through over the years. Believe me, there have been many more disappointments.

So, there is certainly reason for the pessimism, but until fans forget about the teams from the past and and realize this is not 1976, they are always going to be disappointed.

Forgetting about the past will allow fans to appreciate the present and realize what this Reds team accomplished.

The group won 97 games in the regular season and did more than everybody expected them to do before the season began.

Fans should embrace it and look ahead to a future as bright as any team in baseball.

Why would general manager Walt Jocketty and Reds higher ups want to mess with the balance and look for a new manager?

This is a big decision that is likely to be made in the coming weeks. If Jocketty and company let Baker go, it might be a decision this organization regrets for a long time.

I want to thank Dusty Baker and the Reds for the best regular season of my lifetime. I for one am smiling and looking ahead to the bright future of this organization. Not back to the 1970s like many others.

If these fans would try this once in a while, they might smile a little more often.