Here’s a riddle:
How inexplicably boring/frustrating does Cincinnati’s professional baseball team have to be before fans start actually looking FORWARD to football season?
In a town that’s never claimed a Lombardi Trophy, that’s been to the playoffs only twice in the past 20 seasons, and that was recently named the single worst franchise in professional sports (ESPN the magazine), the answer is embarrassingly simple:
PRETTY DAMN BAD.
Yet, sadly, a Reds team that showed so much promise in 2010 has plummeted back to the familiar confines of mediocrity (55-60 at the time of this writing).
And so, more out of necessity than desire, the perennial Cincinnati sports fan must trade in their red and white jerseys (bloody and worn) for orange and black.
That transition, one we’ve begrudgingly made year after year (with the exception of that short glorious stretch in 2010), would almost be funny if it weren’t so sad.
See, hoping one's spirits, beaten and crushed by the Reds, will be lifted by the Cats of Queen City is like replacing tofu with bologna and expecting filet.
It’s a sad, sad reality for Southern Ohioans.
But it’s ours. It’s all we have.
So here we are.
Shortly after the Bengals put a bow on their 4-12 2010 campaign by losing 13-7 to the Baltimore Ravens (and a short few months after the Redlegs spent their first playoff appearance in 15 years playing like tee-ballers), I wrote a column outlining what off-season moves needed to be made in order for Marvin Lewis’ team to be competitive in 2011.
Today, I look back at that road map and assess how close owner Mike Brown and his crack staff came over the last few months to fielding a team that deserves to put on pads.