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Cincinnati Reds: 5 Keys to Winning in 2012

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Cincinnati Reds: 5 Keys to Winning in 2012
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Things have been funky in the Domer-Shank household lately.

See, this summer was supposed to be similar to last, where my special lady-friend and I would watch anxiously every night as the upstart Redlegs from Cincy kept pace with the division’s big spenders.

Like last summer, we fully intended to crack open a bottle of champagne sometime in late September, a reprisal of last season’s glorious Jay Bruce-led weeknight celebration.

Instead, of course, weeknights at the D-S crib are somber. Guys like Bill Compton, Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino, and Marvin Lewis’ pre-season Bungles (NOOOOOO!!!) have claimed the airwaves, pushing Dusty, Walt and Co. to the backest of burners.

The Reds, one-time Kings of the summer, are an afterthought.

At first blush, it seems deplorable to turn ones back on a team that, not long ago, captivated us. Yet, to be fair, we (that is, ALL Reds fans) would do well to take a long look in the mirror.

Who exactly did we think we were kidding with these lofty expectations and delusions of sustained success?

Was it wise to just ignore the fact that Jonny Gomes, Scott Rolen and our one-two catching punch had abnormally excellent 2010 campaigns? Was it fair to assume that Drew Stubbs, Jay Bruce and every other Tom, Dick and Harry on the team would take steps forward instead of back?

Did we REALLY think Edinson Volquez was somehow cured of Godawfulitis?

No, no and hayyyylll no.

Yet still we spent the first three months of this season just kind of waiting around for the Reds to get good again. And, when it never happened, we all looked around as if someone had told us the other teams got four outs per inning and we only got two.

At some point, our vision of yearly division championships has been dashed to pieces, we just didn’t know why.

I’ll assume though, for the purposes of the following column, that we are all now back where we belong (that being…to EARTH). As the few of us that can actually still stand it sit through Tuesday night snoozers versus teams like the Marlins and Pirates, we’re reminded that it’s the Reds we’re watching.

The REDS.

The team that for the last 20 years or so has seemingly NEVER pulled the right strings, NEVER made the right moves and NEVER had much hope.

Last year was an aberration. And we all know that now.

Yet, through the all the dark, morbid cynicism, there is a light.

For the first time in eons, the Reds have some semblance of a farm system. For the first time in my life, they’ve got the best hitter in the league. And, for the first time probably ever, they have what looks like (but maybe sometimes doesn’t act like) pitching depth.

Indeed, all is not lost. However, for the Reds to REALLY have a chance at going somewhere special in 2012 (because, let’s face it, that 3-0 series mauling last October wasn’t exactly Disneyworld) a few key things need to happen.

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