The excitement was fun while it lasted.
I thought Cincinnati sports finally had a breakthrough. For the last six years, the Cincinnati Reds haven’t made it to the postseason. Each season, the team makes promising transactions to improve its performance. And each season, the fans are hopeful and optimistic that this is the year the team will do great things. But something has always been off.
I’ve watched the Bengals get to their first round of playoff games and lose many times. The Reds have followed in those footsteps.
Friday, Sept. 25
The stakes were high. If the Philadelphia Phillies lost to the Tampa Bay Rays, the Milwaukee Brewers lost to the St. Louis Cardinals and the Reds won their game against the Minnesota Twins, Cincinnati would clinch a postseason berth.
Two of those things happened. If the stars aligned, and the Reds pulled out a win, they’d be in the playoffs.
I went to my neighbor’s house around 9 p.m. for what we like to call “driveway talk.” She asked me about the Reds and if they were going to make it to the playoffs. As a fairly new fan of baseball, she was intrigued by the excitement of it.
“Hopefully,” I responded. “But we have to win the game that’s going on right now.”
As my neighbor and I talked for about two hours, I kept checking my phone to look at the score. The Reds were winning 4-2.
I said “goodnight” to my neighbor and immediately turned on the radio when I came home. I anxiously sat in my room, hoping our pitchers wouldn’t allow any more runs.
By the ninth inning, the Reds extended their lead to 7-2. I sat on pins and needles and listened to the last out of the game. The Reds were going to the playoffs for the first time since 2013.
I shot up and ran around my small room, trying not to scream because I didn’t want to wake up my parents. Once I calmed down, I texted some friends in excitement and went to bed.
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Saturday, Sept. 26
I woke up and scrolled through Twitter. My timeline was full of excitement from Reds fans. I watched the video of the Reds celebrating on the field after the final out.
I’ll admit, I didn’t become a hardcore Reds fan until the summer before my freshman year of college. For most of my life, football was always the more fascinating sport.
But to see how happy the team was and knowing everyone involved worked extremely hard for years to come to this moment made me tear up.
I experienced the suffering when Homer Bailey went 1-14 in the 2018 season. I experienced the pain when the Reds ended fourth in the division in the 2019 season. I know what it’s like to work as hard as you can to achieve something but never achieve it.
It made me happy to watch the Reds succeed. And with that, I had a sense of pride in my hometown. I felt that this was the end of a long history of being “mediocre.”
My neighbor texted me and asked me if the Reds “cinched” (Remember, she’s a new fan.)
“It’s ‘clinched,’” I responded. “But yes, they did!”
Wednesday, Sept. 30
I was busy with classes all day, but I still managed to keep up with the Reds’ first postseason game against the Atlanta Braves.
I usually know how well the Reds are playing based on how active their Twitter account is. When they score runs, they’ll post a highlight reel. When they’re not doing so hot, they won’t post anything.
I checked the score of the game in fear Cincinnati was losing big time, as I had no Twitter notifications. The score was 0-0. I sighed in relief and went about my day.
I had some free time in between classes, so I decided to see what was going on in the game. I hadn’t gotten a notification that the game ended so I assumed it was almost over.
The score was still 0-0 in the 11th inning. I quickly turned on the radio in my room and multitasked by listening to the game and a video for my Spanish class assignment at the same time.
There were times when I had to completely stop what I was doing to listen, especially when the bases were loaded for the Reds.
The game went into one of my classes. At this point, it was the 13th inning. I kept the radio on and my phone nearby with the live stats as I sat in a Zoom lecture.
The Braves walked it off with a single to make the final score 1-0. I turned the radio and my phone off in sadness.
“The good thing about baseball is that there’s more chances,” I thought to myself. “We’ll win tomorrow, for sure.”
Thursday, Oct. 1
I jinxed it.
Everything seemed to be going fine until the eighth inning. The bats came alive for the Braves, but not for the Reds. To see the final score — 5-0, Braves — was heartbreaking for me.
The pitching for the Reds was spectacular, but their hitting wasn’t so great. There were so many opportunities to bring in runs, but it just didn’t happen.
It’s sad I won’t be able to root for my favorite team throughout the rest of this postseason, but I’m grateful the Reds community got to experience at least a little bit of the fame and glory of success.
Maybe next season.