I'm a Cincinnati Reds Fan (And Yes I Want Your Pity)
Another year, another opening day, as all across America baseball fans throng to their stadium of choice, flush with optimism, joy, and hope. All of them certain that this year will be "the year." The year when that "local sports team" finally goes all the way, winning the World Series and restoring a sense of pride, dignity and respect to town. Of course, such concepts are foreign to me. Why? Because like Job (no George Oscar Bluth), I'm destined to suffer the tragic life of a Cincinnati Reds fan, scarred by years of being mathematically eliminated by the third week in April, harboring no naive illusions about my squad's lot in the world.
It's not even that the Reds are perennial losers, having missed the playoffs every year since 1995. It's the fact that no one gives a damn whether or not the Reds lose or win. Sure Cubs fans bitch and moan all day long about how their team hasn't won a championship since 1906. But ultimately, being a Cubs fans engenders wild amounts of sympathy from people. Everyone knows the Cubs sad history and roots for them. No one roots for the Reds. The Reds are like the Robin Williams of baseball. Everyone vaguely remembers that they used to be good, but trying to recall exactly when brings to mind visions of leisure suits, mustaches and polyester.
You might be wondering why in fact, a kid born and raised in Los Angeles would root for the Cincinnati Reds. A very good question and one I'll rue till the day I die. You see, back in 1985, I was a very young Passion of the Weiss, playing my first season of T-Ball and looking for a pro baseball team to root for. With the Dodgers being anathema in the Giants-loving Weiss household, I couldn't root for the home team. Instead, I decided to throw my allegiances to my T-Ball team, The Reds. In truth, I'd have been better to throw my allegiances under a bus. At least it would've been over quick and painless.
Eric The Red: He Was Neither A Viking Nor A Communist, Discuss
Indeed, this sick and twisted pact has allowed me to suffer through a litany of abuses, each one questioning my faith, yet never shaking my allegiance to the squad. There was the Pete Rose gambling disgrace that exposed the Reds as being bad enough so that their own manager would bet against them (maybe). There was general racist insanity of the Marge Schott years that led Schott to call my favorite players Eric Davis and Dave Parker "million dollar n---s." Not to mention her penchant for keeping old Nazi relics around the house while claiming that "all sneaky Jews are alike" and that "Hitler was initially good for Germany." She also managed to declare that "only fruits wear earrings" and allow her St. Bernard Schottzie to shit on the field. Which I suppose isn't much different from what the players were doing on the field in the first place.
Of course, there was the lone triumph in my 22 years of Reds fan-dom, the 1990 World Series win, also known as the happiest two weeks of my life. Yet instead of building on that Nasty Boys/Eric Davis led championship, the team immediately returned to mediocrity, finishing fifth in 1991. Finally, at the end of 1999, hope seemed to be on the way. The Reds finally sprung for a big name player, bringing in Ken Griffey Jr. to play in his home town. As the Reds had almost made the playoffs that year (losing in a one-game playoff the day after the season officially ended), Griffey seemed to be the final piece of the puzzle, that would finally bring the Reds back to their Big Red Machine glory days. Instead, Griffey turned into the biggest baseball bust since Morganna The Kissing Bandit, somehow finding ways to get injured that scientists had yet to discover. Naturally, as 2007 rolls around, Griffey attempts to recover from yet another injury, this time breaking his wrist in a slip and fall on his fucking YACHT IN THE BAHAMAS.
With their erstwhile slugger recovering from injury and the franchise still loathe to spend money on free agents, The Reds' 2007 squad seems a lock to continue our proud seven year sub-.500 losing streak. Needless to say, you know your team's in trouble when their big off-season move is re-signing Bronson Arroyo, a man dumb enough to record a covers album, featuring renditions of Goo Goo Dolls and Toad the Wet Sprocket songs. What happened, Bronson? Would Collective Soul not license the rights to "Shine?" So as the 2007 season rears its ugly head, I wish all your teams the best of luck. As for me, I'm resigned to my fate. I know the truth. When you're talking ineptitude, only one team can make me see red.
MP3: Dilated Peoples "Worst Comes To Worst"