The Tipping Point
In the middle of the seventh inning, Christopher Kiradjieff, Assistant Principal and trumpet player with the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, played God Bless America for the home crowd at Great American Ball Park. It felt for all the world like he was playing Taps for the Cincinnati Reds 2015 season.
If there is a silver lining to that moment, the brass notes hanging in the air with the feel of a funeral dirge, it was the hope that owner Bob Castellini heard the same song.
I would not describe the vibe at the ballpark right now as “festive.”
— Mo Egger (@MoEgger1530) July 5, 2015
Know this: the Reds are sellers when the principal owner of the team says they are sellers. It’s possible he’s known this for awhile. It’s likely he’s attempting to play a tight-rope of a dance in an attempt to keep Cueto and Chapman wearing red for a possible ASG appearance. Imagine watching Johnny wearing a Toronto Blue Jay jersey on Tuesday night with the Baseball world watching. The hardcore fan would be able to deal with it. The average fan walking up to the TODAY’S GAME window? Not so much. Castellini? No way.
It’s also possible–and entirely likely–that Castellini has been waiting for the one winning streak this team hasn’t had all season long. Every team has one. The dreadful Milwaukee Brewers are in the midst of one right now-seven games and counting–three of them at the expense of the good guys. But not a single one for the Reds, whose pitching inconsistencies make winning streaks akin to climbing Everest without supplemental oxygen. The task will take your breath away and leave the will broken in the process.
That is where the Reds are now. Does the owner see it?
During Saturday night’s game on FOX, Walt Jocketty offered the following:
“We’re gonna do whatever makes sense for the long term health of the organization.”
“We need to make sure we stay competitive this year, but more so going into the future.”
The General Manager for the Reds was unequivocal, while paying respect to the casual fan, who the Reds need to continue pushing through the turnstiles in August and September.
Talk radio in Cincinnati has continually beat up the Reds front office, suggesting that if the Reds were just honest with their fans, they would have supported a teardown of the team, even sacrificing the 2015 season before it had even begun:
ownership didn’t want to rebuilding in offseason for fear of tone of season at ASG….and yet…that tone and fear has arrived any way.
— Lance McAlister (@LanceMcAlister) July 5, 2015
Full disclosure demands acknowledgment of recent history. Of a disastrous 2014 season wrecked by injuries. And the 2013 season before that. Ninety wins going into the last week of the season, only to see it fall apart in a forgettable six game finish capped with the debacle in PNC Park. And, of course, the 2012 NLDS. A team on the cusp of greatness. Only to fail to get out of the first round after thoroughly dominating the other team after two games on the road. Jettisoning 2015 would have been a lot to ask of a fan base starved for some post-season sugar. The low bar set by the two wild card spots only serves to further tease the believer.
This is where the franchise is now. Prepping for a new beginning. There’s no way the GM steps on a national stage and talks of the future if his boss is still wedded to the past.
Reds fans should enjoy the All Star break. The Reds future begins July 15th.