The Major League Baseball postseason gets into full swing today with the opening games in the American League and the National League Division Series. Three of the four National League teams have been at this stage a few times over the last decade, but it’s fifteen years since the Cincinnati Reds last made the playoffs. In fact, it’s been a decade since the team even had a winning season. In contrast, their opponents later today, the Philadelphia Phillies, clinched their fourth consecutive East Division title this year and are attempting to become the first team since 1944 to win three National League Pennants on the trot. The Phillies have been installed as favourites to defeat the Reds and many commentators are suggesting they could do it with one or two games of the series to play. The Phillies had the best record of all the teams in the MLB this year, so the Reds must travel to Citizens Bank Park for their opening couple of games before bringing them back to the Great American Ball Park (pictured below) for at least one more game
Of course, sports fixtures would be pretty boring if they always went the way of the form book. In 2010, the Reds led the National League in batting average, runs and home runs, with no fewer than six different players hitting 18 home runs or more. Top of the heap was first baseman Joey Votto (pictured below) with 37 home runs (3rd highest in the NL), 106 runs (4th), 113 rbis (3rd) and a batting average of .324 (2nd). Votto’s form was one of the main reasons why Cincinnati won the Central Division and has made him one of the favourites to win the National League’s MVP this year. Not bad for a Canadian!
I got to see the Reds play a few times when I lived in the States in 2002. It was the team’s last season playing at Cinergy Field (formerly Riverfront Stadium) before it was demolished later that year. I’ve been keeping an eye on their results every year since, though this is the first time that they’ve won more games than they’ve lost since I’ve been following them. I hope to watch as many games as I can in the playoffs and I hope the Reds keep on winning. I know a lot of people in the Greater Cincinnati area who’ll be hoping the same this month. These songs go out to you guys and I finish this post as I began it; with a picture of the Cincinnati skyline!