Red Right 88

Cleveland sports fan and sports writer

Location: Cleveland, Ohio, United States

quit my job decided to drive west

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Big Red Machine

I know it is very unlikely. And the thought of it would have been impossible just a week ago. But the Cincinnati Reds are just six and half games out in the National League Central. A six game winning streak has moved the Reds to just 10 games under .500. And in that sorry division, that moves you to contender.

It would be the most Hollywood of endings. A team among the worst in the league all season catching fire and winning the division.

A nice thought but impossible right? Seriously can you even name the Reds manager? (even I had to look it up) And how many Reds can you name? (Griffey, Dunn, Phillips, Hamilton, Harang, Arroyo, Weathers)

Well then I thought of Woody Paige and looked at the schedule. They play the three teams ahead of them six times each. Milwaukee is free falling, Chicago is treading water and St. Louis while they closed ground in a hurry has not really taken advantage. The Reds then get 10 games against the worst teams in the league with four against the Pirates and three each against San Francisco and Houston. That leaves only a three game home stand in early September against the New York.

So I ask you why not?

We can complain about the Indians and Tigers all we want but man is the National League Central bad. I am seriously considering a team that is 60-70 to win a division.

But there is more. Since July 3, when the Reds' interim manager took over (look up it yourself), they are 29-19 which is the best record in baseball. Over that time the Cards went 26-22, the Cubs were 25-24 and the Brewers slumped at 17-31. So this is not just a one week surge but nearly a two month statement.

On ESPN, experts talk about the Cubs holding on or the Cards making a surge. But truth is neither deserves it. The Cubs with that payroll can no longer be lovable losers. The Cards are defending champs but have played like chumps. And I have no desire to hear about the genius that is supposedly LaRussa. That genius had the best team in baseball in Oakland for years and could only win one title. His loaded teams were upset twice- once swept and the other 4-1 in the World Series. Last year, I saw it as more of the Tigers throwing the series away then the Cards winning. He is a good manager but no genius. But in this weak division, he hasn't inspired with troops to take control.

So I say, let's go Reds. They have the right cast. An interim manager who bounced around the bigs as a player and around the minors as a coach, the aging superstar whose injuries stopped him being the game's best ever, a slugger who hits towering shots but often strikes out, one former can't miss prospect who was given up on for being a bad apple and another can't miss prospect that almost lost his career because of drugs and a baseball town full history that has recently fallen silent.

It is a movie waiting to happen. And as ridiculous as it sounds, I am now on the bandwagon.

So for the rest of the season, no more jokes about Cincinnati being the capital of Kentucky (except when the Browns play the Bengals in week two of course)- Let's go Reds!