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HomeOpinionColumnHow did our beloved Cincinnati Reds become the laughingstock of baseball?

How did our beloved Cincinnati Reds become the laughingstock of baseball?

By: Keith Kappes
Columnist
Carter County Times

I’m waiting for someone to explain to me how the oldest franchise in major league baseball has become perhaps the worst team in the history of what used to be America’s pastime.

Last Sunday’s win over the Pittsburgh Pirates lifted our sad Cincinnati Reds to a shameful record of 5-23, the team’s worst start in my 70 years of being a fan of that team.

One national sportswriter wrote Monday that the team’s terrible beginning has already eliminated the Reds from this season’s pennant chase and a trip to the World Series.  And that’s with 134 games left to play in this almost new season. Could anyone have predicted such a nightmare?

Strangely, I began to worry when the Reds didn’t get to maintain their longstanding tradition of being the team to host baseball’s first opening game of the season. Instead, they went to Atlanta after the lockout delay and got their first three losses of this disastrous year.

I’m reading and hearing several theories about the trainwreck Reds, including bad trades, poor draft choices, weak manager, and, most of all, cheapskate owners who won’t pay competitive salaries to keep their best players.

Frankly, I was amazed that Joey Votto was still there when the season started but he tested positive for Covid and has been sidelined much of the time since the Reds’ first pitch was thrown and knocked out of Atlanta’s new stadium.

I noticed recently that it’s becoming harder for me to remember the glory days when the Big Red Machine dominated major league baseball. For those too young or too old to recall, here’s a recap of that team.

 They prevailed over the National League from 1970 to 1979 and are widely regarded as being among the best in baseball history. The team won six National League West Division titles, four National League pennants, and two World Series titles.

Those Reds were managed by Sparky Anderson and included such legendary players as Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan and Tony Pérez. They had more World Series appearances than any other team during that decade and compiled an overall record of 953 wins and 657 losses.

At this low point, it surely must be time to talk about bringing winning, professional baseball back to Cincinnati.

Contact Keith at keithkappes@gmail.com.

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