By: Keith Kappes
Carter County Times
“Hope springs eternal in the human breast.”
When Pope wrote that sentence in 1732 as part of his “Essay on Man”, he obviously didn’t know that diehard fans of the Cincinnati Reds would need that hopeful reminder at the start of each baseball season.
Those of us who have endured the few highs and many lows of the Reds over the years were thrilled when our team ripped off six straight wins after losing this year’s season opener.
Could this be the portent of another winning season like last year’s 31-29 record in the COVID-shortened season? Never mind that we were quickly eliminated by the Braves in the National League playoffs.
It was our team’s fourth winning record in the previous 20 years and it was a great morale booster.
But that initial enthusiasm over the six-game winning streak faded last weekend when the Reds lost two games to the Arizona Diamondbacks and the fans came back to reality.
As the oldest professional baseball franchise in the nation, the Reds have been cussed and discussed by at least four generations of fans during my lifetime.
And it didn’t matter if they were nicknamed the Cincinnati Red Stockings, the Cincinnati Redlegs, or my favorite, the Cincinnati Reds.
My devotion to the team began when, as a 10-year-old Little Leaguer, I saw my first game at tiny, decrepit Crosley Field. We moved to circular Riverfront Stadium and later to the beautiful Great American Ball Park, my choice as the best in the major leagues.
The frustrations of the last two decades don’t tell the whole story about the Reds. We’ve played in nine World Series and won five of them. How could we ever forget the Big Red Machine that swept the 1975 and 1976 series and put three of its key players in the Baseball Hall of Fame?
Actually, 34 former Reds are enshrined at Cooperstown but the best player in the history of the game, Pete Rose, is still waiting.
A sportswriter wrote recently that the Reds’ franchise is one of the lowest valued in Major League Baseball with an estimated worth of just over $1 billion.
He’s definitely wrong. To me and the other boys of summer I know, the Reds are priceless.
Keith Kappes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org