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Congrats to the Reds
September 30, 2010 - Al Stephenson
The Cincinnati Reds clinched the National League Central title a couple of nights ago and will be heading to the playoffs for the first time in 15 years. That's right - the last time the Reds were in postseason play was 1995. Can you name the teams that competed in the 1994 major league baseball playoffs?
If you can't, it might be that you are only a casual fan of baseball. It also might be that THERE WERE NO TEAMS IN THE 1994 PLAYOFFS!! That was the year that baseball went on strike in AUGUST for crying out loud. Just when the pennant races were heatingup - the plug was pulled. The remainder of the season as well as the playoffs were cancelled. As a baseball fan in general and a Cleveland Indians fan in particular, I was outraged.
I guess there is some truth to the adage that time heals all wounds, because I had forgotten about the 1994 debacle until watching the baseball documentary from Ken Burns on PBS the other night. It brought back memories of the heartbreak I felt back then. The Tribe was good and they were in the thick of things. The one thing I really felt denied of was a pennant race. The ups and downs of a pennant race, where each game has such an impact on the standings, as you hope that your team gets a chance at the postseason, where any team has a chance to grab the ring - was taken away from me.
As I watched Jay Bruce launch the walkoff home run that sent the Reds to the playoffs, I was jealous. Reds fans can consider themselves lucky. They got to go through those ups and downs - from St. Louis hitting them right in the mouth in a post All Star break series at Great American Ballpark - to the unthinkable happening. The Cardinals faltered down the stretch and the Reds had some gritty performances. Now Reds fans will get a long awaited taste of postseason baseball. Can the Reds win it all? Why not, I say. The only teams that have no chance of being crowned World Series Champions are those that will not participate in the playoffs. If you are there, you have a chance.
The view from my seat would suggest that the Reds have a difficult task ahead of them. Winning it all will not be easy. But take heart Reds fans. You have already lived the thrill of a pennant race. That can't be taken away from you as it was me in 1994.
And once you're in the playoffs - you never know!
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