The Footballoutsiders 2010 Almanac comes up today (presumably). The second most important book you can buy this offseason all always elicits a week long response from me. That means that very soon, I'll be switching back to all football all the time. For today, however, I want to discuss the Cincinnati Reds, specifically why Indianapolis needs to get behind this team.
Why should Indy get behind the 2010 Reds? Let me tell you...
1. Scott Rolen is a Hoosier hero.
Rolen had long been one of my favorite non-Reds. The Jasper, IN native is exactly the kind of gritty, play-the-game-the-right-way players that is easy to love. His clubhouse presence (and All-Star offense) have altered the Reds dramatically in the past year. Rolen is the kind of guy anyone can get behind.
2. The Reds are the closest team to Indianapolis
You can be at a Reds game in two hours flat. Think about that. You can work until 5, bust tail down to Cincy and still catch the first pitch most nights. The Reds don't require a day off of work. Just hop in your car and go!
3. Joey Votto
Have I mentioned that you should vote for him? Votto is one of the best young hitters in baseball. He's a home-grown MVP candidate, and on top of everything else, is a pretty brave guy. Votto is one of the chief reasons you can know the Reds are legit. To be a contender, a team needs a dynamic bat. Votto is that, and has been almost from his first day in the big leagues.
4. The Reds have a history in Indianapolis
I know that the Indians farm for the Pirates right now, but Indy has traditionally been the top farm club for the Reds. In fact from 1968-1983, some of the best Reds ever came through Indy. George Foster, Ken Griffey, Eric Davis, and Dave Concepcion all are Reds Hall of Famers who played in Indianapolis.
5. Brandon Phillips is as good a defensive player as there is in baseball
Where are all the good young African-American players? One of the best plays second base for the Reds. Phillips has finally found a home at the top of the order for the Reds, but where he has never been in doubt is in the field. Phillips is arguably the most electric defender in baseball right now (scroll down and check the Web Gems leaderboard). You never know what kind of spectacular play he is going to make.
6. The Reds are buyers not sellers.
Cincinnati is actually one of the leading teams in the market for Cliff Lee. That says it all right there. This is a team looking to win now. Management is desperate for the playoffs, and they will do what it takes.
7. Have I mentioned they are in first place?
The Reds now have a season high three game lead over the Cardinals. Jump on the bandwagon and back a winner, already.
8. Arthur Rhodes is older than you are.
Seriously. I don't care how old you are. Rhodes is older. He's your freaking grandpa.
Oh yeah, he also just made the All-Star team for the first time in his career. The addition of Rhodes two years ago was brilliant. It was exactly the kind of under the radar free-agent signing that smart teams make. He's been the rock in the middle of the Reds bullpen.
9. The Reds are never out of it.
Cincy leads the majors with 26 come from behind wins, many in their final at bat. The Reds have power all over their line up, and it makes them a tough team to beat. As opposed to rooting for a team with a crappy bull pen where no lead is safe, the Reds offer the promise of a dramatic comeback every night.
10. Because you like to see offense.
The Reds have scored the 4th most runs in baseball (behind 3 DH ridden AL clubs). If you like home runs and you like to see scoring, the Reds ought to be your team. Great American Ball Park gives up the most homers in baseball so if you dig the long ball, you want to see games there.
11. Because you like pitching.
The Reds rotation is anchored by Bronson Arroyo and Aaron Harang, but every other starter they have is under 25. With budding stars like Cueto and Leake the Reds sport the deepest collection of young pitching talent in the big leagues. They have so much good young pitching at the moment that former All-Star Edison Volquez might struggle to crack the rotation when he comes back from the DL soon.
12. They left Chapman in the minors.
The fact that the Reds even bid for Chapman was amazing. The fact that they WON that bid showed they were serious about winning. The fact that they have let him season in AAA shows that they are serious about building for the long haul and not just trying for quick fixes. This is a team on the rise, and they are going to be around for awhile.
13. The games are always on the radio.
The Reds are on locally on XL 950, but for those who are out of range, you can always count on 700 WLW. This is why I'm a Reds fan. I grew up with my AM radio tuned to 700 every night. To hear a Cubs game, you have to stand on your head with foil on the antennea. The Reds come in crystal clear every summer evening.
14. Reds fans have a kickin' blog.
Redlegnation.com is one of the best sports blogs out there. If you wonder what kind of site I visit for fun, go no further. Fans of 18to88 will feel very at home there.
15. Because Marty won't lie to you.
Marty Brennaman is more than a Hall of Fame broadcaster. He's a truth teller. Acerbic and harsh? Maybe, but you can count on Marty not to sugar coat anything. He'll tell you who stinks, and when he starts getting excited, you know it's legit. Guess what? Marty's getting excited.
16. Their pitchers can hit.
Do you hate the DH like I do? Then the Reds are your team. Lead by Mike Leake's .344 average, the Reds have one of the best hitting staffs in baseball.
17. Because Jay Bruce is legit.
I had my reservations about Bruce, but he has become a professional hitter. His batting average and on base percentage have both risen this year without sacrificing power. He's working on becoming a complete player, which is something I questioned if he'd ever become.
18. Because football season is still weeks away.
Sure, training camp starts soon, but then there is a month of unwatchable pre-season games. Follow the Reds. It will give you something to flip over to once Curtis Painter gets into the games.