Following in the footsteps of Frank
Robinson, Josh Hamilton could forever be the one who got away from the
Reds. But the reason Hamilton was deemed expendable (wrongly, in
retrospect) keeps popping up, while Robinson’s exile is still a mystery.
At some point, we'll have to value the steroid era players against history. The list of greats from recent years with steroid taint (Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Rafael Palmeiro, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, A-Rod, Manny Ramirez and others) are Hall of Famers who will at least raise serious questions about their worthiness because of drugs.
Those of us looking for progress from the Reds came through the first week of the season with mixed feelings. But it ended nicely, as if a momentary crisis were averted. Meanwhile, the NCAA hockey championship game ended in a bitter disaster for Miami, as the RedHawks' apparent title went up in two goals worth of smoke with one minute left against Boston University.
What's always impressed me about Cincinnati, as someone who didn't grow up here, is how the whole city embraces baseball and the Reds on Opening Day. It's another of those small ways that locals have stubbornly held on to a collective individuality, as quirky as three-way chili and "Please?" Baseball is the only American sport with any romance, so it's not surprising that Cincinnatians bond with the Reds.
In 14 years since Major League Baseball introduced expanded playoffs, the baseball postseason stands apart from other sports and especially from its own regular season. In no other sport is the regular season less instructive about how the playoffs will develop.