Long-suffering Reds fans may finally see some light

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By Brian Blair

A funny thing happened on the way to October

Friday night in Cincinnati, the Reds will honor the World Series Champion 1990 Cincinnati Reds.

The Reds began that famous season by defeating the Houston Astros on Opening Day for first place in the then National League Western Division. They did not relinquish their grip on first place and won the Division and ventured into the National League Championship Series for the first time since 1979.

Just like in 1979, the Reds faced the Pittsburgh Pirates in the NLCS. The Pirates were led by Bobby Bonilla, Andy VanSlyke and Barry Bonds. Cincinnati won the series in six games and advanced to the World Series where they took on the much ballyhooed and defending World Series Champion Oakland Athletics.

The team in green was led by the likes of Mark McGwire, Jose Canseco and Rickey Henderson. The Reds made short work of the A’s as they swept them in four games to claim their first World Series title since 1976 when they swept the New York Yankees.

Barry Larkin, Chris Sabo, Billy Hatcher, Eric Davis, Jose Rijo, Rob Dibble, Norm Charlton and Randy Myers returned to Cincinnati as heroes.

Twenty years later, the Reds are once again in first place at the All-Star Break, and I am excited.

I remember the 1990 season and how much fun it was. As the season was beginning I was getting ready to graduate from high school. That fall, I enrolled in college as the Reds moved closer to history. My dad and I went to Game 2 of the NLCS and I was there when the Reds clinched the pennant by winning Game 6. I also had the once in a lifetime chance to attend Game 2 of the World Series. From the ceremonial first pitch by Barbara Bush to Joe Oliver’s game-winning single down the third-base line, it is something I will not soon forget.

My question is, might I get to see it again 20 years later.

I realize that most of you just laughed and thought that I must be crazy. Am I? As a lifelong baseball fan I understand that there is still a lot of baseball to be played before October rolls around. There is the trade deadline, the dog days of August, and of course injuries. If you would, allow me just a minute to dream.

This past weekend’s sweep at the hands of the Phillies notwithstanding, let’s just assume a couple of things. What if the Reds really can avoid any major injuries and they don’t have any elongated losing streaks? As for the trade deadline, I know that Cliff Lee is now off the market but there are other options available that could be of interest to the team. I would love to see the team make one big move that would show fans the team’s commitment to win now.

As for their division, the Cardinals are good but they have yet to show the ability to run away with the Central. It is also possible that if the Reds continue to play well they could remain a factor in the Wild Card hunt. I don’t care how they get into the playoffs, only that they find a way to make it. Once they get in, then anything can happen.

Imagine if you will a crisp October afternoon. Early that day you sit on your couch and enjoy some college football and that evening you get your chips and settle in to watch Game One of the Fall Classic as the Reds host the Yankees, the Red Sox, the Angels, the Rays or the Rangers at Great American Ballpark. How sweet that would be.

Sound crazy? Think something like that could never happen. That is exactly what we thought in July 1990.