The 2007 Cincinnati Reds

The 2007 Cincinnati Reds

The 2007 season of the Cincinnati Reds had the storyline and drama of a daytime network soap opera. Ups, downs, lefts and rights. The lows were low. As low as a team can get. The highs were high. The hopefulness of youth, steaking pitchers, win steaks, a quasi-pennant race and a new, eager manager.

Keeping with the showbiz theme, the Reds kept 'em guessing. Entering the 2007 season, there were far more questions than answers. Keep 'em coming back for more, I suppose. Can manager Jerry Narron right this ship? Bring this once proud franchise back to prominence? Can the lumbering slugger Adam Dunn cut down on his record breaking strike out pace and add to his booming homerun totals? Can Jr. stay healthy? Can Bronson Arroyo build on his 2006 All-Star season? How about the new guys? Is Alex Gonzales glove at shortstop as good as people say? Did they really sign Mike Stanton? Can Aaron Harang continue to develop into the ace I need him to be?

All questions are answered in the season. As the saying goes: That's why they play the games.

I do have some answers. First, how long has it been since the Reds had a winning season? The answer: A long time. The Reds made the playoffs last in 1995. How far have they fallen? Pretty far. Once the jewel of the National League, Cincinnati rarely gets a national T.V. audience. What's their problem? Well, they have one of the worst bullpens I've ever seen. No lead is safe with the Cincy 'pen on the case. They also owe almost half (of their already small) payroll to Eric Milton, a terrible free agent signing from a year ago, and the aging Ken Griffey, Jr. While when healthy he has aged gracefully, more times than not he's on the disabled list. He's aged better than I will, but he's certainly well past the days of Ken Griffey: boy wonder.

Is there reason to hope in 2007? It depends on your definition of success. It depends on what your expectations are. Can they make the playoffs? Anything's possible in the weak N.L. Central. But is it probable? No. At least not rationally. But as a fan? Sure there's hope. I mean Adam Dunn's a monster right? Harang's the best young arm in the National League, right? Brandon Phillips has super-star potential, right? Ken Griffey, Jr. used to be the best of the best right? Edwin Encarnacion's the next coming of Ron Santo, right?

Like I said, that's why they play the games. How did the season go? What are the answers? Read on.