With the Cincinnati Reds on a fast track to nowhere, on a five-game losing streak, 1-and-9 on the road, already 8½ games out of first place after only 23 games, what can a Reds fans do to continue to pay attention to baseball this season? As a public service to The Real McCoy Regulars, I’ve listed 10 things you can do for the rest of the season.
1 — Take the Adopt-a-Team approach and Go Cubs Go. If the Reds can’t win any true baseball fan has to pull for the Chicago Cubs to win their first World Series since 1908 and lift The Billy Goat Curse.
2 — Pick a former Reds manager to follow, like Washington’s Dusty Baker or Philadelphia’s Pete Mackanin. Baker never should have been fired by the Reds and Mackanin should have been named manager when he carried the interim title for the Reds. Instead they let Mackanin go and hired Baker. It appears Baker has the attention and respect of Bryce Harper, an accomplishment in of itself. And Mackanin has the Phillies winning with a team expected to be as bad as the Reds.
3 — Watch former Reds pitchers to see which one wins the most games or choose one to follow. It could be Johnny Cueto of the San Francisco Giants, who faces the Reds Monday night with four wins already, or it could be Mike Leake of the St. Louis Cardinals. Or if you can bring yourself to root for a guy who ripped the Reds after he was traded, you can follow Mat Latos, who is off to a 4-and-0 start with a 0.74 earned run average in four starts with the Chicago White Sox. He won four games in all of 2015 with the Marlins and Dodgers.
4 — Become a fan of Ohio’s other team, the Cleveland Indians, a team almost as tragic with their history as the Cubs. The Tribe hasn’t won a World Series since 1948, when I was eight and my father took me to watch Larry Doby, the American League’s first African American player, and Lou Boudreau, a player-manager. Current manager Terry Francona is an ex-player, with a quick stop in Cincinnati, and is a great guy.
5 — Try to figure out which dumb and stupid (is that the same?) player will be next to be suspended for using PEDs after Miami’s Dee Gordon. And don’t pick Jake Arrieta. The rumors have started just because fans can’t believe Arrieta can be as good as he is without artificial and illegal help. It isn’t fair to Arrieta. Do you think he needs illegal substances to no-hit the Reds?
6 — Fans either love the New York Yankees (The Bronx Bombers) or hate the New York Yankees (The Evil Empire). If you can’t stand the pin-stripers you can root for every team that plays them and see if they’ll stay in last place in the American League East. You can tell people, “My favorite baseball team is any team playing the Yankee.” And ESPN will make certain the Yankees are on TV any time you want.
7 — Have your own season-long Home Run Derby and pick who you think will hit the most home runs this season in the National Leauge — and no fair picking either Nolan Arenado or Trevor Story, who are tied for the National League lead with 10. They both have the Colorado Coors Field Advantage. New York’s Neil Walker has nine but that has to be a one-month aberration, right? Bryce Harper (9) and Anthony Rizzo (8) have to be my favorites.
8 — Forget the majors and pick a minor league team. The Dayton Dragons aren’t a good pick right now because they are even worse than the Reds, but at least Fifth Third Field is a fun place to be, it is much, much, much cheaper and in the Midwest League winning is everything.
9 — Pick a team with a player with local ties, like Adam Eaton of the Chicago White Sox for Dayton-area fans. Eaton was born in Springfield and is a very good player. And the first-place White Sox have ex-Reds Todd Frazier (who couldn’t root for him), Dioner Navarro, Zach Duke and, OK, Mat Latos.
10 — Root for the St. Louis Cardinals and, well, let’s not go THAT far.