I didn't blog much last week, and this time, it wasn't because I didn't have time.
I was at the same place last week as I am right now. Starting blankly at the screen of my laptop, searching for an original thought about the Cincinnati Reds.
The draft has come and gone, and the football season remains mercilessly in the distance. There are other things happening in the sports realm that interest me - the NBA Playoffs continue to deliver drama and excitement, I'm mildly optimistic about the coach my Knicks have settled on, I'm thankful that FC Cincinnati has given us something to be excited about this summer - but I like watching, talking about, and as it pertains to the blog you're reading right now, writing about baseball.
And specifically, the Cincinnati Reds.
The problem is that I'm tapped out, already exhausted from trying to endure their historically poor start to the season, and tired of trying to come up with different ways to say the same thing. The Reds have been bad for years now, but the depths of their suckage this season is even more agonizing, both personally as a fan, and professionally as someone who gets paid to express how they feel.
This was supposed to be a different type of season than the previous three, one in which things would start to turn for the better just a little bit, perhaps one with the ins and outs of actual big league baseball games coming to the forefront just a little bit more. Maybe even one that would last beyond the opening of NFL training camps.
Instead, here we are stuck in the abyss of a season that was over weeks ago, staring at the distinct possibility of the Reds losing 100 games while wrestling with questions about when - and if - the Reds will ever be good again.
We as fans are being robbed of the fun of a baseball season yet again. As interesting as it is to follow the progress of minor league prospects, and important as it is to understand the mechanics of what the Reds are trying to do, and as understandable as it's been that the people who run the team have to preach patience, the real fun of being a baseball fan is the actual baseball. The games. The strategies. The comings and goings. The minutiae of a season.
The most enjoyable Cincinnati Reds season for me - professionally and personally - was 2010, when the Reds came from the depths of a decade's worth of irrelevance to win 91 games and return to the playoffs for the first time in 15 years. It wasn't just that the Reds won that season, it was that for a summer, we got to enjoy a baseball season the way it's supposed to be enjoyed.
We debated strategies, picked apart lineups, talked about possible trade deadline additions, did some scoreboard watching, and we eagerly anticipated the next game and the next big series. That summer, we'd glance ahead at probable starters for the week, or scroll through websites for the St. Louis newspaper to find out the latest about the enemy. It was a blast as a fan, and it was the most I've ever had talking and writing about a team.
It hasn't been that way for a while, of course, but even as much as the last four seasons were tough to endure, I've not been as exasperated with the Reds as I am now. And it's just that they're a really lousy team, it's that it's damn near impossible to pinpoint when they'll be competitive again, which means that the real fun of being a baseball fan will be something we watch others do from a distance.
I still love the Reds, and I still love baseball. I still follow both every single day, and I still get a nine-year old's sense of excitement whenever I'm about to attend a game, which I've did dutifully four times in just the past week.
But damn, it's hard. It's hard to get worked into a lather when Brandon Finnegan can't get out of the first inning, and it's hard to get that angry when yet another forgettable opposing pitcher has their way with the continually feeble Cincinnati lineup. It's impossible to care that much about this season's minutiae when so many big-picture questions and issues linger. No one wants to talk about strategies, there's no pennant race to follow, no one cares about the out of town scoreboard, and the only thing people are looking forward to this season is its conclusion.
It is a miserable time to be a Cincinnati Reds fan, watching this team play every day.
It's even more miserable time being a Cincinnati Reds fan, trying to come up with something new to say about them.
Here's some other stuff....
There are hall of famers that don't have four games like this in their entire careers...
LeBron's last six days:— Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer) May 6, 2018
Sunday: 45 points, 8 rebs, 7 assists in a Game 7 victory
Tuesday: 26 pts, 13 rebs, 11 assist triple-double in Game 1 win
Thursday: 43/14/8 = first player ever w/ 40+ pts and 14 assists in a playoff game
Saturday: 38 points & game-winning buzzer-beater
Arguably the most amazing thing about LeBron James is that there are people who still either enjoy cutting down every single one of his accomplishments or simply don't enjoy watching him play.
Ben Roethlisberger doesn't want to help out Mason Rudolph. He should remember what it was like when he was in Rudolph's shoes 13 years ago.
Dan Hoard on Marty Brennaman: This is as good as you'd imagine.
Radio Show: I return to ESPN1530 on Wednesday. Until then, you can hear me on Extra Innings the next two nights, on 700WLW.
Also....wanna win a new lawn mower and tickets to every Riverbend show? Go here.
(Photo: Getty Images)