Monday, April 2, 2007

Yes, Virginia, there is October baseball

And could it be coming to Cincinnati in '07? Maybe.

Wow, did I just say that?

Perhaps I was a little harsh on this team in my first post. Let me introduce myself. I am a cynic. Pure and simple. And this team has done nothing over the past six years to show me that it has any chance in Hell of playing into October.

That said, this is a new year. After a glimpse of our '07 Reds in a game that actually counted, a 5-1 win over the Cubs (who somehow seemed to find a way to break into Fort Knox this past winter), does it look like we've finally got a team to uncork the bubbly come autumn?

Probably not. But then again, this division is probably the weakest in baseball outside of the AL West. As Jon Heyman of put it in his article of preseason predictions, anyone could finish first and last in this division. Strange, perhaps, that he chose the Reds to finish in first with the Astros in last? Upon second glance, maybe not. Not to say that the Reds are even half the team that the Mets or Tigers are this season. But you take advantage of your situation, and if there is any year for this team to overachieve in the NL Central, it's this year.

The Cardinals are the stalwart of the division, but they're no behemoth from top to bottom, especially when it comes to pitching. The Brewers are the popular dark horse pick to win the division, but their inexperience could be their downfall (see: '06 Indians) or their strength (see: '06 Tigers). The Cubs got Alfonso Soriano, who scares the hell out of me every time he steps to the plate, but their pitching is also suspect.

The Astros have only gotten older, and they are still one of the lightest-hitting teams in the league. Don't even talk to me about the Pirates.

So could the Reds win? They certainly have almost zero chance of winning it all, but the division really isn't out of reach. Today's game certainly gave me some hope. And if I can gain some hope from seeing this team, I can only imagine that they're already printing the pennants and t-shirts in Cincy.

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