Throughout the fall, I've been teaching a good deal. It keeps me in the classroom until late at night. I knew that this would be problematic this past Tuesday night. The Reds had a chance to clinch the National League Central Division title and I wasn't going to be able to go to the game. But, if I played my cards right, I might be able to work something out.
Earlier that morning, I had picked up a ticket to the game. I knew I'd miss the majority of the game, but if the game didn't progress too quickly, I might have been able to catch the end and, most importantly, the postgame celebration. Sure enough, as I wrapped up class, I checked the score to discover that it was a tie ballgame at the beginning of the 8th. I ran to my car and started the decent from Price Hill to downtown. On the way, I was listening to the radio, hearing that Joey Votto was batting. Even though it might have been magical had he hit a home run, I was rooting against him; I knew I wouldn't be able to make it in time for the end of the game if he did. Votto struck out and, as I hit Second Street, I knew I had a chance.
I parked on the street about six blocks block away. Fortunately, I'm still in relatively good shape so my run to the stadium wasn't too strenuous. I made it in that stadium and discovered that there was a lady in my seat. The seat next to her was empty (and the whole crowd was standing anyway) so I took that place.
I never sat down.
I made it just in time to see Jay Bruce walk to the batter's box, swing at the first pitch, and send the game winner over the fence. I only saw one pitch, but it was the greatest moment in Reds baseball during the past decade. Even though I missed practically the entire game, I hung out for more than an hour after the game ended. I just wanted to soak up the scene. People were going crazy and I couldn't stop smiling. Our city is a much better place when the Reds are playing well. We love our team And I love for what it's meant to me over my lifetime.
- I was born in 1975, between the Reds back-to-back World Championships.
- My grandmother (my dad's mom) instilled within me a love for the Reds in the 1980's. Pete Rose, a Westside legend, was her favorite player. And he still is mine.
- In 1990, I watched almost all of the Reds' games this season on television with grandfather (my mom's dad). I almost view that as "our" championship.
- In 1999, our first full year of marriage, we watched an exciting team that fell just short.
- And during my daughter's young life, I've been sharing this love of our local team. She's doomed.
As I walked back to my car, traffic was still gridlocked but no one cared. Downtown was littered with people and the sound of car horns blaring. Regardless of what happens during this playoff run, I've had a great time with this team. Even if this only lasts for the equivalent of one pitch, it'll be yet another memory etched into my mind for the rest of my life.