CINCINNATI -- It wasn’t supposed to go down like this. The Reds were going to be world beaters this year.
New manager Brian Price was the missing link in what promised to be an uninterrupted chain of success for the local nine. That lofty expectation was based largely on the assumption that Joey Votto would return to his MVP form or something akin to it. That Brandon Phillips would have another All-Star/Gold Glove season and Jay Bruce would replicate his 2012 success.
The team’s three highest paid players would prove they were worthy of their millions.
Not even close.
Votto has been injured most of the year and was a shadow of his former self when he did play. Brandon Phillips was doing a serviceable job until he injured his left thumb and required surgery. He’s since returned but the die was cast long before he went down. One reason being Jay Bruce’s less than Bruce season which has been pock-marked by injury/inconsistency.
To think that the question marks this year were going to revolve around whether Billy Hamilton could handle the rigors of playing center field on a regular basis and likewise could Devin Mesoraco be an everyday catcher.
Both delivered in spades. And as promised, the Reds took advantage of what speed they have by putting pressure on the opposing defense. But they’ve run themselves out of more rallies than anyone cares to recall.
And most inexplicably, their defense deserted them once the season resumed after the All-Star break. Granted it had company, in the form of Alfredo Simon who went eight post All-Star starts before getting a win Sunday. And the once rock solid bullpen became a veritable sieve.
All conspired to doom Cincinnati to second tier status this year. And that is a crying shame for one person in particular and one group of people in general. The former being team President Bob Castellini.
Truth be told his team’s performance along with some off field distractions has made this one long summer. This guy lives and dies with his team and sometimes his faith seems misplaced. I feel bad for Bob. He has the induction of Ron Oester, Dave Parker and Ken Griffey, Jr. to the Red’s Hall of Fame and the unveiling of the P&G Cincinnati MLB Reds Urban Youth Academy to show for the year and little else.
Secondly, having just reached the 2 million mark in fan attendance last week, the most difficult task now falls to the Reds marketing team, which has to sell tickets for the rest of the season. Renewals for next year might not be that tough considering season ticket patrons will be in line to buy All-Star Game tickets but it’s going to be slim pickens from here on out.
Because after Tuesday night’s loss to the Cubs you don’t need a crystal ball, Kreskin or Tarot cards to come to one very painful conclusion about the 2014 Cincinnati Reds.
Stick a fork in them. They’re done!
And, that's my 2 cents.
Dennis Janson's "My 2 cents" column is published every Monday and Wednesday on WCPO.com. His video commentary airs every Friday at 6 p.m.