CINCINNATI - Before reading the following article, please first read, or at least skim, this article on CBSSports.com: http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/story/20539986/sensing-another-heartbreak-cincy-fans-already-bailing-out-on-reds.
The gist (because I know most of you don't have time to read two articles in the middle of a workday) is that the author of that article is calling out Reds fans, saying that many have already bailed on this team, and that doom and gloom had already set in during Game 3's fall in extra innings, never mind after Game 4's beating.
I hate to say it, but he's partly right.
Having just been in San Francisco to see the Reds handily defeat the Giants there, I saw many of the same things that have happened here in Cincinnati. The Reds crushed the Giants' hopes by ruining their postseason home-opener on the backs of great pitching as a team, even after the Giants thought they were in for a break when Johnny Cueto went down with injury.
Game 2 saw a very similar storyline to Game 4, with the Reds beating the Giants into a pulp, as late as the 8th inning no less.
You know what Giants fans did? Kept on cheering.
Flash back to Game 1 and set the stage with the bases loaded in the 9th inning with the Giants down 5-1. The crowd at AT&T Park was on their feet, letting the residents across the Bay know that they were still cheering for their team. Even though their hopes were dim with the best closer in the league, Aroldis Chapman, on the mound, they still poured their hearts and lungs out. I mentioned at the time that Giants fans got carried away sometimes, even cheering when cheering wasn't called for, but it was all in the name of supporting their city's team.
The next day at Game 2, Giants fans showed up just as willing and loud as Game 1, despite having been beat in a game they thought they had a chance to win. And they cheered throughout, even after the Reds jumped out to an early 4-0 lead and Bronson Arroyo was looking unstoppable. While many of them left in the Reds' 5-run 8th inning, the ones that stayed got loud for every strike, every crack of the bat and every ball thrown by a Reds pitcher, with hope for another hit to keep the game alive.
When the series came back to Cincinnati, there was a similar sense of excitement in Game 3 for the Reds faithful. Fans were on their feet, cheering loudly with decibel levels scarcely reached at Great American Ball Park. It reached a crescendo on Homer Bailey's sixth consecutive strikeout, when fans realized they were watching something special.
But a few outs later, and still a 1-1 tie, Reds fans grew quieter, more nervous and more cautious about their chances for success.
The support in the bottom of the 10th was minimal at best, and it was almost as if the loss had already set in with three outs still to go.
Then in Game 4, despite being down early, many were heard booing Mike Leake. Don't boo Leake, he's trying to step up and help this team out in the place of an unfortunate happenstance that is as much out of anyone's control as a humid summer in Cincinnati.
When Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner came out of Game 2 in San Francisco, even after giving up several runs to let the Reds jump out in front, the crowd roared when he was pulled. They applauded his efforts, despite the result.
After the 5th inning on Wednesday, you could hear individuals at Great American Ball Park shouting negative things at the Reds players. Don't let those few who carry such pessimism define what a great city of baseball supporters this is. No one person should be heard in Game 5. Only Reds Country should be heard.
You've watched the 100+ games on TV with the 2nd-highest ratings in the majors, listened to Marty on the radio while you were driving, more of you came to the ballpark than any other year except the first year GABP was open, more merchandise and buy-in into this team's success has been seen in this city since Barry Larkin was still the starting shortstop. You've all followed this team to this point, don't give up on them now.
"I think our fans have a pretty interesting way of showing their support," Reds outfielder Jay Bruce said. "I understand being into the game and wanting the best for us, but sometimes it's hard to tell whether you're at home or on the road. Our fans are what make us go. It's why baseball and sports in general are so great -- the fans drive the teams. We want our fans on our side. We need our fans on our side."
That's Jay Bruce, one of the leaders of the team. Let him know that Game 5 is a home game.
So Reds fans, pass this on. E-mail this to your co-workers, post it on Facebook to your friends, tweet and re-tweet, make this go viral in the hours leading up to t. Get on your feet today. Stay on your feet. Cheer like you've never cheered. For each strike a Reds pitcher throws, for the foul balls that were almost fair, for the routine pop up outs the Reds get, for the amazing plays that Brandon Phillips makes look routine, for the pitchers that come, and for the ones that leave, for the close plays at first, for each and every hit, whether it's Votto or Hanigan that gets it. Whenever you hear a fan shout something negative, start shouting something positive before they can finish, and tell whoever you're with to join you. Drown out those doubters, and let the hopeful be heard. Cheer when cheering isn't called for.
Because at the end of the day, Mr. Red still can't hear you.
Go get 'em Cincinnati. Show the world we've got the best fans in the game. You know what? Don't do it for the world. Do it for the 25 men and coaches that call themselves the Cincinnati Reds. They need you more than they've needed you in the last 17 years.
First pitch is at 1:07 p.m.