Editor’s Note: Reds fan Mike Mundy e-mailed this to me on Tuesday morning and it seemed to be a perfect complement to Studes’ Game in Review: Reds vs. Mets using Win Probability Added. So first the objective, then the subjective. Enjoy.
Driving to Cincy, I’m listening to Mark Patrick, Buck Martinez, and Larry Bowa on XM Radio’s baseball talk station. I think I’m gonna like having the MLB package this summer. It’s like ESPN radio with fewer breaks and no NBA talk. All baseball, all the time.
Once I get closer to the city, I tune in to the Big One and listen to Willy Cunningham scream and yell about steroids to Andy Furman. Cunningham gets on my nerves because he’s such a loud obnoxious moron. I can’t help but like Furball though. The highlight? Cunningham accusing the 6’3″ 240 (ding!) Tracy Jones – 185 in his playing days – of using steroids in his tongue.
I hear reports that tickets are going from $100-$1,000 on the street, which is more than the $50 I had planned on. Once I park (4th & Elm garage) I start the ticket search. The first scalper I see doesn’t have any. Neither does the 2nd. The 3rd guy actually laughs at me when I ask if he’s got any tickets. By the time the 4th scalper tells me he hopes I can find a ticket, I am pretty damn worried. I see a guy at 3rd and Vine who doesn’t have any, but he points me to a guy who does. This scalper has some tickets and asks if I want to sit or stand. I say, “Just get me inside,” and he says, “Ok – a hundred bucks.” Done (or is it Dunn?) deal. I’m just happy to get my hands on a ticket at this point.
I get inside at around 12:30 (90 minutes before game time) and the place is already buzzing. I’m not sure if it’s Pedro, the weather, or what, but people are excited. I find a decent place to stand behind 3rd base and wait for the action.
Once the game starts, I soon realize that these “fans” are pissing me off. Nobody will stay in their seat – during innings, even during at-bats, people are walking in and out of the seats (and doing a great job of blocking my view). I’d move to the Sun Deck, but that place is more crowded than the beergarden at Strassenfest at 11 PM on Friday night.
Well, Kaz Matsui hit a HR to bring in the new season. Luckily, the Reds have Dunn up with Griffey and Casey on base and 2 down. Dunn gives Pedro a case of whiplash, the Reds are up 3-1, and the crowd LOVES it. Unfortunately, the crowd then started a LOUD chant of “Who’s your daddy?” At the time, I remember thinking, “Why are we pissing off a future HOF pitcher?”
Then the answer comes. Immediately after the HR:
K (Randa), end of 1st
K (Wilson), end of 2nd
K (Kearns), end of 3rd
F8 (Aurilia) – breaks the streak – end of 4th
6-4-3 DP (Casey)
Wow. After the chant, Pedro throws 5 1/3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 12(!) K. Maybe he’s not the right guy to taunt.
Beltran hits a HR, then the Reds ‘pen goes to work. Miley brings Mercker in to pitch to Floyd (who doesn’t really have a platoon split). The Big Red Dog promptly hits a HR. Thank God Beltran was picked off earlier in the inning.
Bottom 9th – I’ve moved to behind the plate because there are some openings there. Austin starts things off with a little floater over the right side. Dunn strides to the plate and after he takes care of business, the place is going NUTS. I mean, it’s pandemonium. The crowd starts to settle down as Randa works his way into a full count. When he hits the ball, the place goes crazy again, because THIS ONE BELONGS TO THE REDS! Everyone is high-fiving, jumping around, and acting like idiots (myself included). I think I saw a mailman hugging a dog like at the end of “The Naked Gun.”
The walk back to the car was great – everyone in great spirits, thinking that maybe this team has what it takes. On the way home, I catch some of the postgame before switching back to the XM and listening to Dibble talk about it with Kevin Kennedy.
All in all, a great game. I still can’t believe they won. I’m riding a hot streak: the Reds were 4-20 in the last 24 games I went to before last September. That is not a typo – 4 and freakin’ 20. In the past 3 games though, they are 2-1. I think I’ve turned the corner and I am no longer “The Cooler” when it comes to the Redlegs.
I gotta run – but remember, the Reds are in first place. Great feeling.