Creeping Inexorably Toward A Worthwhile Sub-Heading.
Tuesday, February 10, 2004
I love comedy. Especially when it's unintentional. Take this example from the February 7th Cincinnati Post:
You can say their prospects for the coming season are bleak. You can say their payroll is too low, their owner is too cheap and their pitching is too soft. You can say they have about as much chance of reaching this year's World Series as Janet Jackson has of reaching next year's Super Bowl.
But please, don't even suggest that the Reds are facing a rebuilding year.
"That would not be an apt description," general manager Dan O'Brien said. "We have a hope and an expectation of trying to contend this year. But we also understand that a lot of that is going to revolve around how our starting pitching comes together."
Behold, the "Janet Jackson Memorial Metaphor Of The Week!" which in all its passé hilarity, pales beside the contention that the Reds are contenders. Dan O'Brien may be more delusional than that guy on Michigan Avenue in Chicago wearing the hand-sharpied sandwich boards declaring his latest discovery of communist conspiracy (my favorite: the one where Al Gore was kidnapped by the Viet Cong in the '70's and replaced with a communist double. "You can tell by the contrasting pictures! It's just not him anymore!").
But if you think that's good, lay your eyes on this genius:
The Reds were a solid 30-21 in one-run games, but you have to wonder how much better that record might have been -- not to mention their overall mark of 69-93 -- had they gotten the bunts down more often.
Bunts were why the Reds stank?!? Bunts!?! I'm not going to talk about the role luck plays in one-run games, others have covered it better than I could, but how could the author say they needed to improve in those situations when their record in one-run games was among the best in the Major Leagues? Only four teams (Giants, Red Sox, Cubs, Yankees) had a better record in that situation, so maybe the real problem is that the Reds were 39-72 when the margin of victory was greater than one. Bunts don't help when the opposition scores like Gene Simmons at a nympho convention.
Finally we have this....this....aw, geez, just read it.
"I would not want to identify a particular win total as a specific target goal," O'Brien said. "I just think there are a number of areas on the ballclub where we want to see tangible progress. First is starting pitching, and in particular our younger starting pitching. Second is that we want to improve our overall lineup, our offensive efficiency and our run production. Third is our overall defense, both on the infield and in the outfield. And fourth is our overall team execution."
Three things: pitching, hitting and defense. They're the root of the game. But, apparently, it's not enough for the Reds to be lousy at those, so they added a fourth thing to stink at.
Why talk about specific problems you hope to address during the season when you can't think of anything that's not a problem? It would be easier to say, "We feel like we need to improve in all aspects of the game, and we intend to make progress in every possible way." Easier, and far less depressing to your fan base than a laundry list of inadequacy.
Cincinnati has a "hope and an expectation of trying to contend this year?" Now that's comedy.