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Doc: Reds the New Bungles


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Paul Daugherty gives up.


Play of Reds has us falling down laughing - á la 1990s Bengals

It wasn't personal, and I wish sincerely I didn't have to do it. But about five runs into the Reds' spectacular 10th-inning meltdown Friday, I started laughing. Think of it as an act of self-preservation. Consider trying it yourself.

Slam your skull against the wall long enough, all you get is a headache. I'm out of Advil, so the serious portion of the program is officially on hiatus. From now until the Reds begin playing consistently well, which probably is never, it's strictly one-liners and rim shots from me. Is better to laugh than to cry, no?

I did this with the '90s Bengals. After five seasons of sublime Bengals futility, I ran out of synonyms for "lousy" and started writing jokes. I'd amuse myself with leaf raking, or watching real NFL games on TV in the press lounge. I'd try to predict when the inevitable Bengal Moment would occur, that singular, sad-funny play that crystallized yet another defeat.

After a Bengal Moment, there would be no disputing the outcome. At that point, you could cut your losses, turn off your TV and limit a three-hour beatdown to two hours, or maybe one ridiculous half.

The Oscar for Best Bengal Moment came during the second game of the 2002 season, a year in which Our Men came in at 2-14, truly a highlight of the Lost Decade Era. The Bengals were driving in Cleveland when then-quarterback Gus Frerotte was chased from the pocket. Frerotte reacted by improvising a left-handed pass which, naturally, a Brown named Kenard Lang intercepted and returned 71 yards.

The press box erupted in spontaneous laughter.

But we digress.

We're approaching Bengaldom with the Reds now. The need for levity looms, if only because it is better to laugh than to cry. As the Reds hurtle headlong into pre-Marvin Bengaldom, as they do their best Wile E. Coyote imitation, zipping toward the cliff believing firmly that a bridge will appear magically, one fact is irrefutably clear:

We have to play better, Marty.

As the Reds rocket toward their seventh consecutive losing season, this seems to be the consensus.

If there is a signature line for the Reds' prolonged, um, rebuilding, let that be the line. From Bob Boone to Dave Miley to Jerry Narron, the utterance of that enlightening phrase - to Marty Brennaman before every game - has fairly summed up the state of things.

Not, "It's my fault we keep making the same stupid mistakes." Not, "I take responsibility for the fact our defense is offensive." Surely not, "The bucks might be in the players' pockets, but the buck stops here."

Nope. We have to play better, Marty.

You get variations on this, depending on who's speaking. It could be, "We have to turn it around/get it going/play the way we're capable." It might be, "We're better than how we've played. We've got to win some games."

We can't promote Homer Bailey, though. He's not ready. Certainly, he isn't as prepared as Mike Stanton.

We can't put Kyle Lohse in the bullpen and promote Phil Dumatrait or Bobby Livingston. We can't actually bench players who make boneheaded plays, even as we've vowed to eliminate boneheadedness. (Except when we scapegoat Edwin Encarnacion.) We can't say, as Colorado Rockies president Keli McGregor did last week: "The questions about the team are fair. I know the fans want results. There's no excuse."

We can't admit to overvaluing the talent on hand or making some silly contract decisions or that, honestly, we need to Hindenburg this whole deal and start from scratch.

What do you say about a club whose finest moment came in January, at RedsFest? Whose best asset is its broadcast team? (Oh, my goodness.)

A club that, after Friday's spectacular, truly Moment-ous meltdown, sits alone as the worst team in the game? Which looks toward the rest of the season - my god, four months! - with a shrug and a sigh?

We've got to play better, Marty. Until "we" do, it's time to crank out some comedy. Is better to laugh than to cry, no?

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What sucks is in baseball, when your favorite team stinks, you have to watch them explode 162 times a year whereas in football you only have to watch 16 weeks of heartache.

On a side note, I am tired of watching the Reds play team after team with young talent that is playing well, where the player spent one, maybe 2 years in the minors and is already playing in the Majors. Yet the Reds insist on keeping some of their best players, not just minor league best players, I mean best players in the entire organization, in the minors. Does anyone that hasn't had a full frontal lobotomy think that Eric Milton is a better pitcher than Homer Baily or Dumatrait? I mean seriously! Put your best 9 players on the field night in/night out and see what happens. Until the Reds start doing that, the organization is fully responsible for where the Reds are at today.

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Funny article... Why ?? Because there is humor in truth and the Reds SUCK !!! I still love going to watch games, but who expects to show up and see your team lose ?? Anyway, this is rediculous... Oh yeah, I agree with the season being worse when there are so many games to play and your team blows monkey nuts...


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