DEJA VU (40 YEARS) ALL OVER AGAIN
To those of you loyal readers of Better Off Red, as well as my followers on Twitter, you’re aware by now of my comparison of the 2012 Reds with the 1972 Reds.
My initial reasoning for making this comparison was to calm down the calamity howlers who said the season was over in April after the Reds sputtered to a 9-11 mark and found themselves 4.0 games out of first place. I knew this team was good and I needed to find some evidence to back me up. That’s when I ran smack dab into the 1972 Reds.
The early correlation to ’72 and ’12 was purely coincidental. The 1970 Reds were really good (102-60). The 1971 Reds were a disappointment (79-83). In 1972, no one knew what to expect. The ’72 club made lots of offseason moves and got off to a rough start. Fans were ready to write them off in April – even booing Johnny Bench when he batted .209 with 2 homers and 8 rbi in the season’s first month.
Same thing for the 2012 Reds. The 2010 Reds were really good (91-71). The 2011 team was a disappointment (79-83). What Reds team would show up in 2012? After big offseason moves, our current Redlegs couldn’t quite get it going early, could they? Twitter took the opportunity to type out the team’s obituary.
Then a funny thing happened. As the sun came out and spring turned into summer, the 2012 Reds began winning and winning some more. Suddenly the “cautionary tale” about why one shouldn’t give up too early on his/her favorite team became a word for word, stat by stat, win by win, uncanny comparison. Or is it a full-fledged reincarnation?
We have lots of baseball still to play and I’d be a fool to pat myself on the back now for what was a lucky shot-in-the dark in April. But here we are, 103 games in and the Reds have the best record in baseball (62-41). Cincinnati is 3.0 games up on the Pirates – who are also playing terrifically. The city is justifiably upbeat, especially after a 100% 10-game stretch accomplished 100% without the team’s best player. April 2012 seems like it happened 40 years ago (because it did).
Oh and what about that ’72 team after 103 games? Well, they led the NL West by 7.5 games with a 64-39 mark – the second-best record in baseball trailing only behind the NL East’s Pirates (65-39).
Don’t give up on your team. Not 5 games into the season, not 20 games in, not 103, never. Go Reds!
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