Reds and Bengals throw us a d

Once the month of September comes rolling around, it looks a lot like “Groundhog Day” here in Cincinnati.

The Reds’ annual “play-out-the-string” has commenced, leaving all of us thankful that The Bengals are no longer a dread to watch.

First off, I would like to apologize. I’m a cynic when it comes to the Reds.

But shouldn’t I be? They’ve won one playoff series since 1990, and none since 1995. The 1999 team which won 96 games tied the dubious National League record for having the most wins in a regular season without going to the playoffs.

But I digress. Let’s fast forward to current-day Cincinnati, where the Reds have been near the top for virtually every offensive power category since Great American Ballpark opened in 2003. They are also near the top of most errors committed and blown saves. At times, it seemed like the little league team from Warner Robbins, G.a., could take a Todd Coffey fastball and put it in the right-center field gap.

Unfortunately, the opponents are also slamming the ball off of Reds pitching. And moving the runner over. Moving runners has been problematic, as the Reds have stranded many runners in scoring position.

It’s great to see the Reds score nine runs a game. But what does it matter when they give up 10 or 11?

When I was in New York visiting family this past summer, my cousins, my brother and I went to a Reds game at Shea Stadium in New York. When the Reds failed to get a runner on third in to score with nobody out, my cousin said to me, “It must be hard watching the Reds. Even our team can sacrifice a runner over.”

He’s 12.

So, here we are. Another meaningless September. We are well into the final month of the regular season, and the Reds have played their way out of contention in what is by far baseball’s worst division-in several years. After all, the three teams battling for the division title can barely hold a .500 record. Just think, if the Reds were five games under .500, they would be right in the thick of the National League race.

There is hope for next year. Brandon Phillips and Aaron Harang are the shining stars in an otherwise dismal, gray Cincinnati sky. Phillips could surpass Joe Morgan as the Reds’ greatest second baseman of all time, and Harang could win at least one Cy Young while he’s in town.

That is, if anyone notices him.

Here’s to April 2008 for our Loveable Losers. After all, even Tampa Bay isn’t out of the race on Opening Day.