Monday, May 17, 2010

First Place in May is Big!

There are times I really convince myself the Reds are no longer as big a deal in Cincinnati as they were when I was a kid. Then comes this past weekend. The Reds take two out of three from the Cardinals, and move into first place. All of a sudden people who don't know a baseball from a ping-pong ball are walking on air! It's amazing! People who are not huge sports fans are talking about how neat it is the Reds are in first place. It is neat. It makes them relevant around the country and brings a source of pride to the city. Sometimes I forget how big the Reds can be in this area, because they've been down for so long. People have become frustrated, and apathetic. But one sliver of hope and an early season move into first place seems to have awaken the sleeping fan base. I doubt it has an immediate impact on the crowds at Great American Ball Park. After all, there is the expense coupled with skepticism. But the Reds have the fans taking notice again. If they hang around first place, I'm convinced the crowds will pick up. Even owner Bob Castellini said it the day he bought the team: if you win the fans in Cincinnati will respond. Now they have to keep winning. Johnny Cueto can help set the tone with another nice performance tonight.

While on the subject of winning, I've noticed the same thing about the Cyclones. It's a tougher nut for the Cyclones to crack because fans in a city with major league sports tend to get less excited for minor league teams. Playing Reading and Wheeling doesn't have the same magnetism to the casual sports fan as the Los Angeles Dodgers or the Chicago Cubs. But the Cyclones have brought the same sort of fan pride to those paying attention. The crowd of 5-thousand plus last Wednesday night for Game 7 of the Reading series was electric, fun, and would make any fan want to come back and see another game. And then there is the winning. Making it to the Kelly Cup finals two out of three years has casual fans taking notice that there is a professional organization in town that knows how to win. Plus we can relate to the minor league players since they are not highly paid and nothing is guaranteed. I expect big crowds this week, especially if the Cyclones have a chance to claim the Cup. That game 7 two years ago when they won it was incredible, and if they have a chance to do it again, you should be there.

By the way, the Cyclones Barrett Ehgoetz made a great point today on how the Cyclones were able to take the first two games in Boise. He said they had been playing for their lives the past week after falling behind Reading 3-0, and they just kept that same do-or-die attitude. Game 3 is Tuesday night, 4 is Thursday night, and 5 (if necessary) is Friday night at U.S. Bank Arena.

It was weird that only five times in professional hockey a team had come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a seven game series, then it happens twice last week. The Cyclones and the Philadelphia Flyers. The Flyers broke the hearts of the Boston Bruins after trailing the series 3-0, and trailing game seven 3-0!

Oh, my poor Preakness picks. Once again close, but you know what that gets you. I also look for a rested horse to mess things up in the Preakness, and I couldn't come up with one I liked well enough to play. I just missed my exacta, and I had two of the three in my trifecta, and three of the top five. So I'm not going to hammer myself too badly. But can someone tell me what the heck Dublin was doing making a right turn out of the gate? Something must have spooked him. Even though I had money on him I still had to laugh.

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