We all made fun of the Cincinnati Reds when they threatened the Cleveland Spiders as the worst team in baseball history and how can we resist? They were 3-22, their run difference was minus -237,661, and they have already lost 11 in a row and then nine in a row. They were perfect for our soft and uplifting music.
Well, we all doubted how it would end, and now it has. The team that was power-drilling to the core of the earth has now come out of their dive and won 11 of their last 19. Their age is now 14-30, which still reminds them of failure and liniment smoothies, but it’s only one game behind Washington, one and a half games in Detroit and two games behind Kansas City. Towards the end of the weekend they can’t even be the worst team of the year, let alone the worst team in history. Spiders are clearly a thing of the past.
Cincinnati’s latest odds were a 20-5 win over the Chicago Cubs on Thursday, and a team that lost two touchdowns three weeks ago needs at least the strength to be confused to win two touchdowns. The Six Reds drove multiple runs from a Kanga line in the Cubs pitcher, but the most interesting thing is that they trailed 3-0 after an innings and a half, which is a pretty reliable sign that they will lose this day.
But they were the old Caselini, and the new ones. In the traditional Walk-Single-Double-Walk-Mound Visit-Single-Pitching-Change-Abandon-Bunt-Single-International-Walk-Single-Triple-Single Catch, they scored twice for the second time, eight times for the third. Stolen-ground-out innings. They then scored 10 more runs in the fifth to eighth innings to let the Cubs know who the new boss in the division was.
To be sure, this would be a lie, as the Reds would have to win 11 out of 19 more times to reach the .500, and we feel relatively confident that Milwaukee or St. Louis will win more times and most of the NL West will play half of their game. Avoid losing. The Reds are unlikely to have a play-off run, but they have at least a league-average number of runs and a plus-29 run difference due to being bottom out. Pinocchio is starting to look like a real boy here.
Which, of course, made the video an overnight sensation. The cubs, as we have noticed, are smelly, and the pirates are half-playing on the stench. But third place can still be a story of glory and redemption on the ground of baseball, the failure of its owner after a team goes on rebound to the city with his rallying cry, “Go pound salt, you miscellaneous rustics.”
In all likelihood it will end in moderation because if baseball stands for anything, it stands for universal and average permanent regression. It’s harder to be a yankee, and harder to be a spider. Hell, the year after the Spiders went 20-134, there was no Spider either. The Reds will be a team that you stopped paying attention to once they stopped losing 88 percent of their games. But in Cincinnati, hope is born internally if not necessarily eternal. They may have been looking at someone else’s fan base on Sunday morning. And when they do, we’ll free the Hounds from the new worst baseball team because, well, that’s what you pay for the animals, don’t you?