Cincinnati Sports Fandom, Not for the Faint of Heart

What is it about Cincinnati sports?

I was born here, or more specifically, I was born in Hamilton. Ever since I comprehended sports I have called myself a fan of Cincinnati sports. I was a year old when the Reds completed their wire-to-wire run in 1990. I can’t even, really, claim that because, ya know, I was a baby.

I have known nothing but pain as a fan of the Queen City’s sports teams. You joke, you say melodramatic, but man, when sports is this close to your soul, you don’t just shrug this off.

Friday night’s ridiculous 12-11 loss by the Cincinnati Reds to the San Francisco Giants is a microcosm of what is Cincinnati sports fandom. Some city’s fans may say they have it worse, and sure, maybe Cleveland fans have an argument. However, as a city, they have a professional championship in the last 28 years.

Friday night was supposed to be a celebration of a talent the Reds have been expecting for four years. Nick Senzel debuted. With him came the thought of a jolt to the team, maybe an awakening. For a few innings, it felt that way. Then reality set in.

In 2012, the Cincinnati Reds were good. Do not let anyone tell you otherwise. In a strange twist of fate, the National League divisional round playoffs would be played in a manner where the lower seed would get the first two games at home with the higher seed getting the last three. The Reds won the first two in San Francisco, setting up a series clincher at Great American Ballpark in game three. Then reality set in.

It doesn’t even have to be the Reds, look at the University of Cincinnati men’s basketball team, in 2018. A two-seed in the tournament, they looked poised for a run. In the second round, they built a 20-point lead on Nevada, leading fans to begin figuring out Final Four paths. Then reality set in.

Probably the worst of all, in 2005, the Cincinnati Bengals had a Super Bowl contending team. You can count on one hand the number of teams you could describe that way, who have played in Cincinnati. Nevertheless, 2005 looked like the year. Carson Palmer was an all-pro quarterback, the defense was stellar, there were no holes in the team. Then Kimo Von Oelhoffen and reality set in.

Cincinnati sports fans can’t have nice things.

Friday was another reminder. You finally get to see the Reds bring their top prospect to the big leagues. A signal that the next phase, if not the final one, of the rebuild is in full effect. You build a crazy 8-0 lead early in the game. You finish the night now six games under .500. Reality set in.

When the Reds, Bengals, or Bearcats win a championship, it will truly be something to behold. I am not sure of how my mental state will be. Until then, I will grapple with the reality of being a Cincinnati sports fan.

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Mitch Said No!

THE most important thing in Cincinnati sports for 2017 happened Wednesday.

FC Cincinnati played some soccer against the Chicago Fire in a U.S. Open Cup match. The beloved FCC against the big brother MLS team from the Windy City. It took every second of the clock to figure out the winner…and then some penalty shots, but the good guys pulled off their biggest win of the franchise’s short history.

Orchestrating such a win was the team’s stellar goalie, Mitch Hildebrandt. Mitch said no…a lot. Like every single shot that came toward the net, except for a penalty shootout goal by Bastian Schweinsteiger. Soccer fans will remember that name as the former captain of the German national team in the World Cup a few years back.

Yeah, FCC beat down some big dogs on Wednesday.

A little unprofessional analysis:

  • Jimmy McLaughlin was the runner-up to Mitch for man of the match. Chicago was stuck on defense for the bulk of the time McLaughlin roamed the pitch.
  • Second highest attendance ever for the U.S. Open cup. No biggie. But, ya know, Cincinnati doesn’t have a big enough media market for some MLS pundits. Uh huh…
  • No Djiby, no problem. The man who leads FCC, by a wide margin, in goals scored was not present. They still found a way.

The underdogs now become the top dogs as FCC goes to Miami in a few weeks for the next round of the tournament. Miami is in the same boat as FCC as they are in an underling division looking to rise up.

Win in the Sunshine State and FCC is looking at a pairing with either New England or Philadelphia, both MLS teams.

Are FC Cincinnati done yet? Mitch says no!