If Cincinnati Had to Pick a Side, Which Side Would They Choose?
By Tony Gerdeman
You might want to sit down for a second because I know when you read this you are going to be rocked to your very foundation as a sports fan.
On Tuesday, the Cincinnati Reds will be honoring coach John Calipari and his national champion Kentucky Wildcat basketball team prior to the Reds' game against the San Francisco Giants.
Why? Because Cincinnati has always loved them some University of Kentucky.
That's right, despite being Ohio's proudest professional sports franchise, with fans from all over the state, the Cincinnati Reds will be honoring another state's sports team.
"But Cincinnati is on the Kentucky border, and is less than 90 miles away from Lexington," they say.
So what. Borders are there for a reason.
I understand that there are a lot of Reds fans who are also Kentucky basketball fans, but that doesn't mean the Reds themselves have to proudly acknowledge it.
There should be shame here, not pride. This should be a dirty little secret, not a cause for a parade.
To paraphrase Cincinnati's beloved Sam Wyche, you don't live in Kentucky, you live in Ohio!
I understand that the Reds organization wants to drum up business, and appealing to a much larger and more rabid fanbase is one way to do that. That doesn't make it right, however.
It's displays like these that keep real Ohioans labeling your city "Cincitucky", which you hate. If you hate being called "Cincitucky", then stop being Cinci-freaking-tucky!
Your attitude says one thing, while your actions continue to say the exact opposite.
Cincinnati is like a family who gets made fun of for keeping raccoons in their house, but instead of getting rid of the racoons, they embrace it and say, "Well, if they're going to make fun of us for keeping raccoons in our house, we may as well just keep on keeping raccoons in our house."
No! Get rid of the raccoons!
Yet, despite coming to terms with this arrangement, they'll still get mad when you point out the fact that they have raccoons living in their house.
This is why Ohio doesn't like you, Cincinnati.
Now, in the interests of full disclosure, I am not a fan of any professional sports franchises in Ohio, other than the Columbus Blue Jackets, but even that fandom could be called into question due to my lack of watching a single game this past season.
And in further disclosure, I became a fan of Chicago teams in 1981 because my tee ball team's name was the Cubs. It had nothing to do with geography, nor did it obviously have anything to do with picking a winner. It was just a child's mistake.
But then my being a fan of teams in other states is okay, because I am not a city.
I am also not a sports franchise honoring another state's sports team. I am an outlier. In studies, my results would be thrown out, as they should be.
The city of Cincinnati has long been home to a series of tributaries that flow together to form one polluted river of sports fans. It might be time to set that river on fire. It worked for Cleveland, after all.
I know nothing that I write here will change anything going on down in Cincinnati. And no, it's not because the internet hasn't yet reached the Queen City—it's because inbreeding of sports teams is nearly an impossible thing to breed out.
It's certainly never going to happen while the Cincinnati Reds are providing the oysters and alcohol, and suggesting everyone play 'Spin the Bottle' at family reunions.
I understand that there are Kentucky fans who are Cincinnati Reds fans, and I am perfectly fine with that, but that doesn't mean the Reds organization has to reciprocate.
Did the Detroit Lions honor the Ohio State football team in 2003? Cats would sooner honor dogs.
If the Michigan Wolverines were to somehow win a national championship, would any professional franchise in Cleveland honor them?
Of course they wouldn't.
Now, maybe the Toledo Mud Hens would, but then they're also a minor league franchise.
Ah, now I get it.
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