The Cincinnati Reds are the 2010 NL Central division champions.
I’ll repeat: The Cincinnati Reds are the 2010 NL Central division champions.
Who in their right mind could have predicted this back in March? The Reds’ goal was to play over .500. Progress was the key.
Well, the team that never quits sped up the progress tenfold.
The offense led the NL in the most important categories for the vast majority of he season. The pitching staff is overloaded with above-average starters. The bullpen was up-and-down, but never let the team down in an important game.
GM Walt Jocketty has done an excellent job of blending young studs with wily veterans. Nobody liked the Scott Rolen trade at the time, but now it looks brilliant. His wisdom and leadership really lit a fuse under the losing mentality that had plagued the franchise for 15 years.
Since the trade, the Reds are 97-63 when Rolen starts.
The biggest reason for success is the leading candidate for the National League’s Most Valuable Player, Joey Votto, who has gone above and beyond all expectations placed on him this year.
He ranks second in the NL with a .325 batting average, third in home runs with 37, and third in RBI at 111. He has been a force in the middle of a potent lineup. He has played an excellent first base, possibly worthy of a Gold Glove.
Speaking of Gold Gloves, Brandon Phillips is in line for his second. He made his first All-Star team and has drank the hustle Kool-Aid. His numbers have fallen since hurting his wrist, but don’t be mistaken—he had a career year.
Johnny Gomes didn’t have a contract offer from any team until the day before spring training began. He lead the NL in RBI at one point in late May.
Miguel Cairo, Arthur Rhodes, and Orlando Cabrera were considered washed up, and now all three of them will play pivotal roles in October.
For the sixth time in seven years, and with five different teams, Cabrera will be going to the postseason. His ability to stabilize the shortstop position offensively has been a huge asset.
With the Reds’ rotation getting younger with Johnny Cueto, Travis Wood, Edinson Volquez, Homer Bailey, and Mike Leake, it was Bronson Arroyo who was old reliable.
Arroyo was a steady veteran presence that could be counted on to deliver every fifth day. He set a career high with 16 wins, and has pitched at least 200 innings every year as a Red. He is the No. 1 starter.
Mike Leake may have been shut down for the rest of this season, but his eight wins are nothing to sneeze at. He was the Reds’ best starter in the month of May.
Travis Wood almost threw a no-hitter against the defending NL champs in his third major league start. Incredible!
It’s hard to believe that Aaron Harang was the opening day starter back in the beginning of April. Sad to think that he won’t even make the 25-man playoff roster, but that’s another testament to how spectacular the pitching has been.
The beauty of the Reds is in their bench. Cabrera got hurt, Paul Janish stepped up, and the team didn’t miss a beat. Ditto with Chris Heisey.
The two-headed RH combo at catcher has kept both players fresh. Ramon Hernandez has hovered around .300 all season while playing stellar defense. When Hernandez gets hurt or Bronson Arroyo is starting, Ryan Hannigan steps in and puts up similar numbers.
Then there is the $30 million phenom.
Aroldis Chapman exploded onto the scene in September and will be a Red for at least the next five seasons. He may not have contributed a whole lot to the ’10 club, but Chapman will be a vital component for the playoffs and beyond. He is spoiled with winning already.
Then there’s Dusty Baker, one of only two managers to win a division title for three different National League teams; he seemingly pulled all the right strings for his club. He stuck with youngsters Jay Bruce, Nick Massett, and Drew Stubbs. He never called out a player or had a blowup caught on camera.
Don’t forget owner Bob Castellini. He famously said, “We are here to bring winning baseball back to Cincinnati” back when he took over in 2006. It may have taken a few years, but he made good on his promise.
The lost decade is over.  Nine straight losing seasons is history. The Reds are legit once again and are relevant to the rest of the nation. Cincinnati really is a “baseball town,” and record setting attendance in August proves it.
The entire 2010 Cincinnati Reds organization deserves credit.
It took a total team effort by everybody from the front office brass to the ball boy: The long-term vision from the top, the guts of the manger, the focus and superb talent of the players. Put it all together and you have one scrappy bunch of winners.
Congrats Reds, you did it.

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