Cincinnati Reds Demonstrate How To Win In Small Market

In 1869, on June 1st,  the Cincinnati Red Stockings became the first team of professional ball players who were paid to play baseball.  They defeated an amateur team, the Mansfield Independents, by a score of forty-eight to fourteen, which is why the home opener was traditionally played in Cincinnati.  It is a small market team that has managed to put together solid teams in every decade surrounded by periods of futility.  Even the Yankees experience lean times every so often as the 80’s belonged to the Mets in the city of New York.  Once again, the Reds are atop their division and must be considered the favorites heading in to the playoffs.  How is it, this small market team has managed to win five World series, (three since the mid seventies), and has put some of the greatest teams on the field that baseball has ever seen, (The Big Red Machine).  The answer is, despite not having the payroll of the Yankees, Dodgers, or Mets, the Reds have done a great job of establishing talent on their farm teams.  They have looked for homegrown talent, Rose, Griffey and Griffey Jr come to mind.  That, plus some good trades have resulted in many great teams.  Not every player wants to play in the major markets, (NY, Chicago, LA).  They forgo some financial benefits, (silly when they’re still making millions),  for a quieter way of life and the Reds have always seized on that.  But most importantly, the Reds love consistency.  When they find franchise players who fit in to the organization, they lock them in, Joey Votto is the most recent example.  Another example, is the shortstop position.  Davey Concepcion was a tremendous shortstop, better defensively than offensively, but he could hold his own with a bat.  When he retired in 1988, the Reds already had Barry Larkin, whose career average was almost 30 points higher than Concepcion.  Both men played nineteen seasons, all for the Reds.  Almost four decades covered by only two men at the shortstop position.  With free agency that’s rather incredible.  The 2012 roster is another great combination of young kids and cagey veterans.  The franchise is of course Joey Votto but even with him on the DL for part of the season, the Reds continued to win, demonstrating the depth of the team.  With players, like Jay Bruce, Brandon Phillips, Ryan Ludwick, Aroldis Chapman and Votto, the Reds will be a force to be reckoned with in the playoffs and World Series should they get there.  They also have the nucleus to compete for the top spot in the division for years to come.  All of the futile clubs including big market teams like the Cubs, and Mets and smaller market teams, like the Twins and Indians, should take a lesson from the Reds playbook on how to build a winning team.

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