10/08/12 8:10 PM ET
Reds hoping to feel love, respect as team
Players feel they've been shortchanged as one of the better clubs this season
By Adam McCalvy and Mark Clements / MLB.com
Game 3 starter Homer Bailey was the most emphatic Reds player on the subject, speaking out after his Sept. 28 no-hitter. He chided fans for the empty seats at Great American Ball Park, and the media for not paying more attention to a team that ran away with the NL Central.
"We keep listening about the 1970-whatever Reds," Bailey said. "But no one is taking about this team, and this rotation and the things that we've done, and the number of quality starts, the amount of innings -- the four guys over 200 and five guys making 30 starts.
"We don't necessarily try to get the attention, but I think what everybody is witnessing with this team is something special. It shouldn't go overlooked."
Was he right? Have the Reds been overlooked?
Second baseman Brandon Phillips treaded carefully.
"I don't know what to tell you -- maybe they were just watching in TV," Phillips said. "All you can do is hope they come out and hope we can go out and win. I hope they're there when we get back [from San Francisco]. I want to see a lot of red in the stands, and I'm not talking about the seats, either."
The Reds ranked right in the middle of Major League Baseball in 2012 attendance, finishing 16th both in total attendance (2,347,251) and average attendance (28,978). According to ESPN.com's stats resources, Great American Ball Park played at 68.5 percent capacity, 15th of the 30 teams.
You can expect the ballpark to be rocking for Game 3 on Tuesday, which airs at 5:30 p.m. ET on TBS.
Game 2 winner Bronson Arroyo is the Reds' longest-tenured player, and said he did not blame fans if they were a bit skeptical. After all, it had been 17 years since a postseason victory before the Reds took Game 1 of the NLDS on Saturday night. Two years ago, they were swept by the Phillies.
"We felt like we had a young, good ballclub and we go in and get smashed by the Phillies in three games," Arroyo said. "So it brings that doubt to this ballclub. We have the same lineup as we had at that time other than Ryan Ludwick, we haven't put up a lot of runs lately, and we have been scratching out runs really through the whole season. It's not like we have been going out there and beating teams down 12-2 every night.
"So, playing those tight ballgames and realizing that the playoffs are a little different it's going to take us to get through the first round for people to believe that this ballclub has what it takes to win a World Series."
Manager Dusty Baker described it even more simply: "I think the average person is not they don't want to set themselves up to be disappointed, really. It takes a while."
Cincinnati sun could be an issue in Game 3
CINCINNATI -- Not only will the Reds be battling a Giants club fighting for its life in Game 3 of the National League Division Series on Tuesday, but they'll also facing another foe that could potentially cause a stir -- the bright Cincinnati sun.
Nightfall arrives, on average, at 7:09 p.m. ET in Cincinnati. So with the first pitch slated for 5:30, the setting sun will likely be peeking just over the roof of Great American Ball Park at game time, continuing to radiate through the windows of the upper levels in the early innings.
The Reds have had zero games scheduled in the five-o'clock hour at home this season, and have played just four five contests that weren't definitively day or night games. They are 4-1 in those contests, but still feel the glaring sunlight could make an impact on Tuesday.
"Everybody is affected in some form," said Reds center fielder Drew Stubbs. "As a hitter, it's tough with the shadows trying to see the ball. In the outfield, being bright out there looking in to the shadows, it can be tough. It's a tough atmosphere for everybody involved."
Cincinnati has also committed just one error in those mid-afternoon games -- charged to third baseman Scott Rolen on Opening Day. Luckily for the Reds, their starting outfielders committed a combined total of just 12 errors in the regular season, and none so far in the postseason.
Entering the 2012 postseason, 18 of the 25 players on the Reds' roster had at least one game of playoff experience, totaling 129 games. With the exception of catcher Dioner Navarro, the Reds have used all the positions players on the postseason roster in the first two games of the NLDS.
Great American Ball Park gates will open at 3:37 p.m. ET for all fans. Full team introductions on the field will be at 5:15 and the first pitch is scheduled for 5:37. Reds Hall of Famer Tom Browning will throw out the ceremonial first pitch for Game 3 on Tuesday night.
Cincinnati-native singer, songwriter, actor, producer and television personality Nick Lachey will sing the national anthem and local jazz musician Kathy Wade will sing God Bless America during the seventh-inning stretch.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. Mark Clements is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.