Hartman: Since a woeful start to the season, the Reds are dramatic, persistent and fun under Riggleman

Credit: John Boyle

Credit: John Boyle

These Reds are nothing if not persistent, eh?

Well, that and dramatic.

Fun, too.

So this 2018 Cincinnati squad is persistent, dramatic and fun.

What else could you ask for from a sports team?

Well, winning while doing all that would be ideal I guess, but Rome wasn’t built in a day.

After two disheartening losses in Chicago, the Reds have taken two from the front-running Indians.

Tuesday night was one for the ages, a seven-run rally in the ninth inning to stun the AL Central leaders and clinch a series victory in the first round of the 2018 Ohio Cup.

>>RELATED: 4 times the Reds have come from behind to beat the Indians in the 9th inning

(As an aside, I'm wondering if the majority of Reds fans would rather beat the Cubs or the Indians. Email me if you have thoughts on this subject.)

This team still has its foibles, but it’s also a hell of a lot of fun to follow right now.

We have already reviewed what actually turning into a competitive team means for the rest of this season and the future.

>>RELATED: There’s still work to do for Reds front office

Continuing to lose 80 percent of their games could have set this franchise back another three or four years.

Instead, they often look like they are in position to jump into contention next season (though not without a few shrewd moves between now and then... and a lot of fielding practice, too).

Whether or not he is the manager then remains to be seen, but Jim Riggleman deserves to be praised for accomplishing the No. 1 thing he needed to do for these players: Restore their sense of pride. 

Few would have batted an eye if the Reds went quietly into the night Tuesday in Cleveland.

The odds were long, and they hadn’t gotten much shorter by the time two were out, but they pushed on and recorded another great memory in a season that not long ago looked like it would be fully forgettable.

The Reds haven’t played with this spirit since at least 2012.

Call it a hangover from blowing a 2-0 lead in the playoffs against the Giants.

Call it not having enough good players.

You know, whatever.

Something has just been off for about half a decade.

They sleepwalked to a wild card in 2013 before being put out of their misery in Pittsburgh.

I thought firing Dusty Baker might wake them up, but obviously that wasn’t the case.

Ultimately Bryan Price didn't seem to fix any of the issues from the end of the (mostly positive) Baker era. (Price also also had even less to work with, but that's beside the point. Neither manager exactly maxed out his roster.)

>>The right and wrong reactions to the Reds’ firing their manager

And now we’re a couple of months into the Riggleman era...

The Reds still should and likely will explore all their options when it comes to the manager for 2019, but the man has left his mark on the franchise.

Ninety percent of the game is half mental, as Yogi Berra (probably) once said, and these Reds have developed a never-say-die attitude that was lacking for a long time.

They’ll need that for when the games start mattering in the standings again.

For now, baseball is fun again — in every corner of the state.

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