2010 NL CENTRAL CHAMPIONS
For Cincinnati (88-69) this is their first division title and first playoff appearance since 1995 and based on their victory celebration, it must be a sweet feeling.
And the playoff berth also means the Reds are now officially a 21st century playoff team. They follow in the footsteps of the Texas Rangers who just a few days ago clinched their first playoff berth in the new millennium. The Rangers had been absent from postseason since 1999.
So now the list of teams who are yet to make the playoffs in the 2000s has dwindled down to five. They are:
- Washington Nationals: Last playoff appearance was in 1981 (as the Montreal Expos).
- Kansas City Royals: Last playoff appearance was in 1985.
- Pittsburgh Pirates: Last playoff appearance was in 1992.
- Toronto Blue Jays: Last playoff appearance was in 1993.
- Baltimore Orioles: Last playoff appearance was in 1997.
As for the future of the above five-- only the Blue Jays (81-76) will end up with a winning record this season and probably have the best chance for next season. The Orioles have gotten a new lease on life under new manager Buck Showalter. They are 30-22 under Showalter and have given their fans some hope for next season also.
The Nationals, Pirates and Royals still have a LONG way to go. But we never know because as the Tampa Bay Rays have shown, it is possible to build a championship-caliber team with the youth movement. So I'm sure these teams are hoping the Rays' magic rubs off on them too.
But we'll have to wait and see.
For now we know it'll be a Red October as the Reds have finally ended their drought and punched their ticket for the postseason.
Is this the birth of a new Big Red Machine?
We'll soon find out.
Photos courtesy of Getty Images