Party like it’s 1995: Reds are playoff bound

The Cincinnati Reds clinched the 2010 National League Central Division championship on Tuesday and did it in dramatic fashion courtesy of Jay Bruce’s walk-off home run against the Houston Astros.

The only thing about this walk-off, however, is that not a single Reds player walked off the field. Rather, they stayed there for several minutes to celebrate the organization’s first playoff birth since 1995 when the Reds won the inaugural NL Central crown.

Yes, it’s really been 15 years (although the ’99 Reds who won 96 games and lost a one-game “playoff” for the wildcard will always have a special place in our hearts as Reds fans).

I’ll have much more tomorrow on what led to this semi-surprising playoff run, but I wanted to get a big CONGRATS up to the Reds and to all my fellow Reds fans who suffered through the dark years. It’s been an amazing season and Cincinnati – one of the best baseball towns in the country – certainly deserves this.

And it really wouldn’t have mattered if the Reds “backed” into the playoffs with a loss tonight coupled with a Cardinals loss, but man was it a lot more fun this way. Doing it with a walk-off jack was absolutely the perfect way to clinch and it’s good to see it was Bruce who is a key cog if the team wants to make any noise in the postseason. Bruce has been on fire lately and he stepped up with what will always be one of the most-memorable moments of his life tonight.

As I’m writing this blog the Reds’ players are going nuts with the champagne, goggles, NL Central champs T-shirts and the whole deal. In other words, I’m loving every second of it. I’m one of those people who rarely if ever miss a game on TV or radio no matter how bad the Reds are and this is extremely rewarding to all the Redleg fans out there.

And kudos to the 30,000+ that showed up to support the team tonight and it’s great to see them rewarded for coming down to the park.

OK, partying like it’s 1995 is fun. But maybe the Reds can take it one step further and fiesta as if it’s 1990. Yes, I’m getting ahead of myself. But dammit, that’s the fun of making the playoffs. Once you’re in, anything can happen. The Reds are already in the final eight of Major League Baseball. I hope they can stay away from the Phillies in the first round, but the bottom line is that they exceeded everyone’s expectations and made this an extremely memorable season.