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Sports Opinion: Cincinnati fans unite

By Caleb Childers
On October 28, 2012

While cities like Boston, New York and Los Angeles dominate the ESPN headlines, small market cities such as Cincinnati continue to do things their way. The sports tradition of Cincinnati is something as unique to the city as the beautiful taste of Skyline chili.
Cincinnati's sports roots go all the way back to 1869 when the Cincinnati Red Stockings became the first ever professional baseball team. Because of this distinction, Cincinnati has always been a baseball town and continues to be one to this day. People in Cincinnati love their Reds, and being a Reds fan is something that is passed down from generation to generation. Our grandparents talk about the days of Ted Kluszewski while our parents talk about the "Big Red Machine," and now it's our turn to talk about Joey Votto and Johnny Cueto.
History is a major theme in Cincinnati and Reds fans love their traditions. Every year the team opens the season at home, and tickets for opening day are hard to come by. It's a city holiday that is unique to Cincinnati and symbolizes the love of their team.
The Reds have a fan base that spreads from Indiana to West Virginia and all the way down to Kentucky and Tennessee. This group of fans may not have the convenience of seeing their team play all the time, but they're as passionate a group as any other team has.
It is true that Reds games are not as well attended as other teams, but for a small market team, having 2,347,000 fans come into the ballpark is a respectable number. The Reds finished just below the Braves in average attendance and no one ever doubts the passion of Atlanta fans. This number becomes even more impressive when you look at the size of each city and see that Cincinnati is just over half the size of Atlanta.
While the Reds are the face of Cincinnati sports, their downtown neighbors are still beloved by the city. The Bengals have only had three playoff appearances in the last 21 seasons, but the city still loves and roots for its team. Every year, Bengals fans still gather together on Sundays to watch their team. Even long distance fans text and call each other to discuss how the team is doing. Sure, Mike Brown is possibly the worst owner in all of sports and sure the team is referred to as "the bungals," but they are still a major part of the Cincinnati sports tradition.
In the late 1990s the Bengals threatened to leave the city if they did not have a new stadium built, which is a common threat in American sports. The city agreed to pay for almost the entire stadium with public funds in order to keep the hometown team. If the city did not care about the Bengals, would they have built Paul Brown Stadium?
So maybe the Reds and the Bengals are not the most successful teams in the country, and maybe their attendance is not at the level of New York or Boston. But these two teams are a part of the heart and soul of the city of Cincinnati, and their fans love them in good times and bad.


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