This is going to be a fun season.

Reds Fever leading up to this Cincinnati summer is infectious – you’ve probably already come down with a case of it. And although you are reticent to admit it, it’s for good reason.

Now, I don’t know if you want a statistical position-by-position breakdown of the roster. If you do, you have the wrong column – that’s not what I want to talk about. There are plenty of places you can go to find analysis like that, or you could just listen to [EPSN 1530’s] Mo Egger on the radio for a week. He’ll have it. I don’t think that’s why you read this column, but more on that later.

I grew up here in the eighties. Back then, this was still a “baseball city.” The question of the day was, as in other baseball cities, “Hey, what did the Reds do today?”

Not so much these days.

What’s ironic is the team that occupies the neighboring stadium (perceived by most as the city’s most despotic regime) has made it much more about the joy and despair of the Bengals in the fall and winter, instead of the Reds in the summer.

It’s not your fault, though. Let’s be honest – the NFL is a monster. It’s the most popular sport in the country for a reason. It’s exciting, fantasy teams are easier to manage and it’s only a 16-game regular season. You don’t get as much of it. And as true guys, we all want more than we can get.

For its part, Major League Baseball has done a great job. They added the Wild Card, and will continue with two more teams soon, which is another great move. Just two more games tacked on to the season, keeping two more markets in the hunt. Genius.

Both the NFL and MLB have endured their fair share of scandal, but that’s not the reason we favor football over baseball. We can all scream steroids and strikes, but in the end we all watch what entertains us. Hell, Chris Brown just performed at the Grammys, probably no more than 100 feet from the woman he practically beat half to death. Yet they put him out there, every year. Why? It’s because you watch. It gets ratings. That, in turn, brings in the money. We are enamored by the spectacle.  You only see football games a couple of times a week during the fall and half of the winter. Baseball is played every day (save two) in the summer. It’s always there if we want it.

But baseball is our national pastime and no matter how popular the NFL is, it will never claim that title. That is the point of this column – that this can once again be a “baseball town.” You read this magazine for style and substance, and I’m more of a perspective type of guy. That’s probably why you’re here, or you clicked the wrong headline. I don’t want to take you from football. My hope is for you to feel what us baseball fans do at this time each year.

I want to see this town the way I remembered it growing up. When Pete Rose became the game’s greatest hitter. When Eric Davis smoked five grand slams. When the Reds beat the Astros in Houston on an opening day in April of 1990 and never looked back. When Barry Larkin won the National League’s second-most coveted award. The Hunt for Reds October in those few special years made this city electric. We felt it two years ago, but never saw it coming. This time we can feel confident in the optimism that this upcoming spring, the season of renewal, brings us. It can restore this city as a Reds city once again. And we can enjoy every minute of it.

This one belongs to you.