CINCINNATI (FOX19) - The Reds are on a tear right now, with four consecutive series wins behind them and a shoe-in for the NL Cy Young strutting his stuff all the way to the dugout.
At this point in September, for the first time since 2013, it’s unlikely the Reds don’t make the playoffs, capping their regular season with a storybook end in a year that’s been anything but.
The personalities are on full display every time the team takes the field, from Trevor Bauer’s roars and Amir Garrett’s pep talks to Geno Suarez’s hair color and the understated antics of Joseph Daniel Votto.
But the heartbeat of the club might well reside elsewhere.
Great American Ball Park was nearly empty through the season, but it wasn’t quiet. The Reds grounds crew made sure of that. What began as a hilariously sparse cheering section (for a stadium that seats 44,000) became, with the help of a few well placed buckets, drumsticks and meme-worthy routines, one of the most entertaining scenes in sports.
To the home team, a never-ending serenade. To the away team, a nonstop cacophony.
“They’ve carried us at times where we need energy and something different,” Votto said after Wednesday’s game. “They make noise, cheer and talk mess. They’ve been fantastic all year, and we’re going to miss them. This was very fun.”
Votto added one unnamed opposing player told him how much he hated the grounds crew for making all that noise. No other ball park has anything like that this year, the player supposedly told him.
It’s hard to imagine the exchange without a smirk creeping up Votto’s face; he was the one who bought the crew their noisemakers.
“Just the energy behind it,” Reds Manager David Bell said. “It really has added a ton to our team.”
The star of the crew is Seth Augustyniak, nicknamed ‘the hustler’ by Jim Day.
“It’s pretty cool,” Augustyniak said.
Without a ball boy to track down foul balls this year, it’s a duty that fell on Augustyniak. He fulfilled it like a champ, sprinting to every stray ball as if the season depended on it.
His lone hiccup of the year? He did that at full speed too.
“I was on the way out, everything was normal,” Augustyniak recalled of the untimely face-plant Wednesday night. “And I was like, ‘I’m going to go for the tarp,’ and slipped and went out. I was like, ‘This is not good.’ Only my hip hit the wall. Only hurt my pride. Right away, I was like, ‘Oh no.’"
By the following night, in another of its gags, the grounds crew had chalked an outline of the incident like a crime scene.
That same night, following a victory over the Milwuakee Brewers, Bauer came out to thank the grounds crew for their efforts season-long.
“Those guys brought it all year,” Bauer said.
The Reds take on Minnesota away in the final series of the regular season beginning Friday.