No. 23: Cincinnati Reds

Ultimate Standings 2012

Updated: September 6, 2012, 5:39 PM ET
By Doug Mittler | ESPN The Magazine

Last year's rank: 15
Title track: 46
Ownership: 16
Coaching: 101
Players: 43
Fan relations: 44
Affordability: 21
Stadium experience: 62
Bang for the buck: 21

The Cincinnati Reds vaulted 28 spots to 15th in our 2011 Ultimate Standings and remain a top-25 team this year, though the fans have all sorts of problems with Dusty Baker, long a target of sabermetricians. The Reds' fifth-year manager suffered a 47-spot free fall in the coaching category after Cincinnati failed to make the playoffs for the second straight year. Despite the team's runaway success this season, there are still Facebook pages and Twitter sites calling for Baker's dismissal, including a Twitter account that asks if you are "tired of questionable line-ups, too-late pitching changes, & utter buffoonery." Reds fans are pretty happy otherwise. There is notable support for CEO Bob Castellini, No. 16 in ownership, the best of any of the team's categories. Average attendance at the Great American Ball Park has risen from around 21,000 in 2009 to more than 29,000 this season. No trip to the park is complete without a visit to the Reds Hall of Fame, which has added an exhibit for newly inducted Hall of Famer Barry Larkin. Another nice addition is a hi-def video wall just inside the main gates at Crosley Terrace. Great American also offers plenty of culinary delights, even if some would make a nutritionist cringe. New this season is a State Fair Ground concession that includes hand-dipped corn dogs, fried pickles and fried bologna sandwiches. For fans looking for standard fare, a hot dog still can be had for a buck.

Doug Mittler

Rumor Central