October 6, 2012

The Reds’ old pine cup

Alfredo Simon celebrates the Reds’ winning of the 2012 National League Central division by dousing himself from the pine cup.

On the night the Cincinnati Reds clinched the National League Central division, you may have seen some images of players with a brass cup during the celebration, including Alfredo Simon and Bronson Arroyo. Everyone was gathered around it at some point.

The Cincinnati Reds partied in the clubhouse following their 2012 NL Central win.

At first, I thought it was an official trophy for winning first place. While I didn’t remember ever seeing anything like that in past years, I assumed it was something new. Until yesterday’s article from Mark Sheldon about the cup. The cup is the player’s own invention and sprung from not winning the Ohio Cup against the Cleveland Indians.

“We were 3-0 in Cincinnati. Each day we came to the ballpark in Cleveland, we were trying to get the Ohio Cup,” Reds left fielder Ryan Ludwick explained on Friday. “Day 1, we didn’t get it. Day 2, we didn’t get it. And Day 3, we had three chances and we didn’t get the cup. There were some people upset we didn’t get the cup, me being one of them.

“A couple of us came up with the idea of having a cup for every series.”

And from that, an imaginary cup for each series was created.

In Chicago, it was called the “Windy City Cup.” In Philadelphia, players battled for the “Cheesesteak Cup.” A series against St. Louis was the “Gateway Cup.”

Eventually, though, the players wanted a physical object. Rookie catcher Devin Mesoraco went searching for one.

Mesoraco found the trophy at an antique shop in Bellevue, Ky., and snagged it for $50. “I just went in and it was sitting right there and it took me two minutes to pick it out,” Mesoraco said.

When Mesoraco returned to Great American Ball Park with his find, he deposited in the locker of the guy who started the idea — Ludwick.

The base of the award reads “Pine Cup,” which means nothing to anybody. But whatever it was called, now the Reds had something to really play for.

And play they did. The baseball season is a long marathon, and motivation can sometimes be hard to come by. The cup has certainly helped. Hopefully, it can help long enough to get a real trophy. Seeing all the players on the field around the World Series trophy would be so much more awesome.

The Reds players pause for a moment around the cup during their division-clinching celebration.

Comments are closed.