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Title track: T64
Fan relations: 74
Stadium experience: 37
Bang for the buck: 21
Change from last year: -25
Just two years ago, Cincinnati ranked 11th overall in these standings, second best in baseball. But after four straight years in the top 30, the Reds fall all the way to 53rd. There are many reasons for the collapse, but the biggest, as is usually the case in these rankings, is simple: They're not winning.
The Reds grade out well among the fan base for affordability and stadium experience, and it's no wonder: They have the third-lowest average cost per game among MLB teams ($35.95), behind only the Diamondbacks and Padres. They're also adept at tapping into Cincinnati's rich baseball tradition with tributes to the past. The Reds Hall of Fame and Museum is impressive, and fans love to pay homage to the Big Red Machine teams or Lou Piniella and the "Nasty Boys,'' who brought the city its last title in 1990. Marty Brennaman, the team's legendary radio play-by-play man, has been in the broadcaster's chair since 1974. That's continuity.
In recent years, the Reds have fallen further behind the Cardinals, Pirates and now the Cubs in the suddenly imposing NL Central -- and in our standings. They bit off more than a small-market franchise could chew with monster investments in Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips and Homer Bailey, with mixed results (and thus rank 93rd in the players category, despite flamethrower Aroldis Chapman's popularity). Manager Bryan Price is an outstanding handler of pitchers, but as the Reds struggled in 2015, doubts persisted about his leadership skills. He ranks 119th overall and, after GM Walt Jocketty announced in the season's final weekend that he will return in 2016, is the lowest-ranking manager this year to remain employed. Not to doom his chances next year, but just saying -- if anyone could move the Reds' coaching ranking up a few dozen spots, it's Hall of Famer and Cincinnati native Barry Larkin, who routinely pops up in speculation as a candidate to manage the club.
Owner Bob Castellini is known for his ultra-competitive bent, but even he finally seems resigned to a rebuild. Jocketty began the process in earnest when he traded free-agents-to-be Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake for prospects in July and Marlon Byrd for a minor leaguer in August. The mix has grown stale in Cincinnati, and the division is too competitive for the Reds to thrive with minor tweaks to the roster. Of course, fans won't necessarily be on board until the standings turn around -- ownership fell 38 places this year, the Reds' steepest drop. Rather than cross their fingers and hope, Cincinnati's decision-makers are finally coming to grips with reality. For this franchise, that's good news.