Ok people. I’m relaunching RiverfrontRamblings in 2019! Life has come back to a reasonable speed, and I have found myself wanting a platform to capture my thoughts and get feedback from others (I’m sure my friend group chats will rejoice to see a reduction of my rants on their platforms now that this is back up). I am also looking at bringing more of friends I’ve made since my family moved back to Cincinnati in 2014.

Enjoy the holiday with family and look forward to a fun 2019! If you don’t hear from me again until 2023… My bad…

Ahhhh, February… The Gregorian’s least favorite month of the year (28 1/4 days…. talk about short end of the stick!). For some, it’s all about Valentines Day; for others, it’s President’s Day Sales and vacations. In Long Island, they take an entire week off of school for “Winter Break” which is a standard that has been in place for a few decades because it was traditionally the coldest week of the year and the school could save significant money by turning the heat off for a week.

For for us loyal fans, February is the beginning of baseball season. Football comes to a close with the Super Bowl, and the College Basketball games are just starting to make noise as the bracket comes into perspective. The NBA and NHL are still so far away from their playoffs that we aren’t really paying attention. But the fact that Pitchers and Catchers report in 14 days has us glued to our seats reading blogs (thanks by the way) and rumor threads on twitter.

But what do you do to fill in the dead time…

And for the last 10 years my answer to this question is to attempt to watch a Baseball movie or two (or three or four depending if Kevin Costner is in it) every week until opening day. Some of my favorites in no particular order are as follows:

1 – “42” – The Jackie Robinson Story : This has been a great new addition to the line up. I would say it rivals Remember the Titians as far as story telling goes.

2 – The Costner Classics. “Field of Dreams” “For the Love of the Game” & “Bull Durham” – Has he made a bad baseball movie? The narration style and allegories that these movie draws from are great. Bull Durham is my personal favorite, a minor league movie, and it does really well to capture the Pitcher and Catcher relationship, as seen in one of my favorite clips:

3 – “Money Ball” – I feel like this one sneaks in under the radar, while being more of a business movie than a baseball movie, it hits all the right notes at the end. Brad Pitt does an amazing job of keeping the pace going and giving us enough baseball to keep us engaged, but opens a whole new conversation as to the business of baseball. Very interesting.

4 – “Major League 1 & 2” – Easily the most quotable movie. Even though it’s a tribe movie (in state rival) It has enough charm to help me get past it.

5 – <Insert 90’s Kid Baseball Movie> – Where it’s Angles in the Outfield, Rookie of the Year, or The Sandlot it’s an instant classic. Baseball movies were reinvented (From your 40’s and 50’s post war attempts) in the 70’s with the Bad News Bears, focused on kids and baseball’s role in developing our youngsters. The Sandlot is the obvious crown jewel in this sub-genre, which tops nearly every movie list, not just for kids, as it draws heavily on the heart behind the game that is in every kid’s memory.

6 – The Natural – Such a good movie. Enough said.

I’m sure I’m missing plenty of good movies to draw from, Mr. 3000 obviously…. and my wife’s favorite, “A league of their own”…But leave a comment and tell me your favorite moments from Baseball and Cinema.

2015… man oh man… it truly was the best of times and the worst of times. Not just for the sports world that circled around Cincinnati, but also in my personal life.

I realize I didn’t post in 2015… it was pretty crazy. Having moved back to Ohio in the fall of 2014, I was still attempting to put roots down back at home and felt reinvigorated to make new memories vs dwelling on the old ones. So i lost my focus for the blog. I switched jobs 3 times from late 2014 through early 2016, so I was putting the ax to the grind. Each opportunity brought new challenges, some of them were the best of times, and then there were also the worst of times that saw the first two opportunities come to a close. My current role as the Director of Communications at my local church, Mount Carmel Christian Church on the east side of Cincinnati just a few minutes from my home has been an incredible opportunity and has helped me to refocus and get back into a grove of telling captivating stories that hopefully share their roots with many of you.

2015 saw the purchase of our first home, the welcoming of our 3rd child Asher, the MLB All Star game, and an 8-0 start for the Bengals. These were the best of times.It also saw the complete collapse and fire sell of a team that had been a playoff contendor for five straight years in the Reds, and an equally brutal, but much more sudden collapse of a team who was ushered out of the playoffs for the 5th straight wildcard weekend in a row for the Bengals. These were the worst of times.

Below are the pictures to capture these moment:

Reds 4 reds 3 reds 2
reds 1 bengals 1 bengals 3

1 – Aspen and I went on a daddy daughter date to a day game where were treated to some nice seats that came with her Red Heads memberships. The Reds beat the Marlins and we got to see Michael Lorenzen pitch who became one of our 1st half favorites to follow.

2 – Aspen and I attended a night game, this was us during the 7th inning stretch where we sang Take Me Out to the Ballgame together, which became her favorite song that summer. The Reds also won, and by the 3rd inning we were able to sneak down into the 11th row seats on the 1st base line and she provided ample entertainment for everyone around her 🙂

3 – the Whole family got to attend a game for “Bark in the Park” night against my wife’s team, the New York Mets. This was Asher’s first game, and one of the joys of taking little kids to Bark in the Park night is watching them go up to all of the friendly dogs and say hello. They were so excited! I was just happy knowing that my kids wouldn’t be the most annoying aspect of the night since there were plenty of Dogs that had little to no respect for the game and it’s traditions 🙂

4 – My dad and I took in all of the spectacle of the All Star game, it was a doozy, especially getting the watch Todd Frazier win the Home Run Derby in walkoff fashion in front of his home crowd. The electric nature of the crowd was as if we had just won the world series! Definitely a once in a lifetime moment, and I was ecstatic to share it with a great man after several seasons apart.

5 – My dad also purchased a Half Season home game package for the Bengals that got us tickets to the Chargers, Chiefs, Browns and Steelers home games. We mopped the floor with the first three, with the Browns game being a rather fun Thursday night game (overcoming the prime time curse), but the last two games were both brutal loses to the Steelers with the first one being a huge scare with QB Andy Dalton breaking his thumb which ended up being a season ending injury, and the 2nd (Picture #6) was a heart breaking playoff loss that for the most part was a frustrating 58 minutes followed by the wildest 2 minutes of my life…

When AJ Green caught what should have been the game winning TD with a minute forty something left on the clock, in a game that had seen some incredible hard hits and very intense action both on the field and in the stands, the roof blew off the building. 60,000 plus let out two decades worth of frustration as we felt the lack of playoff victories finally coming to a close. Who knew that two minutes later it would all slip away due to some of the most ridiculous on field and off field antics, poor control of both teams and refereeing that I have ever seen that setup the Steelers for a chip shot FG to win the game. It was a long, rainy, walk across the bridge back to KY where we parked our call. Just thinking about the season and how it played out, it just ripped your insides out. The reds had done it to us, but let’s be honest, we all saw it coming, and it was a long, drawn out process over a period of months that left you devastated, but at least it just seemed like business… The Bengals game was sudden and traumatic, and it felt personal. The time invested in the team, sacrificed from family time, would never be recaptured. All of those positive feelings I felt sitting with my dad at the Home Run Derby celebrating what felt like a personal win, were strangely inverted at that moment at Paul Brown Stadium where the exact opposite feelings poured out of us, trying to hide our embarrassment and shame in that brutal of a loss. What can you say… That’s just sports.

2016 will hopefully bring new memories, unfortunately most of them will be in front of a TV and not live in stadium until we can recover our faith in the teams in order to shell out the money to enjoy them live, but it helps me put into perspective the gamble of falling in love with a sports team, and how little of a gamble it is to fall in love with my family. My favorite moments of this year weren’t when my team won, it was when I was with them, win or lose. So, if nothing else, Thank you Bengals and Reds for giving me a platform to share special time with the ones I love, and for that, you’ll always be there for me, and I’ll always be there for you. Looking forward to this coming year!

If I were asked to fix college football, here is how I would do it:
128 qualifying Division 1 FBC Schools divided into 4 Conferences by region of 32 schools each. Each conference has 2 Tiers. Tier #1 for each conference would be 16 top rated schools (Initially divided by recruiting power) with the remaining schools being relegated to Tier #2. Each Tier could be divided into 2 divisions of 8 for scheduling purposes, where you would play each of the 7 teams in your division and then 4 of the 8 schools from the other division in your tier (alternating each year). That puts you at 11 games, your 12th game could be against a team from another conference or tier of your choice for either rivalries or local appeal.

The winner of each of the 8 divisions would go to a tournament and play for the championship (conference finals) (semi finals) (national championship)

[Edit – 5/10/2015 – It was suggested that each tier be broken down into two 8 team divisions for scheduling, with the winner of each division getting a playoff spot for only Tier 1 teams. Tier 2 teams could play in a consolation championship as well, but their true reward would be promotion into the higher tier. A 7 game intra-divisional round robin schedule would allow for a cross-divsional rival game from within your conference, a cross-conference game with another opponent from your tier, and a cross tier game (like Ohio State vs Ohio U as a season opener squash style game… or Michigan can always choose to get upset by Appalachia State again…) That 10 game scheduling flexibility would still give a lot of intrigue to match ups, but would allow for grace, since you could see an early season matchup of two high power teams from out of conference and it wouldn’t crush their chance of making the playoffs. If Ohio State wanted to Open up against Alabama, the losing team could still sweep their divisional games and secure a spot in the playoffs.

The bottom 3 teams from Tier 1 for each conference would be relegated to Tier 2 while the top 3 teams from Tier 2 would be upgraded to Tier 1. This would give a ton of drama and excitement to the sport on a year by year. No longer would the first 4 weeks of the season be cupcakes getting smashed by over inflated juggernauts, but you would have the top teams competing against each other on national tv each week all year long. With a system like this, it gives you a clear champion and it forces programs to buck up and win or face the humiliation of being sent down. The small schools would have just as much of a reason to win and have just as much of a chance of winning a legitimate championship as the big boys. The Tier #2 playoffs would be just as exciting and give the winners of each #2 division a chance to showcase their best.

This almost makes too much sense, but i’m sure some people will see major problems with it, but hey, it’s the internet…

#NCAA #Football #Conference #realignment #Maps#Playoffs

The Big 10, Pac 12, SEC, and ACC retained the most teams with the AAC and BIG 12 being divided up appropriately. The Big 10 was paired with the MAC, the SEC with the Sun Belt, the PAC12 with the Mountain West, the ACC with the AAC, and the Big 12 with CUSA.
College Football Realignment

If you’re a parent, you probably have Netflix. When you first signed up, it was nice to have access to some great movies and TV shows at your fingertips. By now, your digging through suggestions for Barney, Teletubbies, and My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic… (kill me Lord) before you can find the shows YOU actually want to watch (IF you even get a chance to watch something, which means it’s well after 10pm and you’re likely falling asleep halfway through…)

Anyway… Netflix has helped me in one way. I have fine tuned Aspen and Joseph’s viewing experience to focus on striped animals… Whether it is Daniel Tiger, Tigger, heck, I’ll post Frosted Flakes commercials on repeat if I have to, just as long as when they see Orange with Black stripes, they get all warm and fuzzy inside. So far, so good! Still working on getting Aspen to stop celebrating opponent’s touchdowns, but all in good time.