Archives For Baseball

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:

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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!

Hey everyone,

Sorry I was away and that quite frankly, I dropped the ball just about as much as our beloved Reds did.

I guess I have some explaining to do…

April was not just a rough month for me as a fan, but as as a man. My grandmother passed away at the end of the month and it took my focus off the blog. I tried getting back into the swing of things but every time I sat down to write, I would just think about her and what I would want to say about her. My mother grew up loving baseball and there are so many stories about my grandmother, like the time she threw away all of my mom’s baseball cards because she kept leaving them out on the floor <countless late 50’s and early 60’s treasures lost for eternity>, etc.

I thought I had my head cleared after I spent some time writing down an unpublished reflection about her, but once summer hit, I was in a daze. My wife and I had to do a couple gut checks and between having a difficult time at work getting what I needed to pay the bills, not having enough space in our apartment that we were already over paying for, and in general just having a feeling that it was time to move on, we did just that. We spent the summer getting everything lined up, interviewing for jobs, and praying through the transition with family and friends. We ultimately packed our bags and moved back to Cincinnati over Labor Day.

We are still trying to figure out the living situation and job thing, but life has been good. My kids got a chance to go to their first baseball game and we had a lot of fun! Aspen ate everything that was made of sugar and was probably the most excited fan there!


Aspen even warmed up to Grandpa after he bought <her> a whole bag of carmel popcorn!


But with baseball season over now, and the Bengals at 3-1 as of this posting, I do have to say that it is time to get back down to business. Hence the face lift. Now that I live back here in Cincinnati, while Cory is still out in Long Island for the time being, we will be covering the Bengals and the Reds from two different perspectives.

I should have a pre game prediction post and a post game wrap up post this weekend, so look forward to it and GO BENGALS!

Since moving to Long Island 4 years I only get 1 chance a year to see them play when they square off against the Mets. As I side bar, I really love Citi Field and enjoy going there. I highly recommend seeing a game there if you have the opportunity. This year I got the privilege of seeing them twice thanks to interleague play.
This was my second trip to Yankee Stadium and it was a much more pleasant experience. My previous experience was a rough one. A baseball game with the temperatures over 100 degrees with a wife who was 7 months pregnant was probably not the best idea. I never really had any desire to take another trip to Yankee Stadium until a good friend offered us to go with him and his family.

Fighting NY traffic on a Friday is never fun which proved to be the biggest frustration of the evening. Paying $20 to park several blocks, one mall, a giant parking garage, and three little league diamonds away was a close second. The surroundings of Yankee stadium are really nothing to take note of. A few sports bars and a lot of little venders selling #2 jerseys were the only other real attractions going on. One thing that stood out to me as a visitor as we approached the stadium was that those fans LOVE their Yankee jersey. I spent the walk tricking the daughter of my friend into rooting for Reds players since she could not name anyone on the roster other than Derek Jeter. She was all set to be yelling “Go Billy Hamilton” until my wife couldn’t contain he laughter anymore.

Yankee Stadium is beautiful and clean from the outside. They have done a good job making it look like a museum or historical building that occasionally hosts baseball games. This is vastly different than a lot of the stadiums I have been to. It was not necessarily “fan friendly”. They let the fact that it is Yankee Stadium speak for itself and have the entertain people. And it sort of works.

The one thing setting Yankee Stadium apart is walking in and “feeling” baseball history around you. They have done a good job capturing the spirit of the Yankee tradition even in a newer ballpark. You know it is a new park but you get the feeling that you are walking into one of the great stadiums of history. It really makes me wish I had a chance to see the original. Getting a glimpse of Monument Park, seeing the flags and banners of all 27 of their championships, pictures of the old greats, and retired numbers beyond the left centerfield seats make you realize this really is a great organization… no matter how hard that is to admit. I could have done without the giant wall painting of George Steinbrenner behind the bleacher seats.

All of that nostalgia was put to rest a bit when I noticed the ticket prices! No wonder they can afford nearly any player on the planet. The prices of the concessions were not much better. $9.75 for a beer. When I joked about the price the vendor assured me, “Yea, but this baby is ice cold!” I wonder if I could have struck a deal for a lukewarm one. Although the $5 Johnny Rockets vanilla milkshake may have been worth it. That thing was awesome. This was a slight cover for the mediocre $12 chicken fingers and fries.

The fans I ran into at Yankee Stadium were all very friendly to a guy wearing a Johnny Bench jersey. They didn’t seem to care too much when I admittedly cheered a little louder than necessary for Brayan Pena’s first of 2 homeruns. This sparked one of the more humorous conversations of the night. I was sitting next to an elderly couple wearing Yankee jerseys. I cannot stress the jerseys enough, they were everywhere. The older gentleman leaned over after I had stopped cheering and sat down and asked “Is that the guy who just played in the All-Star game for you?” I chuckled and told him no, he is actually our back-up catcher and our starting catcher was the All-Star. He then said “Oh, so you have him playing DH in the American League games.” I laughed a little harder and said “No, he is playing first base since Joey Votto is hurt.” This started several minutes of conversation on how the Reds did not in fact have a backup first baseman. Amazingly, he was shocked that a team would not have a backup first baseman. It was fun hearing from a Yankees fan about what he thought his team would have done if they lost their star player for an extended amount of time. Go out and get someone else to play! Ah the Yankee way.

The other thing I will remember about my trip to Yankee Stadium was seeing Derek Jeter play in his final season. I have never heard a stadium cheer for a player as loud as Yankee fans cheer for #2. It is incredible… and obnoxiously overdone. The ovation was nice when he was announced on his first plate appearance. It is a really cool touch how they use a voice recording of Bob Sheppard, the late PA announcer of 50 some years, to call Jeter to the plate. Just another touch of trying to keep the Yankee tradition front and center. The applause Jeter got anytime he was did anything on the field got a little old. I have never heard 47k people go nuts when a SS makes a routine play. They went crazy when a ball hopped over Todd Frazier’s glove for what should have been an error. The place erupted when he scored a run. He made a nice play down the third base line on a blooper by Billy Hamilton that you would have thought was a replay to his running into the stands to make a catch based upon the cheers from the crowd. He still got cheered when he made a fielding error. I really don’t think he can do anything wrong in the eyes of Yankee fans. I will give them credit though. Yankees fans do know how to treat the great ones even if it is a little overdone.

The fans really do care about their team. It was fun seeing fans have a good time and supporting their team. It helps when they are winning. I was surprised to see how many stuck around to listen to Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” play several times over after the Yanks sealed the 4-3 victory. My wife and I waited several minutes to get our picture taken on the railing with the field as our backdrop along with loads of other fans. The fans we were surrounded by through the game gave their condolences for the loss and even offered up some “better luck next times”. Despite Yankee Stadium not really being a fun, fan-friendly stadium the Yankee fans were, well, friendly and fun.

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