Archives For Dad

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 ūüôā

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 ūüôā

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!

Looking Forward…

nyredfanatic —  02/17/2014 — 2 Comments

Author: Cory Juliano – February 17th, 2014

Being a fan of Cincinnati sports in New York means I get to look forward to very few things… Unfortunately it usually consists of disappointing endings to the seasons of my beloved Reds and Bengals.¬†Both of those seasons have left a terrible taste in my mouth for the last couple of months.¬†From the Reds terrible last week of the season and getting embarrassed by a team which was much more motivated in a one-game-winner-move-on scenario to, well actually to the exact same thing in the Bengals.¬†I am ready for those memories to be erased by a new season. A new beginning. A new manager. A new centerfielder / leadoff man. A new HOPE for the¬†coming months.

The only thing for certain in any sports season is every team starts with the same record. We all get to look at things from the same vantage point. We are all looking forward to a great season to end the misery of the season before… Unless your team won it the year before. In Cincinnati that has been 23 years, but who is counting? So in an offseason where the Reds did relatively nothing to improve their roster what is there to look forward to?¬† I have two ideas.

The first thing I think we can look forward to is what the heck will happen with the leadoff spot in the lineup.¬† The plain and simple fact is this; we lost the most effective¬†leadoff man game and are replacing him with a guy who was not necessarily an on base machine in AAA last year. This is not a¬†promising position to be in my friends. If Billy Hamilton can get on base it will be exciting with his speed and base stealing ability. Every pitch will be worth watching and people will be holding their breath waiting for him to make a break for 2nd… or 3rd… or home? A lot of good can come from him if he can produce.¬†If he can not produce and get to first, it will be a very, very long season for the Reds. Fans complained about an inconsistent offense last year. What we saw last year was not great.¬†We saw a lack of run production. We saw bad base running and poor situational hitting. We saw players underperforming.¬†Last year’s offense was a smack in the face to a¬†better than most starting rotation.¬†Losing Choo’s production and watching a rookie trying to adjust to big league pitching will be down right painful in my opinion. Prepare to see Joey “MVP” Votto wearing out the first base line with walks this year. YAWN. Now that I think of it, I am not really looking forward to this at all.

So what exactly¬†am I looking forward to as Spring Training in AZ kicks off? The same thing that comes with every baseball season. The true beauty and magic of this sport. Connecting with family and friends over America’s favorite past time. I am looking to the extra phone time with my dad through the season to talk about what has happened. The times when my phone rings late at night and my wife grins because she knows my dad is calling to tell me about something he just saw while watching the Reds. I am looking forward to my grandma calling to¬†tell me¬†Homer Bailey has a no-hitter¬†through 8 innings¬†(man I hope he throws another no-hitter this year). There is nothing more humorous to me than an old lady calling to tell me how mad she is at the manager.¬†There is nothing more sad than realizing an old lady is more aware of what is happening in the sports world than I am. I am looking forward to having my friend Brian call me during the first inning of a playoff game in San Francisco to have me angle my webcam at the screen so he could watch the game when his cable went out (this¬†has happened with more than one sporting event with the two of us).¬†Baseball season means I get to text my friend Chad whenever the Reds and Cubs square off and laugh at our teams failures. I am looking forward to growing stronger friendships with people like Chris who¬†I¬†didn’t know was ¬†a “die hard” Mets fan for the first two years I knew him. I think his “die hardness” kicked off due to Johan Santana’s no-hitter, but he can argue that all he wants. I look forward to talking to high school kids about fantasy baseball. I am looking forward to going to the¬†one game a year with my wife and some friends, even if its a Mets vs. whoever game. I do¬†NOT look forward to¬†going to¬†a¬†Yankees game with my 6 month pregnant wife when it is 107 degrees at first pitch on the hottest day Long Island had seen in years.¬†This year I get to look forward to going to the Mets vs. Reds game on April 4th and actually getting on the field to watch batting practice with my dad, the man who taught me to love this game. I am looking forward to adding to the many memories I have with him, and others,¬†through this sport. I am looking forward to what this crazy sport can do for me and for others.

Making memories with friends and family is one of the greatest things we can do in life. Those moments should never be looked over and we should do whatever we can to connect with people more and make lasting memories. We should look forward to interacting with those we love, even if its a quick phone call saying “HOLY COW DID THAT JUST HAPPEN” or a joking “my team is better than yours”. To me that is why baseball is America’s favorite past time. It creates nightly opportunities to engage in a new way with those around us. That is the magic in the sport. That is the awesomeness that is baseball. That, my friends, is what I am looking forward to.

Let me know what you are looking forward to this year.

Author: Brian McGee – February 15th, 2014

Since I was a little boy, my mom took me to Catholic mass. As the 90’s progressed, and my involvement in more serious levels of sports increased, it wasn’t unusual to show up in my uniform and bolt for the car as soon as the mass was over. One Sunday, I began to notice that it wasn’t uncommon to see a few individuals and families craft strategic exit plans following the eucharist. Now, if you are unfamiliar with the liturgical process, there isn’t a whole lot to be done after communion, at least not from the pews end. The families that conveniently slipped out the side door with a quick genuflect, almost seemed to have the upper hand, especially in avoiding the post church traffic. I wondered why we didn’t follow suit with this ingenious idea…

It was later on that summer, while at a Reds game at Riverfront Stadium, where we were getting beat from what I could tell, pretty handedly, that I found out why we weren’t one of those families to hit the side door after mass. My mom grew up in Cincinnati, born in 1955, with many memories of Crosley Field, the Big Red Machine, and NL Pennants blowing in the wind. I looked over at my mom, sitting in her stadium seat, arms crossed, not happy with the events that were unfolding. But she was glued to that seat.

Now my dad grew up in Indiana, but had adopted the Cincinnati teams as his hometown team, but one thing he did not adopt was my mother’s Catholicism. That’s probably a story for another blog, but I digress… My dad worked as a chemical engineer, and seemed to always be looking for ways to improve systems. His company had season tickets to the Bengals that they would use as gifts to business partners after contracts were signed, and with numerous 2-14 seasons in the early 90’s, it was more like a curse to give a business partner those tickets… Most of them would have rather you swiftly kicked them in the groin or pour salt in their eyes. But my dad didn’t really mind the quality of the football, and I didn’t know any better, so we would often take the tickets and go watch the Bengals get steamrolled up and down the turf. It was a regular habit, but sometime around the first few minutes of the 4th quarter, my dad would turn off his headset radio that he used to listen to the play by play from 700WLW (nothing like completely tuning out your son while at a sports event ^_^ ) and he would stand up, which was my cue to follow suit, and he would say, “looks like it’s done, let’s head for the car so we can beat traffic.”

Back to Riverfront on that summer day. I turned to my mom and asked her, “Why don’t we leave early and beat traffic?” I don’t recall her even turning her head to look at me, but spoke softly to say, “Brian, there are two things you don’t leave early… Church and Baseball.” Then it all sank in. It’s not over till the fat lady sang… and Marge Schott wasn’t much for show tunes. Maybe as a little girl my mom was convinced by someone to leave a game early and fell victim to that unthinkable sinking feeling you get when as you exit the “No ReEntry” gates and you push through the turn style, then you hear it… CRACK… followed by the roar of the crowd… and there you have it… you’ve missed the biggest play of the season…. who knows, but that fear was enough to keep my mother glued to her seat until the game was in the books and Marty flicked off the power switch to his microphone.

So I got quite the education. Even when things seem like they are done, you stick it out till the end, just in case a miracle happens. Thanks for the faith mom.

If you have a story where you stuck it out till the end win or lose, or left early and regretted it, please share with us down in the comment section. Make sure to subscribe to our blog, and just leave us a comment in general! Take care, rounding third and heading for home, this one belongs to the fans!