Saturday, October 15, 2011


October - weak light, rustling leaves, and baseball without the Cincinnati Reds. I'm rooting for the Brewers and the Tigers but they're both down three games to two. If it's a Texass-Taint Louis World Series, I don't think I will watch out of sheer blah.

I wonder if the all Midwest NLCS has plummeted ratings. Detroit, too. Ha! Take that, coasts. Three out of four of the teams are from the Midwest. Must be a ratings nightmare. No matter, Americans don't care about baseball anymore. Not violent enough. Too slow for ADD Nation. I kind of wonder if they every did, though. Was there ever a time when the nation tuned into the baseball postseason?

The times, they have been changin'.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

September Baseball Blues

Yeah, yeah, yeah, it's September something or other and the Reds are out of the race and all. I've been busy, the kind of life-changing busy, but it's been that way for the last couple of years I guess. I'm in my second week at a new job in DC at the Center for International Media Assistance, so I get to deal with real journalists across the globe. What some journalists in other countries have to deal with restores some of the respect I had lost for the profession thanks to the sorry state of American media from which we suffer these days. (I'm looking at you, Fox News.)

 I went to a lot of games this season, not only Reds games at Great American Ball(p)ark, but also made it to Coors Field in Colorado and Target Field in Minneapolis, as well as a bunch of Dragons games in Dayton and even one in Fort Wayne. Also saw a Clippers game in Columbus. I'll go to a Nationals game in DC before the year is out.

I have soooooooo many photos from the games this summer. Just need to find the time to do something with them. A great summer for baseball, even if the Reds disappointed.

I'm still on Twitter @churchofbasebal. Also, just got my 1500th follower for my international development/Middle East account @beiruttojupiter. Feel free to follow. :)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Still breathing

I have a ton of things to post from this summer. Right now, I'm trying to get back to DC but all transport is messed up right now so I'm stuck in Ohio until tomorrow.

Just a bummer about the Reds season. A small market team like this can't afford to waste it's young talent because they'll be gone in a few years. I honestly believe this team was mismanaged out of contention by Crusty, who either let players play too long (see Gomes, Jonny) or didn't play them at all (see Alonso, Who?). Usually, managers don't make a huge difference in what a team does, but when you have a borderline team, like the Reds, who are missing some parts, a manager can make or break a team. And Dusty broke this team. But Walt's failure to call up Cozart earlier or do something about leftfield until it was too late also contributed to the sad season.

Guess I'll root for the Brewers this year, the only team in the NL Central I don't hate. I look at them as the closest to Cincinnati, except with people who live in the 21st century.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

So long, 2011

Ah well. Our hopes have been dashed. This is worst than 2001-2009, because at least we knew those teams were bad. This one, well, they won the division last year. They are better than this. Why have they done so poorly? A few suggestions:

Jonny Gomes was allowed to be a regular leftfielder for far too long. Seemed like Dusty kept him in there to spite fans who criticized him.

Bronson Arroyo has not been DL'd and has been allowed to take the ball every 5th day despite his velocity dipping down into the low eighties.

Walt and Dusty waiting ten years to call up Zack Cozart long after both shortstops proved they were wasted outs.

Oh well. Guess there's always next year.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Pittsburgh? Really?

What is going on? The Pirates in first place in July?

I'm watching the Taint Louis-New York game right now, root, root, rooting for the Mets team. Listened to the Reds defeat the Pirates today as I traveled from Ohio to Washington, DC, listening to the Pirates broadcast as I traveled through Pirates territory. Saw a lot of Pirates gear, too. Weird.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Parked Brains

I went to see U2 in Chicago last night. There are a couple marginally-baseball related things in this story.

It's a five and a half hour drive between the place I am in Ohio and Chicago. I left at 7am, as I had a floor ticket and I wanted to get close to the stage, hence the need to lineup around noon (I had the advantage of a one hour time difference.) The drive was great until about an hour away from Chicago, when the brake line on the car I was driving ruptured. I coasted to the side of the road after blowing through a red light (fortunately no cars were coming). There was just enough brake power to stop at 20mph if I pumped them, so I rolled a little down the road and found a mechanic about a half a mile away.

Fortunately, the mechanic was taking an extended vacation and was closed. I looked across the street, when lo and behold, there was an Enterprise car rental. I rolled over there and not only did they have a car left to rent, but they even called the Firestone where they take their cars and took me over there (I had to roll down the street a couple of blocks). The whole process took about an hour, and I was back on the road towards Chicago.

When I arrived at Soldier Field, not really in a panic, but having lost enough time that I wasn't going to park away from the stadium and walk, I was blindsided by the cost of parking at the stadium. $46


Yes, that's $4 short of $50, nearly the cost of my ticket.

Now, anyone who's even heard of basic economics knows there's such thing as inflation. But $46 is not inflation. $46 follows no law of economics at all. In fact, it's just another form of corporate oppression from which this country suffers. I had one of two choices - to find a garage somewhere downtown for probably $20 (also ridiculous), walk, and lose another half hour or more walking (which could mean the difference between getting in the inner circle near the stage and standing on the football field unable to see anything) or paying the $46.

Why do we put up with this? People, it's not "capitalism." So many in this country have not only been brainwashed into thinking this kind of behavior is the "free market" or "capitalism," but also glorify it as "freedom." It's not freedom. It's no different than a government tax, except its a private corporation imposing it. Free markets have laws that make economies work. When we go to a baseball game, we shouldn't have to pay the price of another ticket to park a vehicle, especially in this country where you have to use a car to get anywhere.

Frank McCourt, of Dodgers bankruptcy fame, made his fortune on parking lots. What an absolutely stupid thing it is to make someone a millionaire for allowing you to stop your car for a few hours.

Anyway, I paid my $46 and got in line at 1pm. It proved to be early enough, as I was right next to the stage when I finally got inside. There was a baseball moment during the show, when Bono told us that Larry Mullen Jr. had been to the White Sox game the night before, when they beat Kansas City.

The other baseball-related moment occurred before U2 came on stage. Interpol was the warmup band. I had a pretty good view of the stage, but this giant ugly guy with a Cardinals t-shirt kept shifting right until by the end of their set, I couldn't see anything anymore. I was NOT going to be blocked for U2, but the thing about U2 shows is that people for the most part respect each others places, so I was reluctant to change my place. But I thought, that guy is oblivious to those of us behind him who can't see, why shouldn't I step in front of him, where there's a big space? And then I thought, he's a freaking Taint Louis fan, why should I care, so I ducked under his arm to the space in front of him, where I had the best view of the stage as I've had in my entire two decades of being a U2 fan. Also, since the guy was a foot taller than me, he could see over me just fine.

But I felt animosity towards him from the very beginning because of that t-shirt. Talk about parked brains. :)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

American Pride

I was surprised by my spirit's reaction to the news that New York's Republican controlled Senate passed gay marriage. Sure, I support the right for anyone to commit himself/herself to this archaic religious institution and I give a thumbs up to the states who have already passed it, but this time felt different. It felt like a triumph for humanity, for the soul.

The difference is that New York is the birthplace of the gay rights movement, where the Public Morals Squad of New York incited the Stonewall Riots, and it feels like 42 years of struggle against oppression has finally ended. Of course, there will be discrimination - we'll never eliminate all bigotry in the world, but we sure can convince civilized folks to be tolerant of differences.

I'm rather fascinated at the existence of homophobia while other traditional "sins" are embraced, gluttony and sloth being the first that come to mind. America is fat. FAT. This is breaking our healthcare system - it has real, detrimental effects on society, yet America continues to get fatter and lazier and accepts it as normal. You don't see people flying airplanes pulling anti-fat people banners like they do for gay folks. (I'm using that as an example because homophobes often base their discrimination on being repulsed by homosexual behavior, not because there is actually something wrong with that behavior.)

Washington, San Diego, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Chicago NL, Chicago AL, Boston, Toronto, Los Angeles, New York NL, Pittsburgh, Colorado, and Oakland have all held Gay Pride events. I'm not big on this whole trend of ethnic/heritage/background nights that baseball teams have going on, as I don't think highly of being proud of something you didn't choose to be. Pride is for accomplishment, not skin color or birth certificate. At the same time, a baseball game, having a largely suburban audience, is an opportunity for people who normally don't experience difference to be exposed to various shades of people and backgrounds. I doubt that exposure is long enough to make any iota of a difference, but hey, can it hurt?

I'm sitting in a locally-owned coffee shop in Piqua, Ohio, right now (Winans - great coffee!) and I've just noticed an Ohio historical marker sign across the street that proudly describes the "Civil Rights Movement in Piqua." America is great precisely because of its diversity and its tolerance for that diversity. When there wasn't tolerance, brave people fought to create that tolerance. Don't be proud to be an American, be proud to live the American ideal. Ask yourself what you have done to deserve to be proud to be an American. If you're spouting off bigotry and hatred, you don't deserve the flag you claim to love. To deny some people freedom is to deny freedom itself and to deny that flag. But if you're like those Republican senators in New York who took a step back from their ideology and voted to do the right thing - the American thing - then by all means, proudly wave that flag.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


It feels strange for the Reds to be playing the Yankees right now, almost like Cincinnati doesn't belong on the same planet as New York. Seeing the stadium packed got me thinking about small Cincy and big NYC and the people who inhabit those places.

New York is an exciting international city that sets trends while for Cincinnati, change is something you get back after paying for your meal at Applebees. The people of Cincinnati rail against the "oppressive" liberals who reside in New York and listen to a genre of music that proclaims the superiority of their lives over that of city folk, who "just don't get it." In Southwest Ohio, there is a pronounced hatred for the things which New York stands for.

Yet there is the soldout stadium full of wide-eyed, wide-assed "country" folks in awe of the big bad New York Yankees.

Seems like deep down, little old Cincinnati still loves the myth of New York.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Sunday, May 22, 2011


Ok, forget about getting swept by the Indians (a good team) or by the Pirates (a not-so-good team). Let's think back to happier times, back to last weekend, when we all weren't screaming for the beheadings of Jonny "Outomatic" Gomes or Edinson Walkez. Remember sweeping the hated Taint Louis Deadbirds? Well, here is an MS Paint/Photographic/Musical recollection of the fun we had then. We will have it again, I'm sure of it!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Pink Bats and 5138008

This is a couple of days late, but I was unable to write about it on Sunday for various reasons. It's about MLB's annual breast cancer awareness day and cancer awareness in general. MLB, like in so many other social causes, was the first to make breast cancer awareness an annual cause. (I love you baseball with a great big pink heart!) It's fun to watch the players wearing their pink shoes and pink gloves and pink whatever those weird arm things were this year while wielding their pink bats. Kudos to MLB and the Susan Komen foundation for your efforts.

We all know about Susan Komen breast cancer walks, and we all know about SU2C and Livestrong. We all know cancer exists, and awareness efforts have cut deaths from cancer significantly over the past several years.

But the focus is always on people who HAVE cancer. Very worthwhile efforts to convince people to be screened for breast and prostate cancer have saved countless lives, but the fact is, the lives already saved were those of people who already had the cancer. Where are more cancer PREVENTION efforts? Why don't we talk more about prevention? Answer: POLITICS.

Cancer diagnosis has declined in recent years (although by less than 1%), thanks in part to many people choosing to live healthier lifestyles. This includes a significant drop in lung cancer rates due to the decline in smoking (with a lot of help from the smoking bans across the country, no doubt.) But somehow, healthy living has become a political issue exploited by conservatives, who stand to lose the most by changes to American consumption patterns since their campaigns are funded by big business like tobacco, corporate farms, and processed food companies. People who choose organic foods and are part of local food movements are demonized as "hippies" or "liberal elites," and suddenly people who eat fruits and vegetables are "communists" who want to "destroy America."

In the meantime, Americans are suffering and dying from cancer at the highest rate in the world. Cancer ranks just below heart disease in the causes of death in America, but in developing countries, it doesn't even make the top ten. Of course, that's changing. As more and more of the global population adopts an American lifestyle (fast food, pre-packaged convenience food products, pesticides, corporate farms, GM meat, low physical activity, etc.), world cancer rates are increasing at an alarming rate. Indeed, cancer used to be known as a "Western disease," but now it is affecting everyone, everywhere.

Here's some basic common sense that anyone who stops to think about it for a moment should be able to understand: the human body is made up of chemicals. We are carbon-based life forms filled three-fourths full by dihydrogen monoxide with all sorts of other chemical elements keeping us running. Didn't anyone take high school chemistry? Adding various chemicals to other chemicals causes chemical reactions. If you're chomping down some monosodium glutanate in quantities that your body isn't made to process, your gonna get a chemical reaction. We're talking DNA mutations.

Anyway, back to the pink bats and breast cancer awareness. The drop in breast cancer rates that occurred over the last decade is related to a decrease in the use of hormone replacement therapy, and that drop is starting to level out. (Here you have another example of us messing with body chemistry and getting cancer as a result.) Thanks to the hard work of breast cancer awareness organizations and volunteers, we may have hit the peak regarding the number of women who need to be made aware that they should be screened, and indeed, some studies are starting to show that we are too aware at too young an age and too many mammograms are being performed. (Of course, this too, was made into a political issue, because reducing the number of mammograms performed threatens the multibillion dollar mammogram industry.) Breast cancer awareness has become something of a socializing activity for middle-aged women, and pink ribbon merchandise raises a ton of cash for awareness campaigns every year and has become trendy.

This is great, of course, please don't think I'm against pink ribbons. (Those I love boobies bracelets are another story.) It's just that I want to see more prevention awareness involved. I want to hear someone in the announcer's booth at the Reds game talk about not just screening, but living healthy lifestyles. I want to see those socializing middle-aged women pushing healthy lifestyles at their booths at the craft show or the community festival. A ribbon isn't going to protect me from getting breast cancer. Fresh fruits and vegetables will. Exercise will. Taking minimal medications will. I want healthy living to be cool and trendy like pink ribbons, not demonized by politicians and their zombie minions.

Of course, some people will suffer cancer regardless of their lifestyles for various reasons, including genetics. Siddhartha Mukherjee's excellent and highly praised book The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer shows that cancer is as old as the homosapiens species itself. We're not going to cure cancer. Ever. Hopefully someday soon we'll discover a better method of treating it and stop poisoning cancer-riddled bodies with radiation to get rid of it. But we can certainly and drastically cut the number of people who have to suffer from this horrible disease. Please, eating healthy and getting exercise are not some plot by evil libruls to make America communist. It's how we survived as a species for all these years. Let's get back to what is natural and quit making food and cancer political issues.

A few recommended links to get you on the path to a healthier lifestyle (and support local businesses and farmers!):


Findlay Market
Hyde Park Farmers Market
Green B.E.A.N. Delivery
Wyoming Avenue Farmers Market
Dehli Farmers Market
Lettuce Eat Well Farmers Market


Dayton Daily News Farmers Market Guide


Columbus Foodie


Indiana Local Food Guide


Kentucky Farmers Markets

Feel free to add more links in the comments.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Want What You Have

I read a tweet the other day that called the Reds crybabies or something along those lines. It was, of course, a Taint Louis fan. You know how they like to rail against the pot. Anyway, instead of rushing to defend my team and make a comment about Tony LaMafia and Chris Crypenter and Voodoo Albert, I laughed. I laughed because finally, finally, finally the Reds are good enough that people will call us names.

Both Fok$ and E$PN made sure to sensationalize the rivalry when we had our weekend on national television last week. That's right, weekend. Granted, it was a Deadbirds game, so network executives didn't have to worry about the diminutive fanbase of Cincinnati (which is not at all diminutive.) But we had a weekend, just like the Bankee$ and Bread $ox get - nationally televised games on Saturday AND Sunday. Tell me the last time that happened?

I like Twitter. (Find me here on Twitter.) I'm following more than 800 people from all 30 MLB teams (some more than others.) I gotta tell you, though, that guy may be right about the crying. From my observations, no other team has a fanbase that whines as much as they do in Cincinnati. People were throwing in the towel last week. They complain about the lineups every day. They demand trades or demotions for guys based on a few plate appearances or a bad inning. They even complained about Wednesday's game - which we won - because there weren't enough hits.

Are there legitimate concerns? Of course. Renteria's defense is atrocious. Gomes can't hit righties. Chapman walks too many batters. But come on!

Dostoevsky said, "Man is fond of counting his troubles, but he does not count his joys. If he counted them up as he ought to, he would see that every lot has enough happiness provided for it."

Abraham Lincoln said, "Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be."

Count your joys, make up your minds to be happy. It's May 10th and the Reds are a game out of first place.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

A Happier Memory - May 4, 2011

A hawk hovered above the ballpark as Heisey strode to the plate. Drew Stubbs had walked on four pitches, making Heisey the tying run in a game where his team was down by two runs in their last at bat. It wasn’t impossible, but given the way the game had been going, you had to wonder how many people were thinking “just get this over with” so they could get out of the cold.

The weather could have been worse, could have been far, far worse. It could have been snowy like it had been a few weeks ago when I attended the Rockies game in Denver. It could have been rainy. The sun came out at various times throughout the game and there were moments when it was actually pleasant. Of course, that could have been aided by the thermal long underwear I was sporting beneath all the other layers I wore.

It was something of a shock to walk through the area where Riverfront once stood. I hadn’t been to GABp since the Opening Day game of 2009, when nothing but concrete columns rose from the mud that had once been the foundation for so many Reds glories. I felt like I was in a different city, or perhaps a dream where you are in a real life familiar place that has been altered by unconsciousness. You can’t even see the stadium until you stand in front of it. It’d be pretty darn awesome to live in one of those condos, however, at least in the summer. Maybe I’ll put that on my bucket list.

The game was a snoozer. I remember lamenting how bored I was and how infrequent were my trips to the park. This may or may not have been the reason that the people behind me were so annoying. They never shut up about inane subjects that had nothing to do about baseball. It wasn’t until the ninth inning when one made the comment “Maybe we should talk about baseball.” That was before the bottom of the ninth began.

That’s when I saw the hawk.

It was like something in a movie when the main character sees a sign of something to come. I felt a heaviness lift from my heart and I said to myself, “we’re gonna win.” What was a hawk doing flying through the downtown of a city? Heisey got a hit. “Wow,” I told myself. “I felt that was going to happen!” But the feeling didn’t change. Votto got a hit and the Reds were on the board. One more run, no outs, two on. Phillips got a hit, typing the game and bringing Bruce to the plate.

“He’s gonna do it!”

And it was done.

The fireworks were late; either t

he guy in charge of letting them off had fallen asleep over the course of the first eight innings, left in disgust, or was so caught up in the moment of the win that he (or she) forgot to let them off while jumping up and down.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

roller coaster

So, anyone dizzy yet from all the standing switching going on in the NL Central? I thought we were going to run away with the division at the start of the season, but now?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Ballpark Photos

Coors Field, April 5, 2011, Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Colorado Rockies. I had been snowed out on Sunday - yes SNOWOUT - so I went back to the ballpark on Tuesday, though I could only stay for a few innings. The following are some photos from the game. I'll spare the baseball is poetry writeup for now - I think the sheer number of photos I took is a good indication of how I felt being at a baseball game on a beautiful day.