It was a summer night, 1978, my grandfather took me to my first MLB game, just me and him. I was 6. We went because Steve Carlton (Hall of Fame class of 1994) was pitching. I always remember him saying, “the Phillies are lousy, unless Carlton is pitching”, which is classic Philly fan-speak. The big left-hander was on his game that night, struck out something in the double-digits, don’t remember, but the Phillies won. I will never forget, being so small, getting out of the car in the parking lot and seeing the Vet (old Veterans stadium) in all its glory. The outside of the stadium is lined with the ramps that took you up to the cheap seats. Our tickets were field level, some other schmucks would be the ones to climb the ramps that night. I remember being in awe of the stadium and the lights, it was all larger than life. Then walking into the stadium, I remember the smells. You could smell the astroturf with its funky green color, you could smell hot dogs, mustard, peanuts and the former garbage soaked concrete all around you. It was earthy, it was industrial, it was of the people and I was hooked. I was in awe of the players, the pinstriped uniforms, the connection of being with other fans and most of all . . . the game. It’s a beautiful game. The sound of the bat, the players who hustle and get dirty, the pop of the ball into a glove, the flair of a great arm across the infield, the preparations of the on-deck hitter, I loved it all. That was the night I fell in love with baseball.Having always been a Phillies fan, in 1987 I moved to Cincinnati and immediately also became a Reds fan. My best sporting event night ever was going to Game 1 of the 1990 World Series with my brother and before the game, in all our yahoo spirit, painted faces, stadium banner and all, we got in the face of a news camera and predicted a Reds sweep. The Reds were heavy underdogs to the mighty Oakland A’s. After Jose Rijo dominated the top of the first inning, the Reds pounced on them early in the bottom of the 1st. With one man on (I believe), Eric Davis destroyed a Dave Stewart fastball deep into the left-center field seats. The moment he hit it, I lost my voice in sheer ecstasy. The Reds rolled and swept the A’s, our prediction forever true.So now here I am. Tomorrow at 5:07 EST, the Reds and Phillies meet each other in the 1st round of the NLDS playoffs. I am at a loss of who to cheer for. I fully expect the Phillies to win the series and move on to win it all, they have the talent, but nothing would make me more proud than to see the Reds disappoint all the critics again. So for now, I’ll just be a fan of the game until one of my teams moves on. After all, it is the game that I fell in love with that night in 1978.peace,Marshall
* Warning, unmeaningful sports blog to follow*How long until this is the result, utter failure?
[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/wT-8Dm1VThc" width="425" height="344" allowfullscreen="true" fvars="fs=1" /]Well, here it is, Pacman Jones is now a Bengal. I am a die-hard Bengals fan and this team is getting harder and harder to root for, it’s painful. I want my team to have some sort of character standard but in a city of unyielded conservatism, the football team is as liberal with their personnel hires as a frog’s butt is water tight. If history is the best predictor for future results then this team is headed for a season straight out of our former mayor, Jerry Springer’s, greatest hits. I need to figure a way to compartmentalize my fandom. Don’t view them as people, role models or citizens . . . rather just see them as entertainers and warriors for my gaming pleasure. Not sure this dualism works for me, but apparently, if I want to be a Bengals fan again this season, it will be required.To the boys in bengal stripes, let’s behave ourselves, please.sincerely,One of your fans.
A simple blog entry today. A tribute to my Jesuit brothers from Norwood and my favorite college hoops team: The Xavier University Musketeers. Tough task vs. Minnesota, Tubby Smith has a National Championship under his belt. But it’s all about Jordan Crawford today, time for him to show his star power. The role players do the complimenting work, Love, McClain, Dante Jackson, Holloway. This is not their deepest nor their most talented team, but as usual come tournament time, they are balanced inside and out. A great tournament for them would be 2 wins and into the Sweet 16, to me, that’s the goal. They win when they rebound and play smothering defense. They’ve won close games this year with making their free throws down the stretch, they may need that again. I need to find a way to take a long lunch today. So that’s what’s on my mind today.
X . . . A. . . V. . . IER! Let’s Go X!
Back in the USSR Who says the days of Soviet dictatorship has to be over, Russia has gone retro with this response.
In televised comments, Medvedev said if those responsible for preparing the athletes don’t resign, then the decision will be made for them. He did not mention anyone by name.“Those who bear the responsibility for Olympic preparations should carry that responsibility. It’s totally clear,” Medvedev said. “I think that the individuals responsible, or several of them, who answer for these preparations, should take the courageous decision to hand in their notice. If we don’t see such decisiveness, we will help them.”
What’s next, another forced famine of the Ukraine for the good of the rest of the Union? I guess progress is a threat of the loss of jobs is far superior to the loss of lives. I also suppose that the leaders implicated here kind of knew this was going to be the response going home. It’s like being a coach in New York, if you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen. Here’s a great quote from their sports minister, “Doping bans also had deprived Russia of several leading medal contenders”. I mean, how are you supposed to compete if they don’t allow cheating? That’s just not the soviet way. This just all reminded me of the good ole Cold War days. Memories of Ivan Drago dropping Apollo Creed in Vegas like a rag doll. And let us never forget that it was not Ronald Reagan, nor the fall of communism that ended the Cold War. It was Rocky Balboa at the end of Rocky IV with his words to the Moscow crowd:
Rocky: During this fight, I’ve seen a lot of changing, in the way you feel about me, and in the way I feel about you. In here, there were two guys killing each other, but I guess that’s better than twenty million. I guess what I’m trying to say, is that if I can change, and you can change, everybody can change!
Apparently the Soviet President needs to sit down and re-watch Rocky IV in surround sound and embrace the change, cuz his retro response to yester-year is a bit chilling.peace,marshall