Archive for the ‘sports’ Category

July 4th In Cincinnati; Fireworks, baseball and fun

July 8, 2014

CAM00688This is the third game of the challenge. I watched the Indians and Angels last year as well as the Indians and Blue Jays.

I rode the bus to Cincinnati for two reasons. From Athens it’s only ten dollars and there is not a lot of parking in Newport Kentucky where I stayed. The bonus is the Greyhound Station in Cincy has a casino next to it.

We went into the casino and wandered a bit before deciding to play the slot machines. I won 53 dollars on my third or fourth play and quit. Nice to have a little extra spending money for the weekend.

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Like I mentioned earlier, we stayed at the Comfort Suites in Newport. It was a nice hotel with a great view of the river and downtown. Another cool feature was the Newport trolley bus ran right next to it. We traveled all over the greater Cincinnati area for a dollar a trip. Very handy and clean plus interesting fellow riders.

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The Newport Aquarium was right down the street as well. We checked that out and it was amazing. The fish and sharks and alligators all were very impressive and well worth the visit. It would have been a cool trip if it was the only thing we did there.

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The game itself was a blast. The Reds played the Brewers and won 4-2. Billy Hamilton hit a home run and made a nice leaping catch as well. The Reds did a really nice job of recognizing local servicemen and women before and during the game.

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The post game fireworks show was awesome. Lots of color and excitement right over the Ohio River.

My only gripe about the trip was how difficult it was to get out of the park. One escalator for a large group of people leads to trouble. And the post game traffic was also pretty intense. Luckily we could walk back to our hotel.

On the whole, we had a great time and look forward to another visit here.

Mike’s baseball challenge….game 1

July 11, 2013

It has been a while but I finally made it to a Major League game and lived to tell about it! My challenge of all the teams in 9 years now took me to Cleveland where the Indians hosted the Toronto Blue Jays.

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The Indians won the game three to zero behind the fine pitching of Ubaldo Jimenez and the Indians bullpen.  The game was delayed about 40 minutes by a downpour. Below are a few pictures I shot during the game.

100_1106Pre storm tarp placement. The grounds crew knew something the rest of us didn’t!

100_1115Ubaldo Jimenez begins his windup.

100_1118Jose Reyes takes a pitch outside.100_1124Panoramic view of Progressive Field

100_1130Scoreboard and bleachers….

 

Well there it is my first game of the journey. I love Progressive Field and am an Indians fan. For some reason I have seen the Blue Jays play many times down through the years so this seemed a great game to start with. I had a great time and hope you enjoyed reading about it.

Baseball in Indy

June 16, 2012

I know I know the baseball challenge is supposed to be major league teams. But I love the minors too so from time to time I will have a story about a minor league visit.

Last night I visited Victory Field in Indianapolis to watch the hometown Indians take on the Louisville Bats. The park was about 1/3 full and was cool and breezy. One of the distinct parts of the stadium is the Marriott Hotel which overlooks left field. It is reflective and bluish which is very unique. They also have an area called Captain Morgan’s cove which adds some character as well.

We sat in the second deck on the third base side. The seats were 11 dollars a piece and the line was short to get them, both bonuses in my book! The view of the field was perfect. There is a train track that runs outside the park on the first base side and some old factory stacks there too. I love the way the scenery of Indy was used so well in the design of the field.

One draw back was the amount of kids that would stand directly in front of us along the rail. It was distracting and even dangerous. A little girl of maybe 8 was hit on the shoulder with a pop foul and had to be taken to first aid. We moved away from the kids but they followed us to catch the elusive foul ball.

The game went 15 innings and was won by the home team 2-1. More offense would have been nice but Sterling Marte had a triple and there were some great plays in the field also.

I plan on coming back here many times and love the atmosphere! For affordable fun in a major city you can’t beat it.

Ohio’s Groce next in Illinois coaching search?

March 26, 2012

According to Yahoo sports, Illinois has turned their coaching search to Ohio’s John Groce after being rebuffed by Shaka Smart of VCU and Butler’s Brad Stevens.

Groce will not be in Athens forever. The Bobcats head coach will eventually head for greener pastures. He is a great coach that is also a great recruiter. I hope he doesn’t take the Illinois job for a couple of reasons. One of course is that I want him to stay at Ohio and build the program up to a dominant contender in the Mid American Conference. But the other reason is that Illinois is a tough spot to step into. The Big Ten has teams like Ohio State, Michigan State and Indiana to contend with as well as Purdue and Michigan. The players quit on the last coach going 2-12 to end the season and cost him his job. Groce would be at best their third choice.

Hopefully Groce will stay another season in Athens. With his roster almost fully returning for next year another run in the NCAA tourney is very possible. With that, a better opportunity will be right around the corner. Hopefully he is patient and waits for a better environment to showcase his fine coaching.

Browns talent deficit continues

March 12, 2012

Year after year since 1999, the Browns have been playing catch up in regards to  player talent. Playing in the AFC North, it’s never going to be easy with the Steelers, Ravens and even the Bengals having a system in place and good drafting over the last few years.  The Browns have no elite skill position players on offense.

The Redskins traded this week for the draft rights to Robert Griffin III. The dynamic signal caller from Baylor has speed, intelligence and a strong arm. He would have been a huge shot in the arm in Cleveland. But, the Redskins gave up 3 number one picks.  It is hard to say the Browns could have topped this bid or should have.

Andrew Luck will be taken first by Indianapolis. Griffin to Washington will follow.  Minnesota is next and then the Browns. I really have no idea what player is in their sights. If it was my choice, I would trade down a few spots and pick Trent Richardson, the running back from Alabama.  With Peyton Hillis likely leaving, the Browns could use a solid back and he looks to be a potential star. Plus the extra pick acquired in trading down could be used to add extra talent later.

This is going to be an important off season. Cleveland is looking to establish an identity and build a core of offensive talent. If no progress is made, more seasons like the last ten will follow.

My thoughts on Rick Nash and the Blue Jackets

March 3, 2012

The last time I wrote about this I thought the Jackets brass had asked Nash to waive his no movement clause. It has since come to light that Nash asked to be traded.

Rick Nash has played his whole career in Columbus. He seems like a nice, quiet guy that would make a nice neighbor or friend. He was drafted first in the draft and has been the star player on a bad team ever since. His stats are never great but the retort to that is always that he is surrounded by bad players and needs better players around him. While partly true, Nash has never grown much as a player or demanded more from himself. He has been team captain through two squads basically quitting on their coach. Watching him play in the Olympics, he plays a hard nosed aggressive style. In Columbus, he goes on auto pilot or coasts along at times. He is obviously a good player, but the motivation is gone. Right or wrong.

Scott Howson may have had the chance to trade Nash. It’s not public knowledge what he was offered or if they really intended to move him at all. Now Howson is faced with a team in disarray and a captain that wants out of town. He has had five years to get this going in the right direction. He would have been fired in any other situation but has the keys to the situation here. Trading Nash will be his legacy. I doubt he is up to the task of getting a return that will turn the Jackets into winners, but he will be forced to accept an offer at some point. This situation can not last as it is currently.

Bad teams always have drama. Being an Indians, Cavaliers, Browns and Jackets fan I see it all the time. When teams win you never hear this kind of crap. Hopefully soon the CBJ fans will have a winner to talk about instead. Frankly, it seems so far away.

Mike’s baseball challenge!

February 29, 2012

I love Baseball and I love traveling. I also love reading about travel and I love to write too. I just turned 40 last October. My challenge is to see every Major League Baseball team play in person by the time I’m 50. This isn’t a huge challenge but I am 3 to 4 hours away from Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. Check back during baseball season to see and hear where I end up and the people I encounter.

#CBJ Carter trade ends sour experiment

February 25, 2012

Jeff Carter was traded to Columbus a few months ago. The expectation was that he would be the Center the Blue Jackets had long needed to put them into the playoffs and even to advance. Rick Nash, the Jackets long time star wing, had needed this type of player to finally flourish. Something happened along the way though.

When Carter was aquired, the Jackets gave up young Jake Voracek and a 1st round draft choice. Things looked bright. Carter was shocked by the trade and had recently signed a long term deal with his old team, the Philadelphia Flyers. Carter went into seclusion for several days and had to be drawn out by Nash and others going to visit him. This was a bad sign but at the time I overlooked it. Going to a new team has to be a shock.

The season started with a wimper. Carter was out with injury and the team struggled. When he finally did make it onto the ice the team floundered and he looked disinterested. As the team struggled, Coach Scott Arniel became more and more off the wall in his explanations of their troubles. In what could best be described as a mercy firing, he was finally let go.

The Jackets have had the worst record in the NHL all season. Rick Nash was placed on the trading block and others have been shuffled out of town as well. Thursday night, Carter was traded to the LA Kings. The experiment is over and looks like the Jackets are going with a whole new style of player and youth.

I can’t help but wonder what might have happened if Carter came in with a different attitude and effort level. For me, he is the most disapointing Blue Jacket ever.

A superstar that wants to play in Ohio? Trade him!

February 15, 2012

The Columbus Blue Jackets are in the midst of their worst ever season after spending all of their cap money to bolster the attack. Team captain Rick Nash reportedly has been asked to waive his no trade clause and accept a move elsewhere. Nash has been a patient man as the front office has promised him for years to build around him. At this point he looks to be the scapegoat for poor trades and drafting. Nash has been one of the few bright spots for the Jackets.

General Manager Scott Howson would be fired in most pro sports cities. His record is abysmal and his team building has been random patchwork. Only in Columbus would he be given carte blanche to rebuild something he couldn’t build in the first place. If Nash has to be traded, this man should not be the one doing it. This cycle of team building has been a failure and so has Howson.

I’m not sure how this turns out but Nash deserves better than having his loyalty and contract signing of 8 years being thrown out after 2. The Columbus hockey squad will wait a long time for a player of his caliber than wants to play here.

#Indians five best promotions 2012 (Besides fireworks)

February 14, 2012

There is nothing better than going to a baseball game. The sights and sounds and smells are all fantastic. But they are intangible. If your team loses or the guy next to you has gas or the lady in front of you blocks your view, the memory won’t be positive. How to confront this? Promotions and giveaways!

The Indians have some pretty cool things going this year. Lets count the five best down…

5. Joe Carter bobble head. May 20. Before he became a World Series hero in Toronto, Carter toiled for the hapless Indian teams of the 80’s. His trade to the Padres helped get the Indians rolling with Sandy Alomar Jr and Carlos Baerga coming in return. I look forward to seeing how this one looks and hope maybe Carter will be in attendance too.

4.Justin Masterson replica jersey. May 28. Masterson was probably the Indians best pitcher last year and hopes to improve this season. Whats cooler than getting one of your favorite team’s best player’s jersey?

3.Dollar dog night. July 26. I’m not the world’s biggest hot dog fan but this one is tough to pass up. They are playing the Tigers and you get cheap food too? Awesome!

2.Gaylord Perry Bobble head. August 12. Gaylord Perry made the hall of fame by deception. Was he doctoring the ball? He would touch different parts of his hat and jersey to throw the umps off the trail. He got ejected once in his whole career for throwing a spitter. He spent several years in the 70’s in Cleveland. This one would be number one if it spit!

1.Carlos Baerga Bobble head. June 3. Let me preface this one; Carlos Baerga was one of my favorite players of the 90’s. He looked like he enjoyed every second of his time on the field. I love bobble heads too. This is an unbeatable combo and I can’t wait to add it to my collection.