Envy

There’s a reason people do not like Boston sports fans. They say it’s because they’re jerks, or they’re too cocky, or stuff like that. The real reason is because Boston teams win…a lot, and their teams don’t.

Look at this picture:

 

That’s just silly, right? I mean I have lived for 29 years and haven’t been to one single championship parade. Here is this dude who has lived 12 years less than I have, and has seen 12 more parades. You want the truth about the disdain for Boston sports fans, which sometimes spreads to the Boston sports teams? People want to be like them.

I have been a Cincinnati sports fan for my entire life. I’ve lived in different places than Cincinnati, but I never stopped being a fan of Queen City sports. I’ve endured the struggles of the 90’s for the Bengals, the lack of relevancy (except on a few occasions) of the Reds, and the March sadness of the Bearcats. I still hold my head high that one day, it’ll happen. Yet, here’s this kid who, just about every year, celebrates his hometown team in (insert sport here) win another trophy. I’m not afraid to admit it, I am straight jealous.

Are the Reds close to doing this? The Bengals? FC Cincinnati is just started professional sports, so we’ll give them a few years. Mick Cronin and the boys are retooling. Luke Fickell is in a tough spot in that the college football playoff voters will never give a playoff spot to a team from the American. Sorry, they’re not. So, things have to happen, for any one of our wonderful, awesome, amazing teams before we will be going to a parade.

Meanwhile, Bostonians are marking their calendars when the next possible parade may be held. Must be nice.

Thinking Out Loud on Paper

Got the house to myself, for the day, and my mind has a few things on it, but none of them could really fill out an entire blog post, so I’m combining them.

I love the idea of Zac Taylor. It looks like the Rams QB coach need only dot some T’s and cross some I’s and he’ll be the Bengals next head coach. I love the thought of new things for my favorite NFL team. They’ve been stale, for awhile, and an infusion of fresh-thinking is just what the doctor ordered. Some are saying this could revolutionize Andy Dalton. I don’t know about that, but new thinking could change his career. Currently he, and the Bengals, have been the definition of mediocre for years. Just good enough to not be bad enough. The man, himself, Taylor has limited experience, and a checkered resume in the eyes of Cincinnati sports fans, but he’s not Marvin Lewis of Hue Jackson. For that reason, I am really excited for everything that is about to happen at Paul Brown Stadium.

Mid-major basketball is my favorite regular-season college basketball to watch. It’s usually pretty nip and tuck, both teams carry the identity of their coach instead of their star players, and for all but one in their conference, they’re not guaranteed action in March. At time of writing, I am watching the second half of Kent State and Ball State with Seton Hall and Butler waiting in the wings to switch to on commercials. Plus, there’s always that little glimmer of information to gather for bracket picking…that will inevitably lead to me making a dumb upset pick. College basketball rocks.

I really enjoy playing video games, but I’ve met enough people to know that I am not a “gamer.” With that being said, I feel like the culture of video games, for the last decade-and-a-half, really, has leaned heavily on first-person shooters. I think my personal video game taste has undergone that whole periodic taste change, thing, in that I don’t like FPS-style games, any more. I love adventure games, and sports games, but I don’t like FPS. Is that allowed? Maybe I’m moving past video games? This is weird to me, but I just can’t with FPS anymore.

I also hate trying to “correctly” hang jeans, but that’s neither here nor there.

Looking forward to checking out a new place in Middletown next week called the Swire Inn. It’s brand new and it’s a pub. My expectations are a little slice of heaven. Are they too high, probably, but I will most likely blog about my experience, so stay tuned.

The Patriots Deserve Respect

There aren’t many people who will agree with me, but I am not bored with the Patriots appearing in yet another Super Bowl. If they win or lose, I will enjoy the game and I will enjoy watching one of the greatest dynasties in all of sports.

Many people include them in their most hated teams. I’ve heard more than a few people (obviously around Cincinnati) tell me “My favorite teams are the Bengals, and whoever is playing the Steelers and Patriots.” I understand the Steelers, and I agree, but I do not agree with the Patriots take. Hear me out.

Do you like good football? Do you enjoy good play calling, hardworking players, and talented players? Did you watch the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls and root for the other guys? Few did. The feeling of aversion to success is something that needs to die, in America. We think because someone wins a lot that there is something wrong with that person.

What is wrong with Julian Edelman? Dude was a QB in college, picked in the 7th round, asked to change to a receiver, and now has the second-most receptions in postseason history (Jerry Rice, who will never be beaten, has the most.) What is wrong with Rex Burkhead? He was the number three back in Cincinnati, asked to step up due to injury, he does, and the Bengals let him walk in free agency for his efforts. Sexy Rexy then becomes a Patriot and scores two TDs in the AFC Championship win over the Chiefs. What is wrong with Rob Gronkowski? Ok, so you don’t like to party, sure, but dude is the obvious number one target of Tom Brady, and still, no one consistently stops him while he consistently gets his. Also, he’s a cool dude I’d love to meet some day.

So you say the Patriots cheat. They tape practices or they deflate footballs. Let me ask you something about that, can you prove it? Or better yet, can you disprove that? No. You will never come up with enough evidence, one way or another, to definitively answer that. So is that a logical reason to dislike a team, no! You call on this idea as a reason you hate the Patriots because you already hated the Patriots. They win, your team didn’t, so you don’t much like them. Some hack reporter found some sort of circumstantial story that you now take and run with as a reason to dislike them. You hated them in the beginning, so you had no reason to question the validity of the off-hand claim.

They just play good football. Brady is the best quarterback who ever played. He’s won more, regardless of Sunday’s outcome, and he’s done it with less. Outside of Randy Moss, which receiver has he thrown to who is a shoe-in for the Hall of Fame? Yet he still shreds opposing defenses when he needs to the most, the playoffs.

No one will ever replicate what Bill Belichick and Brady are doing, right now.

The AFC East is the AFC Least, you say. So how do they constantly outplay and outcoach tougher competition, year-in and year-out? They aren’t ready for tougher teams because they play in a weak division, right? So how does that work?

Football is good. Good football is awesome. The Patriots play good football. The Patriots are awesome. Promise you, I am not a Patriots fan, I am a Patriots respecter. There’s a difference and you don’t have to be a fan to respect good football.

Catching You Up-Intro to Links of the Week

I’ve been busy writing, but not here, and that’s kind of a bummer. Here’s some links to what I’ve been up to. I’m going to start doing this where I tease what I’ve been doing elsewhere and provide a link. I don’t much care for neglecting my home site, where I decided writing was something I wanted to do, pay or not. Now I’m building something to possibly start turning money out of this hobby. Anyway, here is what I’ve been up to.

CINCINNATI REDS

You all know I love the Reds the most. I’ve been writing a bunch on lockedonReds.com.

Why it’s not so bad if the Reds get good value out of trade involving Scooter Gennett – https://www.lockedonreds.com/reds/scooter-might-be-traded-and-thats-okay/

Redsfest was a blast – https://www.lockedonreds.com/reds/recapping-redsfest/

And one last link, this one was about Billy Hamilton being non-tendered – https://www.lockedonreds.com/reds/instant-reaction-bye-bye-billy/

CINCINNATI BENGALS

I must admit, my interest has waned in the Bengals season. Just doesn’t feel like there’s a whole lot to write about, other than talking about how things need to change. That being said, here’s one about my feelings on the state of the team – https://www.lockedonbengals.com/bengals/a-sucker-til-the-bitter-end/

FANTASY FOOTBALL

I began writing for another website, called getsportsinfo.com. Every Friday I do a column called “Studs, Duds, and Sleepers,” with mostly successful picks. Here’s last week’s post…which won’t do you any good right now, but check out the look of the post – https://getsportsinfo.com/studs-duds-and-sleepers-week-14-2/

Like I said, from here on out, I’ll post links to other stuff, that way you know I’m not abandoning the writing. On the contrary, I’m trying to make it more than a hobby!

Monday Musings

It’s Monday morning (at time of writing) and my mind is in a bit of an entanglement.

Firstly, AJ Green is hurt. The report says “some games” which is about as vague as the chances I give the Bengals of beating the Saints, without him. Apparently, he hurt it in the last game before the bye, whenever he got up grabbing at his toe. Some reports say that, after the game, AJ mentioned stubbing it and he’ll be fine. Then he was seen at PBS in a walking boot. Now they’re saying multiple games will be missed. It doesn’t take much to connect the dots and see that Tyler Boyd will be Andy Dalton’s number one target for the Saints game, the Ravens game, and maybe beyond that. In a league where the slimmest of margins separate wildcard teams from teams who finish 7-9, losing AJ really blurs that line for Cincinnati.

The Reds are being linked to a number of different free agents, and it’s got me excited. Sure, I looked at season tickets and realized peons like me aren’t meant to afford that regality (plus, different ticket apps make it cheaper and easier to go to the games I want, anyway) and the Opening Day tickets available on websites start at $150, right now, as the “market” preys on overenthusiastic instant-gratification junkies. That being said, I’m all in on Redsfest coming at the end of November and will probably type up a few words on it, too. I’d love to meet Dallas Keuchel, or Patrick Corbin, or even Nathan Eovaldi, but we’ll see. The powers that be for the oldest professional base-ball franchise have said they’ll break the bank. But whether it’s a bigger crack in the piggy bank or a full blown shattered oinker, remains to be seen.

I plan on writing more about this next thought, so I’ll be brief, but college basketball is back, baby, and this fool just got cable. Hope my wife is ready to hear lots squeaking sneakers and swishing nets!

UC football is back ranked in the Top-25 with a pair of games against good Florida football teams (USF and UCF). That being said, they get the lesser of two Florida’s at home, this Saturday, in a game I think they have a much better shot at winning than I did in August. Then comes the monster that is UCF. 21-straight wins (maybe 22 by next week) will face off against the Luke Fickell reclamation project. Coach Fick has built the Cats into bonafide football players in just a year and a half, and may be the next name to be plucked from Clifton to a big time job. Nobody, including me, saw the success he’s had this year as possible, and yet here we are. We could be talking about a 10-win Bearcats football side, come December, and that is magnificent.

I’m still on about Bohemian Rhapsody. What a film. Been listening to Queen all weekend.

Also, playing Red Dead 2 any chance I get. It’s so simple and yet so fantastic. Much like many a good Western flick. One of the latest “missions,” or maybe stories is a better term for them, that I completed was one where your character gets drunk, but has to keep his other drunk friend out of trouble, and then run from Johnny-Law. Rockstar just knows how to make an entertaining video game.

Right, well, back to Monday, I suppose.

Bohemian Rhapsody Rocks

Freddie Mercury is the Freddie Mercury-est Freddie Mercury who ever Freddie Mercury-ed. That being said, Rami Malek did one heck of a job emulating Freddie Mercury.

Let me preface this post about a movie by saying that I do not care about the little details. I am not one who looks for this or that. I go to movies to get away. If a movie can get me to suspend disbelief, bingo, it’s done is job. I go for the feel of it. Did the movie provoke me to feel a certain way.

Bohemian Rhapsody was all over that. It did an awesome job of showing how Queen developed, how Freddie Mercury came up with this idea for that song, or that idea for this song. It talked about his background, but not in a boring, ho-hum way. It really made you feel as though you saw Freddie Mercury. As someone who loves Queen, but was two years old when Freddie Mercury died, this was a glimpse of something brilliant. Also, how they reacted when they first recorded the song that gave the movie its name is pretty much what I imagined.

It also made me think of how much Queen means to sports. Who, when attending a sporting event and the home team is either leading, or getting ready to take the lead, doesn’t get crazy excited when “We Will Rock You” blares through the speakers? At least every other time a Reds pitcher strikes out an opposing batter, I think “Another One Bites the Dust.” And the Lord knows, I cannot wait for the day that I get to scream “We are the Champions” for either the Reds, Bengals, or Bearcats. Queen has interwoven itself into the fabric of sports and sports fans.

Rami Malek, though, was Freddie Mercury. For a little over two hours, Rami provided a performance that made you feel like you knew Freddie Mercury. You saw his rise from a baggage handler at Heathrow Airport to, possibly, the best performer of all time. All the while, you never got a sense that it was being over-played. Like Malek was trying too hard. He had exactly the right look, exactly the right movements, and exactly the right voice to project one of the greatest musicians that ever lived.

I spent $15 on a ticket to see the movie at the Rave-Cinemark in XD. Don’t even care. Movie ticket prices, blah blah blah, it’s worth it if you love the music of, I’ll just say it, the best dang band there ever was, Queen.

Cowboys and Video Games

So this is mostly a sports blog for the wonderful city of Cincinnati, but every now and then I dabble in non-sports related topics. Red Dead Redemption 2 is the game of the year, hands down.

I’m no video game expert, I’ll be the first to say. In fact, I’ve realized lately that I’m at the age that, even if I was good at pwning noobs, I’m not sure too many people are lining up to pat me on the back. So I play for the mere enjoyment of the game. I don’t try to beat something quickly, I don’t try to climb the online leaderboards, I just play to have fun. Red Dead Redemption 2 (heretofore referred to as RDR2) is a heck of a lot of fun, and in a mostly laidback way.

Fans of western movies should own it yesterday. The story starts off that you are a badass named Arthur who is a member of this gang that completed a big score at the cost of topping the wanted lists of every law enforcement agency and bounty hunters in the west. In response, they’ve tucked tail and run north, into the Dakotas, and are hiding in some snow covered mountains. Your job, quickly, becomes to help rebuild the gang’s reputation, while also building your own.

Just as in the first game, you can choose to do good, do bad, or be a bit of a neutral. Something that has been added, though, that I love is the system they developed of creating a bond with your horse. The more you bond with your horse, the better it becomes and the more it helps you out.

Another thing that is vastly improved from the first game is the hunting system. There are legendary animals that you have to track, find clues as to where they are, and then, somehow, find a way to kill. When you do manage to kill the legendary animal, or any animal, for that matter, you can then use all of the things you collect from skinning that animal to craft items that improve your gameplay. You still gain food, like in the first, but RDR2 has added something to the gameplay that makes it essential.

In RDR2, you have to remember survival. It’s not like other games where you get into a gun fight, run and hide, and replenish health and stamina. In this game, you must focus on what food, drink, and “tonics” you have on you to replenish the necessary skills to go on. I really enjoy the nuances of this game, and have barely advanced in the story, for focusing on the nuances.

The antagonist of the game is actually group. The easy explanation is: any gang that isn’t your own. It’s not as if you have to do something to antagonize a rival gang member. Your character is already well established within his own gang (as the backstory says Arthur has been in the gang for more than 20 years) so when you just see a rival gang member, they’re already aggressively postured against you. This adds an interesting wrinkle when you explore the vast gameplay area that Rockstar Games created, because you don’t know exactly where you will run into baddies.

I just started playing this game, and will probably write a bit more about it, but I know it’s one of my favorite games, ever, and may rise to the top. I’ll keep you posted.