by Nick Swartsell 03.17.2015
Posted In: News at 10:05 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Morning News and Stuff

SORTA approves Oasis bike path; Pete Rose applies for MLB reinstatement; Mount Auburn park could get facelift

Morning y’all! I’ve been out of the morning news loop working on long-term projects but I’m back and ready to nerd out on some news. So let’s do it. Twitter is all abuzz this morning with the news that the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority has approved plans to build a bike path on the Oasis Line near the Ohio River on the city’s East Side. That’s big news — as our feature on the potential Oasis path last month explored, completion of a bike trail there brings Cincinnati closer to a network of statewide trails and also makes biking from the East Side to downtown a possibility. SORTA controls the right of way on a set of tracks that will need to be paved for the bike path to be built. The Indiana-Ohio Railway company, however, voiced opposition to the plan, citing safety concerns and plans to expand its business in the area. The company owns tracks running just seven feet from the unused line the bike path would occupy.• Will Pete Rose get reinstated into Major League Baseball, clearing the way for his induction into the Hall of Fame? It could happen, but the road facing Charlie Hustle is still a long one. Rose recently applied for reinstatement with new MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, who expressed openness to a conversation about letting Rose back in after taking baseball’s top position in January. Manfred has acknowledged he received Rose’s request but hasn’t tipped his hand about whether or when the hit king might be reinstated. Rose, baseball’s all-time hits leader, received a lifetime ban from baseball in 1989 after he was investigated for betting on the game while he was a player and coach. Rose denied the allegations until 2003, when he publicly admitted he did bet on games. • Two members of Cincinnati City Council would like to spend $9 million to revamp a 20-acre park in Mount Auburn while also improving the area around the park on Auburn Avenue for pedestrians. Inwood Park sits along Vine Street on the western edge of the neighborhood between uptown and downtown. Councilmen Charlie Winburn and Chris Seelbach would like the city to invest $5 million in the park over the next two budgets in a plan they unveiled before council’s Budget and Finance Committee meeting Monday. The hope is that investment would help increase momentum on new development in the neighborhood, which has just begun to pick up. Developers Uptown Rentals and North American Properties plan to invest nearly $100 million in Mount Auburn in the near future, including the construction of 400 units of market-rate housing and tens of thousands of square feet of office space. “As we’ve seen with Washington Park, these dollars do more than beautify our neighborhoods,” Seelbach said in a news release yesterday. “Inwood Park will become a destination in Uptown, drawing families, students and neighbors to spend time together, enjoying our city.”I walk through this park all the time and think it’s pretty epic. The motion met with mixed reactions from the rest of the budget and finance committee, who are hesitant about the expenditures without reviewing the plan with the Parks Department and considering other uses for the money.• Gov. John Kasich met Monday with the Ohio Taskforce on Community-Police Relations to discuss the group’s ongoing work. Kasich convened the task force in December in the wake of controversy over the shooting deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of police officers, including Tamir Rice in Cleveland and John Crawford III in Beavercreek. The 18-member group made up of lawmakers, experts, law enforcement professionals and community leaders held four listening sessions across the state, including a marathon five-and-a-half hour session in Cincinnati March 9. Now, the task force must compile the hours of expert testimony and community input into a report with recommendations for policy changes, which is expected to be released April 30. In the meantime, Kasich dropped by the meeting Monday to hear initial thoughts from the task force members.One member, Oregon, Ohio Police Chief Michael Navarre, said that all of his training has informed him to shoot in dangerous situations, and that "there is a huge gap between what community and police want," according to Gongwer news service. Kasich has said changing training and procedures for officers could be one outcome of the task force’s work. • Finally, are you following this crazy story about New York millionaire and property magnate Robert Durst? You should be. Durst is suspected in three murders over the span of nearly two decades, including that of his wife, one of his best friends and a neighbor. The thing is, he’s been a suspect for years and was even acquitted on grounds of self-defense for one of the murder charge even after he admitted to dismembering the man he killed. The HBO series Jinx has chronicled Durst and the suspicions against him, and, incredibly, Durst was arrested in New Orleans just before the show’s finale to face charges in L.A. for one of the murders. There are so many things to unpack about this situation — how money changes your relationship to the justice system, the weird looking glass of true-crime TV and real law enforcement colliding, Durst’s own strange background and on and on. Anyway, the whole story is worth reading up on and I’m sure we’ll be searching for answers to the questions Jinx raises for years to come. That’s it for me. Tweet me (@nswartsell). Email me (nswartsell@citybeat.com). Say hey when you see me at Findlay Market. Whatever you gotta do to give me those news tips or your thoughts on the weird world of true-crime docu-dramas.

Covering Home

Chris Welsh’s unforeseen journey from St. X to the Reds broadcast booth

2 Comments · Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Ironically, Welsh is now part of a rich Reds broadcasting tradition that includes his dad’s favorite announcer, Waite Hoyt — yet another surreal turn in a baseball career that continues to defy expectations.  

Live and Unvarnished

Pete Rose comes home for Opening Day

0 Comments · Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Ask a non-Cincinnati native of a certain age what they know of the Queen City, and inevitably Pete Rose and the Big Red Machine will come up. Hey, probably better that than the Mapplethorpe controversy, WKRP in Cincinnati or Jerry Springer’s various post-mayoral hijinks.  

All-Star Game in Tow, Castellini Wants World Series

0 Comments · Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Until July of 2015, you’re going to hear a lot about Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game. And for good reason — the game could bring anywhere from $75-$100 million into the city.   

Hall of Fame Voting Could Get Messy

0 Comments · Wednesday, January 16, 2013
The shutout in this year’s Baseball Hall of Fame voting was ugly, but the 2013 ballot and beyond could get downright messy.   
by Blake Hammond 10.15.2012
Posted In: Music Commentary, Humor at 10:28 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)

Rating the Reds' Up-to-Bat Music

What happened to the Cincinnati Reds? We have no idea. But maybe it was the walk-on music?

Besides baseball, there are two things that I associate with GABP and the Reds — beer and music. Well, maybe there are three. Losing in the playoffs has seemingly snuck itself in there in the last week or so. Whatever, I don’t want to talk about it. Ever since I was a kid, my favorite baseball players' personalities have always matched their walk-on batting intros. (Adam Dunn’s intro, “For Whom the Bell Tolls” by Metallica, was badass, unless he struck out afterward, which was often the case.)But as I got older and was able to drink at the games (legally anyway), I began to notice a trend in my beer buying regiment. I was buying more booze in the bottom-half of the innings than in the top-half and I had no idea why. But after some deliberation (a couple more beers), I finally figured it out. It was this team’s batting intros that drove me to the stands to go broke on $9 beers (thanks, guys!)So, in lieu of thinking about my bank account, or the fact that we made history being the only team ever up 2-0 in a series and still, somehow, some way, found a way to lose three straight at home, here is a list of the Reds' starters walk-on songs, rated on a scale of how many beers it takes for me to enjoy them. Even though no amount of booze will ease the pain of that Game 5 loss, maybe making fun of these guys' music preferences will.• Zack Cozart: “Too Close” – Alex Clare: Alex Clare’s DupPop single “Too Close” (best known for soundtracking an Internet Explorer commercial) has risen on the pop charts at the same rate as Zack Cozart’s batting average over the past season. Coincidence? I think not. But really, Zack? This is your walk-on song? This is what gets you pumped up? I mean, for God’s sake, the lyrics don’t make any sense. “I feel like I am just too close to love you”?  It would make much more sense if the lyrics were, “I feel like I’m too just too drunk to do you.” That would be a song I could connect with. Rating: 8 beers.• Drew Stubbs: “Breakin’ a Sweat” – Skrillex and The Doors    There is no excuse for this. The whole thing sounds like Netzero fucked Jim Morrison and it’s just not OK. I honestly think this may be half the reason why Stubbs’ hitting had been so atrocious over the last season. Really though, if I had to hear this screeching dial-tone noise ringing throughout GABP every time I went up to bat, I wouldn’t be able to concentrate either. Rating: 20 beers. Alcohol poisoning sounds better than this song. • Brandon Phillips:  “Turn Up” – 2 Chainz; “Turn On The Lights” – Future; “Everythang” – Young Jeezy; “Pop That” – French Montana; “Bandz a Make Her Dance” – Juicy JAll right, DatDude, what the hell? I understand wanting to switch it up during the game and maybe having two or even three songs tops. But five? In most games you don’t even get to the plate five times!It’s OK, though. It’s worth it just to see all the old white people get uncomfortable when there is some Rap music blowing through the speakers at GAB.Rating: 2 beers. • Joey Votto: “Paint it Black” – The Rolling StonesI like to picture Joey Votto sitting at home alone, crying, listening to this song and asking, “Why do I have to do everything?!?” Seriously though, when you hear that thumping drum beat in the beginning of the song, you know fear strikes the heart of any opposing pitcher having to face Votto-matic.Rating: Zero beers. No alcohol needed for this one. • Ryan Ludwick: “Brass Monkey” – The Beastie BoysWhile Phillips' newer Rap joints are a little too hood for the white people in the crowd, this is something they can relate, too. I wish Ludwick could bat twice in the order, not only because he’s a great hitter, but so I can see the drunk 40-something in front of me gyrate and giggle some more when this song comes on. Rating: 2 beers. It’s a fantastic song but it is about drinking, so it only seems right to have a little bit of a buzz. • Todd Frazier: “Come Fly With Me”/ “Fly Me To The Moon” – Frank SinatraTodd Frazier is a class act. His intro songs were chosen because they remind him of his grandparents (seriously dude — is there a bad bone in your body?). But honestly, who better than Old Blue Eyes to bring out the classiest Red since Sean Casey? Rating: Zero beers. Maybe a “Daniels on ice, two fingers” though, in salute to Sinatra. • Jay Bruce: “Everything I Do” – TimefliesI don’t know who these guys are, but based on the 15-30 second judgment made when I heard it every time Bruce came up to bat, I’m not a fan. (Sidenote: I’m going to blame this song on that pop-fly he had in the ninth inning of Game 5. Thanks a lot, Timeflies — you ruined the season!)Rating: 5 beers. • Ryan Hannigan: “The Show Goes On” – Lupe Fiasco I applaud Hannigan for throwing up a Lupe song as his walk-on. It’s cool that he listens to some good Hip Hop. But this song was quite possibly the worst choice he could have made. The sample of Modest Mouse’s “Float On” alone makes me want the “show” to stop and never go on again.Rating: 5 beers.• Scott Rolen: “Viva La Vida” – ColdplayThis might be the weirdest choice on the whole list. When you see Scott Rolen up to bat, he just looks pissed off. Like he’s Liam Neeson and the ball he’s about to smash just took his daughter and sold her into the sex trade. But then you hear his walk-on music and it’s freakin’ Coldplay? I was expecting some AC/DC, even some Motorhead, but Coldplay? I would go on, maybe even make a “You know how I know you’re gay?” joke — but honestly I’m afraid of this guy. Even if he does listen to Coldplay.Rating: 4 beers. After about four large drafts I’d be singing along. It’s just got that Pop-chant chorus that I can’t resist when intoxicated. I wasn’t going to do any pitchers but this one was too hard to resist …• Mike Leake: “Some Nights” – Fun  You know what would be fun, Mike? If “Some Nights” you’d stop choking and pitch to your full potential. Rating: 6 beers. (While we know up-to-bat music is irrelevant in Major League Baseball and cannot actually be blamed for the Reds blowing it in the playoffs, we'll offer our suggestions for new walk-on music this coming spring. Look for it in about six months. Leave your own suggestions in the comments.)
by Brian Dill 04.19.2012
Posted In: baseball at 09:33 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Reds Slip in Rankings

Team sits in second place despite anemic offense

With all the talent the Reds have on their roster the bats just aren’t blazing like we all suspected they would. The Reds rank 27th or lower in four major offensive categories, including runs scored — a woeful 31 runs in 10 games. Luckily for the Reds, outside their current opponent — St. Louis — nobody in the division can win games, either. The Reds sit in second place along with Houston and Milwaukee. The one thing Dusty’s boys can’t afford is to continue with the Drew Stubbs special — swinging and missing. If the Cardinals sweep the Reds — which is looking probable — then they would be six games back, not insurmountable but far from ideal.A healthy Brandon Phillips will go a long way in getting putting runs on the board. Wilson Valdez and Willie Harris did a commendable job in their time replacing Phillips, but any extended absence from Phillips results in a significant drop in offensive production. In addition to Phillips recovering from a hamstring injury, much of the starting lineup will have to overcome a plague-like slump. Jay Bruce, Ryan Ludwick, Devin Mesoraco, Ryan Hanigan, Drew Stubbs and Scott Rolen are all hitting .205 or worse. Production from the cleanup spot is hurting badly; Rolen has no dingers and only two extra-base hits. Joey Votto and Zack Cozart — the only to hitting worth a damn — need production behind them if the reds are going to reverse their current run scoring trend.The Reds have Bronson Arroyo taking the hill tonight against the only St. Louis starter without a win this year, Adam Wainwright (0-2.) Wainwright enters the game with an 11.42 era, if the Reds can’t stop their anemic offensive output against Wainwright it may be a long next couple of weeks.

Riverfront Redux?

The Cincinnati Reds look to repeat as Central Division champs

0 Comments · Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Cincinnati sports fans are justifiably skeptical of their teams’ yearly promises of greatness. Our recent sports history has left many with a “believe it when we see it” philosophy when it comes to local teams’ on-field success. But when Jay Bruce’s rocket-laser walk-off home run against the Astros on Sept. 28, 2010, caromed off the batter’s-eye pavilion in center field, Great American Ball Park exploded into the greatest celebration in its short history.