Here's a public thank you to my friend Steve Stewart, who hosted my friends and me for a fun weekend of Reds baseball at Cincinnati's Great American Ball Park. Unfortunately, my Reds did not look good, losing three straight from the White Sox. Saturday night's game was at least exciting, and Sunday afternoon saw a scoreless tie (that's for you, Steve...) for half the game before the Reds self-destructed.
Other than the Reds' dismal on-field performance, the weekend was great. We got in several hours before game time on Saturday, which allowed Stiner and me to walk around downtown Cincinnati before meeting up with J Brown and Rock Goddess at their hotel. A nice stroll back to GABP and nice baseball weather by the time of the 6:10pm start. It was very hot earlier in the day--too hot perhaps to be walking around the city--but it was a nice night. We had terrific seats behind first base about halfway up the bottom section. I missed catching a foul ball by about five feet, which is closer than I have ever come. At least we were close enough to get a decent look at the Reds cheerleaders.
After the game, Steve gave us a "nickel tour" (which was worth a thousand times that) of the stadium, including the broadcast booths, the scoreboard, the press box, luxury boxes, private clubs, players' parking lot, etc. I also met my first Baseball Hall of Famer, thanks to Steve: legendary Reds play-by-play man Marty Brennaman, who has been broadcasting Reds games on radio since 1974. That's the year before I became a Reds fan, so it was a great thrill to shake hands and say hello to him. I told him I had been watching the '75 World Series on DVD, which I think amused him.
After the stadium lights shut down, Steve took us over to Kentucky for a couple of drinks at a sports bar down on the levee. I think all of us were too tired to do much more partying than that, but it gave Steve and me a chance to do some catching up, and I think my friends got a kick out of him. He was interested in them and their lives, and we all had a nice relaxing time. Steve and I got a chance to do more catching up back at his place, where I spent the night, not just talking about old memories, but also about baseball and the broadcasting business.
Sunday afternoon, we were right back at GABP for a 1:15 start, but with even better seats. These were directly behind home plate and were very hoidy-toidy: an usher that wipes down the padded seats, a private restroom, bar and concession area, even a wait staff that takes your food order on a Palm Pilot and has it delivered straight to your seat. Very nice, indeed. Steve also took us up into the WLW radio suite for an inning, where we got to enjoy some air conditioning and some of the free food and drinks at the buffet.
Leaving the game was a breeze. We had a good parking spot and were able to get right out on the interstate. From the time the last pitch was thrown until we got safely out of the city and onto the highway, it was less than 30 minutes. No problem or stress at all. We hit some very heavy rains driving back to Champaign from Ohio, but nothing to deter the fun weekend. Except, of course, the asskicking the Reds received at the feet of the Chicago White Sox.
And when I got home, I still had more fun ahead. Kevin was in town and stopped by for a Crappy Movie. I pulled one out I hadn't seen before: TWIN DRAGON ENCOUNTER. This one sucks, but we did laugh. I gotta thank Will Wilson for sending this one my direction. TWIN DRAGON ENCOUNTER stars Michael and Martin McNamara, two real-life twin brothers and kung fu instructors in Canada with curly hair and mustaches. They apparently thought they could also make movies, and this was their first. They play Michael and Martin McNamara, two tools who take their girlfriends on a rustic vacation in the woods, where they encounter punker survivalists who fuck with them and kidnap their women. The brothers return from fishing to find their girlfriends gone, but just think the girls are hiding to play a trick on them. Hours go by, and the twins only figure out something is wrong when one discovers that the poster of themselves they have hanging in their cabin is missing.
The homoeroticism is hilarious. One scene finds the girls wearing bikinis pleading with their boyfriends to come swimming, but the McNamaras are too busy cutting wood, shirtless, with an old-fashioned two-man hacksaw. "Leave us alone, we've got work to do!"
TWIN DRAGON ENCOUNTER is not very good, mainly because the brothers, despite their background, are shitty fighters, and it shows in the dumbass decision to shoot the fights in clunky slow-mo. The sequel, which is more like a remake, DRAGON HUNT, is better in this regard. It still sucks, but not as much as TWIN DRAGON ENCOUNTER.
Will put some bonus material on the DVD-R he sent me, including the trailer to a marvelously crappy action movie called DESERT WARRIOR. I've never seen it, but I won't rest until I do. It looks hilariously awful and stars Lou Ferrigno (!), who also provides his own voice, and Shari Shattuck, who I have to believe shows some boob.
Two baseball games, a shitty kung fu movie, and a Baseball Hall of Famer. Not a bad 36 hours.