While the 1st semester of my junior year of college is winding down and we inch closer and closer to Christmas there is always time for a road trip!
Last weekend my good buddy Angeline was celebrating her 21st birthday. Ange and I have been friends since 1st grade and enjoying this monumental occasion together seemed all but right. So me and three of my roommates packed up the car and trekked out to Cincinnati,OH-you see she does go to school at Xavier University which is located in Cinci. We picked quite the ironic weekend to make the trip as my beloved West Virginia Mountaineers also made the 5 hour voyage to take on the Bearcats of UC. We had full intentions of celebrating an upset win for WVU by painting the town gold and blue. However, the 5th ranked Bearcats pulled off the 24-21 victory. We did not let this little roadblock stand in our way of having a good time. As you can see we still fly the colors proudly.
Beside the 21st birthday party and dinner at P.F. Changs China Bistro we had time to roam about the big city of Cincinnati.
Before I go any further I just want to say how fantastic P.F. Changs is-especially their Cincinnati location. We had a big group of people at our table and they forced us to split up. Not a big deal in the first place but on top of that they gave us free appetizers. Let me tell you what, prior to that dinner Saturday night I was never a big fan of lettuce or green vegetables in general, but their lettuce wraps stuffed with chicken and fried green beans are an absolute revelation. Not to mention the other amenities of the establishment including Spicy Chicken, Sweet and Sour Chicken and their medley of dipping sauces. A divine experience all around. Whew-sorry about that, but I just had to get the word out.
Our afternoon in downtown Cincinnati began not technically in the city limits of Cinci itself. We first ended up out of the state of Ohio completely- making it to Kentucky, Newport, Kentucky.
As we grazed through the shopping mall that was banked along the river I noticed a total sight for sore eyes.
Oh my gracious a Christmas tree! Now already being in the Christmas spirit since Halloween I was so pumped to see this huge evergreen right before me. The whole area was decorated nicely with wreaths, garland and bows. It was so great. However the unseasonably warm temperatures that pushed 70 did not make for a total Christmas revolution it was still amazing to experience a warm weather Christmas moment. Maybe now I know how people in California feel in December. My love for Christmas probably does exceed my passion for baseball. If you read my “About Me” section you can see that December 25th is indeed my favorite day of the year followed in a close second by Opening Day in April.
The cityscape of Cincinnati isn’t really unique to any other cities I have been to. However it does offer the modern necessities of a large metropolitan area. I enjoy the downtown area and feel safe there. There are many opportunities despite the economic climate that seems to sting a majority of the country. I can really see myself living here- it reminds me of Pittsburgh based on size, population and atmosphere. I do not hold a grudge against this city in Ohio like I do for the other two big cities in the Buckeye State. I despise Cleveland (Browns and Indians and Lebron James) and Columbus (THE Ohio State University). The sports teams of Cinci are also a big selling point for myself.
Although my thumbs are down in front of Paul Brown Stadium, home of the Bengals, I’m not totally against them. Yeah they’ve really had the Steelers number this year by sweeping them in both games played it is kind of cool to see another team step up in the AFC North. Plus Chad Ochocinco is a character and just like TBS, characters are welcome with me.
While I’m not the biggest NFL fan I am baseball through and through. Right across the street from Paul Brown Stadium is this beauty.
Well not a beauty per say, but what it houses is indeed a gem. The Great American Ballpark-home of the Cincinnati Reds. Just being by a baseball stadium pumped me up for the crack of the bat. I have been to this stadium before-back in 2003, in fact it was a Pirates-Reds game in which the Buccos won. But just to be outside of the 43,000 seat facility gave me chills when I am not even close to being a Reds fan. This entrance was different from the one I entered through six years ago anyway so it was neat to look around.
There is an abundance of statues lining the spacious walkway to the gate of the stadium. While I have never heard of any of the players I am sure they are central to Reds History. Mind you none of them were Pete Rose or Johnny Bench. However I’m sure within the confines somewhere you can find a bust of those two legends. To go along with this guy there were at least three more in the entrance way alone.
I like this little nugget of novelty hanging by the ramps of the stadium. It is a clever message of pride to display after every Reds victory. I know I enjoy seeing a victory sign, much like the Jolly Roger that flies outside of PNC Park after a win. With fireworks and Brandon Philips pumping his fist this would be a welcome sign each evening after having an enjoyable night at the ballpark.
h the Reds do play in the NL Central, rivals of the Pirates-there is no need to hate them. I see them as the same position as the Pirates. We’re just two small market teams wanting to get by. I do not necessarily root for them but I’m there cheering them along. If one of us makes it we both make it-well not really, but it is nice to see both teams make strides in a effort to contend. That being said Pirates fans of the world do not be disgruntled when you feats your eyes on this.
It was all about timing. You don’t wander into the team shop (which I was overjoyed and surprised that it was opened on a Saturday at 4pm during the off season.) an not try on some Cincinnati garb. I’m really digging the hat by the way. if I didn’t need a new Pirates fitted hat-which I do- I would strongly consider buying this red and black piece of flash. The jersey is a plus too. Joe Morgan-one of the best second baseman of all time and my favorite color commentator in the booth.
The whole trip and weekend was well worth it. We had a blast each day and a fun car ride there and back. As college kids we need to hit the open road to get our minds off the stress and workload that is all too prevalent. This weekend I will be heading back to Youngstown for a Thanksgiving feast with my family. A week off is also nice to refresh and touch base with my loved ones from back home. I am all too excited and wish you all a safe and happy Thanksgiving as well.