I'm on vacation, but the blog never rests. So to fill the space while I'm off, I've written a bunch of posts in advance of my time off, each of which will be published while I'm away. They're not timely, they aren't reflective of whatever is happening at the moment, instead, they are generic posts about evergreen topics that can be read at anytime.
And they're each a result of what you've suggested I blog about.
For today, I went with a few Twitter questions....
I used to have strong feelings about this. For instance, around 2010 or so, if I was at a Reds/Braves game and someone was wearing a Pirates t-shirt, I would've sent out a Tweet mocking them.
Then in 2012, I attended a Cubs/Pirates game at Wrigley Field, while wearing a Reds t-shirt. I was happy with what I wore, even if others weren't. It was on that day that I stopped concerning myself with how others choose to dress.
Unless you're wearing a jersey and tucking it in. That's the worst.
I'm not one that wants baseball sped up, and I say that while being fully aware of the some of the challenges that the sport faces in being more attractive to younger audiences.
I like how baseball is played, and when I go to the ballpark, I'm in no hurry to leave.
That said, I wish they would eliminate all visits to the mound aside from the one timed visit per inning that's allowed to coaches and managers.
A couple of weekends ago, when the Rockies were here, their catcher visited the mound seven times in an inning, using the limitless timeouts that the sport provides.
The average big league pitchers has three or four pitches that he throws. There are really four places a pitcher can throw the ball...high and in, low and in, high and outside, low and outside. There really aren't that many things that need to be discussed.
I think it's going to be interesting to see what happens the next time the TV contracts are up for each of the various major sports leagues, for a lot of different reasons. ESPN is paying billions (and billions) of dollars to various sports leagues for the right to air live games. Meanwhile, cord-cutting and changes in the way we consume sports mean that for the networks paying the freight, the return on investment isn't what it used to be.
Will networks pay what they've been paying, knowing that they may no longer have exclusivity?
I also wonder what our consuming habits will be in ten to 15 years, and I think it's interesting to think about how they'll affect what networks are willing to pay to air live games. You can watch an entire Sunday of NFL action and never see a full football game, with the Red Zone Channel. Even hardcore baseball fans struggle to watch a three-hour game, and few fans watch games that don't involve their own team, in a sport that's increasingly local. The NBA season is increasingly seen as irrelevant. College basketball is perhaps more local than baseball. Attention spans are shorter, there's more willingness to see just the highlights, and we're only starting to scratch the surface in the way that leagues are tapping into non-traditional means of consuming sports.
It's going to be interesting.
I don't know that I answered your question, but I tried.
I won't tell you or anyone else how to raise yours, but I'll tell you how I'll raise mine.
My daughter will learn to laugh. At me. At the world. At life's absurdities. At herself. Mainly, herself.
She will be taught to be open-minded, to be willing to change her mind, to listen to new ideas, and how to have conviction without being stubborn.
She will be allowed to pursue her own interests, and encouraged to try new things.
She'll be allowed to go outside and play. She'll determine who her friends are, and who her enemies are.
She'll quickly learn the difference between mom and dad helping with her homework, and mom and dad doing her homework.
She'll learn that listening is better than talking.
She'll read. She'll read about whatever she wants to read about, but she'll read.
She'll learn about the value of a dollar. And she'll learn about the value of people's time.
But mainly, most of all, she's going to learn to laugh.
I don't really have that many best movie theater memories. I went to the movies a ton in high school, and then in my early-to-mid 20s. Now, it's rare that I go. Since 2012, I think I've seen six movies in the theater: Creed, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Gravity, American Sniper, Springsteen and I, and a showing of Blazing Saddles in Florence. It's rare that I'm really compelled to go see a movie in the theater, and I'd usually rather go by myself, which probably makes me weird. I'd like to leave if the movie is a clunker, and I don't want to have to worry that the person I'm with isn't enjoying the movie if I want to stay.
Sorry. This doesn't answer your question at all.
I did this already once, right before I went to Fenway Park for the first time, but here's my top five, which hasn't changed since May of 2014...
1) Wrigley Field. I love to laugh at the Cubs as much as anyone (note: this was before they won the World Series), but Wrigley is my favorite place on earth. And if you're not sitting in the bleachers, you're not really at Wrigley.
2) PNC Park. So many people have gone to PNC and loved it, that it's now en vogue to call the place overrated. Nonsense. It's got the prettiest view of any park I've been to.
3) Camden Yards. One of the best pulled-pork sandwiches I've ever had, and some guy who works there let me watch the last two innings Homer Bailey's first no hitter on a concourse TV, much to the dismay of angry Baltimore fans.
4) Chase Field. Best hot dog and the ushers make you wait until there's a stoppage before charging down the aisle.
5) GABP. That's right, top five. I'm a homer. I have too many great memories in that ballpark not to give it a high ranking.
Five Reasons Why The Bengals Will Win Ten Games In 2017
1) The offensive line is better than we think. Clint Boling plays better because he's healthier. Jake Fisher takes a step forward. Cedric Ogbuehi plays like a guy who isn't in over his head.
2) Tyler Eifert plays 16 games. To me, he's the key to the offense: a fantastic red-zone threat who really hasn't consistently come close to reaching his fullest capabilities. He can be a lot of things: a go-to guy inside the 20, a security blanket for Andy Dalton, a chain-mover, a guy who can find openings in defenses that others can't. He can't do any of those things if he's not healthy.
3) The pass rush improves. Lots of hopes are being pinned on guys who've never played, but maybe an infusion of talent on the defensive line helps the Bengals get more out of Michael Johnson, and Geno Atkins returns to being dominant.
4) Bad Andy isn't Awful Andy. I've always been less concerned about how good Andy can be than I am with how bad he can be. His floor has always mattered to me more than his ceiling, and despite the crappy record the Bengals posted last year, I was encouraged that, even without so many valuable weapons and with a shaky offensive line, the offense wasn't completely rendered useless. That's a credit to Andy more than anything. He'll have good games in 2017. He'll have bad games in 2016. The bad can't be awful. If they're not, this team can be really good.
5) Ken Zampese knows what he's doing. "In over his head" was used often last year describing Ken Zampese. I'll give him a pass, in part because it was year one, and in part because he didn't have the talent. Few playcallers should have as many weapons as Ken does in 2017, meaning there's no excuse for lack of creativity.
Five Reasons Why The Bengals Will Lose Ten Games In 2017
1) They lose to bad teams. As bad as things were in 2016, they still didn't lose ten times, mainly because they handled business against the woeful Browns, the awful Eagles, the checked-out Ravens, and the terrible-at-the-time Dolphins. With a supposed easier schedule this coming season, the only way they lose more than they did last season is if they lose to the kind of teams they did beat last season.
2) Inexperience. The offense is expected to be more explosive, in part because of the addition of John Ross and Joe Mixon. The pass rush needs to to be better, which is why the Bengals drafted Jordan Willis and Karl Lawson. William Jackson III and Andrew Billings are guys who were expected to be contributors by now, but neither has played a snap. They're asking a lot out of guys who have no experience.
3) The offensive line is worse. This unit was bad - not as bad as some made them out to be, but bad - last year. The best two guys from it are gone. It might be asking much for the 2017 O-line to play as well as the 2016 O-line. If it's worse, the offense as a whole could be a mess.
4) The secondary is stale. Adam Jones is in his mid-30s, and could miss time due to suspension. Dre Kirkpatrick is good, but possibly as good as he'll ever be when the team needs him to be better. Darqueze Dennard is unproven. William Jackson III is less proven. The safeties leave something to be desired. I honestly don't know what to make of this bunch, and I hope that a player or two emerges, but I could see the DBs being a problem.
5) They still can't make "the play." When things really started to go downhill last season - right in the heart of the schedule - the Bengals played four games that were decided by a total of ten points, and won none of them. Their last six non-wins were decided by a combined total of 16 points. Last season was defined by the Bengals inability to make the one or two plays that could've handed them victory. With a small margin for error in 2017, if this is the case, their record could be comparable - or worse - than 2016.