Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 71

On a Joyous Time
In a world and times with so many negative events and attitudes, the rescue of the Chilean miners shines a bright light on humanity as one of hope and dignity – not one of reality shows, tabloids, political ads, and talk show dogma. Blessings to all involved.

On a Philly Fanatic
The Philadelphia Enquirer Frank Fitzpatrick authored this unkind article about Cincinnati. The comments were the best part, so thanks to the many good Philadelphians who took offense at his article and stood up for us. Good luck Phillies.

On Two College Football Thoughts
Besides last weekend’s Reds playoff game, I also attended the oldest rivalry west of the Alleghenies … one of the oldest college football rivalries at one of the oldest stadiums  … the UC Bearcats hosting the nearby Redhawks at UC’s Nippert Stadium. Bearcat running back Isaiah Pead amassed 197 yards in 10 carries by halftime. Before dismissing Pead’s effort against a MAC school, let us not forget his 21/169 stats against Oklahoma.

Speaking of MAC schools, I earned by undergrad degree at Bowling Green, thus I am a proud Falcon. I know times on the sports front have been difficult of late, but last year’s football time had an interesting stat as they played three teams with a large “M” on the helmet. Who were the opponents? The answer is later in this post.

On the Bengals
The Cincinnati Bengals limp into their bye week with a lower than expected 2-3 record. While some find the struggles with the offense I mystery, I offer these thoughts. The offense lacks an identity. Most of the time it behaves as a team that thinks it can run or pass at will. It also behaves as a pass-first offense, then run. Hence, the problem because it does best when running is the top priority. Oh well – guess this is why I am a fan, thus not an NFL coach.

On the Upcoming Elections
With the midterm election season on the home stretch, it is a perfect time to catch countless examples the self-centered, clueless nature of today’s political culture. On the plus side, their ads, comments, and behaviors provide good examples of teaching young people about how not to be. Then again, that requires someone looking politics without a filter, or at least a limited filter.

I continue to maintain that the independents are the most pragmatic voting group and the ones who consistently decide election winners. Many, many times on this blog I have stated that independents vote parties out, and not parties in – something that the winners do not get. It happened in 2006 and 2008, and will likely happen in 2010, 2012, and 2014. Here’s a good Wall Street Journal article.

Cincinnatians are receiving some good political news! Reports are that the Democratic Party is withdrawing money for campaign television commercials in a local Congressional race. Amen to goodbye to pathetic ads – well, at least half of them.

On an Ohio Hamburger
I recently learned that USA Today listed a Cincinnati establishment for having the best hamburger in Ohio. Figuring this probably done by some sort of voting (and not actual tasting), I need to step forward on this one. Granted, Zip’s Café has a loyal following – but there is also a strong band of Zip’s dissidents, of which I am one. Best in Ohio? Not even close – not even best in the Cincinnati.

Answer to the college football question: In 2009 Bowling Green played Missouri, Marshall, and Miami – all with a large M on the side of their helmet.

Have a safe and enjoyable weekend.

On a Not-so-Famous Bowl that’s not a Bowl

We’re approaching baseball’s All-Star Game, yet this post is about a bowl. There are famous sports venues called bowls, such as the Cotton Bowl, Rose Bowl, Orange Bowl, Yale Bowl, and probably others.

Certainly the Baker Bowl doesn’t fit into the celebrated nature of those venues. Heck, it’s not best known as a football venue, yet it’s certainly shaped for football and it hosted the Eagles from 1933-1935. It was a long-time baseball home that never hosted an All-Star Game, but was the venue for the first U.S. President (Woodrow Wilson) to see a World Series game.

Originally named National League Park and nicknamed the Huntington Street Grounds, the Baker Bowl served as Philadelphia Phillies home for 51 ½ years (1887-1938). Eventually named for the Phillies owner, bowl was used because Baker Field was associated with Columbia University.

The Baker Bowl was cozy and great for hitters, thus commonly referred to as a band box or cigar box. 1930 produced some unreal numbers. In the 77-game home schedule, opponents outscored the Phillies 644-543; that’s an average score of a bit more than 8-7!

This stadium had its oddities.

  • A hump in centerfield due to a railroad tunnel below
  • Using goats to keep the grass cut
  • The 60 ft right field wall and screen a mere 280 down the right field line
  • A wide, banked CF warning track that served bicycle races
  • A centerfield clubhouse known as one with just the basics

In a 1938 mid-season transfer, the Phillies shifted to Shibe Park – the new facility built just 5 blocks away to house the A’s and the home the most long-time fans associated with the Phillies. (See the Baker Bowl in the foreground?)

Watch the animated tour of the Baker Bowl.

Resources
Wikipedia
Google Images Search results

Drawing from The Pinetar Rag

Photos from Wikipedia

On Understanding Race

racecoverRace: Are We so Different? is a travelling exhibit developed by the American Anthropological Association. Thankfully, Cincinnati is a location on the tour.

 

I visited during the first week with both anticipation and eagerness. The closing of the first film set the stage by challenging visitors to think and reflect one’s own views. For an exhibit that isn’t physically large, my two-hour engagement caused me to reflect for days.

 

The exhibit, divided into 3 sections (historical, biological, and currently) allows visitors to determine their own order. Interestingly, and to my surprise, race wasn’t defined; yet it is clear that race is complex, shaped by choices and stereotypes, and misconceptions besides determining who we are and how we interact with one another.

 

Random Notes

  • The exhibit has a wonderful Web site.
  • This video hit me hard. The YouTube video below is a news report about the filmmaker, while the link is to the exhibit’s video.
  • I didn’t finish the exhibit, but plan to return … and hopefully engage in discussions with other visitors.
  • I didn’t consider myself a racist, but this exhibit helped me see how most of us really are.
  • Philadelphia and Los Angeles are the next tour stops for 2009; here’s the entire tour schedule.  

 

Image courtesy of the American Anthropological Association and video courtesy of YouTube.