It is lost between the highly populated and interesting bookends on either coast. It is a dwarfed metropolitan area trapped within the borders of Ohio, with its tourism industry strictly dependent on people’s interest in flyover country (Which at the time of this writing, could be measured as “still extremely low”) and foot traffic (“still surprisingly high“).
It is Cincinnati. And it welcomes you open arms. And then in mid-embrace, plans to stab you in the back with a chili fork (“WE AIN’T THE 19TH MOST DANGEROUS AMERICAN CITY BECAUSE WE DON’T MURDER PEOPLE WITH EATING UTENSILS!”) (EDITOR’S NOTE: I don’t know why you put quotation marks around that last sentence. No one has ever said it.)
Not that could you could blame them. The Phillies have a distinct advantage in playing at home, mainly because their stadium is full of Phillies fans, feeding off of each others’ mania until the whole place is a bouncing corral of brazen, explosive fans who have been united under the one thing that could unite them: Phillies baseball. The Phillies getting to play at home, ever, is like squaring off in a one-on-one race to see who can get out of Labyrinth first, and the other guy is David Bowie.
And, seeing as how to Reds stormed into Philly all worked up after their unchallenged seven game division led punched their ticket to the playoffs only to get their asses hand to them the first night, and then hand their own asses right back to us the second, they may be just curdling to get back on track in the safety of their own home, hoping not to become the “Twins” of the NL.
Which should be a little easier with a man on the inside. But could be a little tougher, when you consider that Cincinnati is not very far from Philadelphia, and therefore pretty much guaranteed to house a decent smattering of the Phaithful.
The “Crosley Field Seven” were a group of ushers at old school Cincinnati Reds games whose passion for the sport of baseball spawned from the grassy-knolled, apple-pied version of the American sport. In Cincinnati’s former home–Crosley Field–seven baseball religious types were in charge of usher-related duties, just happy to be there to witness live ball and get $.25 tips from the high rollers.
“Their mission: Get wandering fans to their seats. Make sure they have a good time.”
Will it be jarring for an antique usher staff to shepherd a some what louder, more populous, raunchy crowd into the Great American Ballpark tonight? It would be naive to think no Reds fan has ever caused trouble there–hell, they’re apparently drunker than we are–but it is fun to imagine GABP being overrun by an infestation of Phillies baseball.
“Phillies fans are always too excited.”
–Naseer Khan, Cincinnati cab driver
Well, sort of. But I don’t think anyone’s ever had “too excited” written on their police citation.
Shoved back into prime time at 8pm, the Phillies step into Cincy with the only unused head in the monster Cole Hamels facing Johnny Cueto, who was last seen ending a man’s career.
We’ve watched Cole grow up from the Chuck Norris-rivaling facts to the World Series MVP to the World Series WTF to the guy he is today: A redeemed, bonified ace, no longer having to prove himself, just expected to go out there and butcher in the ways that he has. Let’s take a second to find out where his head’s at.
“I think the point is to not let ‘em win.”
He gets it, folks! All right, let’s invade Cincinnati.