Good weekend morning, Redleg Nation! Today is an awesome day. Obviously, I am not referring to our beloved Cincinnati Reds, who were soundly beaten on Friday night. No, July 27 is the day I married my wife, exactly one year ago.
How she puts up with me, I will never know, but she is an amazing woman who enjoys the Reds, well enough, that I don’t drive her mad. Who knows, maybe even one day her recurring guess of “Rasputin Ridleydid” will even be correct for a scoreboard stumper (probably not). She’s even learned how to watch a game, given how many I watch, and she’s picked up on a few things which I felt merited discussing over some coffee, this morning.
Joey Votto’s Tinkering
“Why is he squatting so low, and are you supposed to hold the bat like that?”
Those are frequent questions she’s asked, this season, about our man Joe, and I absolutely agree with her skepticism. Jeff Gangloff had a nice post about the Joey Apologists versus the Joey Clowns in which he points out a few erroneous takes by those staunch defending, and those relentlessly attacking Votto. Apologists, up until recently, were defending his stance and propensity to choke up as Joey making adjustments.
Regardless where you stood in this thought process, it’s clear that the power it sapped bother Joey enough for him to change it up. Over the last eight days (in know, small sample, but he only recently made this change) he is 10-for-34 (.294) with a pair of doubles, and his first homer in nigh on a month. Even more interesting (much to the delight of the clowns) Joey has more RBIs (seven) than walks (two) in that span of time.
Now, I am not saying his job is done, Joey still appears to be figuring out what his career looks like, moving forward. He’s at least shown signs that a renaissance is close.
It’s fun to watch players having fun
“Derek Dietrich is cool; Puig is fun; Geno is hilarious!”
Sure, wins and losses are why they play the game. They play to win championships and bring pride to the fanbase. This also, lest we forget, is a game. It’s a game played by little kids, on up to folks still keeping the dream alive. The mantra is to have fun.
As a fan, I do not want to see a team going through the motions. That turns me off. If you can’t be good, at least be fun and entertaining. This team is that! There is no call for the people spewing their anger onto the interwebs, calling out players for being too loose amongst a losing season.
“Win games, then have fun,” DOES NOT WORK.
Do you perform effectively in your job if do not derive some sort of enjoyment out of it? I’d like to meet you, if you are perpetually disenchanted with your station and yet manage to be high-performing.
That being said, and I agree with Mo Egger on this, if were still talking about “Awe, well, they’re having fun!” In lieu of winning, next year, then this will be a different conversation. For now, lets enjoy this team with personality. A thing the last five teams had zero of.
Ok, this one has nothing to do with the on-field product. It’s more of a Yelp-like review of an awesome area of Great American Ballpark. If you have not gone, you should at least go, once.
Depending on the day, the base Handlebar tickets (more on that in a second) cost anywhere from $65-$80. What that gets you is an all-inclusive (except for alcohol) experience. Eat to your hearts content, sit in nice chairs in an air-conditioned space that is inundated with televisions and views of the game, as well as the river. Even though alcohol is not all-inclusive, they give you six drink tickets a person, which is well-enough lubrication. Should you choose a different route for thirst-quenching, non-alcoholic drinks are all you can have.
Now, there is a tier system that they designate with a wristband, based on your ticket. The base package gets you any seat with a tan cushion. That gets you any seat in the indoor space, a few on the covered patio, and pretty much the entire lower right field porch, adjacent to the Budweiser porch. Beware, the ushers in the Handlebar a rigidly monitoring the seats you choose to take. If you have a designated tan ticket, and attempt to enjoy a seat with a red cushion, you will not be in it long before someone points out the tan cushioned seats to which you must stick.
With that being said, I would recommend two things. If you have never tried The Handlebar, then do that. If you are to try it, get the upgraded package with the red seats. They truly have some awesome views, sitting on the covered patio. I have now utilized both the base and “red seat” package and firmly recommend the slight uptick in price for a much better enjoyment.
Any of you tried the Handlebar? Let me know in the comments below!
That will wrap up this weekend’s Reds’ thoughts. Here’s to a good weekend for you, the Redlegs, and Alex Wood, who is making his Reds debut on Sunday.
I would like to see what he’s got. We’re entering into the last two months of the season with reason to give these guys a shot and he’s been killing AAA
I’ve done the Handlebar Club twice and agree it’s pretty cool – a unique experience. I did the unreserved base ticket on something like a Tuesday night. Not many people there and unreserved seating in the outside area was plentiful. Mistakenly thinking it was always that way, I tried the same thing on a Friday fireworks night. We arrived an hour before first pitch and all of the outside unreserved seats with a view of the field were taken/”saved”. So our choices were sit inside, stand outside and watch the game, or sit outside with nice river view and watch on outside TV. A little irritating that people throw an article of clothing on a nice unreserved outdoor seat then disappear inside for 3 or 4 innings while people stand outside, but I get it. First experience was better, but they were both great. If it were just me I think I would rather have an infield seat closer to the action for similar money, but my wife greatly prefers the Handlebar Club – I’ll just have to arrive when the gates open or spring for a reserved spot next time.
I remember a guy who could crush fastballs that played for the reds. Can Aquino he hit a breaking ball?
Congratulations on your anniversary Jeff, and for kicking past your coverage like a few of us lucky ones. I’m in Atlanta so only get one weekend a year at GABP but will definitely do the Handlebar option (with reserved seats – thanks Sliotar). I’m excited to see where things go with Votto 3.0 (and hope he’s given up for good on 2.0), looking forward to the start of the Alex Wood era, and wondering how long it might last, and eagerly awaiting trade deadline changes. And yes, these Reds are a lot more fun. I have no problem with that. Bring on a few more W’s and then we’ll be lucky fans. Go Reds!
I enjoy the handlebar club about 1 or 2 times a season. They made a pretty cool change last year where there are actually seats outside where you can actually watch the game! You used to have to stick to the inside unless you bought the upgraded ticket! Also every Sunday home game there is a Brunch with Tom Browning, where Tom will spend a little time before the game chatting with the fans.
good writing Jeff. Enjoyable reading
We have our modest season ticket package in section 135 and when I go to a “one-off” game I usually sit in the Mezzanine. I’ll have to check out the Handlebar.