Notice that I didn’t title this “Great View of the Game.” I mean the ballpark. Great American hasn’t been around quite long enough to operate as a postcard-ready icon– it needs to be far more Hall of Justice-y than that– but, in Cincinnati terms, it’s still the new place. Depending on when you joined the party, Riverfront is still the new place.
When Josh The Pilot and I explored the improvements at The Banks last week (this pretty much consisted of walking once down Freedom Way, saying, “Look at that bar!”) we also considered how much it would suck, as old people, to live in the apartments just above the party zone. Neither of us are urbanites, and as I grew up, Cincinnati was a city of rigified suburban neighborhoods and neighborhoods within neighborhoods.
Our idea of heavy traffic is a two-light slowdown at Western HIlls Plaza on the Friday before Thanksgiving. Every sortie of the house is calculated so as to avoid “going all the way over there,” and “all the way over there” is a ten-minute drive to a different subdivision.
How do they sleep, these downtown dwellers? When do they sleep? Where do they park? Where do they get their prescriptions filled? What happenes to their lives during Opening Day or Oktoberfest or bobblehead days or parades or Riverfest or anyone doing anything ever? Do they just gaze down at the maze of closed streets, all, “Well, I guess I live here now, and I mean that literally”? Do they go sit in the utility closet so they would have somewhere industrial-looking to brood and become supervillans?
They’re right up on the stadium, these apartments. I understand that in older parks, like Fenway and Wrigley (and our Crosley), the neighborhood grew up around the field, so if you want to live near the ballpark, you can live near the ballpark.
We did that bass-ackwards here in Cincinnati for quite some time, but we’re in Crosley territory once more. Now the ballpark is down the street. The closest I had to this was living in a college dorm that also contained classrooms, and I could go loft bed to 9 AM Spanish class in two minutes flat.
When I was growing up, this entire area was a wasteland of Scooby-Doo warehouses. Nobody cared that Riverfront was right there. Living downtown was not A Thing. Living with a lawn everyone hated to mow was. Going downtown was An Event. Then you left.
Can these apartment people see in the park, like the rooftop Wrigley people? What’s that like? You want to see how long you have until the Skyline dip is done, but you don’t want to miss the next at-bat, so you go to the kitchen window and check the action in the bullpen to see how much time you’ve got. That is quite the existence. But then when the game is over and the crowd makes for the parking garage, all those cars are going to pass by your bedroom.
When I worked at the Reds Hall of Fame, it was a daily exercise to see the field from the press box, and here I watched the seasons change: Growh tarp, no growth tarp. Mowing, no mowing. To measure this by the flux of people rushing beneath your living room is, I imagine, not a far measure from the changing of the leaves and the quantity of morning birdsong.
I suppose it’s an interesting way to live. You can see what Kentucky is up to at all times, and that’s no small matter.
But… where’s the nearest drive-through pony keg?
What do you think about living within hurling distance of an MLB park? Anybody there now? Let me know in the comments 🙂