Guestblog: Reds Spring Training

It's been too long since Cincinnati Re-adventure has posted a guest blog, especially by our very own sports writer (and my brother) Bradley Garwood!

Originally uploaded by Better Off Red

This snap of warm weather has already made me forget about football. Or, maybe it was the atrocious Bengals season. Either way, it's time to phase out the black and orange for the red and white. And while I realize we're not done with hockey or soccer yet, it's time to start looking forward to the Reds recapturing of the National League Central.

Practice, practice, practice.

But I don't want to write about anything realistic, not today. Sports can be all about managing personalities, injuries and upsets. But I'd like to give the readers (and myself) just a few more days to bask in the glory of Spring Training. Trust me, it's hard to see the blessing in disguises that is a competitive roster now, but come the post-season, it'll be worth it.

Yeah, I said post-season.

And it's no secret that the Reds roster is very competitive. But that's what I wanted to talk a little bit about, what our Cincinnati Reds might look like this year. The pitching rotation has Cincinnati fans excited to watch, as a close battle for what's believed to be the only free space available will tighten. With Johnny Cueto, Edinson Volquez and Bronson Arroyo as near sure-things, Mike Leake, Homer Bailey and Travis Wood will all put their best feet forward.

Aroldis Chapman, Originally uploaded by
And it's hard to speculate who will make the cut, because if last year's performances indicate anything: it's that all of these pitchers have what it takes to be regular starters. And then we open the bullpen up to look at players like Bill Bray, Francisco Cordero, Nick Masset, Aroldis Chapman, and the towering giant that is Logan Ondrusek. And while they're all believed to have earned a starting spot, some names like Daniel Ray Herrera, Sam LeCure and new signee Dontrelle Willis pop up to take a shot at remaining space.

"competition breeds excellence"

Depth at catcher with Ramón Hernández, Ryan Hanigan and veteran Corky Miller (a personal favorite of mine) leave nothing to be desired. Some great batteries are going to come out of 2011. Hanigan especially, with his improved batting skills makes him a great asset.

I don't even have to add the heavy artillery we have in Joey Votto and Jay Bruce, the energy in Johnny Gomes and Drew Stubbs or the skill in Brandon Phillips and Scott Rolen to get you excited for how good this team is. We have a great manager in Dusty Baker, an amazing general manager in Walt Jocketty, and to top it off a fantastic stadium to take it all in. This might just be the year we have a home field advantage.

And finally, Paul Janish steps into the role of starter. I can't imaging anyone disagreeing with how hard he's worked, or how much he deserves the spot. Fielder Chris Heisey too, both have really proven that despite the fact you might not have a starting spot, you can still prove yourself as a valuable part of a team.

And if that's the attitude the whole team can carry into '11, then we'll make the playoffs with a much bigger bang than we did last year. God damn, it's a good year to be a Reds fan.

Queen City Square

The other day we had an opportunity to walk around the lobby level of Queen City Square, so I took a few pics to share on here. It's a very dramatic feeling space, the photos don't do it justice. It's also still under quite a bit of construction, so not much is open yet.

Library Day: Mercantile Library and CPL Main Branch

After the Madeira, Norwood and Corryville branches, the last libraries my friends and I visited were the Mercantile Library and Cincinnati Public Library's main branch.

I only snagged this one photo from Mercantile Library-- it's so austere in there, it's not really the kind of place where you whip out your camera! But if you haven't visited this gem inside the Mercantile Center (duh), you really ought to take the opportunity. You don't need to be a member to visit the Mercantile Library, and it's so full of artifacts and history, it's simply amazing.

The remaining three (crappy, iPhone-taken) photos are from the main branch at the Cincinnati Public Library. The library has these stained glass windows peppered throughout the downtown branch, and I'd love to know more about them. Were they in the walls at one point?

This is the view from one of the higher level windows. Embarrassed admission: I'd never moved above the ground floor before "Library Day." Seeing how many open, bright windows and great reading spaces live throughout the library was a big eye-opener for me! I had imagined it'd be a lot more... stuffy upstairs. Oops!

Of course, there are older artifacts in the higher floors of the library. Dan was thrilled to find a card catalog, and we were all excited to tour the "Cincinnati Room," where they house some great local history pieces and changing exhibitions.

We spent hours in the main branch of the Public Library... there is so much there, I'm going to have to go back with the real camera and document more of it. I was overwhelmed to discover more than I'd imagined was housed in the downtown branch! I've been underutilizing this great public resource.

Mercantile Library:
Cincinnati Public Library:

Library Day: Corryville Branch

Noticing a theme yet? ;)

Earlier this week we looked at the Cincinnati Public Library's Madeira and Norwood branches. Our third stop on "Library Day" was Corryville-- I'd never been to this library, but the library's Twitter account suggested it to us!

Isn't this dome gorgeous?! The librarian told us that they used to use this floor for STORAGE, and let patrons come into the ground floor. They recently switched that... thank heavens.

(Insert library pun about checking this guy out...)

Gotta love a branch with some love for graphic novels.

Cincinnati Public Library, Corryville branch:

Groupon for Salon Beck!

A quick interruption to tell you that today's Cincinnati Groupon is for Salon Beck-- $50 worth of services for $25.

Note: I called and checked-- this deal is only good for Salon Beck's two new stylists, not my darling Kim. Still, I stand by Salon Beck and I'm sure their new recruits are fantastic!

My Yelp review of Salon Beck:

My Groupon referral code:

Oh, and don't forget that Salon Beck offers a coupon for $10 off your first visit on their website!

Library Day: Norwood Branch

Yesterday we looked at Cincinnati Public Library's Madeira branch. Today I'm showing off a few photos from the Norwood branch.

The Norwood branch was actually the branch that sparked the idea for "Library Day." Dan and I drive by this gorgeous branch once in a while and always say that we ought to visit... next time. Finally, when our library-lovin' friends Miranda and Erica visited, we had the excuse we needed to visit this beautiful branch of the library.

While Madeira's branch seemed very family-oriented, we saw a lot more about job searching and resume building in Norwood. This sparked a long conversation with Erica and Miranda about how libraries cater to their unique audiences... apparently there are a lot of ways that branches research their readers and community members so they can tailor their content to them.

Love Hunger Games!

(This is our friend Erica, by the way. Ain't she a beaut?)

Cincinnati Public Library, Norwood branch:

Library Day: Madeira Branch

I have two beautiful friends who studied library science and now work in Columbus' library system. We decided to have them over to visit a few of Cincinnati Public Library's local branches.

We visited Madeira, Norwood and Corryville, then ended our day at the main branch downtown. I have to throw a shout-out to Cincinnati Public Library's awesome Twitter account-- whoever is running their social media really helped me out when I asked which branches to visit!

Here are a few images from our visit to the Madeira branch. It seemed to be a very family-oriented library... warm, rounded, wooden, inviting, with about half the building dedicated to children's books. A very sweet library!

Cincinnati Public Library, Madeira:

Portland Streetcar System Flourishing Despite Challenges - Cincinnati News Story - WLWT Cincinnati

Just a quick post to share this article. I think it's a fair article discussing the pro's and con's of the system. The key though is that the end result, despite the early criticism, is that the Portland Streetcar delivered billions in economic development, just as our system will.

I'm tired of the negativity in Cincinnati and the endless fear of change. If people want jobs and the city to grow, we have to become a modern and attractive city to outsiders. That means public transportation. Sitting still isn't going to deliver any of that, and going BACKWARDS as COAST would have us do, will devastate this community.

The fear mongering needs to stop. The public spoke on Issue 9 and it's time to let the city build the streetcar.

Note: And in typical fashion, the intellectual elite of the city show up in the comments. Why are people so hostile, ill-informed and negative towards change?

Portland Streetcar System Flourishing Despite Challenges - Cincinnati News Story - WLWT Cincinnati

* Image from the CincyStreetcar Blog

Time Lapse

A 2 hour time lapse of the life outside our window last night