Thursday, July 2, 2009

Cleveland Rocks!

This is Rachel, guest blogging for Dave. Last weekend, we went to Cleveland to watch two games of the Indians/Reds series. Since moving to Cincinnati and becoming a Reds fan, I've wanted to go to Cleveland for the Battle of Ohio, but we've always had a conflict until this year.

Cleveland is a great weekend trip for Cincinnati folks. The drive is right around four hours. We stayed at the Crowne Plaza on St. Clair and East Ninth--a terrific deal at $80 thanks to Priceline.

From our hotel, we walked to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame--my favorite museum in the world. The Hall of Fame is a must-see for any rock music lover. I particularly enjoy seeing the artifacts like handwritten music lyrics and costumes from music videos and concerts. Who knew that the lyrics of Walk This Way were so dirty? Or that We Didn't Start the Fire was first called Jolene? Tina Turner's red dress from the Private Dancer video was on display. She gave it to VJ Martha Quinn because Martha said that she liked the dress. Martha then wore the dress to the VMAs. How cool is that? I always learn something new from the Hall of Fame--for example, Elvis performed only a few concerts out of the U.S. (in Canada), despite being offered millions of dollars to perform in Europe, because Colonel Tom Parker was an illegal immigrant. In memory of Michael Jackson, one of the theaters in the Hall of Fame ran his videos. We watched some of the Off the Wall and Thriller videos; the songs are still excellent, but the videos are very dated.

We went to the Saturday night and Sunday afternoon games at Progressive Field. I'm not going to report on the games, but on the game experience from the casual fan. (This is from someone who calls GABP her favorite outdoor bar in Cincinnati). Our tickets the first night were in the upper deck between home and first base. I was disappointed in the concessions--very basic hot dogs and pizza. I went with the nachos--nothing special. In Cincinnati, we have local restaurants like Skyline and LaRosa's even in the upper deck. After the game, we had drinks out on the deck at the Thirsty Parrot, a bar across the street from the field. On Sunday, we had tickets in the lower section just past third base. I was happy to sample some local flavor with the Great Lakes Burning River. I still did not see any local foods. So GABP definitely wins out in that respect.

At the end of the top of each inning,the Indians set off fireworks, to my surprise. It was like celebrating the fact that the Indians only gave up four runs that inning. The Reds reserve fireworks for a big deal--a home run or a win. (When you hear fireworks around downtown Cincinnati when the Reds are playing, you know something good happened--not that the visitors had a four-run inning.)

Members of the Ohio State band performed during Sunday's game, which meant the Ohio State fight song and Hang on Sloopy. I was happy when a guy behind us chanted, "SEC, SEC."

Despite the poor food selection at Progressive Field, the Cleveland trip is highly recommended, if just for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The fact that the Reds won both games enhanced the trip immensely.

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