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PERSONALLY SPEAKING

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Spring rings eternal

By Matt Birkholtz

Once the Super Bowl, ends my heart starts racing as I know “America’s Pastime” is coming back for a new season.
If you haven’t heard, I am a die-hard Cincinnati Reds fan. Have been since I can remember, running around the house sliding on the carpet, causing red marks up and down my legs.
This week is the first full week of Spring Training. Every team runs onto the field, with the same record as everyone else, a clean slate. Stretching their legs and arms, rubbing the baseball in their oiled mitt, throwing the pitch 60 feet 2 inches to home plate. Play ball!
I have always wanted to report on the Reds, but with no real local connection to Grant County, I just read the tweets or blogs of baseball, to get my information. That was until about a month ago.
One day I was on Major League Baseball’s website and noticed “average Joe’s” can have their own MLB blog through WordPress. I felt like a little kid again, excited to deliver my own take on the Reds and give my followers updates on the team.
Coming up with a name was difficult at first. I can remember my dad calling me the “Professor” for knowing so many baseball stats, especially for Reds players.
I didn’t decide on that, but went with something catchy my blog is called “RedsEncyclopedia,” and you can access it by going to www.redsencyclopedia.mlblogs.com.
Along with blog posts with news on the Reds, I come up with trivia questions or poll questions, many of which come directly from my brain. When I worked for the Reds as a seasonal employee from 2003-08, I would ask my co-workers to give me a number and I could give them a Reds player to go with that number. It became a fun game to give them during a break on orientation day.
Blogging is a way for me to connect with the Reds in a way I hadn’t been able to achieve before. It allows me to write small posts or refer to reports from Reds beat writers on what is going on with my favorite team.
With the Reds getting underway in Arizona, baseball is only 36 days away from coming back to the city where professional baseball started. I can almost smell the peanuts, Cracker Jacks and cold beer. The aroma of baseball fills me to my bones with excitement of the best sport man has created.
As the great Mr. Cub Ernie Banks said, “Let’s play two.”
(Matt Birkholtz is the sports writer for the Grant County News. He can be reached at mbirkholtz@grantky.com.)