Astros, Bengals, and man-crushes on Nick Lachey.

I attended college at the University of Cincinnati and lived here a total of 6 1/2 years, and for a long time after I moved away, this was definitely where I considered home. I have wonderful memories of my time in the Queen City and, because my family is only an hour away in my original hometown of Dayton, the Reds trips are right at the top of the list in terms of roadies I look forward to every season.

That said, I also understand Cincinnati isn’t the most exciting city in the league, and there’s not a whole lot to do around here, whether you’re killing time during the day before a night game or looking for a place to unwind after. Sure, there are a handful of decent spots, but the list of desirable destinations is more modest than say, Chicago or New York.

So it comes as no surprise that after the Astros arrived to Cincinnati early evening on Sunday, a large chunk of the team headed for Morton’s Steakhouse, located just a hop, skip and a jump from the team hotel. And it’s also not shocking that they weren’t the only high-profile folks there that night, given the few choices for nightlife in downtown Cincinnati.

The Cincinnati Bengals were having their own soiree at a nearby table, and in another corner was Cincinnati native Nick Lachey – the former Mr. Jessica Simpson who cut his teeth in the business as part of the boy band 98 Degrees.

I wasn’t there that night, so I can only give an account based on bits and pieces that certain players have provided for me. Two items I found to be fairly reliable: a) an Astros veteran asked one of the Bengals players to bring their bill over to rookie Bud Norris, who didn’t know it was a joke and ended up paying the whole thing; and b) Tim Byrdak was really, really excited to meet Lachey.

Byrdak tried to downplay it, but that didn’t stop select teammates from referring to him as “Tim Lachey” for a solid hour before batting practice on Tuesday.

Byrdak didn’t go overboard in trying to defend himself, but he did retaliate by hiding LaTroy Hawkins’ glove while pitchers slowly made their way to the field for stretching. I’m not sure that was equal pay back to being accused of having a “man crush” on Nick Lachey, but it was pretty entertaining watching a befuddled Hawkins circle the field looking for a glove that was stuffed in the back of Byrdak’s uniform pants.

 

 

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Even though the end result of the game left a lot to be desired, I had a blast hanging out with Brownie and J.D. in the television booth and I hope you enjoyed the tweets and blogs I posted during my time there. I posted some early game shots in one blog; here are some postgame shots to enjoy (and don’t forget, I’ll be in the radio booth Wednesday night):

Brownie makes some last-minute additions to his scorebook just before postgame show begins…

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The two broadcasters have one last off-air chuckle before the cameras start rolling again.

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Here they are talking to studio host Kevin Eschenfelder as the postgame show begins.

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