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Where’s ZimBear?: The trip starts in Cincinnati, home of Skyline Chili and Don Zimmer’s birthplace

Kevin Kaduk
Big League Stew

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(Matt Lesser)

Last week, Big League Stew announced plans to send ZimBear — the fantastically freaky giveaway the Rays have scheduled for June 29 — around the world to the homes of different Stewies. While we received a host of offers both domestic and international (Tasmania?), only one starting spot made sense. It was Cincinnati, where the human half of ZimBear was born on Jan. 17, 1931.  And so we stuffed ZimBear into an envelope last Thursday and pointed him to a college student named Matt Lesser. With the Reds in town, Lesser was more than eager to get ZimBear started on the very fantastic voyage that lies ahead ...

Interested in hosting ZimBear in your own city? Email us at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow ZimBear on Twitter (@WheresZimBear)

Name: Matt Lesser (@Lesser513)
Profession: Student at the University of Alabama
City: Cincinnati, Ohio

Favorite team: Cincinnati Reds
Favorite: player (past or present): Pete Rose/Sean Casey
Favorite baseball highlight: Doc Ellis' no hitter on LSD. Just put that feat into perspective for a moment.

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Favorite game you've ever attended: I was away at school for Jay Bruce's walkoff to clinch the division and was also away for Game 3 of the 2010 NLDS, so I'm going to have to go with Game 163 on Oct. 4, 1999. The Reds played the Mets in a one-game playoff for the NL wild card, and Al Leiter threw a complete-game two-hitter for New York. Even though Leiter broke my 7-year-old heart, it had been the closest I'd ever been to seeing the Reds in the postseason in my lifetime.

Close second: Jose Rijo's 2001 comeback.

Who's going to win the World Series in 2012?: Third time's the charm for Texas.

What I did with ZimBear: ZimBear and I took in Aroldis Chapman's blown save versus Minnesota on Sunday. Though the outcome was awful, our seats were great.

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(Matt Lesser)

After the game, we drove over to the west side to visit his old stomping grounds. We drove to Don Zimmer's boyhood home only to find that it is definitely not the one from the 1930s, so we went to Western Hills High School instead (picture at top of post). The school also counts Pete Rose, Doris Day, Andy Williams and Tuffy Rhodes as alumni and it's where Zim attended classes with his childhood friend Jim Frey. The two future managers of the Chicago Cubs were teammates on an American Legion team that won the national Legion championship in 1947, which earned Zim a chance to meet with a dying Babe Ruth.

After ZimBear reminisced about Zim's high school days, we headed to Skyline Chili. Here's ZimBear about to devour two cheese coneys.

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(Matt Lesser)

We finished off the day with a Hudy Delight, Cincinnati's most disgusting finest beer, and rode off into the sunset.

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(Matt Lesser)

Where is ZimBear headed next? Follow his travels at @WheresZimBear!

Want more baseball fun all season long?
Follow @bigleaguestew@KevinKaduk and the BLS Facebook page!

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