Tuesday, April 2, 2013

opening day in cincinnati

on a bit of a whim, mindy and i drove to cincinnati for opening day yesterday.  the reds have been part of my life since childhood, but i've only been to a handful of games, and never to opening day.  and mindy has never been to a baseball game, however after living with me for the last 3 1/2 years, she understands the game enough to be able follow it.  so we decided that opening day was something we should share.  there is this nostalgic glow that falls over country when baseball comes back in the spring, like something long forgotten rising with the first daffodils out of the melting snow and leafless trees.  welcome to spring.

we scored some way over-priced tickets 4 rows from the top of the stadium, bought them, printed them, and headed down I-74 to cincy.  an easy drive on a bright and chilly day.  we arrived, found parking, and made our way to the party.  and in cincinnati, opening day is one hell of a party.  it may as well be a national holiday (and in reality, it probably should be).  the entire city is dressed in red and black and grey.  and i mean that quite literally.  we weaved our way through a shoulder to shoulder crowd that stretched across a few city blocks along the riverfront, toward the stadium.  we were way early, so we got a bite to eat then made our way back through the sea of red and into the stadium.  when we watch the reds on tv, the commentators always talk about the upcoming schedule and the home game 'give-aways,' and mindy has a soft spot in her heart for that kind of stuff.  sure, it wasn't a bronson arroyo doll, but mindy was happy with the free rally towel she received when we entered the gate.

we found our seats quite early, allllll the way up in the nosebleeds, 4 rows from the top along the 3b line.  and really, they were GREAT seats.  we had your usual annoying drunken super fan some where near by, in front of us was a couple on what seemed to be a chaperoned e-harmony date, then a few frat house re-treads and a sweet old fella (who was also there for his first opening day) sitting beside us.  great crowd.

the lineups were called, the anthem sang, and play ball.  cueto was dealing from the get go.  he made one mistake that flew out to centerfield in the third inning, but other than that was dominating. it was great to get to hear the 40000 strong collective BOOOOOOO when former member of the Whiny Little Bitches (st. louis cardinals), albert pujols, walked to the plate.  even better when he struck out.  but the reds had dead bats all day, all they could muster was 3 measly hits, and ended up losing in 12 innings, leaving an entire roster of players on base in the process.  dominant pitching on both sides took the game into 3 extra innings with a 1-1 tie.  a great game and a wonderful start to the season, despite the loss.

joe torre throwing out the first pitch to brandon phillips
what an experience.  for any fan of baseball, who hasn't been, opening day is something special.  and to spend it in cincinnati, even more so (and not just because i'm a reds fan).  cincy is the birth place of professional baseball, and for that reason, home to every official MLB opening day.  not new york or boston or chicago or philly.  cincy, right here in the heart of the midwest along the ohio river, baseball planted its roots, and every year as the trees begin to blossom, so to does baseball.  i'm excited for this season.  i hope the reds can make it back to the playoffs.  but that's the best part about baseball: the hope.  i hope we can make another game or 2 this season.  football and basketball are better from the couch, but baseball is always better at the stadium, beer in right hand, dog in left.  ahhhh nostalgia.

going home.

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