I saw a game at the Reds’ old park, Riverfront Stadium, in 1994 with friends from work. And I’d wandered around the outside of the new park, Great American Ballpark, in 2013. But I still wanted to see a game. I knew Sally wouldn’t be that thrilled with a Reds/Pirates game, so I bought tickets in the upper deck along the third base line with a view out over the Ohio River into Kentucky.
We arrived about two hours before game time and parked about half a mile away for $10. The plaza in front of the gates was packed, and hot. We found a place to sit in the shade while we waited for the gates to open. Season ticket holders were allowed in first. When I saw what was happening, we slid in behind them. When the rest of the gates finally opened, we were among the first inside. We were handed Devin Mesoraco bobble-heads, which was very exciting since I had barely heard of the guy and he didn’t even play in that night’s game. (And, for the record, the head hardly bobbles at all.)
We found our seats, then wandered around the upper deck for a while.
Sally returned to her seat and ate her hot dog and enjoyed the view while I wandered around some more, eventually circling the entire park on the lower level.
I took this photo of Sally in our seats from beneath the smoke stacks.
The Reds seem to have an over-abundance of mascots.
I had a hard time deciding who to root for. I’m from Pennsylvania, and my father and brother-in-law were both Pirate fans. And I don’t like the Reds. At all. But a win by the Reds would be better for the Cubs. In the end, I found myself pulling for Pittsburgh.
We had a good overview of the action on the field, but we were too high up to see details and it was easy to get distracted. On the left is Andrew McCutchen, the Pirates’ center fielder and best player. On the right is Aramis Ramirez who was on the Cubs for many years and then with the Brewers for a year or so before being traded back to Pittsburgh about five days ago.
Left: Jim Riggleman, former Cubs’ manager and now Reds’ third base coach. Right: Two Joey Vottos
Base-stealer Billy Hamilton returning to first on a pick-off throw. Pedro Alvarez is the Pirates’ first-baseman. Hamilton stole second and third during the game.
We also had a good view of a steady procession of boats on the river.
When the Reds’ pitchers struck out a batter, flames would shoot out of the smoke stacks in center field.
The Reds entered the ninth winning 4-2. They brought in their closer, Aroldis Chapman, who frequently throws pitches as fast as 103 mph.
The Pirates staged a rally, scoring a run and loading the bases before Chapman struck out Starling Marte to end the game.