June 23rd Reds vs. Twins Game & HOF Ceremony
My day started out in downtown Cincinnati, at the Red’s Hall Of Fame museum:
The doors opened up at 8:00 am, but I arrived at around 10:30. The reason I was going to the museum in the first place was the meet and greet that was going to run from 11:00-1:00, and it seemed unecessary to show up any earlier.
The first thing I saw after getting my ticket scanned and rounding the corner was a wall of game used jerseys, bats, etc., of former Reds’ greats:
In addition to the Reds’ memorabilia, there was a lot of non-Reds’ items as well, including a game-used Roberto Clemente cap:
After making my way through the first floor of the museum it was on to the third floor, where the meet and greet was being held. There was already a fairly large line, so I went ahead and jumped in it. After around 45 minutes of waiting, the line began moving, and the meet and greet got underway.
The players weren’t permitted to sign autographs, but you could go through the line and get your picture taken with them, which is exactly what I did:
1. Mario Soto
2. Lee May
3. Gary Nolan
4. Jack Billingham
2. David Concepcion
3. Eric Davis
4. A random picture of a group of statues. (Put in to make everything uniform.)
Everyone I’m pictured with above was part of the first half of the meet and greet. The second half featured both Dan Driessen and Sean Casey, who were going to be officially inducted into the Red’s Hall of Fame later in the day:
(Yes, I realize the picture is a bit blurry.)
After the meet and greet was over, I picked up bobblehead number one of the day:
After I was done at the museum, I made a brief visit to the gift shop (home of the 40 dollar t-shirt) before finally heading over to the main entrance of Great American Ballpark:
While all of this was happening, there was also a block party taking place in the street. It began at around 11:00, but by the time Casey made his way to the stage that was set up for the band that had been playing all morning, it was around 1:15.
Casey didn’t talk long, but it was cool to see the fans react to him the way they did. There were at least a couple thousand people packed into the street, and they were all big fans of the Cincinnati Red’s and Sean Casey:
After Casey finished talking, I made walked back over to the gates behind home plate. The promotion for the game was that the first 25,000 fans would recieve a Sean Casey bobblehead, and I wanted to make sure I was one of them.
To my surprise the lines were already fairly long by the time I got back:
Due to the large crowds the gates opened up 45 minutes before they normally would have, and I was thrilled. It was pretty hot outside, and standing in the direct sun was almost unbearable.
As I stated earlier it was Sean Casey bobblehead day, and they certainly had a lot of them:
As you can tell, batting practice was in full swing (no pun intended), and it stayed that way for another hour or so. BP ended at around 3:00, and with the Hall of Fame ceremony set to start at 3:30 I decided to take a break from the heat and walk around the shaded concourse.
A few minutes into my walk I noticed a crowd beginning to form:
Jim Day (on the left) and….well, I’m not sure who that is on the right (help?) were broadcasting the Red’s pregame show live on Fox Sports Ohio. I’m 99% sure I was on TV, but since I didn’t record the broadcast, or know of anyone who did, or even watched, I can’t say for sure.
I stood and watched for around 5 minutes before heading back to my seat. By the time I got back the groundscrew were hard at work getting everything set up for the Hall of Fame induction ceremony:
It wasn’t long before the seats were filled with 20 or so Red’s Hall of Famers (2 of which are in the National Baseball Hall of Fame):
After each player’s name had been called the induction speeches began. Driessen and Casey gave their own but the great great great great nephew of the late John Reilly, Kirtley Kinman, gave the speech for him:
Casey and Driessen threw out the first pitches of the game:
The game itself wasn’t anything spectacular, with the Reds winning 6-0. The most interesting part of the game occured in the 4th inning when Scott Rolen hit his 507th career double to move past Babe Ruth on the all-time list:
This year’s game went much better than last year’s, when I didn’t even make it through the gates due to a rain out. Now that I’ve been inside I can say that Great American Ballpark is an extremely nice park, that I hope to visit again sometime in the future.
The next MLB ballpark I’ll be visiting is Kauffman Stadium for the 2012 State Farm Home Run Derby on July 9th. More on that a little later in the week…..