However, at Cincinnati the first game is always played there. This is because the Citizens of this Ohio city do not consider Opening Day just as Opening Day. They consider it one small notch below Christmas.
Author Fred Schwed, Jr. spoke these words back in 1957 and they remain true to this day.
At Major League Stadiums around the country, Opening Day is a special time. It’s the end of winter and the beginning of something new and exciting. It’s a fresh start. A clean slate. It’s reason to be optimistic and excited about the next 162 games. It’s a chance to erase the bad memories of the year before and focus on the potential for success.
But it’s more than just that in the Queen City. Opening Day in Cincinnati is more than a game, it’s an event. It’s the parade, it’s Findlay market, it’s Marty Brennaman, it’s “rounding 3rd and heading for home…”, it’s Pete Rose, and Joe Morgan, and The Machine. It’s the national anthem, the American flag, the first pitch, and the F-16 flyover. It’s 4192, it’s Mr. Perfect, it’s wire-to-wire. It’s Crosley Field, Riverfront Stadium, and GABP. It’s cold beer and hot chili. It’s Dusty’s toothpick, Brandon’s smile, Votto’s focus, and Bruce’s power. Opening Day is everything that is right about the city of Cincinnati.
More than anything, it gives the city of Cincinnati something to be proud of. Cincinnatians take pride in their traditions. Opening Day is certainly one of those traditions. It reminds us of the simplicity of the game and the beauty of the sport. Nobody takes as much pride in their hometown team than the people of Cincinnati on Opening Day.
Expectations haven’t been this high in over two decades in the Queen City. The Reds are favored to win the NL Central and contend for a World Championship. They have arguably the best hitter in the game and one of the most electrifying closers in the league. It will be a long and arduous year. The major league baseball season is a grind and this year will be no different. There will be plenty of peaks and valleys, plenty of opportunities to question the manager and complain about the lineup. But for now, for one afternoon, let’s enjoy the beauty and purity of Opening Day.