Well, I have finally recovered from my trip to Cincinnati with my baseball team.  I pretty much collapsed into bed after posting on here last night and had to wake up this morning and come to work and complete some grades.   I have all of that taken care of and can finally share my thoughts on the game yesterday and the experience in taking my team up to Cincinnati.  Just to recap, I took the high school baseball team that I coach in Virginia to yesterday’s game, and for many, it was their first ever Major League Baseball Game.  (A lot of what is upcoming is from the eyes of my team.  Most of us see these things all the time, but to a group of guys watching their first game, it makes you realize how much of the game you take for granted)

We met up at 6:30 for the 4 plus hour drive to Cincinnati.  I made sure to leave in plenty of time to allow us to eat breakfast on the way.  We finally arrived in Cincinnati around 11:00, just in time to watch batting practice.  Some of my guys brought their gloves to try and catch a ball.  I never caught their expressions of the outside of the ballpark, but some did share their thoughts on coming around the turn on I-75 and seeing the city for the first time.  Some have never been to a city before.  I remember being younger and loving the view of the skyline as you came in from Kentucky to cross the bridge into the city.  They loved seeing the size of the buildings and of the city.

When we got inside the stadium, we went to the Reds Community Center in Gapper’s Alley.  I had talked with a nice lady named Chelsea who agreed to give my guys some souvenirs to make the game a little more memorable.  Each player received a hat, some magnets, schedules, and some Reds taffy.  It was great that the Reds took the effort to do this for these guys.  We watched a little bit of the Reds BP from Gappers Alley.  The guys noticed Griffey first thing.  Most of these guys aren’t historians of the game, nor do they really appreciate the history of the game, but they were still in awe of Junior.

We then headed out to RF to try and get some balls.  None came their way so they worked their way to LF.  I let them do their own thing and go where they wanted.  I didn’t want to ruin the experience by trying to tell them where to go.  I think a few balls came close out in LF, but no one was able to get a ball during BP.  We then headed up to our seats in section 526.  The seats were upper level, but they were behind homeplate so it offered us a great view of the game.  I took a portable radio and the guys within about 4 seats from me could hear the play by play.

My assistant coach, who also had never been to a game, was fascinated by how the field was prepared for play.  I have always enjoyed watching the grounds crew get the field in game shape after BP.  The guys were also fascinated by how effortless the pros made the game look, especially the pitchers.  My guys are lucky to hit 65-70 MPH if they were ever clocked on a gun, but they enjoyed watching the pitchers throw upper 80s and doing it so effortlessly.  They noticed how guys like Jr. and the catchers could just flick the ball on a line right on target.

As the game progressed, the weather really became an issue.  Many of my guys wore shorts and the rain and cool temperatures caused some to get cold.  I constantly warned my guys however that I do not leave games early. (Note:  I only leave early if my 3 year old son needs to leave because of the weather and he was not in attendence yesterday.)  Once the game got into the 8th inning, my guys stopped caring who was going to win, as long as the game was over.  Once the Brewers scored twice in the 10th, many of my guys saw a lot of fans leave the ballpark and asked if we could go.  I reminded them that I NEVER leave early.  And as you can imagine, it was well worth the stay. 

We gutted out the weather, consumed about 25 Skyline Cheese Conies between the 13 of us, watched a great ball game, saw the Reds win, and hopefully contributed to a memory that some of these kids will never forget!