While most of our focus at Redleg Nation rightly concerns the team’s baseball operations, it’s easy to forget the non-baseball operations are also an important part of the Cincinnati Reds. And we often take for granted how well-run that part of the Reds organization is, especially as it relates to being sensitive to fan needs and interests. I’m a discerning and regular consumer of their product, and it’s obvious to me that a lot of hard work, thoughtful preparation and detailed execution goes into providing it.

The total experience of being at the Great American Ball Park improves every year, even throughout the season. From the new convenient parking facilities to the informative and entertaining scoreboard program, the between-innings music to the recognition of veterans, and the commitment to the ever-improving quality of food – the Reds do everything they can to make it a fun and family-friendly experience. They even let you take food and drinks into the stadium. Add to that all of the charitable and outreach work the Reds players and organization do throughout the Cincinnati area. It’s something of which the Reds and their fans can justifiably be proud.

The Marty Brennaman hair-shearing event provides a great opportunity to express heartfelt admiration to the Reds for their nimble planning and execution. With very little time to conceive, plan, fundraise, publicize and execute all the many details that go into the various components of a moment like that, they pulled it off gracefully, professionally and in an entertaining manner. They also raised an enormous amount of awareness and money for several excellent causes – all from a simple haircut. It was both touching and exemplary.

Of course, no organization is perfect and there will always be $8 ballpark beer (until it’s $8.50). But to truly appreciate how much the Reds organization does to build a positive relationship with its fans, just look down the street and think about the Bengals, Mike Brown and Co.

The 120,000+ enthusiastic fans in attendance this past weekend for the series against the Pirates was apt testimony to all of it.

Applause, applause.