All right, I admit it. I’m a royal pain when it comes to traditions and baseball.

I don’t like the designated hitter. I would keep, but marginalize interleague play. I don’t like 13 pitchers on a staff.

And now– thanks to another labor lockout– the Reds will not have Opening Day in Cincinnati.

The only other ones I can recall in my lifetime were 1966 and 1990. In ‘66, rain forced the Reds to open on the road so I can at least understand that. In 1990, it was another “labor stoppage” and Cincinnati opened in Houston, of all places.

While the Reds used to have exclusive rights to it, that stopped years ago because of international games. Forget that the Reds are the oldest professional baseball franchise and never mind the City of Cincinnati has a parade that has taken place since 1920, those are small issues. The Lords of Baseball know better.

I tell my friends, that are largely Cardinal and Cub fans, about the atmosphere in Cincinnati on Opening Day and they’re envious. They have never experienced an Opening Day like we have in Cincinnati.

So now, the Reds open in— Atlanta. I could not care less the Braves are defending World Series Champions and neither Luis Castillo or Sonny Gray will start that game but it is what it is.

Living in Illinois, I’ve only been to one Opening Day and that was in 1984 when the Reds took on the New York Mets. Mario Soto started and won the game by an 8-1 score, Eddie Milner socked a home run, went 3 for 4 and was robbed of a second homer by Daryl Strawberry. Dave Concepcion also homered and Soto pitched a gem, giving up just a solo home run to Strawberry and striking out eight. I had a red seat (you Riverfront guys know what I mean) but I didn’t care.

Of course, I went to the Opening Day parade. I got to the game when the gates opened. The weather was good, the Reds won and I celebrated – even if Vern Rapp was the new manager for the Reds.

And this one is weird: I saw Rapp’s first game as a Reds Manager and his last in St. Louis. He was fired after that game in August and Pete Rose took over.

And since we all feel so great about the Reds in 2022, let’s start the season off with a bang. Probably not a win in Atlanta, but here you go.

Tell me your favorite Reds Opening Day memories. Which park (Crosley, Riverfront or GABP) and your Star of the Game.  For me, I went with Eddie Milner although Soto was spectacular that day.

26 Responses

  1. Jenyns

    If Reds can attack this left handed pitcher and our pitching can keep up in this, we will see our 1st real baseball game against on the best teams we will face this year, we have some aggressive young players, go Reds!

  2. Eddie

    I can see this young reds team be wild card playoffs 83 win team this year if everyone healthy and young rotation live up to hype and offense on fire. I love the pham sign wouldn’t mind upton join this team as a dh for us. I feel winning streak they occurred in spring training help their confidence and will be good to follow into regular season. I feel this team will surprise a lot of ppl

  3. Keith

    I think Joe Randa’s Opening Day was my favorite. Perfect weather, perfect ending.

  4. CFD3000

    I live in Atlanta so Opening Day isn’t a real option most years. Even this year I’m skipping the first game – tickets are ridiculous and I’m not interested in nose bleed seats to watch the Braves celebrate their World Series win. So I’ll be there Friday night to welcome back Votto, India, Stephenson and the young new Reds gang. I was hoping to see Hunter Greene’s major league debut, but will apparently settle for Sanmartin’s third start instead. Still, baseball is back – Go Reds!

    As for Opening Day I couldn’t resist the big tickets and trip in 2003 for the first ever game at Great American Ballpark. It was cold and the Reds got hammered 10-1 by the Pirates. George H. W. Bush threw out the first pitch in place of his son, and the Reds lineup featured Ken Griffey, Jr., Barry Larkin, Sean Casey, Adam Dunn, Aaron Boone and Wily Mo Peña. They managed 4 entire hits. Somebody named Michael Jason was the Reds catcher, flashing signs for Scott Sullivan who recorded all of 5 Pirates outs. We saw most of the parade, toured the shiny new stadium and then sat about 5 rows up from the Reds on deck circle, and I almost missed Johnny Bench sliding through before the game to say hello to some VIP’s down in front of us. It was an exciting day with a lousy game. I’m glad we made that trip, but haven’t been tempted again.

    We’ll make our annual weekend pilgrimage later this year – probably late May for the Giants – and absorb a proper feel for the team, the stadium, and the state of Reds baseball. By then I’m hoping to see Castillo back and effective, Greene and Lodolo learning to get major league hitters out, Barrero displacing Farmer and mashing, and of course Joey Votto mocking Father Time for another joyful year. Can’t wait for game 2, and then late May. Thank goodness for spring and the return of baseball!

  5. SultanofSwaff

    My best opening day memory hasn’t happened. I too live in Illinois, and for the first time ever I’ll be heading to Cincy (with my daughter) so we can experience everything first hand. Can’t wait! Where’s the best spot to view the parade?

  6. Indy Red Man

    I was 1 game off last year. I’m going with 75-87

    The betting line is 74.5 and I immediately thought Under, but the hitting should be much better vs lefties. The young guys should mature as the season progresses and of course the Pirates/Cubs should also stink. I doubt they get more then 250 at-bats from Senzel, but I think Pham can still play. Tucker is a swell guy, but in no universe should he have more at-bats then Stephenson so thats a plus. The pen is going to be bad though? They really have nobody proven to turn to? Sims got blasted every time they used him late. Art Warren? Buck Owens? Roy Clark? Idk?
    Get ready for the Louisville shuttle again.

  7. Tomn2

    So can someone please tell me again, how can I actually watch the game tonight on TV?

  8. LDS

    Never made an Opening Day in all these decades. I guess my best Cincinnati experience was being a couple of rows behind the dugout on the third base side for Tom Seaver’s no hitter. As for your views on tradition, couldn’t agree more though I’d go further and eliminate interleague play completely, along with wild card playoff teams. Oh, and I’d restore the old East/West division alignment with only the division winners going to the playoffs. It was a better game when every game counted.

  9. Steven Nelson

    I’m dejected to say I’ve never been less excited by an opening day in my life. Reds ownership has sapped the feelings of both hope and nostalgia by jettisoning most of the team’s recognizable faces AND making a team with potential measurably worse. It has left me numb in the baseball part of my heart. And watching Joey Votto play another wasted season without support is just painful. I will find something else to do today.

  10. Oldtimer

    I went to Opening Day games regularly in the 1960s. I missed in 1970 when I was away at college as a freshman at Purdue. I went now and then in the 1970s 80s and 90s when I lived in Chicago and was single.

    No particular game stands out but I even went to Crosley Field in 1966 when we sat there in the rain until they called it off.

    My brother-in-law had a long streak of attending Opening Day games broken in 1986 (36 years ago TODAY) when my niece was born. Her birth required a life squad ride through Opening Day traffic in Northern Kentucky to the hospital in Cincinnati.

  11. Chris Mo

    Opening day, 1985. Me, my dad, and 2 uncles. We started out in the top row of read seats, in line with the 3rd base foul poll. After two snow delays, and lots of people leaving the game, we moved down to the field level, probably 6 rows behind the dugout. Reds won the game 4-1. Only day of high school dad ever let me skip, and that was because i could be the designated driver.

  12. redsfan4040

    Never made it to an opening day unfortunately. I live a few hours away in Huntington, WV, so the trip isn’t terrible, it’s just not something we were able to financially pull off when I was a kid, and now as an adult I’m a school teacher, and spring break never lines up with OD. Always look forward to getting home and watching the games, now with my 6 year old who finally this year wanted to play t-ball. Looking forward to many baseball memories with him and my daughter for years to come. Hopefully I can get them to an OD one of these years.

  13. Tom Reeves

    The Atlanta Braves are the oldest franchise in baseball…. Tracing back to the 1869 Cincinnati Redstockings, who left for Boston in 1870. So, if the Reds are going to open away, the Braves are the place to do it.

    • TR

      The first professional baseball franchise was the undefeated Cincinnati Red Stockings of 1869.

  14. Mark Moore

    Today is “meaningful baseball day” … that’s enough for me at the moment.

    I’ve never been to an opening day. I’ve made it to 5 games at GABP (back in 2006) when I was working on a project at UC. We shall see if I make a pilgrimage this season. I called off the one last September.

    Hope springs eternal today of all days. Tomorrow may bring something different. The first month is a brutal slate of games to be sure. But today … today is a good day. And I’m wearing my Reds polo shirt. I even did my workout in my Reds t-shirt and hat. Let’s hope I didn’t jinx anything …

  15. Jim Walker

    The best part about this opening day in Atlanta is that the game is on ESPN2 instead of Bally so I will be able to have the Reds on 1 screen and the Blue Jackets in another screen and follow whichever (if either) looks best for my locals.

    • Mark Moore

      And that means we don’t get Sadak tonight either. I was just recalling what I diagnosed as a pretty severe case of oral diarrhea from him all last season. Safe to say I’m not a fan.

      • SultanofSwaff

        Me neither. That said, he’s absolutely fantastic doing basketball on radio.

  16. TR

    Opening day 1954, I was a senior in H.S. A few of us guys from the baseball team made it to Crosley Field from Middletown and we got temporary seats on the left field terrace. It was Hank Aaron’s first major league game for the Milwaukee Braves. My all time favorite Red’s player, Ted Kluszewski, was in that game and 1954 was his greatest year in his 11 years with the Reds: batting .326 with 141 RBI’s and 49 home runs.

    • Old Big Ed

      That is superb, TR. The Reds won, 9-8, behind a big 4-double game from Jim Greengrass. Here is the box score: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/CIN/CIN195404130.shtml.

      Aaron went 0-for-5 with no strikeouts, but HOFer Eddie Matthews hit 2 homers. Joe Nuxhall came into the game in the 2nd inning, pitched 6+ innings and got the win.

      That would have been a great ticket stub to keep.

      • Old Big Ed

        The attendance was 33,185, and the first base umpire was Al Barlick. Barlick was inducted into the Hall of Fame in the same year as Johnny Bench and Carl Yastzemski, which is also the only one that I ever attended.

  17. BZ

    Glad we’re playing the lefty/righty matchups instead of playing the best players right out of the gate. There is no world where Brandon Drury should be starting today.

    • JoshG

      that might be indicative of how bad Moose looks at 3B

  18. Mark B.

    I, too, was one game off last year and felt much more optimistic than this year. However, I am a Reds die-hard and have been since around 1967. This year I am
    going out on a limb, hoping the youngsters improve quickly, this is a .500 ballclub (81-81).

    Gor Reds!