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.