I finally made my first 2014 trip to Great American Ball Park last Friday night.Without sounding too “fatherly” boastful, my daughter was able to get me two complimentary tickets through her work at the Reds Hall of Fame and I graciously then forked over the dough so my son and his girlfriend could also make the trip. Of course, my wife and I took the free tickets which happened to be behind home plate and sent him off to the right field moon deck, which happen to be his favorite seats anyway so nothing lost there.
I don’t attend as many Reds game as I used to in my younger days, mainly because of the big chunk it takes out of my budget and of course the fact that my parents were buying the tickets when I was 15. Now, getting two free tickets makes it easier but my wife and I figured out that we still plunked down nearly $200 before the night was over. Ouch!
As most of you are aware, last weekend was Star Wars weekend at GABP. I still have not figured out any connection between Star Wars and baseball but nevertheless, there was the Master of the Evil Empire throwing out the first pitch. That should have been an omen to the Reds that night. Never have Darth throw out the first pitch-bad luck! There were imitators of Luke Skywalker and Hans Solo who looked about as much like those characters as I do and Star Wars related events going on all over the park. Not much of that interested me because honestly and with apologies to Sheldon, Leonard, and Howard, after the first Star Wars movie, the rest of the series did nothing for me.
After we surprised my daughter in the Hall of Fame (she didn’t know the whole family was coming), we ventured to the concession stands for 30 dollars worth of dinner and then my first disappointment came when I saw the Reds “B” team lineup for the night, which of course turned out to be the only game they lost in the four game set with the first-place Brewers. Of course, with my seats being in some close proximity to the field, I naturally had my camera in front of my face most of the night as my son said he could see from the right field seats. Hey, when else does one get a chance to get action shots of Roger Bernardina and Ramon Santiago?
Around the seventh inning, I was distraught again when the ushers came around and passed out the 2014 All-Star ballots. Seeking to reclaim a childhood love, I decided to take a few minutes and punch out my ballot. I used to do them by the hundreds when I was young so why not give it a shot in 2014? Well, that task left me wondering, “where are the All-Stars?” Take a look at the American League choices . Third base, catcher, outfield..I bet the casual baseball fan doesn’t even recognize the names. Now in the National League the loyal fan can just go down the ballot and punch out all the Reds, the easy way out. Even on the NL ballot, the choices aren’t all that great. It was so easy when you just punched in Bench, Rose, Morgan, Perez, Mays, and Aaron. Those were true All-Stars.
As the Evil Empire prevailed and the Brewers took a 2-0 win, the stadium readied tself for the Friday night fireworks. If you have never seen one of the Reds fireworks shows, you need to soon. With a Star Wars soundtrack, the fireworks show was fantastic, as good as any Fourth of July show you will see and a nice way to cap off the evening before the drive home.
Even with the dull game and the Reds loss, it was not a bad night as my daughter’s boss set me up with a free Sparky Anderson bobblehead and 2014 Reds Yearbook. The Reds ended up taking three of four from the Brewers, but have some injury issues to deal with as they make the trip tonight to Beantown. Flashback 1975 anyone? Bench, Rose, Morgan, Perez, Foster, Griffey, Concepcion, Tiant, Lynn, Rice, Fisk, Petrocelli..now those were All-Stars.