On Opening Day 2011

The annual rite of spring is about to begin – the first pitch of the baseball season.

When I was a kid, the start of the season meant many things. One was trying to catch the movie It Happens Every Spring, the story of a chemistry professor accidentally discovering a wood-repelling chemical that he rubbed on a baseball. Sure, the storyline is corny, but it was a simple story about dreams and the love for the great game of summer.

I can also remember hurrying home after school to watch the rest of the Reds Opening Day. After all, that was a time long before big spending and free agency as all fans started the season full of hope and optimism. It was also the days before cable television, so seeing the Reds on TV was a treat that only happened 10-20 times a year. It was also before the days that television revenue was a plus instead of a decision maker. Yes, it was a time when the Reds, as the oldest professional franchise, opened the season for Major League Baseball.

Now that I live in Cincinnati, I understand how the season’s start still has special significance here. Gone is the day that Cincinnati leads the way in the nation, but to Cincinnatians, the season still starts here.

Today, thousands of people dressed in Red will line the streets to watch a city version of a small town parade displaying a stream of organizations forming a float on a trailer or a truck with a few signs and streams, some marching bands, and even motorcycles, fire trucks, and horses. People will gather on Fountain Square for activities, and fill the stadium for the game.

Like any start of the season, Cincinnati is excited today. Given our teams success in 2010, expectations are high. I will save my prediction for the 2011 Reds until next week because today is a special day – Opening Day in Cincinnati – and a tribute to our local history. Enjoy the video because it says a lot.

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16 thoughts on “On Opening Day 2011

  1. Opening Day seems to be most holy in cities with long-term baseball relationships. It has always been doubly special in Chicago, with both the Cubs and White Sox, though it has become less special with the loss of the old Comiskey Field. As a lifetime north-sider, I can only truly vouch for the Cubbies’ traditions. In my time, it was a pilgrimage almost worthy of Mecca. The first trip to The Friendly Confines, those first chilly days, warmed by a dog and a beer, the first 7th inning stretch with Jack Brickhouse and the famous (or infamous) Harry Carey – these, more than the date on the calendar, declared that spring had arrived. I’ve never been a real die-hard baseball fan, but when the Cubs showed up on WGN, Chicago’s Very Own Channel Nine (now available, as WGN America, on many cable and satellite systems), you knew that warm weather, sunshine, and the Cubs yearly origami festival in August were here once again. The Cubbies may be “the doormat of the National League”, but they’re also the boys of Chicago’s summer. You can almost smell the ivy, and if you listen closely, you can still hear Harry shout “And a one, and a two, and….. TAKE me out…” :)
    Thanks a lot, Frank, for making me painfully homesick! I’ll get ya for this, you little Reds-loving twerp! ;)

    • John,

      I recall when cable TV started expanding (late 70s) – thus my exposure to WGN – so I watched my share of Cubs games with Jack Brickhouse. As you know, winning was news at the time. Then came Harry Caray, who I appreciated since his days in St. Louis. I watched enough that I dreamed of the day of going to Wrigley to sing with Harry. Well, I was fortunate to have that dream come true. Long time Harry!

      Nonetheless, and nothing against Chicago, there is no Opening Day better than here in Cincinnati. The day itself is full of traditions. Temps today will be a tad cool, but excitement is already filling the air. Thanks for sharing.

  2. There is a romance in these video’s about baseball, This one, Baseball by Ernie Harwell or just hearing Vin Scully welcoming you to Dodger Baseball is just pure Magic.
    When I am elected Dictator I will make law that Baseball opens on the 2nd Monday in April with one afternoon game that being in Cincinnati, also there shall be Sunday Double Headers and the Reg Season ends the last Sunday in September

    • Larry,
      Classic announcers help bring the romance – and each city has a voice that serves as its identity – and yes, pure magic. And I appreciate your platform that the MLB season should always be first, foremost, and only in Cincinnati – it’s obvious that you also realize the time-honored traditions of the game. Thanks for visiting and commenting.

  3. It’s amazing how Opening Day has become a national holiday, even in cities like Cleveland where the team has been struggling…

    I think the Reds are going to have a HUGE year…Enjoy!

    • Beeze,
      Welcome to Opening Day in Cincinnati. The Reds could be very good, but as we know, baseball is a marathon – so a lot can happen to change things. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Pingback: Cincinnati Reds Opening Day 2011 | Cincinnati Reds Blog

    • Nancy,
      Baseball and radio has such a time-honored relationship. Most fans are partial to their team’s announcer(s) for many reasons, but we also forget that classic announcers exist in many MLB cities. With XM radio in the car, I occasionally tune in to other games to listen to the announcers. Ah yes … baseball on the radio is a great summer tradition. Thanks for the reminder!

  5. My parents took my sibling and me to the opening day parade and game each year growing up. (Regrettably, this involved missing school that day.) Lots of great memories. I even got to talk to Johnny Bench on one occasion.

    • Luke,
      I’m sure you weren’t the only one who missed school on Opening Day in Cincinnati. Then again, of the students who missed, the good students make up the work and the others … well …. But Larry said, you have some good memories to remember. Thanks for stopping by.

    • Mckenzie,
      Spring teased us (here) last week with warm temps – but the past few days have been on the brisk side – even snow flurries. Hopefully this is the last blast of winter. Thanks for visiting!

    • CCC,
      A local baseball historian called today the greatest Opening Day game in history! Wow … that’s powerful!

      Unfortunately, baseball’s economics/revenue trumps tradition. Thanks for stopping by.

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