On a Rite of Spring

Thousands of people descend on downtown for a parade, the game, and the general excitement of this annual rite of spring. The young and old, male and female, tall and short, rich and poor, workers and nonworkers, locals and out-of-towners … most dressed in red.

Many workers do not go to work – and many of those who do are not as productive. Kids skip school – and many those who do not face a day of study halls or atypical activities. These behaviors happen every year – thus predictable – then normality follows the next day.

For those who do not know, professional baseball started in Cincinnati. For many years, a Reds home game served as the start to the Major League Baseball (MLB) season. In recent years, that tradition has given way to MLB’s quest for more money, but the Cincinnati Reds remain as the only team that starts the season with a home game – so this day was Opening Day…a special day in Cincinnati … and no other city in the country embraces the day as my city along the Ohio River.

After a horrendous winter, weather brought us sun and warmth. With this setting serving as the perfect opportunity for me to get away from the move-related activities, I went downtown to join thousands of others who were also dressed in red.

For ease and convenience, I parked on the Newport, Kentucky side of the river, and emerged from the garage at Newport on the Levy …

Newport on the Levy with shops, eateries, theaters, and an aquarium

Newport on the Levy with shops, eateries, theaters, and an aquarium

… then had lunch at this establishment (the owners won venture capital money on Shark Tank) …


Excellent source for grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup

Excellent source for grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup

… the Cincinnati skyline and the quiet baseball stadium 4 hours before game time

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood

It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood

… the Ohio side with three sports venues on the river and a glimpse of the Brooklyn Bridge’s prototype

Cincinnati has a beautiful riverfront ... and parks are behind me

Cincinnati has a beautiful riverfront … and parks are behind me

… looking back to Covington, Kentucky and the other end of our famous bridge

Daniel Libeskind designed the building with the slanted roof

Daniel Libeskind designed the building with the slanted roof

… while walking beside the stadium, banners remind me of important events in Reds history

Sorry Yankee fans, but our Big Red Machine was one of the best teams ever

Sorry Yankee fans, but our Big Red Machine was one of the best teams ever

… fans eagerly awaiting the start of the festivities around Great American Ball Park

The party goers are just to the right (next pic)

The party goers are just to the right (next pic)

… but many others found a party a short distance away

This must be the no-alcohol zone

This must be the no-alcohol zone

… but for me on this day, I was heading into the city center where thousands gathered for an Opening Day tradition … and that will come in a post next week … besides, I didn’t have a ticket to the game.

66 thoughts on “On a Rite of Spring

    • Cathy,
      After the horrendous winter, this day was wonderful … sunny, low 60s, light cool breeze … plus the festive atmosphere.

      Wow … thanks for the pics to the Denver museum. That’s quite the design … so I encourage anyone reading this to follow the link.

      Today, the Big Red Machine refers to the team, but the Great Eight refers to the starters. On this day, SS Davey Concepcion was in town to throw the first pitch. So cheers to your Reds fan days!

    • Guapo,
      Opening Day tickets are very hard to get. Through the years, the team has sold tickets in different ways. This year was a Sunday morning sale … and people were lined up on Friday for the morsels that remain.

      The weather was wonderful, and perfect for the day! More on the day next week (hopefully);

  1. What? No ticket? Sounds like us as an Iowa Football game a few years ago. We’ve never been to one. So, we took the local fan train in and got off at the stadium. Walked around taking in the sights and sounds. Then we got on the train and headed back to our car and home. Watched the game from home in our living room.

    • Jim,
      Opening Day tickets are hard to get … and second-sale tickets are expensive. I’ve never been … and this was the first time I went into town to enjoy much of the day.

      Hopefully the two of you will get to go to a Hawkeye game in the future. Heck … did you tell students you’ve never gone?

  2. Nice shots on what looked like such a lovely day, Frank. Send some of that warm weather this way! For what it costs to see the Yankees over here, I’d rather spend that money on a Broadway play. Also, Milton HATES the Yankees. But he did have a crush on A-Rod, and when they last won the World Series (2009), Johnny Damon.

    • Lame,
      I imagine that when Milton gets something in his head (as hating the Yankees), it sticks! I can’t imagine the cost of their games … and to think they get it!

      That weather was a week ago this past Monday … so you probably got it – thus already gone. :(

      • Milton and I both prefer tennis. Maybe this will be the year we attend the US Open in Queens. I think he’d be in his bliss there. As for sticking with hating a team, I think that’s true of everyone. I grew up in San Francisco a Giants and Niners fan. Teams that remain dear to me to this day. Suddenly my sister is rooting for Oakland, the A’s and Raiders prompting me to wonder, “Are we related?”

        • I hope you get to go the US Open. … another event with (I presume) pricey tickets. But hey … to attend a dream does come with a price.

          Cheers to staying to your roots with teams … especially through thick and thin … and boo to anyone changing teams with the wind … or to those having multiple teams so they can have a winner most of the time.

        • You’ve got that right about the cost of US Open tickets. But what big time sporting event is cheap in the US? If we went it would probably be a day over the Labor Day Weekend when the day pass is a decent deal. I’m using the word deal very liberally. Unlike Milton I can stomach the Yanks – they and the football Giants are my NY teams but deep down I’ll always bleed Giant black & orange and Niner red & gold. Those teams are in my DNA.

  3. That is a real festival event you have there Frank – what a wonderful thing….. seems like everyone would have a story or two to tell about where they were and what they got up to the day the season started! I love hearing about these unique traditions.

    • Pauline,
      Festive is a good word for the annual event. Pro baseball is in 30 cities, and the long-traditions are only here. Families make it tradition too … thus it gets passed on over time. I will show more next week.

  4. Great shots. I love opening day, even if it is in my living room. Always leave work to catch the first pitch. Indeed the Big Red Machine was the best.

    • Audra,
      Opening Day in every city is an exciting time … but it’s super-sized here. The Big Red Machine is still beloved here … and whenever one makes an appearance, excitement spikes. SS Dave Concepcion come from Venezuela to throw out the first pitch this year … of course he received a great ovation .. I attend the game several years ago when the team retired his number. A fabulous player and the best shortshop in the game of his era … Cooperstown worthy!

    • Catherine,
      The Queen City has a good setting to be the initial Gateway to the West. In the coming months, I’ll post more about it.

      The Suspension Bridge is a Cincinnati jewel … and many don’t realize it is the prototype for the Brooklyn Bridge.

    • Colline,
      There has been talk that the city make it an official holiday. Then again, who would that actually affect. Nonetheless, it’s a good day … but probably not a productive one.

  5. No wait, Grilled Cheese Donuts? Who thinks of these things? Are they good? Did you have this for lunch?

    The pictures are beautiful. One of these days I am coming to visit! Sounds like a wonderful day.

    • Val,
      Although I have eaten at Tom+Chee multiple times, I have not had a grilled cheese donut. It’s on my radar, but maybe I’ll have to move it up on my priority! … By the way, see my reply to Sylvia (aDayInParadise) with the two links to videos.

      It was a beautiful day …. and I have another post planned about the day ready for next week!

  6. Personally, I prefer the view on HD TV, the mute and pause buttons and the comforting proximity of the bathroom. But I get it. The smell of the greasepaint, the roar of the crowd. (Or is it the other way around?) :lol: :lol:

    • Jim,
      Keep in mind that I didn’t go to the game because I didn’t have a ticket … and given the nice day, street value was high. Nonetheless, Opening Day is a special day in Cincinnati … thus different from other MLB cities.

  7. Sounds like a heck of a Big day and party! I bet it was fun. I haven’t been to a baseball game in a few years, reading your post (though we don’t do things as grand as you guys) it made me want to go to a game and grab a beer and hotdog! Great post, Frank – enjoy!

  8. how can they be the only team that starts the season at home? half the league has to start at home, no? except the ones in australia or wherever.

    also, did you know the reds are the only team to ever record an undefeated season? back in 1800’s.

  9. I enjoyed seeing the ballpark and hearing about the crowd enthusiasm, Frank. I always know at least one person who skips out on work to go to Opening Day for the Dodgers. But I don’t think there are city-wide crowds. My husband and son have already made it to one game. I’m not an avid baseball fan, but I do enjoy going to the stadium when possible. I hope your team does well, Frank. Just don’t tell my family I said that! :-)

    • Debra,
      I’m very confident that Opening Day in Cincinnati is quite unique, plus keep in mind that no other team opens the season at home every year. Given the great weather after the lousy winter, downtown estimates were over 100K … and you’ll see more probably this week. Meanwhile, my Reds are started the season with a resounding thud … the city is in panic mode.

  10. Even though you didn’t have a ticket, I’m glad you still went to enjoy the festivities. I used to walk by Fenway every night on my way home from work and it was always a fun atmosphere on a game night. There’s just something about it. Sorry I’m late–too much fun this weekend :)

  11. Pingback: On a Few Murals | A Frank Angle

  12. Great pictures and I have always wanted to visit this ballpark. Enjoy what I’ve seen on TV over the years since its opening. We just now have to get the city a better ball club…like here in Philly. I believe both the Reds and Phils may be competing for the most losses this season unfortunately. But at least we have nice fields to play upon. Wonderful post Frank.

    • Bruce,
      Opening Day in Cincinnati is a celebration every year … no matter the expectations or the past, the city embraces this day like no other. Your team beat us out last year with one more loss, but given the off-season moves, I’m confident the Reds can surpass the Phillies in that department. Very sad isn’t it.

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