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Monday, April 6, 2009

Monday Mug Shot

Cincinnati, Ohio

Yes, there is going to be some baseball talk about this mug, but I’m not going to talk about the game today except to say that I watched the first and last three innings on TV. I kept the mlb.com box open on my screen while I got a little work done. It was a great game, even if the wrong team won. I’m still confident that my team looks REALLY GOOD this year! Hey, if we take this series, we’ll be playing .667 ball waiting for the Pirates to get into town!

But this is Opening Day 2009. The date on that mug is 6/94. The game was against the San Diego Padres and not only was Barry Larkin still a Red, but Tony Gwynn was a Padre!

It was Sunday June 26, 1994. No, I don’t remember THAT many details! I checked the saved ticket stub! I keep all my baseball ticket stubs. They’re in chronological order in an envelope on my desk. Mom and I were finishing a long weekend that started the Wednesday before. We had two plans for Sunday. We wanted to stop at the train zoo in Covington and see a baseball game.

On this trip through Louisville and then home up through Cincinnati, we’d been on a dinner train, a tourist train with vintage cars and we really wanted to check out some more old trains. Well, okay, I wanted to see more trains. We had also gone on a riverboat ride for Mom! But the baseball, game was for us both!

It was my second game ever that wasn’t at Tiger Stadium. I saw Al Kaline play in person before he retired and I was raised on baseball games at his park, this was getting to see hallowed ground ground where Pete Rose, my other childhood baseball idol had played. I was pretty geeked about that. I was getting to see Pete’s home with the woman who planted that baseball infection deep in my heart when I was two. Mom was there for my first ever game at Tiger Stadium too, so it seemed fitting since the baseball obsession is all her fault anyway!

It was raining off and on that morning. But real baseball fans go to the game and expect it to be played no matter what! We had stayed at the Embassy Suites across the Ohio River in Covington, Kentucky where I could see Riverfront Stadium from our window. The clerk at the front desk old us it was easier and a lot cheaper to just walk across the blue bridge to go to the game rather than paying to park at Riverfront. Since parking was validated for guests, a LOT cheaper! So, we started across the bridge. It was my first time walking from one state to another!

The skies were dark and dreary, but there were holes of blue. We marched across the river with a modest crown of fans in various Reds garb. We crossed over ti the ground level at Riverfront to take the escalators up to the concourse and the gates. As we were just getting off the escalators, it started to rain.

We got inside and went up to the top concourse to go to our red section seats. Red section, you know, the top deck, where they squeeze out-of-towners in? Remember that in 1994 the Reds were doing well. That stayed that way after the strike when they were in the NLCS in 1995 against the Braves. That was a tough series for me. I had fallen in love with the Braves as last place losers in the late 80s and was ready to make them my home team by then, but they were playing the beloved team of my childhood. Of course, you know that table has turned back now and the Braves are number two again. Hey, I ended up in Ohio, not Georgia! But in 1994, before the strike was really looming, the Reds were selling pretty well.

So we went to the opening into the uncovered seating area. The usher told us where our seats were but suggested we come back after the rain calms down because the tarps were still on the field.

Now, it was time for my first rain delay!

As memory serves, the game was delayed for a couple of hours. Mom and I investigated the whole park, the souvenir stands and discovered one dollar hot dogs. ONE DOLLAR at a baseball game?? We decided we really liked lunch at Riverfront!

The game finally did get started, late, and with a few light showers during the early to middle innings, but it did clear up and it was definitely not disappointing! The Reds shellacked the Padres 12-4. What’s getting a little wet when you are watching a game with your Mom, munching on a one dollar hot-dog and watching the team you loved and never got to see as a kid win big?

1 comment:

seamhead gypsy said...

Good on you Nani for remembering those fond opening day memories! I have some fond opening day memories with my son, like calling him in sick to school with a "fever" that year the marketing slogan was "Indian Fever, Catch It!" or something like that. Another year I picked him up early because he had a "2:05" appointment! Now i can't wait to make some opening day memories with my soon to be 5 year old daughter!