As the Red Sox visit Cincinnati for the first time since 1975, the series has special meaning for several individuals on Boston’s roster.
Infielder Kevin Youkilis grew up here, starred at Sycamore High School and the University of Cincinnati and still has a lot of family here. He faced the Reds at Fenway three years ago (when the Red Sox swept the Reds), but this is his first trip to GABP as a big-league ballplayer.
First baseman Sean Casey, who played for the Reds from 1998-2005, will get the start on Friday (according to MLB.com), and will receive a nice ovation (according to me).
Right-handed pitcher Justin Masterson, Boston’s starter Friday night against Aaron Harang, grew up in Beavercreek (though he was born in Jamaica). He went to Beavercreek High School and still lives there.
Red Sox manager Terry Francona played for the 1987 Reds. Francona also managed many times here when he was with the Phillies. But I heard a soundbite and he said he’s looking forward to his first visit to Great American Ball Park.
Bronson Arroyo probably would have enjoyed facing his former team but it’s not going to happen.
J.D. Drew hit his first career home run at Riverfront September 9, 1998. I only remember that because I was there. He got booed as he rounded the bases and the fan threw the ball back (before fans did that with more frequency like they do now, which is annoying). OK, now we’re getting obscure.