I apologize in advance if this post seems very Peter King 10 Things I Think-ish, but here are some thoughts about Opening Night …
• Cardinals fans who attend games at GABP are just as annoying as Cubs fans. It just doesn’t seem like it because you aren’t surrounded by them.
• I’d say I was most impressed by the turnout by players in the Fan Zone signing before the game and least impressed by the tacky tuxedo shirts the ushers and ticket-takers wore (sorry for no photo). (The Big Band music at the ballgame was pretty bizarre too, though what I heard of Swingtime’s performance was tight so I won’t complain.)
• When I read that there would be a meet-and-greet with players in the Fan Zone a couple of hours before first pitch, I figured we’d get maybe Mike Lincoln and Third Base Coach Mark Berry. But they sent EVERYBODY up there to sign for fans. Bruce, Phillips, Homer, Dickerson, Stubbs, Masset, Hanigan, Herrera, Gomes, Billy Hatcher, et al. And I don’t know how much Joe Morgan signed, but he was in there too.
I didn’t get anything signed – just took pictures – but I saw people walking away with balls and jerseys filled with autographs. It’s really about as good as a Reds fan/collector could make out autograph-wise aside from RedsFest or maybe a winter caravan stop. Dunno if it’s just an Opening Night thing but it’d be cool if they’d do it more often for sure.
• I thought it’d be fun – since the Reds made such an effort this year to make Opening Night seem like a big deal – to make jokes like, “Damn, Cueto’s been lights-out on Opening Night in years past, I don’t know what’s wrong with him!” but they didn’t go over as well as I’d hoped. (Plus, Cueto ended up delivering a quality start, so I ate my words there anyway.)
And I’d guess the Reds will consider this very much a success. Is 28,132 an Opening Night record? Even if it isn’t, it’s very impressive considering there was rain in the forecast (even though it ended up being a gorgeous evening).
• Damn good time with the crew from redreporter.com; these guys have been carrying Opening Night for years before the Reds decided to start promoting the heck out of it.
Surrounded by Reds bloggers in the Sun/Moon deck is a pretty outstanding way to watch a game too. And there was definitely a healthy amount of second-guessing Dusty’s decision to go with Logan Ondrusek in the 7th (see John Fay’s post for good details).
I’ll say this … it was about as good a time as you could have at a game where Orlando Cabrera provides the majority of your team’s offense.
• I was very impressed with the new 1990 Wire-to-Wire exhibit at the Reds Hall of Fame. Tons of great memorabilia and information; if you haven’t seen it yet, you can look forward to the good hour you’ll hopefully get to spend checking it out.
• Some bald dude from the Cardinals – and it wasn’t Pujols – was absolutely launching balls into the bleachers during batting practice. One after the next flying off his bat. I hadn’t seen a BP exhibition like that in quite some time. Does anyone who watched the Cardinals take BP tonight know for sure who it was? Dude looked way too short to be Holliday, but I was watching from the Sun/Moon Deck.
• OMGRant alert: Please stop here if you’re afraid you might be offended by something negative written about Scott Sloan or the Extra Innings program on WLW.
This city needs a local alternative to 700 WLW’s Extra Innings show hosted by Scott Sloan in the worst way.
I realize many of us are already home by the time this show starts. Unfortunately I can’t get all the way up to Greater Hamilton before Sloan comes on. I have no idea how he convinced 700 WLW that he follows the Reds closely enough to be qualified to host this show. He must have pictures of someone at the station. Every time I listen to this show he says at least three things that are factually inaccurate or has at least one take that’s completely asinine. And I’m talking much more brutal than calling Logan Ondrusek “Aaron,” which he did, but we’ll forgive him for that because Ondrusek’s a rookie (not as bad as Paul Keels calling Pujols “Luis”).
Sloan repeatedly argued tonight that the Reds have been REALLY bad for 20 years. Which isn’t just extreme and an exaggeration – it’s untrue. And I know there are sportstalk hosts who will say stuff like this just to get people fired up and to call in, but after listening to Sloan previously I don’t think that’s the case here. (Seriously, if you don’t mind torturing yourself, listen sometime; you’ll hear head-up-the-ass stuff you’d NEVER hear from a Mo Egger or Lance.)
I was pretty sure I went to a playoff game where we beat Hideo Nomo and the Dodgers in 1995 and that the Reds played the Mets in a one-game playoff at the end of the 1999 season (during which they won 96 games – their biggest win total since 1976), but I checked baseball-reference.com just to make sure I wasn’t going crazy and it turns out I wasn’t. Apparently we played in the NLCS in ’95, had that great year in ’99 and even finished in first place in the NL Central in ’94 (the year there was no postseason), second place in the NL West in ’92 with 90 wins and second place in the Central in 2000.
So to say the Reds have been really bad for the past 20 years is pretty erroneous. Unless of course you consider every team that doesn’t make the World Series to be really bad. I’d agree the Reds have struggled since 2001 since they’ve failed to finish above .500, but there’s a big difference between 9 years of struggling and 20.
To make matters worse, when Sloan finally reached a break and you thought, “Oh good, listening to an advertisement would actually be better than this,” they played a preview promo for the Reds’ Opening Night game not once but twice. AFTER the game had been completed. Fail. Log back in and I think you’ll find there’s a field called “Kill date/time” or something like that. Make sure there’s something in that field that says something like 4/7/10 at 7 p.m.
Anyway, it’s brutal. And I know what you’re thinking: Change the channel, dude. But I want to listen to Reds talk while driving home from the game. Is that too much to ask? And you can’t get it anywhere else. Brutal.