Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Great American Ballpark: Cincinnati Ohio

Since the Reds were in Pittsburgh while I was in town, I wasn't able to catch a game but I was able to check out the stadium and go on a tour of the facilities. I have to admit it is a pretty nice ballpark and I would love to catch a game there someday. Here are some things I learned/saw when I was on this tour:
  • First off, the Great American Ballpark is named after the Great American Insurance Company. Who knew that, as I sure did not. It has a capacity of 42,059 with field dimensions of 328 ft, 404 ft, and 325 ft (Left to Right).
  • The Reds designed this stadium for the fans. There are many different activities that were designed for kids to enjoy the place such as having a bouncy bounce area, a place where you can test the speed it takes you from running from home to first base, learning the different grips to throwing different pitches, cocking the speed you throw the ball, among many other different things. I have to admit, while these features are great, it reminds me a lot of a minor league park in that they focus on the fun rather than the game of baseball. Overall, it is great to have if you are bringing young kids to the game or if you need to get away before or during the game.

  • A majority of the stadium was built using money that was collected from the taxpayers. In 1996, they added .5% to their local sales tax which contributed 300 million to the overall stadium. The bill was around 365 million, which left the Reds having to cover about 65 million themselves. The money they made in 1996 as also used during the construction of the new stadium (Paul Brown Stadium) for the Cincinnati Bengals (can't recall how much he said this stadium cost to build).
  • I found this pretty cool. The Reds built their new park literally next to their old park, known as Riverfront Stadium. The two were literally only 26 inches apart. As they were closer to completing the stadium, the guide said the outfield wall and the new park were practically touching and they had to cut holes in certain parts out of area so that they could work on the new park. After the season ended, the old park was torn down and they was able to complete the rest of the stadium. The edge of the concession stand area is the same place where the right field wall used to be which is pretty amazing.
  • A view of the press box. There are four levels to this which are the most (i think) in the majors. The tour guide said the writers tend to love this place. He said on a normal game, the first row is barely 3/4 of the way filled. When the Yankees and Red Sox are in town (which is pretty rare) not only are the four levels filled, but they end up having to use an overflow room in the back in which many of them have to look at the TV's in order to see the games. He said the beat writers following the team are given a preference and a generally in the first few rows. For those of you who didn't know, the great Hal McCoy was recently "let go" from the Dayton Daily News. The guide said while it was sad to see him go (hes a great guy they say), he said he can understand why the company did it as it is very expensive for him to cover the team.
  • They have a gorgeous stadium I have to admit. In centerfield there is this tugboat thing that is used for group outings. There are two smoke stacks that erupt fireworks after a player on the Reds hits a HR and after each game that they win.
  • The dugout was pretty cool. The guide threatened my life if I touched the grass though on the field.
  • They have a Tornado Shelter downstairs next to the visiting clubhouse.. Wonder if they have that in New York.

  • Wanted to note the layout of the luxury seats. The Reds also have a moat surrounding the seats like the Yankees do, but not these seats only extend to the area behind home plate. Those tickets cost 250 dollars a seat as opposed to the 2,600 dollar seats for Yankee tickets. There is a restaurant behind these seats for fans in this section which is smilier to that of the new Yankee Stadium. I still don't understand why people would go to a game to sit in a restaurant, but that is besides the point I suppose.

Overall, a fun time. My goal is to be able to see every single stadium at some point in my life. I wasn't able to tour Shea Stadium which I am now disappointed about but I heard that I wasn't missing much as Shea was considered to be a dump. I recommend you all to check out the Great American Ballpark if you ever have a chance. The tour was only 13 dollars and it is great to be able to see different parts of the stadium that you aren't able to do as a fan in the crowd. The only downside of this tour was that they didn't let you check out the clubhouse which was something they let you do at Yankee Stadium. For 350 million or so, the Reds did build themselves quite a nice ballpark.


The Commish! said...

Great pics Christina. Maybe you should be a baseball photographer. Some friends did a midwest baseball parks tour and went to the Reds park to see a game. Looks like a nice ballpark.

Kyle. said...

Glad you had a good time on the tour.

Awesome pics. It looks like a great ballpark.

I'd also like to check out all the MLB ballparks some time.

Bruno Van Rottweiller said...

Chris, you had never been to Shea?It was the same seedy place that I remember going to in the Seventies! I went to see a game last year and it didn't age that well. I will say this much......Mets fans have said that it was a dump BUT it was our dump!

Al Leiter's Bullpen Catcher said...

Bruno! You're alive! Good to hear from you. I wish I had gone to Shea, just to say I had been there, even though I heard it wasnt the nicest park out there.. So have you been to Citifield?

Besides the crazy dimensions, the only complaint I keep hearing is how they seem to have very little Mets history around the park and more things that show the Brooklyn Dodger years. I find that kinda bizarre also.

Pete Rose said...


Thanks for coming to Cincy. Bet you had a good time. But then I will bet on anything.

My best to Rascal.

Bruno Von Rottweiller said...

Christina, I lost a member of my family recently so I didn't get a chance to post anywhere for a bit. Yes.i'm still alive though it has been hard to pay attention to things lately.

I've been to Citi. It looks like a strange pastiche of Ebbets and the Polo Grounds. The Robinson rotunda is nice but belongs in Chavez Ravine,Ca not Queens. The seats are colored like the Polo Grounds were and the outfield fence is black and orange. It is cosier than the New Yankee Stadium. It has more of a ballpark feel. Shea was a dump but it reeked of the Mets, not of the Dodgers and to a lesser degree the Giants. That was the nice thing about Shea otherwise it was a dump!

Fred Wilpon is a big Dodger fan so he went overboard with the Dodger bit. J Robinson was great etc so on but a tribute should not be in Queens but rather in Dodgers Stadium since he was a Dodger. If it was Willie Mays least he played for the Mets....dig?

Al Leiter's Bullpen Catcher said...

Bruno, so sorry to hear about your loss. I hope you are doing okay.

Interesting to hear you share the same sentiments. THe person I was talking to was shocked after visiting and that was really his only complaint about the new park. It doesnt make sense how they spend very little time on the Mets actual history. Theirs may not be as complex as the Yankees, but theres still some that is there.

I read the turnout for the celebration of the 69 Mets team wasnt even filled. Seems like not many Mets fans now really have much history of the teams going back 40 years. But I guess its the same with the Yankees. Even at Old TImers Day, the young guys seem to get the most recognition (minus the big name of Berra and a few others, of course)

Bruno Von Rottweiller said...

Chris, thanx for your well wishes. It's been a struggle but I'm trying/striving to do better. It's been a tough year for me, but life happens like this sometimes......