Sunday, February 3, 2019

Great American Ball Park

Great American Ball Park
100 Joe Nuxhall Way
Cincinnati, OH 45202

September 25, 2018

Before we get into the nitty gritty details of our trip to the 30th ballpark, allow us to share this video with you:
Notice the amazing skills that were utilized in order to make this video. Listen to the sound effects. Bask in our talents.

We walked from our hotel to the game (only about a 15 min walk) and took a bunch of photos outside, including this official gem:
Most of our photos are of the statues outside the ball park, but we posted those to the guided tour post. You can view those photos here.
 
While passing through security, a gentleman (all names will remain anonymous for privacy purposes) overheard Lisa explaining the "30" poster to the security guard and stopped us. He asked if we wanted a seat upgrade. Thinking that he worked for the Reds, we were stoked about finally getting the recognition that we deserved, so of course we agreed. Next thing we knew, we were surrounded by nice men shaking our hands for accomplishing thirty ballparks. We followed them all the way to the suites before questioning whether or not these men were actual employees (they weren't). We got into the actual FOX Sports suite before realizing that these men were just nice men and had nothing to do with the Cincinnati Reds. Except that they were fans. Normal women probably would have been concerned for their safety because they were surrounded by men they'd never met before, but not us. We took the first Yuengling offered to us.
 
 
Thankfully, these men were not serial killers. They were super friendly and hospitable and totally appreciated the Baseball Odyssey we'd just completed. Which is more than we can say for Serena's mother.
We'd never gotten the opportunity to watch a game from a suite together, so this was a very exciting moment for our thirtieth ballpark. Here are some views from the suite, which are way nicer than what our actual seats would have been. 
 
 
 
Note the empty stands. Pretty depressing for such a nice ball park. And momentous occasion in world history. It's understandable that no one wants to go see the A's or Rays play in their home parks. They're awful and this is why we'd never consider ending our tour there. We chose this lovely place and not only did people not show up to celebrate this park, they chose not to celebrate us.

Unfortunately, our pitching matchup was the Royals' Brian Flynn against the Reds' Matt Harvey. That's right. Matt Harvey. The same a$$hole that once upon a time pitched for the Mets. Who started cool and then rapidly deteriorated into an a$$hole. Of all people to end our journey with.

Just like many starts for the Mets, this one didn't go so well for Harvey either. Because he's stupid.

The game went into a rain delay in the third and since there was a pause in the game, we figured this would be a good time to check out the rest of the stadium and get this infamous Skyline Chili hot dog people kept telling us about.
 
Our new friends told us that we were to order the hot dog "threeway," which isn't perverted apparently. The employee at the concession stand explained that "threeway" meant chili, cheese, and spaghetti. He also explained that that's not how they serve it at the stadium. This is what he served us:
 
It cost $11.50 for both and just didn't feature spaghetti. It did, however, feature a dead baby finger. Because that's exactly what this grotesque hot dog looked like. There aren't enough words to accurately describe the nastiness that was this hot dog. Nothing about it was good. Except maybe the shredded cheese. Lisa took a video of Serena taking her first bite. Behold. Truthfully, we didn't even finish. We each took a bite of it and tossed it in the garbage. Actually, Lisa picked all of the cheese off and ate that before tossing the rest of it into the trash.

The only way to fix this offensive situation was ice cream in a helmet, which we got at Rosie's ice cream. Sadly, it was soft serve, but beggars can't be choosers. The cost of washing that awful hot dog from our mouths was $6.75/each. Well worth it.
After our sweet snack, we wandered the entire main level of the stadium.
It was still raining, so most people were hovering under cover. All of the interesting outdoor stuff was deserted. But it also might have been because there were only twenty people in attendance at the game.
 
The above photo is actually a good representation of how hard it was raining at one point during the delay. 
 
 
 
 
 
We headed back to our new friends at the suite in time for the game to resume play.

Dilson Herrera hit a home run in the 5th and that earned us a fun little fireworks display. Lisa filmed it. She may have been drunk, which would explain the random camera angles, but you get the point.

It looked like the Reds would make a comeback as they tied the game in the bottom of the 7th, but in the top of the 9th, they blew it by giving up a Hunter Dozier home run. We closed out our final game with yet another home team loss. You're welcome, Cincinnati.
 
We should tell you that this is the first plan that we've actually executed to its completion in our entire friendship.
*Jewelry making business
*Basket making business
*#1 charity in the world
*Baseball fan reality TV show
*Dating a baseball player
*Writing a baseball travel book
*Starring in a fan-based on field Q&A show with players
*Broadcast booth color commentary
*Attending an All Star Game
*Becoming rich
*Become professional gamblers

Some of these things we didn't even bother to attempt. The rest, we failed. The stadium tour is the only thing we've succeeded at. We'd like to thank our OG's who stuck with us from the very beginning - Deo and Michael David. And also, Section 36, who found us at some point along the way and for some reason, decided to stick it out with us (despite being a Red Sox fan).

For those of you who've been with us since the start, you may recall that we used to end all of our blog posts with bastardized song lyrics. Since this is our 30th ballpark, we decided to close this post out with a little bit of nostalgia brought to you by Frank Sinatra:

"And now, the end is near. And so, we face the thirtieth stadium. Our friends, we'll say it clear. We'll state our case, of which we're certain. We've lived a life of beer. We've traveled each and every stadium and more. Much more than this. We did it our way.

Regrets. We've had a few. But then again, you've read about them. We did what we had to do. And saw it through without exemption. 

We planned each chartered tour. Each careful step along the byway. And more, much more than this. We did it our way."

Don't be afraid that this is our final blog post. It's not. This is simply the completion of our original plan. There are spring training trips. Possible minor league trips. And of course, do-over visits to teams who are giant a$$ clowns and chose to build themselves a new stadium. Those teams have zero respect for what we've accomplished or anyone else for that matter. May they find a pubic hair in their breakfast burrito one morning.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Great American Ballpark Guided Tour

Tickets for the guided tour of were $22 and it includes access to the Reds' Hall of Fame and Museum. Since we arrived at the stadium early, we decided to check out the museum prior to our tour. It was amazing and worth checking out even if you don't have time to do a full guided tour like we did. Without the tour, entrance to the museum does have a fee, but it was worth it. Here are some photos from our visit to the museum:
 
 
 
 
 
 Crosley Field was the first ballpark to host a night game. Fun fact.
 
 
 
 
 
 
We met our tour guide/group outside the museum. Since we were the last group, the tour guide insisted on doing his normal tour out of order so that he could guarantee us time on the field. We started in the press box:
 
And then headed right to the Mercedes Benz Diamond Club because it has direct access to the field.
 
 
On the other side of this glass is the hall the players walk down in order to get down to the field, so if you get to the club early enough, you can claim the tables alongside the window and try your very best to interact with the players. Possibly try to give one of them your phone number. Hope he takes it down and uses it.
 The club comes with posh, cushy seats right on field level. Super cozy.
 
 
From the bougie seats, we headed for the field, dugouts, and clubhouses.
 
 
 
 
 
There are two amazing mosaics in the main lobby. The First Nine is of the original Red Stockings and The Great Eight is of the Big Red Machine.
 
Outside, there are five plaques commemorating the All Star Gates hosted by the Reds.
 
 
 
 
This is the exterior of the Hall of Fame:
This pretty little flower garden has a sea of red and pink roses. As you can see, there is a little white rose right in the middle. If you can't see it, we've taken the liberty of circling it. The white flower symbolizes the location of where Pete Rose's 4,192nd hit landed.

A bonus fun fact: in the bar across the street from the ballpark is a plaque marking the spot of Riverfront Stadium's first base.
Our last stop on the tour covered the statues surrounding the stadium. This primary set up is called the "Reds Legends of Crosley Field" and is of Ted Kluszewski, Ernie Lombardi, Joe Nuxhall, and Frank Robinson. They layout is that of a baseball field. 
 
 
Joe Morgan. Who we hate listening to do in-game commentary because of his pronunciation of Carlos Beltran and his hatred of New York teams. In Cincinnati, however, they love him. 
 Pete Rose apparently had ferocious and fantastic hair.
 Tony Perez.
  Johnny Bench.