Cincinnati: Opening Day is in 2 days

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hwl

I woke up this morning and flew to Dayton. Rented a “Kia Rio or similar” – which turned out to be a Toyota Yaris – and drove the hour south to Cincinnati this afternoon. My friend Chris and I are here for the weekend getting amped for Opening Day on Monday night. I Thought I’d take a moment to fill you all in on what’s happening in the Queen City…

1. I am the proud owner of the ball cap above.

It took me a long time to find a Reds cap that I liked. I’m not a huge fan of the simple “C” logo (I prefer Mr. Red), but he was a little too obnoxious to have on a hat. If I’m going to root for the home team everywhere I go, I mean, we gotta look legit man.

2. Dayton just lost to Florida.

We ate lunch at the Buffalo Wild Wings just off the Dayton campus this afternoon. The place was bumpin’ with Flyers fans. Mostly college students. There were giant banners hanging from all the fraternities and student houses. Super bummed they couldn’t finish off the Final Four run.

3. It’s cold and sloppy and snowing today.

It’s way too cold for Opening Day today, and I’m really thankful it’s not today.  The moment we landed it was sleeting and gross. It’s currently 33 degrees. It’s miserable. But apparently Cincinnati weather is just like Kansas City because…

4. It’s supposed to be 70 degrees and mostly sunny at game time.

But Opening Day is going to be perfect. Which is a relief. Baseball in March is always a risk*, and I’m so thankful it’s going to be beautiful out for the launch of this Tour.

* – Unless the March games are exhibition games in Montreal, in which case it will be nothing but a smashing success and draw nearly 100,00o fans to Olympic stadium over two days. Brilliant move to bring baseball back to French Canada…even if it’s not in the form of the Expos.

5. Gotta get some Skyline Chili.

If you’re not familiar with Skyline Chili, it is a combination of 5 different ingredients: beef, beans, onions, cheese…and spaghetti noodles. It’s unique to Cincinnati, and it’s pretty dang delicious. It’s not easy to shelve my preconceived understanding of what chili should  be like, and allow it to be something entirely different.

Also, the cheese coney dog was delicious too.

6. Opening Day Itinerary

Monday is going to be an incredible day, and the entire thing will be spent right around Great American Ballpark. Here’s what’s on the schedule for Opening Day (all times Eastern)…

  • 10 AM – Reds Hall of Fame
  • 11 AM – Opening Day Block Party
  • 12 PM – 95th Opening Day Parade
  • 2 PM – Gates Open
  • 4 PM – Dave Concepcion & Barry Larkin Throw First Pitches
  • 4:07 PM – STL (Wainwright) @ CIN (Cueto)

7. Hope.

I don’t want to pick a theme for every game on my itinerary, But this one seems too obvious to overlook. Opening Day is all about hope, and I fully expect this portion of my book to be focused on that theme.

I’ve written about the hope of Opening Day before. In that post, I touched on Pete Rose somewhat, and I think the stars are beginning to align for him to be reinstated. Between Bug Selig’s retirement, the Steroid Era players lining up for the HOF, and Barry Bonds’s gig as a hitting instructor at the Giants’ Spring Training, it sure seems like Rose’s reasons to hope are increasing.

That’s just one way I see the theme playing out. Obviously Opening Day is all about hope in general – new beginnings, level playing field, springtime, etc. – but I’ll be searching for more connections this weekend. Feel free to let me know where you see this theme playing out too.

That’s the landscape here in Cincinnati. So amped for this season to begin, and I can’t wait to begin sharing this experience with all of you. Thanks to all who helped me get here. It’s going to be a crazy summer!

-apc.

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