Fans uphold, create Opening Day traditions

FOX19 File photo
FOX19 File photo

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Tens of thousands are expected downtown Monday to take in all the Opening Day action in, and around, Great American Ball Park.

But, not all of them are from the Queen City.  Plenty of fans have made their way to the area from places well outside the Tri-State.

There's no doubt about it, no matter how near or far, Opening Day is a tradition unlike any other.

"It's probably one of the most exciting things of my year that I always look forward to," said Bob Nieman, a Reds fan now living in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

Calling in sick, skipping school, taking a vacation day.  They're all excuses to get into one of Great American Ball Park's seats on Opening Day, and they come from far and wide.  FOX19 met fans from Florida, Mississippi, West Virginia and Ohio on Sunday outside the ball park.

One of them, Bob Nieman, has been a Reds fan for a long time.  Born here in 1954, he still has plenty of family in the area.  This year, he and his wife loaded up the car, and made the 16-hour haul from Florida.

"Just about every year for the past 10 years, I always come to Opening Day and stay that full series," said Nieman.

On Sunday, he and his wife took in the sights at Great American Ball Park a day ahead of the game, scoping out a brick bearing their name next to the Johnny Bench statue next to the Reds Hall of Fame & Museum.  It's their own small piece of Reds history.

"I love the Reds.  I was born here and I live and die with the Reds," Nieman told FOX19.

For some, Opening Day is about igniting old traditions.

"We used to do it years ago when it was old Riverfront Stadium.  We would come up here for 8 or 9 years in a row," said Brian Leach of Marietta, Ohio.

Leach's daughter made the drive from Fairmont, W.Va. to Marietta to meet up with family and head to Cincinnati for the game.

"It's just really awesome because I feel like, especially since I've gotten older, it's been harder for us to get together and do things like this.  It's just nice to get back at it and all come up here," said Kayla Leach of Fairmont, W.Va.

If you're continuing a tradition this Opening Day, or perhaps starting a new one, Opening Day is a day like none other.

"It's a holiday," said Nieman.

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