CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Impending rain forced the Cincinnati Reds to push back the 2018 Opening Day game until Friday.
The home opener was previously scheduled for 4:10 p.m. Thursday. Now, the Reds will take on the Washington Nationals on Friday, March 30 at 4:10 p.m.
"It is not something that we take lightly to move Opening Day," Reds President and Chief Operating Officer Pat Castellini said. "We've looked at this weather and determined that all the activities were going to be extraordinarily difficult to achieve. Everyone was 100 percent on board with this."
All festivities scheduled for tomorrow's Opening Day will take place as planned at the same times on Friday, which was supposed to be a day off for the Reds and Nationals.
"We were able to move to Friday all the block party events, all the pre-game (events) and hopefully the flyover, which we're in the process of approving to be moved," Castellini said.
Heavy rain will fall on Cincinnati through Thursday and some areas are under a Flood Watch. Rain is in the forecast Friday, but skies are expected to clear by the early afternoon.
"Anybody that would pick soaking rain or maybe no game at all over a game in 40-degree sunshine, more power to you," Castellini said. "We're going with the sunny, cool day instead of a soggy day where you might not get the game in."
"I was relieved," said Reds fan Candice Lackey. "We've been watching the weather all week and seeing the dreary forecast ... hoping it would change, praying it would change and as it got worse and worse we were kind of (not sure if) we wanted to go downtown and just sit in the rain."
The last time the Reds had to postpone Opening Day was on April 1, 1996, when home plate umpire John McSherry collapsed on the field seven pitches into the game at Riverfront Stadium. He was pronounced dead of "sudden cardiac death" at University Hospital less than one hour after first pitch.
In 1968, every Major League team delayed opening day two days following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Here's the schedule for Friday:
- 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. – Reds Community Fund Charity Block Party
- 2:10 p.m. – Gates to Great American Ball Park open
- 3:30 p.m. – Pregame Ceremonies Begin
- 4:10 p.m. – 142nd Opening Day game – Cincinnati Reds vs. Washington Nationals
"We will sit in snow, rain, sleet, storms -- whatever it takes to watch our teams," said Reds fan Ciera Kerker. "We would root them on in any kind of weather!"
More Opening Day coverage:
Fans holding tickets for Opening Day March 29 may present their same ticket for the rescheduled Opening Day game on Friday, March 30 with no exchange necessary.
For fans holding tickets who cannot attend Friday's rescheduled game:
Tickets may also be exchanged for any remaining 2018 regular season home game, subject to availability.
Ticket exchanges can be made at Great American Ball Park ticket windows throughout the regular season.