CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Reds Opening Day, usually a thrilling spectacle, unfolded Friday in pure 2020 fashion — no Findlay Market Parade, no jostling slurry of fans on Freedom Way and no butts in the seats at first pitch.
Still, the atmosphere on the riverfront and through downtown was upbeat, and the day offered a bit of what the pandemic has otherwise stolen away.
“The camaraderie. It’s sports, everyone’s together,” fan Dan Tracey told FOX19 NOW while he and friends sat outside Holy Grail. “This is the closest we could be to the stadium.”
Elsewhere, live music and food specials took over Findlay Market, while bars on both sides of the river got in on the socially distanced fun.
Best of all, the Reds won, beating the Detroit Tigers 7-1.
Some fans were even able to watch the result live, like Kurt Meier, who sat in a fold-up chair just outside the ballpark gate, where he could still hear the crack of the bat.
“Today is like Christmas for me,” Meier told FOX19 NOW.
Given the wait, he said there was no way he was missing Opening Day.
“It’s part of our fabric for summer time,” he said.
Meanwhile, news surfaced the Cincinnati Reds are putting forth a plan that would have fans fill about 20% of the seats at Great American Ball Park for the 2020 season.
That means between 9,000 and 10,000 fans could be in the ballpark for each game.
Reds Chief Operating Officer Phil Castellini says Major League Baseball has a desire to get fans back in all stadiums at some point in an appropriate socially distanced way, but it won’t happen in the next few weeks.