CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Baseball is back. Finally.
Thursday, April 1 marks Opening Day in Cincinnati, as the Reds are scheduled to take on the St. Louis Cardinals at 4:10 p.m. at Great American Ball Park.
Dubbed the “unofficial holiday” of Cincinnati, Opening Day isn’t just about the game (a reality for which we’re thankful without a proven everyday shortstop.)
As the oldest professional baseball team, the Reds are the only MLB club guaranteed to open every year at home. The Queen City routinely takes advantage by descending upon downtown for a huge parade and a day’s worth of fun.
The pandemic put a halt to all that last year. No parade. No fans in the seats. Fun? Maybe, but you had to bring the energy (and the folding chair) with you.
What’s in stock for 2021? It won’t be the same as usual, but it won’t be like 2020 either.
The Findlay Market Opening Day Parade isn’t happening this year — at least, not on April 1. The association that runs it announced in December the parade would be postponed until the Reds are permitted to fill the stadium to full capacity and there are no restrictions on group events.
“We feel we cannot put on the type of extravaganza you have come to expect on Opening Day,” Parade Chairman Neil Luken said. “(…) Until we can all meet again and ‘play ball’ together, the parade is on hold.”
So maybe we’ll have a Findlay Market All-Star Break Parade in July. (Just kidding... unless?)
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced in February 30 percent attendance capacity will be allowed at outdoor sports stadia. That includes GABP.
Masks will be mandatory for workers and fans. Fans will be seated in pods of no more than six.
- All tickets will be issued digitally via the MLB Ballpark app to allow for contactless entry
- Contactless and cashless forms of payment at concessions and merchandise stands
- New bag policy prohibiting backpacks
All fans on Thursday will receive a 2021 Reds magnetic schedule and car magnet featuring a No. 8 patch in memory of Joe Morgan, who died last year.
Also, fans in 2021 can expect some added concession items, six of which the Reds previewed Monday. Check out the team’s official site for the scoop. (That’s not a pun; none of them are ice cream.)
This Opening Day could set a record, but not one many people would probably enjoy.
Thursday’s first pitch temperature is forecasted to be around 38 degrees. The coldest Opening Day happened in 1935 with a temperature of 38 degrees.
Thursday will be a blustery day with winds gusting as high as 35-40mph during the game.
Skies will slowly clear with temperatures remaining steady or dropping slightly during the game. The wind chill will be in the upper 20s to near 30.
The new designated outdoor refreshment area is open at The Banks, and it was popular its first weekend.
Concerns about just how popular it was arose Saturday night, as images showing hundreds gathered with minimal social distancing circulated online.
A Cincinnati City Council member has submitted a motion requesting the city investigate measures to ensure the safety of the DORA, but it remains open for business — and conceivably it’ll be well attended Opening Day.
Our advice? Bring a mask. Wear a coat. Get there early if you want a seat outside.
Joe Nuxhall Way from Second Street and Mehring Way will close 90 minutes before game time.
Freedom Way is closed between Joe Nuxhall Way and Marian Spencer Way.
The Reds announced retiring Ohio Senator Rob Portman will throw out the ceremonial first pitch on Thursday. Portman, according to the team, will “toss the ball from the seats (behind the Reds dugout) to the field.”
A special tribute to Hall of Famer Joe Morgan will feature in a Moment of Remembrance honoring former Reds players, coaches and staff before the National Anthem.
The National Anthem will be sung by Marlana VanHoose of Denver, Kentucky.
Lisa and Summer Morgan, daughter and granddaughter of Joe Morgan, will serve as honorary captains.
A pregame flyover will be performed by two F-16 Fighting Falcons of the 112th Fighter Squadron from the 180th Fighter Wing Ohio Air National Guard Base.
The Reds will pay tribute to all frontline workers and medical professionals, and a local Frontline All-Star, Som Vongprachanh from the Kroger Marketplace in Oakley, will receive an official game ball during this ceremony.
First Sergeant Adam Koster (ret.) will be honored as the Cincinnati Bell Hometown Hero of the game. 1SG Koster served 35 years in military intelligence, most recently with the United States Central Command in Tampa, FL
Firefighter/EMT Chris Courtney of the Worthington (OH) Fire Department will be honored as the Kroger First Responder of the game. Chris has been with the Worthington Fire Department for 22 years and with Ohio Task Force One for seven years.
Master Sergeant Christin Foley from the Wright Patterson Air Force Base ‘Band of Flight’ will sing “God Bless America” during the 7th inning stretch. Prior to the singing of “God Bless America,” we will pause for a Moment of Silence to honor the lives lost in our nation to the global pandemic.
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