Saturday, June 4 – Reds 6, Nationals 3
The impact of rain was the highlight (or lowlight, for Nationals fans) of this game. Stephen Strasburg was nursing a 2-1 lead into the 6th when the first rain delay came. It only lasted 21 minutes, but when play resumed, Strasburg gave up a two-run homer to Joey Votto and left the game a few pitches later with leg cramps. In the bottom of the 8th, tied at 3, the Reds put two on with two out, but then the rains came again, this time with lightning and for more than an hour. Adam Duvall, due up next, got some indoor batting cage work. When play resumed with a fresh Nationals reliever, he smashed the fourth pitch for a three-run homer that won the game.
Access: Driving from the northeast, I exited a freeway almost at the park, circled briefly, and found a $10 parking spot a block away from the “official” $20 spots. Post-game exit was pretty quick along several surface blocks before entering the freeway.
Seats/pricing: For $32, I sat in the fourth row, upper deck between home and third.
View: Beyond center field is the Ohio River with its ship and boat traffic, and Kentucky on the other side.
Food: In Cincinnati, I thought German, but the Taste of Belgium was recommended. So, I had a Belgian waffle with spicy chicken. The waffle had more of a biscuit texture than you’d find from your typical kitchen waffle iron. But the combination was quite good. My principal complaint about Great American Ball Park is that it offers no souvenir soft drink cup. I’ve been getting a souvenir cup at every park, but here there was none to be had. A server lamented that there hadn’t even been souvenir cups at the 2015 All-Star Game. To add insult to injury, there were no lids or straws available for the regular soft drink cups.
Beer: Lots of craft and premium options at $9 and $13, plus mass market draft at $9.25. Most distinctive is a beer vending machine. When I walked by, no one was using it.
Crowd: 25,365. Great American has a nice array of kids’ activities, plus a batting cage for swingers of all ages.
Men’s Rooms: Clean.
Neighborhood: This is another city with newer sports stadiums clustered in old downtown areas. The Paul Brown football stadium is several blocks down the river, and there are plenty of restaurants and watering holes in between. A basketball arena is just to the upriver side of Great American.
Arts and visuals: MLB may not agree, but they love Pete Rose in Cincinnati. He has a street named after him, a large pair of rose gardens, and signs announcing his scheduled induction into the Reds’ Hall of Fame later in June. Great American Ball Park houses the Hall of Fame, but a separate admission is required. In addition to the typical statues of past stars, the main entrance plaza has statues of a pitcher throwing to a batter over the regulation 60 feet 6 inches.
Baseball Moment: The rain impacts.