It’s finally here. The day that most Reds fans clamor for during the blustery days of winter is unfolding. Opening Day for the Cincinnati Reds is a major event and unofficial holiday that turns senior citizens into kids again and brings back memories of popcorn and peanuts. The Reds will do battle with the Philadelphia Phillies at Great American Ballpark. First pitch is scheduled for 4:10 p.m. EST.
There were three games to open the 2016 baseball season on Sunday, but there’s nothing like Opening Day in Cincinnati. It doesn’t matter that the players are relatively unknown. Reds fans won’t know half the players until a few games have been played. The mystique and pride surrounding the first game are what most fans are concerned with.
Opening Day in Cincinnati is truly an unofficial holiday. Most fans probably had to work. However, there were many who thought of elaborate schemes to escape the workplace, enjoy a few adult beverages, and grab something to eat before the big game. It’s a chance to hang out with friends, talk smack, and discuss the Big Red Machine of days gone by.
The highlight of all Reds Opening Day festivities is the Findlay Market Parade. Thousands of Reds fans pack the streets, cheering and waving, as they watch the fun. Marching bands, floats, jugglers, and celebrities are all part of the revelries. According to the Cincinnati Business Courier, former Redlegs manager Lou Pinella got the nod as this year’s grand marshal.
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) April 4, 2016
Free giveaways from local businesses are always expected. Cincinnati loves its Skyline Chili. As a celebration of their partnership with the Reds, the chain will be giving away free cheese coneys all day. Washington Park will host free Opening Day activities until game time, with live music, local craft beers, and ballpark-themed food.
The celebration of Major League Baseball’s oldest team is always a fun event in the Queen City. The Opening Day festivities are a prelude to the main event. Getting the game underway is the crowning moment. The 2016 version of the Reds will face a huge challenge.
After weeks of speculation and detailed decisions, the Reds have trimmed their roster, and the Opening Day lineup is set. With most of the Reds pitchers resembling the walking wounded, Raisel Iglesias will take the mound, per the Cincinnati Enquirer.
- 2 Zack Cozart SS
- 7 Eugenio Suarez 3B
- 19 Joey Votto 1B
- 4 Brandon Phillips 2B
- 32 Jay Bruce RF
- 39 Devin Mesoraco C
- 23 Adam Duvall LF
- 26 Raisel Iglesias P
- 6 Billy Hamilton CF
— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) April 4, 2016
After getting a late start in spring training, the Reds held Iglesias back as a precaution against overworking his shoulder. Between Cactus League and minor-league appearances, he had four starts.
Reds manager Bryan Price doesn’t expect Iglesias to go all the way. A complete game would ease the pressure on the bullpen to start the season.
“We’ve got him stretched out to where we’re very comfortable. Complete game, not out of the picture but probably not likely.”
Opening Day is a time for looking back and also looking forward to the future. The Reds are faced with a tough road. The rebuilding process will make it difficult for many fans to support the team, but nothing is impossible. The return of a healthy Billy Hamilton promises speed on the base paths when he can get on. Joey Votto has a productive spring and seems to have regained the power that made him a dangerous man at the plate.
With a few breaks from the baseball gods, the Reds should be able to find their way into the playoffs. A division title may not be in the picture for 2016. However, a good time during Opening Day fanfare is always guaranteed.
[Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images]