Thursday, September 25, 2008

Reds fans... do you miss Riverfront?

Another season is winding down in Cincinnati and like every season since 2001, it will end with the Reds losing more than they won.

Since 2003, they only even mildly contended in one season:

Then they were 12 games over .500 in June and in first place tied with the Cardinals on August 24th. They went 13-21 after that and finished 80-82, while the 83-78 Cardinals won the World Series.

Most years are like this year... some home runs, some hope but in the end 162 games of "Oh yeah... the Reds."

Now why did I just pick 2003?
Becayse that's when they moved into the new Great American Ballpark.

I haven't been to it, but it looks beautiful.
Unlike a lot of the new parks, it has characteristics that separate it and distinguishes it. It incorporates the Ohio River into the background the way Pittsburgh's PNC Park uses the Three Rivers and AT&T Park in San Francisco uses the Bay.

And those riverboat smoke stacks are cool too.

But there are no new memories being made on the field.

So I pose the question:

Are you nostalgic for Riverfront Stadium?

I'm actually being dead serious with that question.

I say that because I wrote a piece about the Metrodome that got me some angry responses, mainly because I mentioned I never stepped foot in the place.

Well I DID go to Riverfront as this picture shows (that's me pointing) and while the structure itself was a cookie cutter park like Veterans Stadium and Three Rivers Stadium... somehow the experience was better.

Maybe it was the wide concourses, or the river views or the fact that the game my dad and I saw had a big crowd that was buzzing even though their Reds were not playing well.

Or maybe it was the memories.
They flashed on the scoreboard clips of past Reds greats and famous moments.

Clips of the Big Red Machine, of Pete Rose's hit, of the Nasty Boys.

I was too young to remember the 1975 and 1976 World Series.
But I vividly remember Morgan, Rose, Foster, Griffey et al.
Granted my clearest memory of Johnny Bench was on The Baseball Bunch, but I digress.

I remember Tom Seaver and later Dave Parker as Reds.
I remember the rise of Eric Davis and Barry Larkin and Pete Rose breaking Cobb's record.

And obviously I remember the Nasty Boys and the 1990 World Series, possibly the most underrated upset ever.

And those are the memories of a kid growing up in the suburbs of Boston withoutt ESPN or to watch out of market games.

I can't imagine how vivid the memories would be for someone in Ohio or Northern Kentucky.

Yeah it was uglier than the new park... but I am sure there is a billionaire somewhere living in a mansion, waxing nostalgically for the small house where he lived while he built his fortune.

That's Riverfront.

You've GOT to love Riverfront.
It's part of the opening of WKRP for Pete (Rose's) sake!

I'll throw it out to the fans.

What's the great memory, if any of The Great American Ballpark? Can you name one, Slyde at Red Reporter?

Hey Chris Sabo's Goggles, when you heard they were going to tear down Riverfront, were you at all sad?

Did you, Red Hot Mama, ever think "Man, this just isn't as good as Riverfront?"

Or Crosley Field Terrace, are you of the mindset that just says "I'm not living in the past. I want NEW memories is a kick ass ballpark!?"

Either way, Reds fans are the sleeping giant in baseball.
Put a consistent winner (the way the Cardinals played this decade) and they will be baseball crazed.

They have the park... all they need is the players.
That should be easy.

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