Baseball Reflections
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Biking for Baseball Cycles Through Cincinnati

Biking for Baseball [www.bikingforbaseball.org] is a youth mentoring organization that is currently cycling 11,000 miles to each MLB stadium this summer to raise funds and awareness for youth mentoring programs across the country. One of the riders, Chase Higgins, blogs about baseball games they’ve been to and general MLB throughout the trip.

The most recent stadium we’ve visited was Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati and we had a very eventful day leading up to the Reds game. Prior to the game, we had a couple of interview opportunities where we had to divide and conquer between the four of us riders to make them work. It’s usually not as hectic as this at games we go to, but Reds fans really took us in like we were one of their own. We loved Cincinnati.

Chase and Rex spoke with MLB Youth Correspondent Meggie Zahneis on the phone before we headed to the stadium from our host’s house in Kentucky. She asked great questions, and besides the voice, we would have no clue how old she is. She definitely has a future in reporting. Chase met some family who were kind enough to make the 2-hour drive from Indiana before the game, so Rex and Steve took the early interview with Lance McAlister on radio 700 WLW over the phone. Adam did the pre-game radio with Lance in the Reds dugout.

For Adam’s interview in the Reds dugout, we didn’t actually have passes to get on the field. That poses an issue when the radio people assume you will already be on the field for some reason. So we pretty much talked our way onto the field to get into the dugout. After talking with some Reds employees and them talking to their bosses, we finally got to someone high enough within the organization that had heard about what we were doing and was able to make a decision. Basically, we told enough people that we belonged on the field for the pre-game interview that we made it work.

R.A. Dickey started for the Mets against Mike Leake for the Reds. We expected to see the NL Cy Young candidate deal versus the home team. It was actually quite the opposite. Dickey pitched six innings, giving up 10 hits and five runs. The Reds hit him, and hit him hard. Scott Rolen, Jay Bruce, and Todd Frazier all hit home runs, and Frazier’s was an absolute bomb. He’s definitely been making a Rookie of the Year case recently, especially after going 3/4 with a HR, 2B, and SB.

It was just a weird game for Dickey. The umpires made him remove a friendship bracelet that was made by his kids. He recorded 18 outs, and 9 of them were by strikeout. But it seems like most of the other outs were well-hit because the Reds were smoking his knuckleballs. It was just a very strange statistical line. He had to drown his sorrows with some Graeter’s ice cream after the game, and look who he ran into. Can’t you tell he was happy to see us?

 

The home team Reds won pretty handily, and it was fun for us to be at this game. To see a team like the Reds in the postseason battle with everything clicking was very cool. Offense, defense and pitching were all incredible this game and the Reds seriously look like a contender. The Reds have continued to win games even without their best player and perennial MVP candidate, Joey Votto, because players like the aforementioned Todd Frazier, Brandon Phillips, and Zack Cozart are stepping up in a big way.

Other than Johnny Cueto and Mat Latos, the Reds starting pitchers have been mediocre. But if they keep getting starts like this one from Mike Leake, then watch out. Leake had a complete game four-hitter with four strikeouts, and he got some great defense and coaxed some weak grounders out of the Mets. That’s pretty much the best thing you can ask out of a 3-4 starter.

 

Great American Ball Park is a very nice stadium with a great view of the Ohio River and Kentucky. Reds history and Cincinnati riverboat history is a dominant feature of the stadium. A riverboat bar area with huge smokestacks that shoot flames when the opposing team strikes out is the main feature in centerfield and beyond the stadium fence is a riverboat paddlewheel as a piece of public art. From our seats in the upper deck in left field, we saw many riverboats and other watercraft cruising the water.

The stadium opened in 2003, and the designers did a great job of paying tribute to the great history of the Reds. The concourse is absolutely one of the biggest and tallest concourses of MLB stadiums and it is lined with memories of the rich Reds history. The Reds are the second oldest continually run franchise in baseball today being established in 1881 and the city of Cincinnati holds the distinction of having the first professional baseball team in 1869. Cincy is the birthplace of professional baseball, and we were fortunate to be a part of the Reds history in the making this season.

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