- Mike Whiteman
Our Trips to Other Ballparks - Great American Ball Park
by Mike Whiteman
Back in April my employer held our company annual conference, something we hadn’t done in person since 2019. While not a huge fan of work travel, I do enjoy my annual excursion to a big city (location is alternated annually) to learn from and connect with my co-workers around the country, and to explore the local area. The days are filled with work sessions and one evening is set aside for a fun activity.
This year, the conference was held in Cincinnati, and I noted the activity was attending a Reds game at Great American Ball Park on April 26th. We had met a few years before in Cincinnati, and I enjoyed a river cruise and some Skyline Chilli, but the Reds were out of town. I was excited to see the game was on this year's schedule, and was excited to check out a new ballpark. Staying in a hotel a short walk away from the park, I had the pleasure of not having to deal with parking. The approach consists of a number of restaurants, and is not far from a park along the Ohio River and bridge to Kentucky (incidentally, I went running one morning across the bridge, and tried to impress my geographically challenged friends by saying "I ran to Kentucky and back"). As you approach the entrance to the ballpark, you're met with a number of statues of Reds legends:
I was also fortunate to be attending in a luxury-box type of setting, where there would be food and drink served inside, and availability of seats open to the elements and sheltered as well. It's the first time I attended a game in this type of venue, and I'll admit I could get used to it. Even if I didn't have access to this great spot, I don't think I would have had problems finding a seat:
The combination of a cold Tuesday evening and a bad team (the Reds came into the game with a 3-13 record) made for a sparse crowd - 10,056 announced attendance. Unfortunately for the home crowd, the Padres jumped out to an early 9-1 lead, and coasted to a 9-6 win. Jake Croenworth and Eric Hosmer both drove in three runs. An interesting thing to note, Cincinnati is all-in on analytics! In addition to the traditional stats, sometime the scoreboards looked like this:
I'll tell ya, when I used to go to Phillies games at Veteran's Stadium during the 1980s, I didn't see WOBA and Barrel % on the scoreboard. After the game, I stopped at the gift shop and picked up a throwback 1940s baseball cap to add to my collection. All is all, it was a great experience, and I highly recommend it! The area around the ballpark was clean, picturesque and felt safe. The ballpark was friendly to family and the serious sabermetrician. I'm hoping for another work conference to Cincinnati next year!