I've missed Cincinnati Reds baseball.
The fresh air, sunshine, the taste of Skyline cheese coneys and the occasional sound of fireworks and “Boos.”
Last season, fans weren’t allowed to go to live games because of the COVID-19 pandemic. My dad and I survived by listening to 700-WLW on the radio to follow games.
This season, when Great American Ballpark was open to the public again, I didn’t hesitate on going to games.
I might’ve went a bit overboard, but I was excited to get a little bit of normalcy back in my life after staying in the house my entire junior year.
At least we got free pizza
The first game I went to was on June 1. It was a late birthday celebration, and I went with a couple of my friends and my dad.
The next day was when the ballpark opened up to full capacity, so there weren’t a lot of people there to begin with. And when it started to rain, it was like we were getting a private game experience.
LaRosa’s Pizzeria gives out free small pizzas when Reds pitchers get 11 strikeouts in a game. Since we were getting blown out by the Philadelphia Phillies, that was the only thing keeping us alive during the game.
The Reds brought Alex Blandino, an infielder, out to pitch. My dad explained how Blandino is only there to get outs, and not necessarily strikeouts, but that didn’t stop us from chanting “PIZZA” at the top of our lungs.
After thirty minutes of screaming for pizza, we got the 11th strikeout. My friends and I appeared on the jumbotron about five times during the game, and we had some really fun people sitting behind us.
We turned a blown-out and rainy game into one of the best memories of the summer.
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A special Fireworks Friday
I love it when we beat the Chicago Cubs.
I went to a game with my dad a couple of days before the Fourth of July. Flooded with people in red and blue clothing, Great American Ballpark was the most crowded I had ever seen.
We were surrounded by Cubs fans, which is probably every Reds fan’s nightmare.
It was quite funny, though. Especially when Reds fans were cheering for the pitcher to get that 11th strikeout, and Cubs fans were cheering for their beloved Kris Bryant to hit a home run (I guess the Cubs fans didn’t get the memo that they could win free pizza.).
We beat the Cubs, 2-1, and the night ended with a fantastic post-game fireworks show.
A sunburn while Sonny pitches on a sunny Sunday
“Sonny’s pitching on a sunny Sunday,” I always say to my dad when the three elements combine.
My dad and I went to the game on a whim, and it was memorable to say the least.
I walked outside thinking it didn’t feel like it was 96 degrees. That changed when we got to our seats.
I ended up getting the worst sunburn of my life — peeling and everything.
The Reds lost, too, but it’s not Cincinnati baseball without fighting the blazing sun for hours and losing in the end.
At least Sonny Gray’s warm-up music is fun to dance to. (It’s “Throwback” by B.o.B if anyone was wondering.)
A game with the bestie
Seeing my friend’s face light up when I told her we’d be going to another Reds game before the school year started made me so happy.
She’s one of those people who doesn’t understand the game, but is there to have a good time and to cheer on the pitchers to get 11 strikeouts.
I stay until the end of the game to see if we can make a late-inning comeback. My friend stays for the potential free pizza.
We decided to go all out for this game. We made posters and we vlogged the whole experience for our YouTube channel.
One of my main goals this season was to watch Reds second baseman Jonathan India hit a homer. That happened at this game.
And my friend and I walked around the ballpark for 10 minutes, going back and forth from Graeters to LaRosa’s, because she couldn’t decide on what she wanted to eat. I didn’t mind, though. It was good exercise.
We lost, but it was still fun to take on Great American Ballpark with my best friend.