Opening Day in Cincinnati 2010

This was our 6th straight Opening Day in Cincinnati. On this beautiful 78 degree day, the greatest hitter of our lifetime would do what he does in other big league cities; destroy the other team’s Opening Day.

Albert Pujols was the story. He collected four hits, hitting every part of the ball park in seemingly every fashion. He homered long to left center in the first inning to kill the crowd after Aaron Harang struck out the first two hitters of the game. He homered to the opposite field in right center later in the game on a much different type of home run, a line drive that just kept going like a missile.

The things you have to take from this game (since it was a loss), are the small things that you come to the ballpark to see. Joey Votto got three hits and hit an opposite field home run that was extremely impressive. Votto got a couple of hits off Chris Carpenter and was clearly keyed up to be facing one of the best pitchers in the game. He looked focused and had good at-bats.
Logan Ondrusek made his Major League debut, throwing a scoreless 1-2-3 inning and touching the mid-90s on the gun. I am impressed by this kid and want to see more.

Above is the beautiful United States flag during the opening ceremony and national anthem. Like I said earlier, it was truly as beautiful of a day as you can ask for in the Midwest in early April.

Chris Carpenter again showed why he’s one of the best in the game. While he clearly didn’t have his best stuff, he had more then enough to get the Opening Day win. He is an absolute bulldog on the mound and won’t back down to any hitter in any count. He will challenge you and he also consistently was hitting the mid-90’s on the gun. Even if you’re a Reds fan, as a baseball fan this is what you should want to see on Opening Day; the best that another team has to offer and one of the finest arms from around baseball.

If only the Reds had a true ace to throw on Opening Day. It was Aaron Harang’s fourth straight start in an opener and he clearly will not make any more I wouldn’t think. Harang battled for sure but was laboring through hitter after hitter. He’s not an ace.

And of course, Jay Bruce. We love him, it’s no secret. He didn’t have a great day and some people were critical of him, as he struck out twice in big situations. He also did a few good things that the common fan wouldn’t notice. Jay had a really nice knock to center field off Carpenter, and beyond that he saw more pitches then any other hitter in the Reds lineup. If he can continue to make himself a tough out and work the count; he’ll not only earn a few more walks but he’ll have success in the near future. Hopefully this is the start of something great for Jay. We knew he was doomed in the at-bat against Dennys Reyes the former Reds lefty. I hate feeling like Jay is an automatic out against left-handers; I want to see him improve in this area of his game and have a fear that he won’t.

This was center field during batting practice when Albert Pujols was in the cage. Those white dots you see are shots he was spraying out to the center field area during his round. I knew then that it could be one of those days for Albert, and sure enough it was more then a gut feeling.

A lot of people say “well, there are 161 games to go” after a Reds loss on Opening Day. I’m so used to hearing that. I’m tired of hearing it. It feels second rate. The Reds have played in front of a sell-out crowd 46 times now since their stadium opened and they’re 20-26 in those games. These are games that you must send your packed house crowd out of the stadium excited and with the feeling that they can’t wait to come back and see the team play again. If you lose like the Reds so often do in front of a crucial crowd, you have a missed opportunity.

Someday, maybe it will be different. On this 2010 Opening Day, something was missing because the only thing I came to the park to see; us starting 1-0, was out of reach.