Closing thoughts from a Special 2011 Opening Day in Cincy

After reading this over at Red Reporter and only giving you this, I feel I have some ‘splaining to do.

I woke up at 7 am on Thursday morning and headed down I-71 to Newport, Kentucky with my trusty sidekick from the Sombrero. We parked over in Newport because the parking was cheap and we wanted to have a few cocktails. So by the time we got home the other night I was writing the Opening Day post with quite a buzz going. In fact, I’d just woken up from a nap.

Here’s a recount of what I took from my 7th straight Opening Day game in Cincinnati.

  • Everyone talks about the Joe Randa game, Opening Day 2005. That’s the one I remember. That was my first ever Opening Day game. I awoke to a text from my Uncle Frank to tell me that he had somehow pulled off getting me two tickets. I grabbed a buddy, played hookie from practice and got trashed like a college senior should before the game. More than I did this game. But there were a lot of similarities.
  • After the game was over, it was the loudest I’ve ever heard the stadium after a victory. You literally could not hear yourself think. Fans were cheering as they attempted to do the FOX Sports Ohio postgame show (hosted by Jim Day) and you couldn’t hear a word JD was saying.
  • Finally formally met 1530’s Mo Egger for the first time at Gameworks before the game in Newport. I’ve always said that Mo was an extremely good dude and he definitely didn’t disappoint. He was nice enough to come over to us before the game started and have a beer with us while talking some sports. It was great to finally meet Mo and I look forward to the next time. Good guy for sure.
  • Speaking of Jim Day and Jeff Piecoro, they both gave me their thoughts on the Reds before the game. I remember they both said over 90 wins, and Pic specifically said 94. They’re both good guys who have caught Reds fever. They seem like a lot of fun and they genuinely enjoy the antics of the tri-state faithful.
  • This is why you shouldn’t booze before a game you want to remember: I hung on every single pitch while I watched from my seat, but somehow I only remember Ramon Hernandez picking up two hits–including the walk off home run. He collected four hits on the day, which I didn’t realize until The Sombrero let me know after the game.
  • Joey Votto homers every time I’m at the damn park. He didn’t disappoint. Line shot out of the park and a couple of great at-bats that have him once again looking like he hasn’t missed a beat since last season’s MVP performance.
  • Brandon Phillips sporting the Pokey Reese-like high socks. What what.
  • Jay Bruce started the year a crafty 2 for 2, but then had a couple of poor at-bats. Still, in his second plate appearance he hit a flare to right field that was the kind of ball fielders were catching and taking hits away from him all year long last year. Mark Kotsay made an admirable try for it but it was ruled a trap, and Bruce had a multi-hit game. Happy to see it. Maybe he has good luck and a hot start this season.
  • I didn’t realize that Carlos Gomez’s home run went into the upper deck bleachers in left field where we were sitting. Bombs were flying out of the park all day long.
  • For the record, I thought that Phillips was out heading to third on the Scott Rolen chopper. Props to Rolen for booking it down the line on the play, because he probably should have been thrown out as well.

Where do I rank this Opening Day in my life? I like this team better than I like any other Reds team in my lifetime at season’s beginning. Starting 1-0 instead of 0-1 means more now, so in that sense, it was probably my favorite Opening Day ever and definitely better than the Joe Randa Opening Day of 2005. The Opening Day that Adam Dunn hit a couple of bombs in 2007 on Opening Day is probably 2nd. In terms of being special, fun, and meaningful; 2011 was probably the best Opening Day of my lifetime.

Click through for a few more photos from Opening Day 2011