Pic before the game I took of Dunner. Little did I know he’d be the star of the show.
Our Opening Day experience for 2007 was a very good one. I thought always I’d have difficulty topping 2005, when Joe Randa hit a walk-off homerun and Dunn hit 2 off Pedro Martinez and Braden looper (to tie it in the 9th), but I’ll tell you what–I think we topped it today.
We arrived today in Cincinnati’s downtown arounf 10:30. After finding a place to park, we started our day at Skyline Chili down Vine street to get things kicked off with some traditional food. I usually don’t make it a habit to eat this heart attack potion, but today was a tradition, a holiday. It was America in a fine, beautiful, spring, 75 degree day.
I slammed a 4-way, aka heaven on a plate in the form of spaghetti, chili, onions, and cheese. There is none higher as far as ballpark lunch goes. I’m done giving my Skyline Chili plug, if you ever come to Cincinnati, I want you to try it. I’m yet to meet someone who doesn’t like it. Oh yeah, my boy justin talked me into a couple chili-cheese coney dogs as well. George knows from first hand experience that I can do some Van Damnage of some Skyline (remember our first trip to Cincy George)
After lunch, I washed it down with a great Cohiba Cuban seeded cigar. It was magnificent but not long lasting enough. In fact, I can never recall a cigar burning so fast. We walked down Vine st. in the heart of the Queen City and noticed we were trapped watching the parade. It went on for what seemed like forever, which was fine. I mean we saw Eric Davis and George Foster; both of whom are Cincinnati Reds Hall of Famers. I also was really enjoying that cigar, I mean you wanna talk smooth. If you’re a person who likes cigars, give Cohiba a shot on your way to a ballgame.
We decided that we’d spent enough time killing time, and it was time to head for the ballpark. I wanted to get some photos to show what a good correspondent I am, and Justin wanted to watch batting practice. I am a huge fan of making a day, and making an event out of a trip to the ballpark; especially when that day is opening day. You get downtown early, you find a place to park, you get into the ballpark basically as soon as it opens, and you kind of feel your way around a bit. You stay there as long as you can. It’s heaven I tell you. Here’s one of my better pics of the day to give you an idea of what the beautiful weather and stadium combined with to create the atmosphere.
It also really made me happy that I got that good shot of my favorite ballplayer Adam Dunn. It really was his day. I snapped that picture as he was headed into the clubhouse after he took batting practice. He threw me some batting gloves but some little kids vulcher’d them away from me. It’s funny, I’ve been saying all along that this is Dunn’s breakout year, and that I think he’s going to far surpass anything that he’s ever done on a baseball field. Ironically I said that after he stepped up to the plate and drilled a 1-2 Zambrano fastball into the sun-deck in right. It was a line shot that got out in a hurry. I just said to Justin: “first at-bat of the year, it’s going to be a special year.” We talked last night about how Dunn’s given his word that he’s really rededicated himself to his craft. He then came up again in his 2nd at-bat and hit a first pitch fastball out of the stadium to dead center field. It was a majestic blast, and I thought to myself, that is what I pay money to see, moonshots off the bat of big #44.
After moonshot #2, he came out and gave the screaming crowd of 42,000+ a curtain call. It was a very cool moment as I said in my head, just 48 more of those round trippers brother. I guess you could say I had a “man-crush” moment. In a non-gay sort of way.
Other cool moment on the day would be the fact I caught a homerun ball in batting practice, ho-hum. I’ve caught a foul ball, I’ve had balls thrown to me by Barry Zito, Ken Griffey, all that jazz. I had never caught a home-run ball in batting practice. After I snapped off a few pictures during batting practice and said hello to my good buddy Marty Brennaman, Justin and I headed out to right field, and I crossed another baseball park to-do off my list. I caught a homerun ball.
I earned myself a hell of a sun-burn, and enjoyed a few hogs of course. The last thing I guess that will make a lasting impression on my about the day other than the Reds just looking ready and having a ‘business as usual’ demeanor is seeing the major league debut of Josh Hamilton. The kid got one hell of an ovation when he pinch hit in the 8th inning, and you just knew he appreciated that moment so much. I knew he probably didn’t take that moment for granted, after what he’s been through. I’m proud to say I saw his first big league at-bat, and I told Justin that this once Paul Bunyanesque type talent would go up and get a hit. There is a storybook feel to this guy. He was robbed of a hit unfortunately but I did get a great picture of the big screen in his first at-bat.
All-in-all, it was a storybook type day. Reds have to win 99 more to get to 100, and it was just another great experience.