By Chris Chaney
“At Cincinnati the first game is always played there. This is because the citizens of this Ohio city do not consider Opening Day just as Opening Day. They consider it one small notch below Christmas.”
Author Fred Schwed, Jr. wrote those words more than 60 years ago in his book, “How to Watch a Baseball Game” and they are just as true now as they were then.
The 2013 version of the Cincinnati Reds took the field on Monday, April 1 for the first time in what has been billed as the most anticipated season in Cincinnati in the last 20 years.
Storylines abounded as a Reds roster that boasts All-Stars scattered throughout took to the field at Great American Ball Park to host the first interleague Opening Day game in Major League Baseball history. In the visitors dugout sat a veritable murderer’s row of talent scooped up by the free-spending Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, including former Central Division rival, Albert Pujols, defending American League Rookie of the Year Mike Trout and former Red Josh Hamilton.
Expectations were high for the Reds coming into the game and season, and remain so despite falling to the Angels 3-1 in the first of a three-game series.
The urgency to get off to a good start was evident as both teams ran their staff aces to the pitchers mound, Johnny Cueto and Jered Weaver. Both lived up to their billing as their team’s No. 1, giving up one earned run a piece in a combined 13.0 innings.
With both bullpens doing their job expertly, the game reached extra innings in just under three hours. Nearly two hours later, the Angels’ Chris Iannetta, who homered off Cueto in the third inning, hit a two-out bases-loaded single that scored two to put the Angels on top for good.
Although the Opening Day loss is a tough pill to swallow, the Reds still have 161 games left on their schedule. Knee-jerk reactions will fret over the lack of hitting with runners in scoring position (0-10), strikeouts (13) and overall offense (3-42), and manager Dusty Baker called the loss “disheartening” after having so many opportunities, but feels with more games will come better offensive output.
The Reds could be without left-fielder Ryan Ludwick for some time after he dislocated his right shoulder sliding into third base on Cincinnati’s lone scoring play of the game. Ludwick said after having his shoulder popped back in, he felt “instant relief” and hopes to only miss a few weeks, depending on what an MRI taken on April 2 showed.
The Reds began an 8-game binge on Wednesday when they played the second game of their series with LA. They will host the Washington Nationals over the weekend before heading on a road trip that will see Cincinnati open divisional play at St. Louis and Pittsburgh.
Reds Futures Showcase: The Reds Futures High School Showcase is entering its second year with more Clermont County schools participating than ever before. Over the coming week and a half, Glen Este, Amelia, Bethel-Tate, Milford, Goshen, New Richmond, Batavia and Clermont Northeastern will all play games in the Showcase at some of the best fields in the area.
The culmination of the event will be held on April 21 as the players and coaches from the 64 participating schools will take part in a pregame parade prior to the Reds vs. Miami Marlins game.
Also, an MVP from each of the 32 games will be recognized on the field during the pregame ceremonies.