An Evening at Great American Ballpark-Cincinnati OH

By on July 2, 2011

Great American Ballpark, Cincinnati OH. Cleveland Indians vs. Cincinnati Reds, July 1st, 2011. (RSEN staff photo/Wendy Eckhardt)

Cincinnati Reds

Cincinnati, Oh. (RSEN)

OHIO SPORTS FANS

Those of you who follow me regularly know the special place I carry for Ohio sports fans.  The sports fans in the great state of Ohio have been beleaguered for years with issue after issue.  For only so long can the pride of the Big Red Machine of yester-years gone by and dotted championships out of Columbus carry these pride filled fans.  I mean from Lebron James, the Bengals, Art Modell, the Browns in general, the Tribe over the years, Brian Kelly shoving it to the Cincinnati Bearcats at the altar of the biggest game in school history, the Reds play-off no shows of late, and now Tressel-gate in Columbus; these fans need a break. 

As I walked into Great American Ball Park I could feel the conundrum of fan pride and frustration in the humid downtown Cincinnati air.  Does that make sense?

Now with the Tribe playing above .500 in second place just behind the Detroit Tigers in the AL Central, the Reds and Joey Votto playing consistent with a solid hitting lineup, Andy Daulton in the Jungle, The Buckeyes, uh well let’s skip that one… this may be the break out of a championship run in Ohio.

THE OHIO CUP

With the Cleveland Indians in town the Ohio Cup was on display during batting practice and the other pre-game festivities down on the field.

The Indians and Reds have been playing for the Ohio Cup since 1989. From 1989 through 1996 a one game exhibition game, played in Columbus at Cooper Stadium, decided who would hold the coveted Ohio Cup title.  In 1997 when inter-league play began in MLB the Ohio Cup tradition was implemented in the regular season.  In 2008 they even added an Ohio Cup MVP.

As the Indians make the trip from the shore of Lake Erie to the banks of the Ohio River the worst they can expect is a split.  The weekend of May 20th the Tribe swept the Reds in Cleveland.   Tonight the Indians came in playing .532 ball just a ½ game behind Detroit.   The Indians have not had an outright Ohio Cup title since 2005 when the Tribe took the season series four games to two.

GREAT AMERICAN BALL PARK

It was an absolute beautiful night for baseball in Cincinnati with a game-time temperature 82 degrees.  Great American Ball Park was first opened March 31, 2003. Just the name itself, “Great American Ball Park” should excite one walking through the turnstile.  And yes Great American, like our country not the insurance company.  You regular followers know how I feel about naming rights.  To play up on the “Great American” theme as the National Anthem closed an eagle flew in from center field to the pitcher’s mound to the growing crescendo of the sell-out crowd.  And yes I recommend a trip when you are in the Cincinnati area, maybe even buy a Joey Votto jersey for yourself.  And I noticed as the sun rolled back and darkness crept along the Ohio River bank the ball park became more beautiful as the lights took full effect.

TEAM GAME

The Indians jumped on the board in the 2nd when Tribe center fielder Grady Sizemore homered 398 feet to deep right center off Reds starter Bronson Arroyo.   I asked Arroyo after the game if the ball carries well here, he said, “Yea I mean the ball doesn’t carry ridiculously well here as far as the way as it travels through the air, the fences are so short that it seems to travel well don’t matter what.”  I was thinking fences short?  I did not have the heart to remind him that one dinger he gave up traveled 421 feet, would have been out of any MLB ball park.  Cleveland pitcher Justin Matsterson only gave up four hits but one off the bat of Brandon Phillips traveled 429 feet.

The home run derby continued in the third when shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera hit a 1-2 Arroyo offering 421 feet and then first baseman Carlos Santana put one 377 feet into his team’s bullpen over the Round Tower Technologies sign.  It was the third time the Tribe went back to back yard this year and the sixth time the Reds gave it up that way.

And continued… in the home half of the 4th, when lead-off hitter Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips crushes a Justin Materson fastball 429 feet into off the façade of the second level in dead left.  That’s 1,625 feet of long balls in three and ½ innings, for a moment it had me thinking I was in Colorado.  

In the top of the 5th the Indians were ready for some conventional scoring.  After one out and back to back singles by left fielder Michael Brantley and second baseman Orlando Cabrera, Asdrubel Cabrera would fly out to right.   Carlos Santana then singles driving in Brantley.  Grady Sizemore doubles to right scoring Cabrera.   The showers would click on for Arroyo after ninety-three pitches, nine hits and two runner willed to reliever Sam LeClure.  LeClure’s first pitch was drilled by right fielder Travis Buck pushing both Santana and Sizemore across the dish.  Nice for Bronson! His book would be closed with 8 earned runs.

After the game I caught up with Bronson in the clubhouse and stated rough outing tonight, “Yea, yea no doubt about it man. When it’s 8 to 1 and there’s an L tagged to your game it’s a rough one don’t matter what.  The last two times out I given up a lot of long balls, obviously  this ballpark doesn’t play real well to letting guys get the ball in the air.” Aroyyo said.

Travis Buck leaves the game with left hamstring tightness after his single in the fifth.  Indians Manager Manny Acta said, “We’ll find out more tomorrow. He’s got left hamstring tightness and Lonnie (Soloff, Indians trainer) said tomorrow he will have better idea when he comes in to get checked.”

Over the next four and a half innings the innings the bullpens just mowed down hitter after hitter.  In the Reds ninth Brandon Phillips hit a solo round tripper into the Reds bullpen.   For Phillips it was his second of the game and eighth of the year and his 1,000 career hit.  In the Reds Clubhouse after the game Phillips said, “Personally I’m happy I hit a homerun… but I wish we would have won today. It’s crazy I get it against the Indians.”

For Justin Masterson, the winner, he improved his record to 6-6 and Bronson Arroyo would drop to 7-7.  

Masterson had good command throwing 65 strikes in 102 pitches.   After the game Indians manager Manny Acta had this to say about Masterson, “A great pitching performance by him… Masterson was the story he was strong from the beginning to the end he was throwing 94 MPH at the end of his outing.  Good sink as usual and had a pretty good slider today that he hadn’t shown much over the last couple of outings.  He was the story today, I think he was dominant.”  I asked about the decision to take him out pitch count? , Acta said, “Well it was also the score of the game and a couple of guys in our bullpen hadn’t pitched in about ten days I had to get one of them some work.  It was very hot out there too but I felt like he could completed the game but he didn’t have a shut-out so I just felt that giving that inning to someone else.”

The Ohio Cup continues today in the Great American Ball Park at 4:10pm with the FOX national audience with two righties on the hill.  Fausto Carmona (4-10, 5.89) against Cincinnati’s Homer Bailey (3-2, 3.86).

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