I love baseball.
As a native New Yorker, I was saturated with the Yankees thanks to my maternal grandparents.
My summers as a small child would grind to a halt so I could watch the Yankees fight the “bad guys” on the TV.
I would sit with my Grampa in his barcalounger, glued to the blue and white stripes racing across the screen.
I never understood what was going on, but I knew things weren’t good when Grampa stopped speaking in English and began cussing in French.
When he died in ’89, I continued to watch America’s favorite pastime with my Gramma, but more or less forgot the game and my beloved Yankees as I grew older.
Until last summer.
I had just moved to the Greater Cincinnati-area and desperately wanted to attend my first real baseball game.
It only took my boyfriend one game to get me hooked.
By the end of the season, I had baked in the sun for bobble head give-a-ways, sat in the rain during many a-lost inning, loaded myself with pounds of nachos and chose Sean Casey as my favorite player.
I even spent my 21st birthday sober and surrounded by a sea of red and white.
Cinergy Field had become my new home.
I watched television the morning the stadium imploded, and drove by it the following night to sneak a glimpse of what once was.
With my sadness arose anticipation for the Great American Ballpark and all of the new memories I would create in this area that I have come to love so dearly.
On the 23rd, I convinced my boyfriend, a life-long Reds fan, that we had to get into the Open House and check everything out before the season started.
It smelled fresh of new paint and plastic.
We examined all of our seats for the six games we have tickets for and toured throughout the lower regions of the stadium to inspect the Red’s Club House and exercise rooms.
Like a kid in a candy store, I was in awe and rapture of my surroundings.
Win or lose, I’m eager for the new season and the new stadium.
The most exciting part of all is the tickets I have secured for an early June day when the Reds will take on the Yankees.
I may not cuss in French, but I’ll cheer them on just for my Grampa, as a way of saying “thank you” for introducing me to the sport I love.