09/19/2002 4:52 pm ET
Reds fans remember Cinergy Field
We asked, and you wrote.
MLB.com thanks each and every one of you who responded to our request to share your recollections of your favorite times at Cinergy Field. Many of your e-mails resonated with true baseball passion. It was a privilege to read them.
We're sorry we couldn't run each and every fan response -- had we done so, we might have been editing e-mails until the World Series!
Some letters have been edited slightly for grammar or space reasons.
Here's a sampling of what you submitted. Once again, thank you, Reds fans. We're glad you cherished Riverfront Stadium/Cinergy Field -- we know you always will -- and we hope you like Great American Ball Park.
Fields of green
My favorite memory of Riverfront Stadium is the one of my first Major League game with my favorite team when I was about 11 years old. I'll always remember entering the gate and, within a few steps, seeing the most beautiful shade of green I'd ever seen, lit by the purest sunlight. It still gives me goose bumps every time I walk into that stadium. I get choked up thinking about that moment and the fact that, after this season, it.ll never be the same field.
I.ve had dreams of taking my future son to experience the same feeling I did with the same field. However, I hope that my child will still be able to have the same feeling with the Great American Ballpark that I did with Riverfront Stadium.
I request one thing: Make her a great field ... with the most beautiful green ever.
Oh man, did I love this ballpark when I was young.
... I remember walking into my first Reds game ever. I was seven and I felt like a kid in a candy store, running from shop to shop, begging my parents to buy me something from any store, and I never walked out empty-handed. Thanks, Mom and Dad.
I really don't remember what happened during the game, who won, or anything. But I do remember one thing. Ever since I was about four years old playing T-ball, I always wore number 11 and only for one reason. Barry Larkin has been my favorite player ever since I could talk and will be until I can't talk anymore. We got to the game pretty early, just for the slight chance of getting a ball, or some autographs. We had pretty good seats, down the left-field line, about two or three rows off the field. I really didn't get anything during batting practice, so I was pretty bummed out the whole time. The Reds must have been losing, too.
But, in the top of the ninth inning, there was a foul ball down the third-base line. I worked my way down to the front row to try to grab it. I was a boy amongst giants, so I had absolutely no chance in the world. The ball started fading back to the field and smacked into Barry Larkin's glove. He saw me with my number 11 jersey, gave me a big smile and tossed the ball right into my glove. I have never been so excited in my life.
Losing this stadium is like losing a part of my life, but it's for the best. What Reds fans need to realize is that as this stadium is going down, Barry is right behind it. To me, as of right now, he is the best shortstop to ever play the game, the first ever in the 30/30 club, an unbelievable fielder, and a great man ...
Barry, I better see you on that field for the next couple of seasons, because we all agree, you still belong. And look for me when you guys play games at Wrigley Field, because the only time I'll ever go there is when you do.
My favorite memory of Riverfront Stadium has to be my first time there. The Reds were playing the Padres in a doubleheader, and they won both games. I was around 5 years old, and my family all thought that I would fall asleep, but I was just as awake after the last out as I was at the first pitch of the first game!!
Over the years, I have attended many games, all of them special. Riverfront Stadium will always have a special place in my heart, and I will miss it. Thanks for the great baseball!!!
Leigh Ann Pyles
Bowling Green, KY
My Dad and Mom took me to my first game back in the summer of 1973 against the Padres. I hoping to see my hero Johnny Bench play, but he didn't play that night. I was disappointed. Pete Rose did play, though. My most recent memory was seeing Ken Griffey Jr.'s first home run as a Red. Now that was exciting.
Ravenswood, W. Va.
When I was a kid, my buddy's dad had season tickets and took me along to my first game at Riverfront. We got loose from the parents and got down close to the fence where Pete Rose was. We screamed until our little throats were raw. Pete finally tossed a ball our way. My pal has the ball to this day. I also remember Crosley Field. I don't think a guy my age should be on his third stadium. Go Reds!!!!!
A grade-A day
My dad took me to my first Reds game when I was 12. I received the tickets through a Straight-A program through my school. I only ordered the tickets to spend the day with my dad. Little did I know that I would develop a lifelong passion for the sport of baseball that day. I can tell you about everything that happened that day, from the sun in the sky to the winning pitcher.
I have been raised as a Reds fan and will always be a Reds fan! Thanks, Dad!
Soggy but sweet
In 1990, Dad and I were there the day the Reds clinched the division title. It happened during a rain delay, as the Dodgers lost their game. The Reds were doing headfirst slides on the wet turf and tarp. The fans gave the Reds a lengthy standing ovation.
Then, to top it off, Schottzie came on the field and celebrated in typical dog fashion by urinating near the third-base coaches box. The fans around us (and we) loved it! The Reds lost the game, as it was called, but no one seemed to care.
Catching the fever
A longtime Reds fan, I had never had the privilege of attending a game until the first game of the 1976 World Series. As my father and I walked through downtown Cincinnati, my excitement built as I saw all of the decorations and even the televisions in store windows so passersby could follow the game. I couldn't believe I was actually going to see my team in the World Series! The game, which the Reds won impressively, fades in comparison to my memories of the excitement and enthusiasm of the fans who packed the stadium and the team who played.
Kansas City, MO
I have seen so many games at Riverfront, but my greatest memory ever there was when the Reds had "Johnny Bench Day" against the Houston Astros. Of course, Johnny Bench was the greatest catcher who ever played the game. By that time in his career, Johnny was not catching much, but he did that night. I made the trip back to Cincinnati from Virginia, where my family had relocated years earlier. We got tickets at the last minute and were in the left-field red seats, one row from the top. I
remember Johnny got a couple of hits and then late in the game hit a home run. We could not actually see it, so we watched the reaction of Johnny and the fans sitting lower. The ball went over the left-field wall and the Reds all stood and cheered in unison. Then I looked over at the Astros bench and they were standing and clapping, too. Here I was, a 28-year-old police officer, standing and crying and not the least bit embarrassed. In fact, my eyes are teared up right now as I type this.
I have seen more important games at Riverfront. I have seen more exciting games there. I am sure I have never seen a more emotional game there.
My favorite Riverfront memory was on July 3, 1979, the Reds vs the Astros. My family and I had tickets for the game in aisle 304. As we were going to our seats, two guys from the Reds greeted us at the top of the ramp. I thought, "Oh no, salesmen."
One of them was Roger Ruhl, who was head of marketing or promotions at that time. Anyway, he told us that our family had been picked at random to be the one millionth fan for 1979. They asked us some questions about our jobs, our names and our two boys' names (now we have three). They escorted us to the elevator and we sat right next to the Reds' dugout in aisle 104. Of course the boys, 5 and 3 at the time, were on cloud nine. Our names were flashed on the scoreboard and we received some Reds' gifts. We still have many of them today. After the game, there was a fireworks show.
Oh, the Reds lost 3-2, or 3-1. But, that night is a night we all talk about every July 3rd.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its fans.