Yesterday was a great day in Cincinnati. I got to the park early and toured the Reds Hall of Fame. They really do have a great deal of Reds memorabilia. One portion of the museum that I though was great was the case with items from the 1919 series. One father was telling his son how dirty the White Sox are. Ninety years later, and the Sox still can’t shake the stigma. After the museum I went into the Great American Ballpark. This stadium is aptly named. On the way in I received a free program, and a 1964 replica Frank Robinson jersey. They also had a great program before the game honoring three civil rights leaders. I will have more on that in a later post. As you can see the Sox players were on the steps of the dugout watching though.
Once in the park I watched both teams take batting practice. This is rare. For some reason they opened the park way early. During the Sox portion Paul Konerko hit one right at me. I thought here is the elusive ball. Some kid around high school age jumped up on a seat and made a great catch with his glove. So much for my souvenir. The Sox players were having fun with the players. Scott Linebrink even took the time to mug for the camera. The park opening early also gave me a little more time to walk around the park and see it from all over. I did not have this luxery the first time around. I was really impressed with the park. That will probably be evident in my look at it in a couple of days.
The game started out poorly. Lafayette, Indiana’s own Clayton Richard did not pitch his best game. The defense behind him was not very good though. The Sox made four errors in the game, and should have had one more. In real time I thought Richard made an error throwing to first. Dewayne Wise made up for it though by retrieving the ball and promptly making his own error. The Sox quickly were in a 5-0 hole. Richard was pulled for a pinch hitter in the fourth ending his day early. At this point things did not look good for the Sox. They normally don’t hit pitchers they are facing for the first time very well, and Cueto was leading the league in ERA to boot. If I had to put money on something at that point it would have been a Sox loss.
That is when Gordon Beckham stepped in. He drove a 2-1 pitch to left field for his first home run in the big leagues. That three run shot pulled the Sox to within 5-3. Suddenly it was now a game. In the fifth Scotty Pods hit a home run to get things going. Alexei then hit a single, but was picked off. At the time that seemed huge because A.J. hit what could have been a two run home run. With the score tied at five Alexei Ramirez hit a three run home run to put the Sox up for good. They added a couple more runs (which they would need) to win the game 10-8. Dewayne Wise even got a big hit in the ninth so that Jayson Nix could get an at bat. That was big because his brother Laynce also pinch hit in the ninth.
The bullpen did fairly well last night considering how long they were out there. They gave up three runs in the six innings that they were called upon. D.J. Carrasco pitched two scoreless innings when we needed him the most. Dotel had a rough inning allowing two runs. Thornton and Linebrink each pitched a scoreless inning. Bobby Jenks made things interesting with two outs in the ninth once again. I was having flashbacks to the Pirates game on the 24th of May when he gave up the two run dinger to Bruce followed by a single Hanigan. He got Adam Rosales to strike out looking to end the game though. All three of the outs that he recorded were called third strikes. He must still have something.
Let’s talk about these jerseys. When I was at the Hall of Fame last fall I saw a great jersey from the 60’s that was powder blue. The jersey last night was not it. When they were down I hated that jersey. As they came back I started to like it more and more. It did hurt my eyes though. I thought that I was watching the Royals. Harold is shown to the right modeling the new look. D.J. was the leader though sporting the old school stirups. He was the only one with the guts to pull that off. The Reds looked good in their throwbacks. I had thoughts of Pete Rose watching them run around. Brandon Phillips even went way retro by signing autographs for a while before the game. They even had to bring him his mitt so that he could just jog out to his position. Being the 50th anniversary of the 1959 team, and playing the Dodgers this week it makes you wonder if we will have the throwbacks again. They will need all the help that they can get being four games under .500 with the Dodgers coming to town. I had so much fun that I included some additional pictures below.