Rooting for the Redlegs

Take your family out to the old ball game and build some hardcore hometown summer memories.
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Photograph by Sarah McCosham

The Reds played (ahem) a big part in my childhood. As a Cincinnatian who grew up in the ’80s and ’90s, I have fond memories of venturing down to Riverfront Stadium with my family, donning Reds gear c/o Velva Sheen and maybe, if I was lucky, convincing my parents to order three soft serves for me and my brothers (served in souvenir Reds caps, of course).

Photograph by Sarah McCosham

This love for my home team continued through high school and, once I was able to drive, my friends and I spent our Friday and Saturday nights cheering on the Reds and enjoying a “Nice, Cold, Lemon Chillllll.” (I was a very cool 16-year-old.)

I went to the last Opening Day at Riverfront Stadium, and stood agog, in the freezing cold, on a cold morning in December 2002 when this iconic part of my childhood was imploded to make way for Great American Ball Park. Today, as a parent of four kids, the memories of blistering summer afternoons and muggy evenings (“it’s the humidity, not the heat”) spent cheering on the Redlegs give me all sorts of nostalgia, and so, on a very hot Sunday in August, we ventured down as a clan to root, root, root for the home team.

Photograph by Sarah McCosham

Have you been to a Reds game recently…with kids? Maybe you’ve refrained because the thought of corralling a bunch of kids who quickly become antsy, hungry, hot, or bored doesn’t sound that appealing to you. I get it. The experience that awaits at Great American Ball Park, however, is just that: an experience. The Fan Zone in the right field corner of GABP is a multi-level playground featuring a wiffle ball field, interactive games with prizes, and the Reds Heads Clubhouse. This playground is worth the cost of admission alone—even for my older two. And remember how Fireworks Fridays were so special because pyrotechnics weren’t part of the regularly scheduled programming? Not anymore: my 12-year-old quickly caught on that the smokestacks smolder when our pitcher got a strike on the opposing team, and all McCoshams celebrated with ridiculous dancing during a fireworks-fueled home run victory.

Photograph by Sarah McCosham

My kids have no point of reference for these things. To them, the day at Great American Ball Park, in all its pyrotechnic, SWAG-filled, seventh-inning-stretch-in-a-multi-story-playground glory; this is what going to a baseball game means. Is it different? Yes. But the moments where we sat, sweaty-kneed, shelling salty peanuts, chatting about a game that’s part of the very fabric of our city (and country)? That’s an experience that remains as true and classic as ever.

Great American Ball Park, 100 Joe Nuxhall Way, downtown

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