Great American Ballpark
The Great American Ball Park is the home of the National League's Cincinnati Reds. The
park opened on March 28, 2003 with an exhibition game with the Cleveland Indians. The
first regular season game, on March 31, 2003, saw the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates defeat
the Reds 10-1. The ceremonial first pitch was thrown by former President George H. W.
Bush, who replaced his son, current president George W. Bush, who was scheduled, but
unable to attend. The younger Bush eventually did get the opportunity to throw out the
first pitch before the Reds' April 4, 2006 opening day game versus the Chicago Cubs.
However, the Reds lost 16-7.
Contrary to popular belief, the park's name is not a patriotic reference. Adhering to the
norm in American professional sports, Great American Ball Park is named after a
business sponsor, the Great American Insurance Group. Great American is the insurance
division of American Financial Group, Inc., the principal shareholder of which is former
Cincinnati Reds majority owner Carl Lindner, Jr.
Notable Features of the Ballpark
The Gap. A 35' (11 m) wide break in the stands between home plate and third base called "The Gap" is bridged by the concourse on each level
(see photo). Aligned with Sycamore Street, it provides views into the stadium from downtown and out to the skyline from within the park.
Pepsi Power Stacks. In right center field, two riverboat-inspired smokestacks flash lights, emit smoke and launch fireworks to incite or respond to
the home team's efforts.
The Spirit of Baseball. A 50 foot by 20 foot (15 by 6 m) limestone bas relief carving near the main entrance shows baseball figures of a boy and
a man along with the Cincinnati riverfront.
The Mosaic. A mosaic paying tribute to two legendary Reds teams: the 1869 Red Stockings, Major League Baseball's first professional team,
and the 1975 Big Red Machine club that won the first of two consecutive World Series, are just inside the main entrance.
The Panoramas. Panoramas of downtown Cincinnati, Mt. Adams, the Ohio River and Northern Kentucky are visible from most of the park (see
The Scoreboard. At 217 feet, 9 inches (66 m) wide, the scoreboard is the third largest in Major League Baseball; only the scoreboards at
Denver's Coors Field and Detroit's Comerica Park, respectively, are larger.
Crosley Terrace. As a nod to Crosley Field, the Reds' home from 1912-1970, a monument was created in front of the main entrance to highlight
the park's infamous left-field terrace. Bronze statues of Crosley-era stars Joe Nuxhall, Ernie Lombardi, Ted Kluszewski, and Frank Robinson are
depicted playing in an imaginary ballgame. These statues were created by sculptor Thomas Tsuchiya.
Los Angeles Angels center fielder Gary Matthews can't reach a home run hit by
Cincinnati Reds' Ken Griffey Jr. in the sixth inning of a baseball game, Thursday, June
14, 2007, in Cincinnati.
Cincinnati Reds' Ken Griffey Jr. takes away
a home run in right field.