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Great American Ball Park
GABP, Great American
Great American Ball Park.svg
Gabp from the gap.jpg
Location 100 Joe Nuxhall Way
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
Coordinates 39°5′51″N 84°30′24″W / 39.0975°N 84.50667°W / 39.0975; -84.50667Coordinates: 39°5′51″N 84°30′24″W / 39.0975°N 84.50667°W / 39.0975; -84.50667
Broke ground August 1, 2000
Opened March 31, 2003
Owner Hamilton County
Surface Perennial Ryegrass
Construction cost $290 million
Architect Populous and GBBN Architects
Capacity 42,059
Field dimensions Left Field - 328 ft (100 m)
Left-Center - 379 ft (116 m)
Center Field - 404 ft (123 m)
Right-Center - 370 ft (113 m)
Right Field - 325 ft (99 m)
Backstop - 55 ft (17 m)
Tenants
Cincinnati Reds (MLB) (2003-present)

The Great American Ball Park is a Major League Baseball park in Cincinnati, Ohio. It is the home of the National League's Cincinnati Reds franchise. It opened in 2003, replacing the Reds' former home, Cinergy Field, which was known as Riverfront Stadium from its opening in June 1970 until the 2002 season.

In 1996, Hamilton County voters passed a one-half percent sales tax increase to fund the building of two new venues for both the Cincinnati Reds and the National Football League's Cincinnati Bengals. Previously, the teams shared occupancy of Cinergy Field, but complained that the aging multi-purpose stadium lacked modern amenities and other enhancements necessary for small market teams to be competitive.

Great American Ball Park was built on a plot of land located between the site of the former Cinergy Field and U.S. Bank Arena informally referred to as "the wedge". Due to the limited available space and the site's close proximity to the Ohio River, one phase of the construction of Great American Ball Park necessitated the partial demolition of Cinergy Field.

Originally, the address of the park was 100 Main Street. However, it was changed to 100 Joe Nuxhall Way in honor of the Reds' late pitcher and broadcaster who died in November 2007.

Despite the patriotic tone of the park's name, it is actually the name of a company which holds its naming rights, Great American Insurance Group. Carl Lindner, Jr., the chairman of the board of American Financial Group, the parent of Great American Insurance Group, was also the Cincinnati Reds' majority owner up to January 2005 when he sold majority interest to local businessman Robert Castellini.

The first-ever Major League Baseball game in the stadium took place on March 28, 2003 against the Cincinnati Reds' upstate American League rivals, the Cleveland Indians. The first official Major League game took place in the stadium on March 31, 2003 against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Ken Griffey, Jr. had the first hit in Great American Ball Park, a double.

Former President George H. W. Bush threw out the first pitch at the first regular season game against the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates. Then vice-president Dick Cheney threw out the first pitch on opening day 2004 against the visiting Chicago Cubs. Then-president George W. Bush threw out the first pitch before the Reds' opening day game in 2006, also against the Chicago Cubs.

Great American Ball Park hosted the Major League Baseball Civil Rights Game in 2009,[1] in which the Chicago White Sox defeated the Reds 10–8. The Reds will again host the Civil Rights Game on May 15, 2010; they will play their division rival St. Louis Cardinals.

Contents

Features of Great American Ball Park

A view of the third base line stands at Great American Ball Park, including The Gap.

The Gap. A 35-foot-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.

Power Stacks. In right center field, two smokestacks—reminiscent of the steamboats that were common on the Ohio River in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries—flash lights, emit smoke and launch fireworks to incite or respond to the home team's efforts. When the Reds strike out a batter, smoke blows out of the stacks. Fireworks are launched from the stacks after every Reds home run and win.

The Spirit of Baseball. A 50-foot-by-20-foot limestone bas relief carving near the main entrance features a young baseball player looking up to the heroic figures of a batter, pitcher and fielder, all set against the background of many of Cincinnati's landmarks, including the riverfront and Union Terminal. The piece was sculpted between 2002 and 2003 by local artists Todd Myers and Paul Brooke.

Power Stacks

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 main photo).

The Scoreboard. At 217 feet, 9 inches 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. The Reds paid $4 million to install a new, LED scoreboard and high definition video screen in time for the 2009 season. The scoreboard did not add any size from the previous, just added HD quality. The scoreboard clock is a replica of the Longines clock at Crosley Field.[2]

The Toyota Tundra Home Run Deck. If a Reds player hits the truck during a home run, one randomly selected lucky fan will take home the $31,000 vehicle situated on the elevated platform that is approximately 500 feet from home plate beyond the center field fence.

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 famous left-field terrace. Bronze statues of Crosley-era stars Joe Nuxhall, Ernie Lombardi, Ted Kluszewski, and Frank Robinson (created by sculptor Tom Tsuchiya) are depicted playing in an imaginary ballgame. The grass area of the terrace has the same slope as the outfield terrace at Crosley Field.[2]

Statues at the Crosley Terrace.
Great American Ball Park at night.

4192 Mural. A three-piece mural on the back of the scoreboard in left field depicts the bat Pete Rose used for his record-breaking 4,192nd hit and the ball he hit in 1985.

Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum. Located on the west side of Great American Ball Park on Main Street, the Hall of Fame and Museum celebrate the Reds' past through galleries and extensive use of multimedia. Although theoretically in existence since 1958, there was no actual building until it was built as part of Great American Ball Park.

View of the stadium from across the Ohio River.

"Rounding third and heading for home..." The trademark signoff phrase of former Reds pitcher and longtime radio announcer Joe Nuxhall is depicted on the rear of the third base stands on the north side of Great American Ball Park.

The Home Runs. The homer-friendly nature of the park has led to the nicknames "Great American Smallpark" or "Great American Launching Pad", among both fans and players. "If you put [the ball] in the air here you've got a chance for it to go out of the ballpark," former Reds Manager Jerry Narron has said.

Riverboat Deck. Above the Batter's eye, it is a private party area.

Center Field. The dimension of 404 feet (123.1 m) in center field is a tribute to the same center field dimension in the Reds' previous home, Riverfront Stadium.

"Gapper"

With a new park, the Reds' ownership decided to update the mascot as well. Thus, in 2002, a contest to name the new mascot was created at Redsfest, the team's annual fan convention. "Gapper" made his debut on opening day, 2003. In baseball parlance, a "gapper" is a ball hit between outfielders, i.e., left-center or right-center field.

The Reds' mascot, Gapper, is a fan favorite.

Screen Renovations for the 2009 season

After the 2008 season, all of the scoreboards in the park were replaced by new high-definition video displays. The Reds have a 10-year contract with the Daktronics company of Brookings, South Dakota and also have contracted with Sony for the high-definition video cameras and production equipment, which will be operated from a renovated control room. A team of twenty-five people will be responsible for the content of the displays.

The previous displays were installed by the Trans-Lux company when Great American Ball Park was built. However, Trans-Lux went bankrupt, and the team could not find replacement parts.

“We were just limping through, hoping the old scoreboard would make it to the end of the 2008 season”, said Reds spokesman Michael Anderson.[3]

Jennifer Berger, Reds senior director of entertainment, events and production said that the Cincinnati Reds will assume the responsibility of the cost of maintaining the displays; the fans will not have to bear the brunt of paying for them.

The team expects to save money in the long term due to the displays' increased energy efficiency.

Notable non-baseball events

Statistics

  • Ticket windows: 25
  • Concourse widths: 40 feet (12 m)
  • Escalators: 3
  • Passenger elevators: 14
  • Public restrooms: 47 (20 women, 20 men, seven family)
  • Concession stands: 28
  • Parking spaces: 850

External links

Notes

  1. ^ Baseball says Civil Rights Game will move to Cincinnati for 2009
  2. ^ a b Leventhal, Josh (2006). Take Me Out to the Ballpark. P. 69.
  3. ^ Reds pump up scoreboard

References

  • Leventhal, Josh, Take Me Out to the Ballpark: An Illustrated Tour of Baseball Parks Past and Present. Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, 2006. ISBN 978-1-57912-513-4
  • Stupp, Dann, Opening Day at Great American Ball Park. Sports Publishing L.L.C., 2003. ISBN 1-58261-724-4
Preceded by
Riverfront Stadium
Home of the
Cincinnati Reds

2003 – present
Succeeded by
Current
Preceded by
AutoZone Park
Host of the
Civil Rights Game

2009 – 2010
Succeeded by
TBD
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