Tradition Drives Special Day For Reds and Fans

It was a losing effort for the Cincinnati Reds in their opening day stand against the Pittsburgh Pirates last week, but that seemed of little consequence to the fans who packed the stadium to celebrate a tradition that is unique in Major League Baseball play.

That is, the Cincinnati boys of summer are the only MLB team to open their season exclusively at home. Other teams may kick off their seasons on the road, but that’s never the case with the Reds, who get this annual home opener treat by reason of being the oldest professional ball club on the continent. The Reds have been playing ball as a pro club since 1869, first as the Cincinnati Red Stockings, then as simply the Reds as of 1890.

This adds a little extra historic incentive to Canadian baseball fans who might want to make the trip to Cincy to start the season. Baxter Media western Canada editor Ted Davis was on hand to experience the home opener at Great American Ball Park, on an unseasonably warm and sunny day that attracted standing-room-only attendance.

Flights from Toronto on Air Canada are the only direct, non-stops to Cincy from Canada. They operate on a daily basis from YYZ on a flight that lasts about 95 minutes. There are plenty of other flight options from Canada that require one stop on route to Cincinnati.

When they get there, visitors should take the opportunity to first attend another long-standing Cincy event – the Findlay Market Opening Day Parade. This has taken place on the Reds’ opening day game for more than a century, and is the only parade amongst MLB cities that is held specifically to mark the start of the baseball season.

It is such a favourite in the city that thousands of local fans join fans from afar to line the street and witness all manner of floats, marching bands and various entertainers. Cincy city politicians have even considered the possibility of making this a public holiday, given that so many parents take their kids out of school on that day to attend the event.


A giant U.S. flag drapes the field at Great American Ball Park prior to the opening day game by the Cincinnati Reds last week.