Every city is different, if not strange, in its own peculiar ways. My hometown, Cincinnati, is no exception. In particular, it’s different in that this city tends to go unreasonably overboard on opening day. Other cities love opening day. I know. I’ve lived in other major league cities. But for some reason, Cincinnati takes opening day very seriously. Maybe it’s because the Reds are baseball’s oldest professional team. Maybe it’s the heritage of great teams and players that have graced this city for well over a century. Whatever the reason, the city is always off the hook on opening day.
Some school districts have in the past recognized opening day as an official holiday. Many adults certainly treat it that way. Local citizens of all classes and backgrounds revel in the day. Beer and sausages are prominent in the celebration; Cincinnati is, after all, a old school town with a very real German Catholic Heritage.
There’s always a large parade which travels from Cincinnati’s uptown urban market-Findlay Market- to Fifth Street in the heart of downtown..Fans young and old line the streets and crowd Fountain Square- the heart of Cincinnati’s downtown proper.
The day starts early with fans staking out spots on the street from which the can view the parade, up close and personal. After the parade those lucky enough to have tickets flock to the ballpark on the river, where, invariably, they sit through a meaningless early season game, which almost always features some form of climatic torture. Normally it’s forty degrees, with a strong wind driving rain and/or snow or sleet sideways into the faces of spectators and players alike.
This year, however was different. A cold gray ugly morning gave way to warming tempertures and deep blue skies. Suburbanites- who tend to be an insular lot in this town, and don’t often veture into the city, packed the streets along with more urban fans. The parade snaked through town, serving as the central focus of a large amorphous a and far ranging party. Eventually, in late afternoon, the game began and byearly evening the Reds had won their opener. The city rejoiced. The season begins.