On Sunday the 16th, we headed into Cincinnati late morning, and wandered around the area near the stadium for a bit looking at things and taking a few pictures.
Main entrance to Great American Ballpark
Pete Rose statue
View across the Ohio River to Kentucky
When we got into the stadium, it was clear there was no batting practice, as is usually the case for a Sunday afternoon game. There were a couple Nats pitchers throwing and we waited for the chance to get a toss-up, along with another 100 or so people. We did not get one.
So, we wandered around the stadium.
Roebling Bridge in background
We had very good seats, on the home plate side of the Nationals dugout. I thought Kate would have a chance at a toss-up on a foul ball around home plate or third out ball, but nothing came our way.
For most of the game, we sat 6 rows from the field
Early in the game, I headed to the outfield sections to try and see if either/both teams had bullpen lineup cards posted. The bullpens at GABP are a bit wanky. There was no lineup card in the main portion of the Reds’ bullpen and no where in the stands to see into the front part of the bullpen where the pitchers and coaches sit.
Here’s what I could see in the Nats bullpen:
Nats bullpen coach Dan Firova with the bullpen lineup card on the wall to his left
The Nats blew the game open early and coasted to a 14-4 victory. Our end-of-the-game plan was for Kate to try for and umpire ball and/or lineup card from umpire Tim Timmons. Feeling bold for whatever reason, I would ask Washington manager Dusty Baker for his lineup card and could also ask Firova for his when he came in from the bullpen, if he took it with him.
I knew Kate wouldn’t have it easy going for an umpire ball because there was a lot of competition and not much space around the umpire exit at GABP. As it turned out, she said she narrowly missed a toss-up that went just over her glove.
I was in a great spot to ask Baker for his lineup card, which I did, but he ignored me. I knew he almost certainly wouldn’t give me the dugout lineup card because they sell those. I was hoping he might give me one or both of the official batting order cards, but no dice.
Firova also ignored me when I asked for the bullpen lineup card. I figured he probably left it in the bullpen, so we made a mad dash out there.
I had to sweet talk my way into the section near the visiting bullpen because the ushers had already closed it off by the time we got there. Luckily, the usher was cool about it.
Sure enough, the lineup card was still on the wall. There were three grounds crew guys working in the bullpen. I asked the one nearest me, he looked at the card on the wall, said no, then went back to work. I asked again for any of the three to help us out, but they all ignored me.
The usher now wanted me to leave but a more senior level employee had entered the bullpen so I quickly asked him. He was hesitant, but when I explained the Firova clearly didn’t want the card or he would have brought it in with him, and that it would mean a lot to us, he finally obliged. Bingo!
Someone in the Nats bullpen marked the card with an emphatic “W”
It’s always special to get a lineup card from a MLB game, but it was especially nice to get one on our first visit to GABP, me being a Nats fan and not having gotten a Nats lineup card before made it even better.
We had thoughts of hitting the first game of a Binghamton Rumble Ponies double-header on the drive home Monday, but there were was a thunder/lightnight/rain storm as we approached Binghamton, so we bagged it not wanting to sit through a delay. As it turned out, it was the right move because both games were postponed due to the storm.
We made it home Monday night with 1,997 miles, a robotics tournament win, three new stadiums visited, four lineup cards, a few Frontier League 25th Anniversary commemoratives, and lots of memories.
2017: 20 lineup cards (10 dugout/bullpen; 9 “official batting order”; 1 “today’s lineup” card)
Lifetime: 141 lineup cards (97 dugout/bullpen; 41 “official batting order”; 2 “relief pitcher usage”; and 1 “today’s lineup”)