By: Matthew McAdow
The sun has finally popped out over the last few days, and we have officially made it to February. January without Bengals playoff football makes for a long month, but we are finally approaching warmer weather and some baseball action. Pitchers and catchers report on February 13th and the first Spring Training game is on February 24th. I’m not one to want to grab the “Click” remote and fast-forward, but it’d be tempting at this point to fast forward to March 28th and set the temperature to 60 degrees. For now though, we just have to remain patient for a few more weeks before we can finally tune into Goodyear, Arizona and watch this young core compete for their positions in 2024. I recently came across Anthony Rendon’s comments about the MLB season being way too long and I’ve never scrolled past something so fast in my life (Outside of Adams County ads during election time that is, shew). I’m sure it is very long for a player, but as a fan, I love the length of baseball and tuning in 5 nights a week to watch the Reds. While we have made many great changes to the game as of recent in my opinion, the amount of games is something I hope never gets touched.
What to Watch for?
For those that plan to tune into Spring Training, there are many things to keep an eye on. The battle for majority 3rd base playing time, the battle for the right-handed batters in center and right, the battle for the bullpen, and the battle for the starting rotation are what I look forward to seeing the most. Seeing if Cincinnati sticks to trying Jonathan India in the outfield, turning CES into a utility player, and watching Chase Petty and Rhett Lowder will be quite interesting. Blake Dunn will be one player to keep an eye on as well to see if he can progress into a right-handed outfield bat that this team certainly has a need for. Can Tyler Stephenson rebound to being a great batter for Cincinnati like he was prior to 2023? Can Noelvi Marte continue to hit above .300? Can Nick Lodolo manage to have a healthy Spring Training? Has Elly become more disciplined at the plate? As much as we have been speculating, the month of February and March finally provide us with some action.
Great American Ball Park
Great American Ball Park, as many of you know, is my favorite place to visit. I believe I attended over 30 games last season (thank you to the Reds) and plan to attend many in 2024. GABP opened in 2003 with Great American Insurance owning the naming rights until 2033. It currently holds 43,500 fans and is one of the highest-rated ball parks in major league baseball according to visiting team fans. If you have made it this far in the article, I am sure you have made it to many games at GABP. Where is your favorite place to sit at GABP? As I was thinking about my favorite place to sit, outside of behind the plate, I still find myself loving right field. The inner-child in me still loves the chance of a homerun ball landing in my lap, along with the sun being out of the way much quicker than the third base side or left field. Anywhere watching live Reds baseball is a treat though! This field, the Reds, the amenities of GABP, and the atmosphere is something I hope I never take for granted. Having a professional baseball team in your home city is a blessing and I appreciate what ownership and the front office are doing to provide this city with a winning culture going forward.