Nov 4, 2017

The Big Red Machine

It doesn’t have to be baseball season to enjoy baseball.  During the
1970s the Cincinnati Red dominated baseball and became known as the Big Red Machine. The regular lineup included three future Hall of Famers: catcher Johnny Bench, first baseman Tony Peres, and second baseman Joe Morgan.  Pete Rose, an all-time major league hitter led the team and was recently inducted into the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame.  The team won five division titles in seven years.  Frustration with ability to win the World Series ended in 1975 when they won 108 games and beat the Boston Red Sox for their first World Series title in 35 years. 

When John and I were in Cincinnati, we attended a Reds game at the All American Ball Park located on the Ohio River. I was impressed with all the pregame family fun outside the stadium.  A highlight was visiting the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum that has a new exhibit called “Red to Bronze” that chronicles the eight Reds legends and the bronze statues that were created by local artist, Tsuchiya with a special focus on the creation of the Pete Rose statue that was dedicated in June. 

Besides a Hall of Fame there are many displays and hands on
activities. Fascinating was the Palace of Fans that is set up like an old time ball park with a wooden grandstand and the front of the theater is a replica of a Crosley scoreboard from the 1940s. The scoreboard becomes a screen with a 15-minute presentation on the highlights of the Reds history. 

The Strike Zone Exhibit was especially busy with people throwing a ball from a Major League-graded mound to a strike zone 60’6” away.  Balls and strikes are called and pitch speed is measured  We watched from the gallery dugout next to statues of famous Reds mangers, Bill McKechnie and Sparky Anderson. For diehard fans there was the Ultimate Reds Room with memorabilia from bobbleheads (which could be purchased), pennants, advertising signs, baseball cards, and of course, a big screen TV playing Reds bloopers and highlights.

The pièce de résistance was the “Glory Days” a large circular
gallery that highlights the championship teams but foremost the focus is on The Big Red Machine. The bronze statues called The Eight Great includes life-sized statues of Pete Rose, Ken Griffey, Joe Morgan, George Foster, Johnny Bench, Tony Perez, Dave
Concepcion and Cesar Geronimo in a celebration scene inspired by the Reds' memorable victory on the final play of the decisive game of the 1972 NLCS. And, while gazing at it there is a radio call of the play-by-play. One does not have to be a baseball aficionado to enjoy a Reds’ game and the Hall of Fame and Museum. 

We enjoyed the game, of course, but the most fun was watching the
children get so excited over the mascot and other parts of the event.  We, of course, had to have a hot dog – it’s not a baseball game without it.  But after the game we went to the Skyline Diner for the other great Cincinnati treat: Cincinnati Chili. It is like no other chili: spaghetti topped with chili and mounds of shredded cheese or try it 4-ways with the addition of beans or onions, or the way we had it, 5-ways with both beans and onions all with a hint of cinnamon.  Don’t be embarrassed! Ask for a bib.