Monday, April 6, 2015

'Nasty Boys' lead Reds' Opening Day parade

 Inside Great American Ball Park, the Reds have Opening Day festivities that have the familiar vibe -- full-team pregame introductions, ceremonial first pitches and lots of pomp and circumstance.
Outside the stadium, Cincinnati does Opening Day like no other place in the country. It's certainly the only place where there is a parade before the game. The 96th Findlay Market Opening Day Parade -- which traveled from the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood to downtown -- featured the trio of relievers known as "The Nasty Boys" doing grand marshal duty in Norm Charlton, Rob Dibble and Randy Myers. It also included current players in Raisel Iglesias and Anthony DeSclafani.
"If I was out there at the parade and stuff, I'd get to see a little more action," Reds third baseman Todd Frazier said. "My family has told me how crazy it is out there. It's like a holiday. Everybody stops what they are doing and come to Opening Day in Cincinnati. It's a joyous time."
Inside the stadium, the grand marshals and the parade chairman presented Reds manager Bryan Price with a fruit basket.
Monday's clash with the Pirates marked the 139th Opening Day game for the Reds. As baseball's first professional team, Cincinnati is usually granted the privilege of starting every season at home.
This was the 13th opener at Great American Ball Park, which opened in 2003.
"I've been in different organizations and different cities and teams. Here, it's like we've won the World Series already," Reds catcher Brayan Pena said. "It's something special. I notice that everybody has been counting down the days before Opening Day. It's so exciting. It's beautiful to see how much they know about our team and our team tradition. The fans respect that."
Some of the highlights inside the stadium from Monday's opener:
• Charlton, Dibble and Myers threw out simultaneous first pitches to current Reds Kristopher NegronBrennan Boesch and Pena.
• There was a ceremony that honored wounded veterans with Sen. Rob Portman, Rep. Brad Wenstrup and former Reds player Ron Oester.
• The Rosie Reds woman's support club gave a special plaque to both team's managers -- Clint Hurdle of the Pirates and Price from the Reds.
• There was a moment of silence to honor Helen DeCourcy Williams, who died in January at the age of 93. Williams was the wife of former Reds owner William Williams, and the mother of a current member of the ownership, Tom Williams.
• Marlana VanHoose from Denver, Ky., sang the national anthem. VanHoose was born with cytomegalovirus (CMV), is blind and was once featured on ESPN's E:60 program.

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