Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig toured Great American Ball Park before the first Opening Day at the new home for the Cincinnati Reds in 2003.
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"It's wonderful," he said. "It's everything a park should be.”
Of course, Selig answered as many questions about the status of banished Reds legend Pete Rose as he did about the stadium, and that might be the case Thursday when the current current commissioner, Rob Manfred, visits Cincinnati for Opening Day, though Manfred largely answered the Rose question in 2015 by denying him reinstatement.
Manfred will serve as the grand marshal of the Findlay Market Opening Day Parade, which starts at noon Thursday. The Reds play the Pittsburgh Pirates at 4:10 p.m. Here are 10 quick facts to know about the 17th Opening Day in Great American Ball Park history:
1. Disappointing starts: The Reds have lost their last two season openers and are 6-10 at GABP on Opening Day.
2. Weather forecast: The 2018 opener was postponed by rain. It was the first time that had happened since 1966. The forecast for Thursday calls for a high of 65 degrees and a 20 percent chance of rain. Since 2010, the temperature at first pitch has been 60 degrees or higher five times.
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3. Common opponent: The Reds will play the Pirates on Opening Day for the 29th time. The Reds are 9-19 in those games.
4. Career first: Luis Castillo will draw the start for the Reds. He’s the fifth different starter to pitch the opener in the last five years, following Johnny Cueto (2012-2015); Raisel Iglesias (2016); Scott Feldman (2017); and Homer Bailey (2018). Of that group, only Iglesias is still with the Reds.
5. Power outage: The Washington Nationals beat the Reds 2-0 on Opening Day last season. It was the first time there were no home runs hit on Opening Day at Great American Ball Park. There were 41 hit in the opener from 2003-2017.
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6. Famous names: A number of Reds legends will take part in Opening Day. Johnny Bench will join Manfred during the parade. Joe Morgan will serve as honorary captain for the game. Bronson Arroyo will deliver the game ball to the mound. Eric Davis will throw out the ceremonial first pitch, and Bench will catch it.
7. Rare pick: Manfred is the first grand marshal who didn’t play for the Reds or manage the Reds since Bengals running back Rudi Johnson in 2005.
8. Pregame festivities: The Mistics, a vocal quartet from Cincinnati, will sing the national anthem. Abby Cates, a senior at Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy, will perform “God Bless America” during the seventh-inning stretch. Two F-16 Fighting Falcons from the 112th Fighter Squadron “Stingers” in Toledo will perform a flyover before the game.
9. Last time: The play-by-play voice of the Reds, Marty Brennaman, will call his 46th Opening Day. This will be his last one. He announced in January he will retire after the season.
10. Big crowd: The game is sold out. It will be the 120th sellout in the history of the stadium, which seats 42,319. There were two sold-out games in 2018.
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