The Cincinnati Reds had the honor of being the first Major League Baseball team to open the season for many years. In 2018, they’ll be one of the last teams to play.
The season begins Thursday with 14 games. The Reds and Nationals were scheduled to play as well, but because of inclement weather in the forecast, the Reds decided Wednesday to postpone their 142nd Opening Day until 4:10 p.m. Friday.
That will delay the excitement of a new season beginning, but it won’t matter much when the first game gets underway at Great American Ball Park.
“This is an awesome time,” Reds manager Bryan Price told reporters on Wednesday morning at the stadium. “It’s that time when if the weather is cold or damp, it doesn’t matter. It’s Opening Day. You come out here and everyone is going to be excited to start to play baseball that has a lot more consequences. It’s something we’re all looking forward to.”
Everything planned before the game for Thursday will still take place Friday. There will be a Reds Community Fund Block Party from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Joe Nuxhall Way, Freedom Way and Walnut Street. Gates at Great American Ball Park open at 2:10 p.m. Pregame ceremonies start at 3:30 p.m.
Homer Bailey will start for the Reds against Max Scherzer, of the Nationals. It will be the first Opening Day start for Bailey, who will be the fourth different starter for the Reds in the opener in the last four years.
For Price, picking Bailey, 31, to start the first game came down to his experience. This will be Bailey’s 12th season with the Reds and his 193rd career start.
“This is a guy who’s been in these environments,” Price said. “He’s pitched in the postseason. He’s thrown complete games. He’s thrown no-hitters. He’s pitched in front of a packed house here in Cincinnati and on the road. Having a veteran presence is a better approach to a situation or circumstance like this.”
The Reds are 6-9 on Opening Day at Great American Ball Park. Price is 2-2 as manager. The quest to stop a streak of four straight losing seasons or at least top 70 victories for the first time since 2014 begins Friday.
Price enters his fifth season with optimism.
“I think with the young rotation, Homer being back at full strength,” Price said, “and the addition of Jared Hughes and David Hernandez to add to the bullpen, a stronger bench with more of a veteran presence, there’s a lot of areas of improvement, and our young players have gotten a year older. That’s certainly something we’re excited about.”