CINCINNATI — Luke Maile has already started to think about what it will be like to run onto the field at Great American Ball Park for Opening Day in late March.
“I don’t think it’s truly sunk in how excited I will be for that,” Maile said Tuesdayn. “I’d like to think that I might soak it in for a minute and get right back to baseball.”
The Reds announced Monday the signing of the veteran catcher Maile, a 2009 Covington (Ky.) Catholic High School graduate, to a one-year contract.
Great American Ball Park is one of only two major-league venues that Maile hasn’t played in during his pro career, which started in 2015. Chase Field in Arizona is the other on his list.
“I knew I wanted to play for the Reds at some point,” said the 31-year-old Maile, an eighth-round pick of Tampa Bay in 2012. “And in this game you never really know how many opportunities you’re going to have to do that.”
The 2023 season will be a homecoming for Maile, who was the Gatorade Kentucky Player of the Year his senior season at CovCath before he played at the University of Kentucky.
Maile said attending Reds games meant the world to him as a youngster through his high school career.
“I started going to Reds games at Riverfront Stadium when I was really, really little,” Maile said. “...I definitely grew up a Reds fan.”
Maile said he’s received a great deal of support from his family, friends and the CovCath community after reaching a deal with the Reds before Thanksgiving break.
“They were pretty ecstatic; I think that’s kind of an understatement,” Maile said of his family’s reaction. “I think the whole school has reached out to me. It’s been pretty cool. Their principal Bob Rowe texted me almost right away and said ‘Congratulations,’ how happy he was. It’s been a really, really cool 24 hours here. It’s really difficult to put into words.”
WCPO is a media partner of Cox First Media.
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