Great American Ballpark
Home of the Cincinnati Reds
Experience the Park Great American Ballpark Fan Guide
Soak up the Scene
The designers of Great American Ballpark got many things right when it opened in 2003, most importantly the seating. There’s hardly a bad seat in the park, and the prices are reasonable compared to many other parks around baseball. The park is pedestrian-friendly, with wide concourses and areas throughout where you can stand and take in the game. And the upper deck provides views of the Ohio River and the growing Northern Kentucky skyline.
Great American Ballpark also attempts to celebrate Reds history, of which there is a lot – it’s the oldest professional baseball team. Outside the main entrance, dubbed Crosley Terrace, you’ll find “Spirit of Baseball,” a limestone bas relief designed to evoke baseball nostalgia. There are also statues of Reds greats Ted Kluszewski, Ernie Lombardi, Frank Robinson and Joe Nuxhall. Inside the main gates, two enormous mosaics feature the 1869 Redstockings, the first major league team, and the Big Red Machine.
The Reds Hall of Fame and Museum is a great repository of Reds and baseball history. It’s located on the west side of GAB along Main Street, and is open whether the Reds are in town or not. There’s a wall of 4,256 baseballs in honor of Pete Rose’s hit total, but Rose is not one of the dozens of Reds enshrined do to the gambling issues that have kept him out of Cooperstown as well.
In addition to baseball history, there has also been an effort to integrate Cincinnati’s cultural history with the center-field Pepsi Power Stacks, a throwback to the steamboats once common along the Ohio River. When a Reds player hits a homerun, fireworks explode out the stacks with resounding booms that can be heard across town.
If the home runs aren’t coming for the home team, the cheerleading squad, the Mountain Dew Reds Crew, might distract you. The 19-member Reds Crew was the first full-time cheerleading squad in major league baseball. When they hop up on the dugout roof for a choreographed dance routine in between innings, longtime baseball fans might be shaking their heads. But the squad gets points for energy and for their accessibility to fans, especially kids.
Speaking of the little ones, if they’re getting bored head to the Fan Zone, which features a playground, interactive games, a picnic tent and frequent concerts. Run It Out, a simulated home plate to first base timed sprint, gives kids (or adults) a chance to see how fast they can get up the line. Two Wii station tents—High Heat and Swing Away—enable kids to take their cuts against simulated major league pitching.
The park features the alcohol-free Meijer Family Section, close to the Fan Zone, and strategically placed above the visiting team’s bullpen (keeping the heckling G-rated). In addition, each Friday home game from Memorial Day to Labor Day features Friday Fireworks, a surprisingly impressive after-game fireworks display. On select Sundays throughout the summer, fans also have the opportunity to run the bases before the game.
But for all of its smart architecture, historical displays and cheerleaders, the buzz at GAB is only as loud as the team is good. Reds’ fans know their baseball and won’t be fooled into packing the place to see a mediocre team. When that’s the case, grab a Big Red Smokey and head to the upper deck for a view of the river, or stroll the park and take in the game from different vantage points in this fan-friendly park.