Great American Ball Park

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Great American Ball Park
GABP, Great American Ball Park
Great American Ballpark logo.jpg
Great American Ballpark 2007.jpg
Location 100 Joe Nuxhall Way
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
Coordinates 39°5′51″N 84°30′24″W / 39.09750°N 84.50667°W / 39.09750; -84.50667Coordinates: 39°5′51″N 84°30′24″W / 39.09750°N 84.50667°W / 39.09750; -84.50667
Public transit Broadway & E 2nd Street
Parking 850 spaces
Owner Hamilton County
Operator Cincinnati Reds LLC
Capacity 42,319 (2008–present)
42,271 (2003–2007)
Field size Left Field - 328 ft (100 m)
Left-Center - 379 ft (116 m)
Center Field - 404 ft (123 m)
Right-Center - 370 ft (113 m)
Right Field - 325 ft (99 m)
Backstop - 55 ft (17 m)
Surface Perennial Ryegrass
Construction
Broke ground August 1, 2000
Opened March 31, 2003
Construction cost $290 million
($372 million in 2014 dollars[1])
Architect HOK Sport (now Populous)[2]
GBBN Architects
Project manager Parsons Brinckerhoff, Inc.
Structural engineer Geiger[3]/THP Ltd.[4]
Services engineer M-E Engineers, Inc.[5]
General contractor Hunt Construction Group, Inc.[6]
Main contractors RLE Construction, Inc.[7]
Tenants
Cincinnati Reds (2003–present)

Great American Ball Park is a baseball stadium located in Cincinnati, Ohio. It is the home field of the Cincinnati Reds of Major League Baseball (MLB). It opened in 2003, replacing Cinergy Field (formerly Riverfront Stadium), which had been their home field from June 1970 to 2002. Despite the patriotic tone of the name, the park's name comes from the Great American Insurance Group, which purchased the park's naming rights. Carl Lindner, Jr., the late chairman of Great American Insurance Group's parent company, American Financial Group, was the majority owner of the Cincinnati Reds from 1999 to 2005.

On January 23, 2013, the park was chosen to host the 2015 Major League Baseball All-Star Game.

History[edit]

Planning and funding[edit]

In 1996, Hamilton County voters passed a one-half percent sales tax increase to fund the construction of new venues for both the Reds and the Cincinnati Bengals of the National Football League (NFL).[6] The Reds and the Bengals had previously shared occupancy of Cinergy Field, but by the mid-1990s, they complained that the multi-purpose stadium lacked amenities necessary for small-market professional sports teams to compete and each lobbied for venues of their own.[8] Nearby Paul Brown Stadium broke ground in 1998 and was opened on August 19, 2000.

Design and construction[edit]

Great American Ball Park was built by the architectural firms Populous (formerly HOK Sport) and GBBN at a cost of approximately US$290 million. It is located on the plot of land between the former site of Cinergy Field and US Bank Arena; it was known locally as the "wedge". The limited construction space necessitated the partial demolition of Cinergy Field. It was fully demolished on December 29, 2002.[9]

Features[edit]

A view of Great American Ball Park, including The Gap.

The original address of Great American Ball Park was 100 Main Street. However, after the death of former pitcher and longtime broadcaster Joe Nuxhall in 2007, the address was changed to 100 Joe Nuxhall Way. A sign bearing Nuxhall's traditional signoff phrase "rounding third and heading for home" is located on the third base side exterior of the park. The Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum is adjacent to Great American Ball Park. In honor of Crosley Field, the Cincinnati Reds' home park from 1912 to June 1970, a monument reminiscent of the park's infamous left field terrace was built on the main entrance plaza on Joe Nuxhall Way; statues of Crosley-era stars Nuxhall, catcher Ernie Lombardi, first baseman Ted Kluszewski, and outfielder Frank Robinson are depicted playing an imaginary baseball game.[10]

The Gap. A 35-foot-(10.7-m)-wide break in the stands between home plate and third base called "The Gap" is bridged by the concourse on each level (see photo). Aligned with Sycamore Street, it provides views into the stadium from downtown and out to the skyline from within the park.

Power Stacks. In right center field, two smokestacks, reminiscent of the steamboats that were common on the Ohio River in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, flash lights, emit flames and launch fireworks to incite or respond to the home team's efforts. When the Reds strike out a batter, fire blows out of the stacks beginning with the 2012 season (previously, steam was spewed out following a strikeout). Fireworks are launched from the stacks after every Reds home run and win. The seven baseball bats featured on both smokestacks symbolize the #14 of Pete Rose, since Major League Baseball has restricted his number from being displayed along with other Cincinnati greats.[11][12]

The Spirit of Baseball. A 50-foot-by-20-foot (15 x 6 m) Indiana limestone bas relief carving near the main entrance features a young baseball player looking up to the heroic figures of a batter, pitcher and fielder, all set against the background of many of Cincinnati's landmarks, including the riverfront and Union Terminal. Local designers and artist created the piece between 2001 and 2003 with concept, design and project oversight / management by Berberich Design. The illustrative artist was Mark Riedy, the sculptors of the scale model used for fabrication where Todd Myers and Paul Brooke with fabrication by Mees Distributors.

The Mosaics. Just inside the main gates off the Crosley Terrace you will find two mosaic panels measuring 16 feet wide by 10 feet high. The mosaics depict two key eras in Reds history: “The First Nine”, the 1869 Red Stockings who were the first professional baseball team in history with a record of 57 and 0 in their first season and “The Great Eight”, the infamous Big Red Machine that won back-to-back World Series in 1975 and 1976. The mosaics were created between 2001 and 2003 with concept, design and project oversight / management by Berberich Design. The illustrative artist was Mark Riedy. These mosaic panels are made of opaque glass tiles and were produced in Ravenna, Italy by SICIS.

The Panoramas. Panoramas of downtown Cincinnati, Mt. Adams, the Ohio River and Northern Kentucky are visible from most of the park.

View from behind home plate.

The Scoreboard. At 217 feet, 9 inches (66.4 m) wide, the scoreboard from Daktronics is the sixth largest in Major League Baseball, and the 15th largest in the United States out of all LED screens. The Reds paid $4 million to install a new, LED scoreboard and high definition video screen in time for the 2009 season. The scoreboard did not add any size from the previous, but added HD quality. The scoreboard clock was originally a replica of the Longines clock at Crosley Field,[13] but has since been modified.[14]

The Toyota Tundra Home Run Deck. If a Reds player hits the "Hit Me" sign located between the Power Stacks located in right field, a randomly selected fan will win the red Toyota Tundra pickup truck located on top of an elevator shaft approximately 500 feet (150 m) from home plate beyond the center field fence, which is valued at approximately US$31,000.

Crosley Terrace.

As a nod to Crosley Field, the Reds' home from 1912–1970, a monument was created in front of the main entrance to highlight the park's famous left-field terrace. Bronze statues of Crosley-era stars Joe Nuxhall, Ernie Lombardi, Ted Kluszewski, and Frank Robinson (created by sculptor Tom Tsuchiya) are depicted playing in an imaginary ballgame. The grass area of the terrace has the same slope as the outfield terrace at Crosley Field.[10][13]

4192 Mural. A three-piece mural on the back of the scoreboard in left field depicts the bat Pete Rose used for his record-breaking 4,192nd hit and the ball he hit in 1985.

Great American Ball Park at night.

Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum. Located on the west side of Great American Ball Park on Main Street, the Hall of Fame and Museum celebrate the Reds' past through galleries and extensive use of multimedia. The Hall of Fame has been in existence since 1958, but did not previously have a building.

Riverboat Deck. A private party area located above the batter's eye.

Center Field. The dimension of 404 feet (123 m) in center field is a tribute to the same center field dimension in the Reds' previous home, Riverfront Stadium.

Riverfront Club A glass encased restaurant on the third level of the stadium that serves upscale food and has views of the field and the river.

Rose Garden Adjacent to both the stadium and the Reds Hall of Fame is a rose garden that symbolizes Pete Rose's record-breaking 4,192nd hit. It was strategically placed here because the ball landed around this area in Riverfront Stadium. The garden is visible from a stairwell in the hall of fame displaying the amount of balls that Rose hit.

Screen renovations for the 2009 season[edit]

After the 2008 season, all of the scoreboards in the park were replaced by new high-definition video displays. The Reds have a ten-year contract with the Daktronics company of Brookings, South Dakota and also have contracted with Sony for the high-definition video cameras and production equipment, which will be operated from a renovated control room. A team of 25 people will be responsible for the content of the displays.

The previous displays were installed by the Trans-Lux company when Great American Ball Park was built. However, Trans-Lux went bankrupt, and the team could not find replacement parts.

"We were just limping through, hoping the old scoreboard would make it to the end of the 2008 season", said Reds spokesman Michael Anderson.[15]

Jennifer Berger, Reds senior director of entertainment, events and production said that the Cincinnati Reds will assume the responsibility of the cost of maintaining the displays; the fans will not have to bear the brunt of paying for them.

The team expects to save money in the long term due to the displays' increased energy efficiency.

Notable non-baseball events[edit]

  • On October 31, 2004, President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush held a campaign rally in Great American Ball Park.
  • On April 27, 2008, a memorial service for Matt Maupin was held at Great American Ball Park.

Milestones and notable moments[edit]

  • First game: March 31, 2003 vs. Pittsburgh Pirates
  • First hit: March 31, 2003 by Ken Griffey, Jr. (a Double)
  • First home run: March 31, 2003 by Reggie Sanders.
  • Attendance record: 44,599 (Game 3 2010 NLDS)
  • First ceremonial first pitch: George H.W. Bush
  • First at-bat: Kenny Lofton (a ground out)
  • First grand-slam: July 21, 2003 by Russell Branyan
  • First playoff game: October 10, 2010 (Game 3 NLDS)
  • Fastest Pitch Ever: April 18, 2011 Aroldis Chapman zipped a fastball past Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen that registered 106 mph on the Great American Ball Park scoreboard. However, MLB.com's Pitch/FX tracker clocked the throw at 105.
  • Clinching Division: September 28, 2010 Jay Bruce Home Run Vs. Houston Astros.
  • First Inside-The-Park-Homerun By the Cincinnati Reds: June 17, 2011 Drew Stubbs Vs. Toronto Blue Jays
  • Longest Home Run : Outfielder Adam Dunn hits the longest home run in Great American Ball Park history on August 10, 2004 against José Lima and the Dodgers. The distance was 535 feet.
  • 1,000 hits: July 1, 2011 second baseman Brandon Phillips records his 1,000th hit from a home run vs. Cleveland Indians
  • Host Stadium for the 2015 Major League Baseball All-Star Game
  • No Hitter: July 2, 2013 Reds pitcher Homer Bailey pitched the first No Hitter in the history of Great American Ballpark, beating the San Francisco Giants by a score of 3-0

Attendance Records[edit]

Top Three Overall

1. 44,599 on October 10, 2010 (2010 NLDS Game 3)
2. 44,501 on October 9, 2012 (2012 NLDS Game 3)
3. 44,375 on October 10, 2012 (2012 NLDS Game 4)

Largest Regular Season Attendance

1. 43,831 on April 1, 2013 Opening Day

Statistics[edit]

  • Ticket windows: 25
  • Concourse widths: 40 feet (12 m)
  • Escalators: 3
  • Passenger elevators: 14
  • Public restrooms: 47 (20 women, 20 men, seven family)
  • Concession stands: 28
  • Parking spaces: 850
  • Club seats: 4,235
  • Suites: 63

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2014. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  2. ^ Great American Ball Park architect: Populous
  3. ^ Paul E. Gossen - Experience
  4. ^ Contacts for the Great American Ballpark/Reds Stadium (DL)
  5. ^ Mayers Electric Helps Revive the Cincinnati Riverfront
  6. ^ a b Great American Ball Park
  7. ^ Emporis.com - Great American Ball Park
  8. ^ Cincinnati.Com: Great American Ball Park
  9. ^ Pilcher, James (December 30, 2002). "Stadium Goes Down in 37 Seconds". The Cincinnati Enquirer. 
  10. ^ a b Pahigian, Josh, & O'Connell, Kevin. "The Ultimate Baseball Road Trip, 2nd: A Fan's Guide to Major League Stadiums". P. 201. Lyons Press, 2012. ISBN 978-0-7627-7340-4
  11. ^ Riedel, Charlie (April 3, 2007). "Stars, surprises part of memorable opening day". USA Today. Retrieved September 3, 2014. 
  12. ^ Newcomb, Tim (August 8, 2014). "Ballpark Quirks: The Gap highlights Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved September 3, 2014. 
  13. ^ a b Leventhal, Josh (2006). Take Me Out to the Ballpark. P. 69.
  14. ^ "Sony and Daktronics Pitch Ultimate HD Experience At Cincinnati Reds Great American Ball Park". 
  15. ^ Bishop, Lauren (April 3, 2009). "Reds Pump Up Scoreboard". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Retrieved April 4, 2009. 

References[edit]

  • Leventhal, Josh, Take Me Out to the Ballpark: An Illustrated Tour of Baseball Parks Past and Present. Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, 2006. ISBN 978-1-57912-513-4
  • Stupp, Dann, Opening Day at Great American Ball Park. Sports Publishing L.L.C., 2003. ISBN 1-58261-724-4

External links[edit]

Events and tenants
Preceded by
Riverfront Stadium
Home of the
Cincinnati Reds

2003 – present
Succeeded by
Current
Preceded by
AutoZone Park
Host of the
Civil Rights Game

2009 – 2010
Succeeded by
Turner Field
Preceded by
Target Field
Host of the Major League Baseball All-Star Game
2015
Succeeded by
TBD