Great American Ball Park
The Great American Ball Park is a Major League Baseball park in Cincinnati, Ohio. It is the home of the National League's Cincinnati Reds. It opened in 2003, replacing the Reds' former home, Cinergy Field, which was known as Riverfront Stadium from its opening in June 1970 until the 2002 season. In 1996, Hamilton County voters passed a one-half percent sales tax increase to fund the building of new venues for both the Reds and the National Football League's Cincinnati Bengals. Previously, the teams shared occupancy of Cinergy Field, but complained that the aging multi-purpose stadium lacked modern amenities and other enhancements necessary for small market teams to be competitive. Great American Ball Park was built on a plot of land located between the site of the former Cinergy Field and U.S. Bank Arena informally referred to as "the wedge". Due to the limited available space and the site's close proximity to the Ohio River, one phase of the construction of Great American Ball Park necessitated the partial demolition of Cinergy Field. Broadway Commons was also discussed as a possible building site, but the higher cost of the land concerned Reds officials, who preferred the riverfront area. The original address of the park was 100 Main Street. However, it was changed to 100 Joe Nuxhall Way to honor of the Reds' late pitcher and broadcaster who died on November 15, 2007. Nuxhall's traditional signoff phrase, "Rounding third and heading for home" is depicted on the rear of the third base stands on the north side of the park. Despite the patriotic tone of the venue's name, Great American Ball Park's name is actually derived from the name of Great American Insurance Group, which owns the park's naming rights. Carl Lindner, Jr., the chairman of the board of American Financial Group, the parent company of Great American Insurance Group, was the Cincinnati Reds' majority owner up to January 2005 when he sold majority interest to local businessman Robert Castellini, who is the current majority owner. The first-ever Major League Baseball game in Great American Ball Park took place on March 28, 2003 against the Cincinnati Reds' upstate American League rivals, the Cleveland Indians. The first official major league game took place on March 31, 2003 against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Ken Griffey, Jr. had the first hit in Great American Ball Park, a double. Former President George H. W. Bush threw out the first pitch at the first regular season game. Then vice-president Dick Cheney threw out the first pitch on opening day 2004 against the visiting Chicago Cubs. Then-president George W. Bush threw out the first pitch before the Reds' opening day game in 2006, also against the Chicago Cubs. Great American Ball Park hosted the Major League Baseball Civil Rights Game in 2009. The Chicago White Sox defeated the Reds 10–8. The Reds will again host the Civil Rights Game on May 15, 2010; they will play their division rival St. Louis Cardinals

Features of Great American Ball Park
The Gap. A 35-foot-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 smoke and launch fireworks to incite or respond to the home team's efforts. When the Reds strike out a batter, smoke blows out of the stacks. Fireworks are launched from the stacks after every Reds home run and win. The Spirit of Baseball. A 50-foot-by-20-foot 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. The piece was sculpted between 2002 and 2003 by local artists Todd Myers and Paul Brooke. The Mosaic. A mosaic paying tribute to two legendary Reds teams: the 1869 Red Stockings, Major League Baseball's first professional team, and the 1975 Big Red Machine club that won the first of two consecutive World Series, are just inside the main entrance. The Panoramas. Panoramas of downtown Cincinnati, Mt. Adams, the Ohio River and Northern Kentucky are visible from most of the park. The Scoreboard. At 217 feet, 9 inches wide, the scoreboard is the third largest in Major League Baseball; only the scoreboards at Denver's Coors Field and Detroit's Comerica Park, respectively, are larger. 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, just added HD quality. The scoreboard clock was originally a replica of the Longines clock at Crosley Field , but has since been modified. The Toyota Tundra Home Run Deck. If a Reds player hits the red Toyota Tundra pickup truck located on top of an elevator shaft approximately 500 feet from home plate beyond the center field fence, a randomly selected fan will win the truck, which is valued at approximately $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. 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. 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 (123.1 m) in center field is a tribute to the same center field dimension in the Reds' previous home, Riverfront Stadium.

Screen Renovations for the 2009 season
After the 2008 season, all of the scoreboards in the park were replaced by new high-definition video displays. The Reds have a 10-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 twenty-five 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. 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
  • On October 31, 2004, President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush held a campaign rally in Great American Ball Park. Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench and Reds announcer Marty Brennaman, a recipient of the Hall's Ford C. Frick Award, were in attendance.


Milestones and Notable moments
  • 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.


Statistics
  • 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


Building Activity

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