Covington Catholic students Jimmy Stratman and I, Will Henry, strolled into Great American Ballpark on a sunny Wednesday afternoon, but this was no ordinary afternoon. Stratman and I were greeted by a media representative for the Cincinnati Reds and were whisked away to retrieve their special media passes. A brief rundown of the day was given to them before they headed off down a long corridor labeled "South Field Access."
As the door reading "Authorized Personnel Only" at the end of the hallway opened and sunlight poured in, we stepped up to the visitor's dugout, which was being utilized by the Chicago Cubs for the day. The guide took us around the front of the backstop to watch the Reds' batting practice before the matchup began. Several high-profile players walked by and some stopped by to say hi and take pictures, including third-baseman Todd Frazier.
After batting practice wrapped up, we headed up the stairs to the second floor where the brain of Great American Ballpark lays - the press area and control rooms. The press area was quite the spectacle with journalists from all corners of the nation quietly typing away on laptops, scribbling notes, and studying stat sheets. After viewing the press box, we found ourselves being led into a room filled with computer screens from floor to ceiling and staff bustling about, speaking into their headsets, coordinating camera positions, scoreboard displays, and essentially everything on the technical side that makes GABP tick.
The tour eventually came to a close, but the fun was not over, because Reds staff granted the group free tickets to that night's game. So a bag of peanuts and an ice cold Pepsi later, we sat down and enjoyed the end to a great day at the ballpark.