This is a topic that has interested me for some time, so now that the place is 10 years old, I thought it would be interesting to revisit the venue and discuss it as a group.
When GABP opened in 2003, I can remember the regime talking about how it was a revivification of Crosley Field and how it would have charm built-in with the gap to the city, the riverboats, the smokestacks and what not. If memory serves, most people liked the place well enough when it opened, and almost all agreed it was an improvement on Riverfront Stadium / Cinergy Field -- although this wasn't exactly a ringing endorsement. Folks liked the sight lines and the intimacy of the field and basically thought it was a nice venue for watching the game. "Experts" on architecture were less enthused, and thought it compared unfavorably to the other "new old-style" parks in Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Cleveland. Some thought the Pepsi smokestacks were gaudy and that the whole structure should have either been placed elsewhere or facing the opposite direction. I kind of agreed with some of these criticisms; though I was excited to have a new place to watch the game, GABP just didn't seem to have the charming ambiance I'd found in its peer parks.
Nowadays, the place is growing on me a lot. The Reds Hall of Fame, the statues of famous players outside and the completion of the Reds-Bengals riverfront after years of construction have added a lot of appeal. I also think there has been a fair amount of "touching up" inside the park, which now looks a lot cleaner and more polished to me -- some of the exposed cement behind home plate, for instance, has now been painted over (others can likely comment more on this aspect). Finally, I don't know whether it's just me getting old, but those elements that I first thought tacky -- like the Pepsi smokestacks -- have grown on me over the last decade, as I watch players like Bruce, Votto and Phillips literally grow up on the field, and as I myself age in the process. I would imagine that putting a few World Championship banners up would make the place look even better, of course.
So what are your thoughts about the Reds (relatively) recent home? Did you like it then? Do you like it now? What do you see in its future? Of course, feel free to post pics from any moment in the decade of GABP as well. This should be a thread to commemorate recent history as well.