So here is my tale of Opening Day, a little removed.
We stayed at the Millenium downtown Sunday night before the game. We pull up to the valet and then go to the back of our X-Terra to get our bags and the valet is writing out our ticket and we hear someone go by behind us and say to the guy, 'I'll be right back, don't park it please.' We didn't think a thing of it, but the valet says. "That's a Reds player there." By the time we look over we couldn't see who it was.
A little disappointed we didn't get to see the player, we go on inside to check in and standing there was Chris Denorfia. My wife likes to get autographs, but we've never seen players outside the park in a situation where she could approach them, plus she didn't have her ball in hand, so she decides not to bother him.
Less then 2 seconds after getting in line to check in she looks to the left and sitting in the chair, talking on his cell is Andy Abad. We debated for half a minute on if it was him or not, but c'mon, if you've seen him he's got a distinctive look. Still yet though she doesn't bother him. Me not being the type to go ask for an autograph [something about asking another grown man to sign my baseball seems odd to me] I go over to the center area of the lobby and sit down with the bags while she checks in.
Lo and behold, I look up and getting off the elevator, Javier Valentin. He get's in line behind my wife, my wife who really doens't like him because he takes away playing time from her favorite player LaRue. And as they were very slow checking people in, she spends the next twenty minutes standing there with this look on her face like she wants to turn around and tell him to go away. Now mind you my wife understands baseball and she knows everyone needs days off, but if we go to 10 games a year it seems like we always manage to go to Valentin's games so she really doesn't like him. Finally as she arrives at the front of the line to check in, he drops his cell phone and hits her with it. She turns around and hands it back to him. She tells me later she was oh so close to telling him he better not drop anything on Opening Day. Knowing my wife like I do, I'm very surprised she stood there the whole time and didn't say anything to him, especially over the phone dropping.
So now she's checking in, I'm sitting in the lobby waiting, and Valentin is in line behind her. Yet again I'm looking around and getting off the elevator is Edwin Encarnacion. He goes over to the line and starts talking to Valentin, in Spanish so my wife can't understand what they are saying for sure. EE is another one of her lesser liked players, she thinks he looks like a thug. I told her the Thug Life nickname had already been handed out on the board so she'd have to find another one to call him.
Finally the next clerk is available to help Valentin. Apparently he wanted to order something and it was being charged to him instead of the club or something. He kept telling her "No, I'm a ballplayer, it's supposed to be charged to the Reds." I want his job, pay, plus room and board.
After EE left Valentin to do his thing, we saw Ryan Freel as well, though he made a beeline [no not for the bar, but for the exit.]
We get all checked in by this point, and leave the Reds locker room, er, the hotel lobby and go up to our room to drop off our bags before heading out to Rock Bottom to eat. On the elevator ride down who is on the elevator with us but RedsZone favorite, Tony Womack. I had the urge to tell him to be scrappy and draw a walk or two. Apparently just thinking it let him have a big-ish day. I offer my services to ride the elevator with other players when they need to up their OPS for us as well.
That was pretty much it for seeing players the first night, but on game day we left in the early part of the 8th inning and walked back to the hotel to leave and got one more encounter with a Reds player, of the past variety. None other than Grand Marshall and Reds HoFer Mario Soto walked up from the park himself. I almost asked for his autograph because I remember him well from my childhood, but he certainly looked like he didn't want to speak to me, just nodding and going right on in the hotel. I won't say he was/is rude, but I got the impression he might have been.
All in all, very out of the ordinary to see that many players outside the park, at least for me not being a Cincinnati native or resident. Very fun in some strange sort of way, so the Opening Day festivities were meorable to say the least.