I was excited about making the two plus hour drive down 32 to see my first Reds game of the season on Saturday night. I thought I had great seats for the game,section 109 down the third base line on the aisle. My blood pumped faster as I entered downtown knowing this would be a near sell out crowd with a playoff atmosphere.
As I got closer to the stadium, Cincinnati looked different. Imagine my eyes growing wide at the site of Black and White everywhere. The outside patios were full of Whitesox fans, the outside souvenir stands had more WhiteSox stuff than Reds.
I thought how can this be happening. Cincinnati is what baseball is all about. It is where it all started. Reds fans have always supported their team and now "the team" was winning. But tonight, Chicago was taking over the city.
My stomch turned inside out when three WhiteSox fans climbed up to the new statue of Joe Nuxhall and proudly placed a WhiteSox hat on his head before their group picture. I asked security how they could let this happen, to a beloved Red. The reaction was it was just a statue. Just a statue? This is Cincinnait for "Pete Sakes"!
As I got to my seat I found myself in one of the most embarrassing moments of my Reds fan life. All around me from seat to seat, aisle to aisle were Chicago WhiteSox fans. I had heard the stories of when the Chicago Cubs come to town, they seem to out number Reds fans, but always thought it was just a myth. But to see more WhiteSox jersey's than Reds, I suddenly become scared in my own ball park.
Proudly wearing my old Griffey 30 jersey suddenly placed a target on my back and WhiteSox fans yelled Chicago words of wisdom towards me. What was going on. I was wearing the home team uniform but yet felt like I was the enemy.
The Reds were booed when announced and WhiteSox players cheered. Was I dreaming or did I actually make a wrong turn on the interstate and end up in the wrong town wearing my neatly pressed birthday suit.
The chants of "Lets go WhiteSox" sent chills down my spine, of the wrong feeling. It still rings in my mind as if they want to brainwash me into becoming one of them. I can never let that happen, but it makes me wonder where were all the Reds fans last night.
I felt like I was in their territory. A Reds fan sitting two rows down was escorted out of the game because all the WhiteSox fans complained he stood up and cheered after the Lopez homerun. They taunted him with cheers of "Na Na Na, Hey Hey Goodbye" as the Cincinnati Police officer took him out. He questioned how can this be happening. All he wanted to do was come to his home ball park and cheer for his hometown team. Instead WhiteSox fans ruled the night. It made me want to take of my Griffey jersey so I would not be the next to leave for standing up for my beloved Reds.
For the first time in my life, I feared for my safety at a Reds game. How can the true Reds fan let this happen? How can the city of Chicago take over the best baseball town in America?
"Let's Go WhiteSox, Let's Go WhiteSox" was all you heard after the game and outside of the stadium. Did I really sit in Great American last night to see the home team Cincinnati Reds?
I can only imagine what the Reds players felt to be booed in their own stadium with a crowd of 39,000 in attendance. They had to feel like this Reds fan and question where they were playing last night.
It is time for Reds fans to unite and realize we have a baseball team that is in contention for the playoffs. This is what it is all about, or so I thought. Quit complaining about not having a bullpen or trading LaRue or Dunn. We have a product worth watching. We should be embarrassed for what happened on Saturday night. We let a city take over our city and make a mockery of the very soil that started the American pastime.
I learned one thing last night. To always be prepared for the unexpected when you attend a Reds game and make sure you make the right turn on the interstate to get to where you are going.