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Thread: When/Where Did You Attend Your First Reds Game? How Old Were You?

  1. #121
    Member WVRedsFan's Avatar
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    Re: When/Where Did You Attend Your First Reds Game? How Old Were You?

    Quote Originally Posted by RFS62 View Post
    Growing up in West Virginia, a chance to see a major league baseball game in person was the Holy Grail. I was thinking recently about how magical an experience it was when I finally got to see a major league game.

    We actually lived in the back of a 100 year old wood frame building, formerly a train station. It was my grandfathers country store, very similar to Sam Drucker's General Store on Green Acres and Petticoat Junction. It was a dry goods store, a grocery store, the post office, and my grandfather and grandmothers home all in one building, I guess about 3,000 sf all together.

    It was 50 feet from the railroad tracks on the Norfolk and Western's main
    line. When a train went by, the house shook, pictures rattled on the walls, you couldn't hear the TV set. But I thought the whole world was like that, and I actually thought we were wealthy, as we had a car and owned a business in this little town of 150 in the farthest backwoods of West Virginia.

    After becoming totally addicted to baseball as a 6 year old, my mom, the only single mother anyone knew back in the day, saved all her money for what I now know to be quite some time to take my brother and I to Cincinnati to see my beloved Reds.

    We actually whistle stopped the train behind the house, the N&W Pohattan Arrow, which ran from Norfolk to Cincinnati. You stood out by the tracks with your suitcase and flagged it down, and they stopped.

    For a 9 year old kid who had never been 50 miles from home, everything about the experience was magical. The train ride took about six hours, I believe. And the scenery was beautiful, a fantastic way to travel.

    So many things about the trip are still ingrained in my memory. When we got to Union Station in Cincinnati, I thought I had landed in Oz.

    We took a taxi to downtown Cincinnati and stayed at the old Sheraton. Everything about it was mesmerizing. Buildings the likes of which I'd only seen on TV. The buzz of the city. I thought I was in Manhattan, relative to where I lived.

    Then the long awaited day arrived. We took a bus to Crosley Field, the equivalent of a pilgrimage to Mecca in my mind. I was beside myself with excitement.

    We passed through the turnstiles, into the concourse and made our way to our section's portal.

    The next memory I have from that trip is one which I've drawn on many times in my life. As we walked up the ramp towards the usher and stepped out of the portal and saw the vast expanse of the field, the brilliant green of the grass, the crowd, the bleachers, the players on the field taking batting practice, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. I stood there in amazement for a moment, just taking it all in, without a doubt the happiest moment of my life.

    I really don't remember much about the game, other than Frank Robinson made a really nice sliding catch on a tough chance and my hero, Johnny Edwards, had a couple of hits.

    But I'll never forget that first step through the portal into a world I had only dared to dream about, a world I have loved every day since then.

    Now, every time I go to a game, no matter who I'm with, I do the same thing. I go to the nearest portal once I get in the gate and stand there, taking in the field, and thinking about that day.

    I stand there and think about the things that are good and decent in the world, and the childlike wonder that sports can bring out in all of us. I think about how much I loved playing and still miss it so badly. I think about the wonderful experiences I've had in baseball over the years and how much joy it gave me to take my son to his first game.

    And most of all, I think about the sacrifices my single mother had to make to take us there, our only vacation of the year, and she picked something she knew I loved. It was just a weekend series, but it meant the world to me.
    It's funny how similar our experiences were. Same train ride (Dad was a railroader), same thoughts on Union Station and the Sheraton Gibson hotel. Same thought on the field and Robby made a similar catch. Been missing you around here. I'm not as active as I once was. Old age I guess, but enjoyed this. Hope all is well.
    www.ris-news.com
    "You only have to bat a thousand in two things; flying and heart transplants. Everything else you can go 4-for-5."
    -Beano Cook

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  4. #122
    Member Beatlessp's Avatar
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    Re: When/Where Did You Attend Your First Reds Game? How Old Were You?

    my first game was in '86...the Astros. Rain delay that night, i was 6, my brother 10, so we ended up leaving for the hotel. I think the Reds won that night.

    side note, i was also at the game Lenny Dykstra, playing for the Phillies, broke his collar bone running into the wall in '91...heard the snap from the 3rd base side. he had just come back from that nasty car wreck


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