Great American Ballpark is a another of the fine parks built in the last 20 years. Set on the banks of the Ohio River, the park is very fan-friendly and a relaxing place to take in a game. The concourses are spacious and it is very easy to walk around the entire park and check out not only different angles but the various levels of the park. From many places you can stand behind the seating and still see most of the field of play.
There are numerous highlights sprinkled throughout the park, including mosaics depicting the Reds’ history as the oldest professional baseball club, smokestacks in the outfield designed to resemble those of the steamboats that used to frequent the Ohio River, a sprinkler zone in the outfield for cooling off, and a bank of televisions on the lower concourse for checking in on out-of-town games.
While the GAB is a very nice facility, it just seems to miss the mark slightly in a few areas that prevent it from being in my top echelon of parks. I like the idea of the red seats to match the team’s look, but for some reason it doesn’t work as well here as in St. Louis – maybe it is the starkness of the red against the white color of the rest of the facility? Not sure. I also like the idea of the steamboat/river theme in the outfield, but the execution could have been better – seems a bit cartoonish.
A Tip of the Cap
- The location right on the river
- The Crosley Terrace outside the home plate entrance with “action” statues of famous Reds such as Joe Nuxhall
- The riverboat theme in the outfield, even if not executed all that well
- The gap in the upper level seating that offers a view of the Cincinnati skyline
- The Reds Hall of Fame
- The wide concourses and numerous fan-friendly features.
Can’t put my finger on exactly how I want the outfield smokestacks to be different, but something about their design could be improved or maybe the steamboat theme could be further enhanced?
Trip to the Mound
Try to get a lower-level seat with some shade. I was in the upper deck on a hot, cloudless day with a Noon start – hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen were a must. Enjoy a walk around the entire park and be sure to check out the views from the upper deck even if you don’t sit there. Finally, have at least one chili-cheese dog from Skyline Chili.
Overall Rating: B+
- Setting (A-): Nice spot along the river and a nice short walk from downtown; moderate view of the city skyline from the outfield.
- External Appearance (B-): The home plate entrance is beautiful, and the sandstone used throughout the park looks great. Blue lettering contrasts nicely with the sandstone.
- Internal Appearance (B+): The blue seats are different than the customary green for ballparks built in the same time frame. The outfield seating sections look nice from behind home plate, and were kept low enough to preserve the view of the river and skyline.
- Atmosphere (A-): The park seemed family-friendly with a lot of kids in attendance on a Sunday.