Tickets may not yet be available for the upcoming 2014 season, but that should not stop fans in Reds Country from planning their summer and fall excursions around this great nation to cheer on the Redlegs.
The season kicks off March 31 at home against the defending National League Champion St. Louis Cardinals. While attending a game down on the banks is a top-notch experience, a real jolt of enthusiasm can come from rooting for the Reds on the road. Obvious trips to Pittsburgh, Chicago and St. Louis fill up the planner, as the division rivals do not present much of a travel bill.
As for Pittsburgh, the ballpark is immaculate and has some of the cheapest seats in the bigs. I made my first trip there last season to watch Francisco Liriano suffer his only home loss all year long on May 31 along with witnessing the Reds blow a 4-0 first inning lead the following day. Weekend series in the Steel City seem to be the hot commodities for many in Reds Country, and I myself plan to attend the series there from August 29-31.
The Windy City has always had Wrigley Field as their claim to fame long before anyone reading this was born. Everyone seems to have his or her own stories they leave Chicago with; some good, some bad, but to stay that I am enticed would be an understatement. I have somehow managed not to find my way out to the home of the ivy-covered walls in my young lifetime, although this summer that streak seems destined to end if for no other reason than to visit the cathedral that Wrigley is.
For maybe the opposite reason, I can say I will not be checking Busch Stadium off my list this year. All this noise about how St. Louis is “baseball heaven” seems jolly and you cannot judge things until you try them, but Iowa will always be baseball heaven to me; even though the Cardinals built it, and they certainly came. For those located in the Midwest, hopping in your car and making the 6-hour journey to Missouri does not seem daunting, but for those with the Atlantic Ocean in our backyard, Missouri may as well be Mars. (That is of course not to say that I will not enjoy Missouri. I am a huge proponent of Cincinnati and lived in Phoenix, Arizona; I just cannot rationalize the 18-hour drive to the doorstep of Busch Stadium.)
In the 2014 campaign, the Reds have drawn the American League East as their inter-league combatants. They make journeys to iconic Fenway Park (May 6 & 7) and Yankee Stadium (July 18-20), as well as heading to Baltimore (September 2-4) before hosting the Blue Jays (June 20-22), Rays (April 11-13) and the Red Sox (August 12 & 13).
For anyone who has never attended a ballgame at Fenway, it is a must for any level of baseball fan and even with the astronomical ticket prices, the Reds are in for only two games so a minor vacation/break from work can be made reasonable. The series in the Bronx immediately after the All-Star break should be electric and while a New York summer can be unbearable, just breathing in the air circling Yankee Stadium can produce an ample amount of chills to keep the body cool. Ticket and hotel prices in the Bronx may produce months of credit card debt and you may swear you will never return, but it should be worth it to cheer on the Redlegs.
Other games/series I will be attending this year include, at Washington (May 19-21), at Arizona (May 29-31), at Pittsburgh (June 17-19) or at Chicago (June 23-25) and obviously making a trip to Great American as well. Let us know what games you already have on your radar!