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I made it to the game tonight (Tuesday). I drove a few hours across southern Indiana to go see the Cubs take on the Reds in Cincinnati... and what a game it was!
I pulled into Cincinnati about 5 Central for the 6 o'clock start... after getting turned around several times trying to find parking, I finally got a spot in an 'official Reds garage.' $12.00 bucks later, I walked across a concourse that connects the US Bank Arena and the Great American Ballpark. If you aren't familiar with Cincinnati, Paul Brown Stadium (football), Great American Ballpark (Baseball) and US Bank Arena (hockey) are all right next to each other.
At the ticket office, I waited in the line for 20 minutes and was able to get a ticket for $17 in the first row of section 413 (left field line). By the time I finally got to my seat, the Cubs were up by 1. Apparently, Corey Patterson had gone yard, but I missed it.
After the second inning, I got up to get a 'dugout dog.' The All Beef Hot Dog is $4.75, and pretty tasty. However, the bun was bad, and they only had mustard, ketchup, and onions as fixins. What about the Mayo and Pickle Relish?
In the third, Prior singled and Hairston doubled. Then, Corey Patterson hit a dribbler down the third base line. Prior took his time getting back to the base and should have been out... sort of. From my vantage point, it looked like the ball was foul when it was fielded, and Prior was tagged before getting back to the bag. The umpire ruled the ball was fair and that Prior got back to third safely.
The Reds argued, but the play ended with the bases loaded and none out. After Nomar popped out, Aramis singled to center scoring Prior and Hairston. Corey tried to advance to third and Jr. Griffey tried to nail him at third, but the throw got away and the ball went out of play. The play ended with three runs in and Ramirez standing on third.
The Prior call at third was one of a half dozen calls that went the Cubs way tonight... but all of the breaks in the world for the Cubs didn't negate the fact that the Cubs hit three home runs (Patterson, Lee, and Barrett), while Prior only allowed one.
Prior almost had a rough first inning. He allowed Ryan Freel to get on to start the inning. Three fly balls later, all of which would have been extra base-hits, save some excellent defensive plays, and Prior was out of the inning unscathed.
Corey Patterson may as well send Rawlings his glove measurements because he locked up a gold glove with this catch (at right). Jason Dubois, who started in left also made an excellent catch.
In fact, excellent defense was a hallmark of the day. Aramis Ramirez made several spectacular picks at third base, Nomar flashed some serious range and a strong arm, and Derrek Lee stretched, scooped, and snagged several errant throws. He also started/finished a 3-6-3 double play that was pretty nifty.
Of course, in a game where the Cubs defense easily saved three runs, the only run the Reds scored was unearned. After Wily Mo Pena reached base with a two-out-double in the fourth, Prior induced a groundball out of Rich Aurillia. It was a fairly routine ball, but Nomar didn't take the time to set himself and the ball ended up in the stands. Pena scored and Aurillia went to second. That was it for the Reds.
Otherwise, Prior was spectacular lasting seven innings, allowing 4 hits, walking 2, and striking out 6. His ERA this season is still a pristine 0.00. Cliff Bartosh pitched the 8th and 9th, allowing only a walk. Good stuff.
Great American observations
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