Cheap Seats at Great American Ball Park

Cincinnati Reds


Cheap Seats at Great American Ball Park

Posted by Kurt Smith

(Note: this article contains affiliate links. If you use an affiliate link to make a purchase, Ballpark E-Guides earns a commission, at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support!)

By baseball standards, none of the seats at the Reds’ home are terribly expensive, at least not compared to ballparks in Chicago or New York. But if you’re looking for the cheap seats at Great American Ball Park, here’s a few sections and my opinion about them:

 

cheap seats at great american ball park five dollar seats

Yes, it’s a $5 view, at least the foul pole isn’t in the way.

Cheap Seats at Great American Ball Park, Tip #1) Outer View. You can’t beat the price of the Outer View seats in Section 509 in left field…they can often be had for just $5. And you can order them online rather than having to go to the box office, although you’ll pay the online fees.

Sure, the view of the action isn’t great, although the view of the Ohio River and Kentucky is pretty boffo. But for most games, you can usually move to a better spot in the 500 level after the third inning or so. I’ve done this…please don’t tell the Reds.

Since the soon to be discussed “District Ticket” includes a free drink, it’s about the same deal as just buying a $5 ticket and hanging out in the District, where anyone with a ticket can go. Except you have an actual seat for just a finski.

Looking for cheaper Reds tickets? Try my friends at SeatGeek!

cheap Reds tickets seatgeekClick on the logo to find deals on Reds game tickets, and tell them Kurt sent you!

 

cheap seats at great american ball park bleachers

I have this incredible urge to shop at Kroger. Sure hope I can find one in Cincinnati…

Cheap Seats at Great American Ball Park, Tip #2) Bleachers. The Kroger Bleachers are the sections directly underneath the scoreboard; they are metal benches with backs and are the cheapest seats in the ballpark, save for Outer View seats and standing room.

The first 3-6 rows of the bleachers (Rows A-F) are downstairs from the entrance to the seating area; they cost the same but are closer to the action. There is a walkway separating these from the rows behind them, which makes going for a hot dog much easier from Rows A-F. The bleachers also in front of the impressive Big Board, but for your hi-def information there’s a nice new scoreboard in right field.

One important thing…the bleachers get hot. This is the last place to see shade for a night game, and their being metal doesn’t help. It’s a good idea to bring a hat and sunglasses.

That’s not to say it’s a bad deal; bleachers are affordable and attract a fair number of families. It’s a little more raucous out there, which can be fun.

Book your ideal Reds parking spot ahead of time…with my friends at ParkWhiz!

Great American Ball Park parking parkwhiz

Click the ParkWhiz logo to find great deals on Reds parking!

cheap seats at great american ball park

It’s not like you’re that far behind people that paid $6 more. And you have shade!

Cheap Seats at Great American Ball Park, Tip #3) Upper View Level. If you don’t mind sitting in the highest rows of the upper deck…and behind home plate this isn’t usually a bad thing…the top seven rows or so of the 500 sections go for a pretty nice price…often even less than the bleacher seats. Not bad for actual seats that aren’t hard hot metal, but probably not for the acrophobic.

It’s another way to get into the ballpark cheap, and with seats that aren’t half bad with a nice view of Kentucky and the bridges going across the Ohio. Again, in my experience, the upper level here isn’t tightly patrolled, and in the 500 sections you can usually move to a better spot.

Don’t pay ballpark prices for Reds gear and souvenirs!

Order your essential Reds items before you go at Amazon.com, pay far less than you would at the ballpark, AND get free shipping on orders over $25…click here!

cheap seats at great american ball park fioptics district

Featuring seating deftly arranged to encourage fans to guess where the field is!

Cheap Seats at Great American Ball Park, Bonus Tip!) The Fioptics District. If you’re not quite into baseball enough to just sit in a seat for nine innings and would like to socialize a bit (and I’m not judging), the Fioptics District is ideal for you.

The District is a lounge area with a full bar, comfy sofa-style seats with a fine view of downtown Cincinnati, and tables and drink rails with a view of the ballgame from left field. These used to be 400 level seats, but too many of them had the foul pole in the way, so the Reds turned it into a standing area.

The best part is that the Reds sell a very inexpensive “District Ticket” that includes added value for a drink or a concessions item, and you can use this credit in the nearby Machine Room restaurant. Great for a nice cheap evening of baseball.

There’s a few choices for the cheap seats at Great American…I checked for a low demand game, but these were all under $20 as I wrote this. But if you have a few extra bucks to spend, try these on for size.

Want to know more about Great American Ball Park? Sign up here for my completely free Great American Ball Park e-mail newsletter series, and score some seriously valuable info about tickets, seating, transportation and food…see you at the Yard!

3 More Great American Ball Park Food Options

Posted by Kurt Smith

(Note: this article contains affiliate links. If you use an affiliate link to make a purchase, Ballpark E-Guides earns a commission, at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support!)

I’ve talked a bit about the essential grub items for enjoying Cincinnati baseball here, but one post isn’t enough to cover all of the Great American Ball Park food options. Here are three more of my favorite spots…

 

great american ball park food options frisch burger

I like this guy. He looks a bit like Johnny Bench.

Great American Ball Park Food Options, Tip #1) Frisch’s Big Boy Burgers. Frisch’s is another chain that started in Cincinnati; they were added to the long list of local chains featured in Great American once they figured out how to install their topsider grills. The stand in the main concourse actually has a statue of the big Frisch’s mascot in a Reds uniform. Very cool.

Frisch’s stands have the famous Big Boy burger, the double decker with two 1/8 pound patties, lettuce, cheese, pickles and Frisch’s famous tartar sauce (heavy on mayo and pickle relish). If you like that tartar sauce, you can get some extra for your burger, and you can also order a jar from Amazon.

Looking for cheaper Reds tickets? Try my friends at SeatGeek!

seatgeekClick on the logo to find deals on Reds game tickets, and tell them Kurt sent you!

 

great american ball park food options penn station subs

Because you can’t get a good sub on the West Coast.

Great American Ball Park Food Options, Tip #2) Penn Station Subs. The local chain of East Coast sub shops modeled after the Philly cheesesteak joints has a couple of spots at Great American. Penn Station keeps it simple; there are only two items on the menu, the Philly-style cheesesteak on sourdough bread and fresh-cut fries with some skin left on. You get them together or just get the fries. And fresh-squeezed lemonade to drink it down.

Penn Station is very popular in the area (they’ve won several “best sandwich” awards, not bad for a chain), and the ballpark version actually isn’t much more expensive than at the chain itself, so you’re getting a fairly decent value here too.

Book your ideal Reds parking spot ahead of time…with my friends at ParkWhiz!

parkwhiz

Click the ParkWhiz logo to find great deals on Reds parking!

great american ball park food options taste of belgium

Come on, just have one

Great American Ball Park Food Options, Tip #3) Taste of Belgium Waffles. Taste of Belgium is a chain of shops known for serving among the most popular Belgian waffles in the region; in 2014 they became the Official Waffle of the Reds. Here you can get plain, chocolate or strawberry and cream waffles with Ohio maple syrup; or you can get a chicken and waffle dish and/or frites (fries) if that grabs.

Taste of Belgium now has red velvet waffles topped with whipped cream and red sprinkles. Nice romantic thing if you’re bringing a date. Incidentally, there’s a Taste of Belgium on Freedom Way between the ballpark and Paul Brown Stadium; you can try it cheaper there. Or in the Findlay Market if you’re visiting and using this tip about the Connector. Wherever, just try them…they’re amazing.

So now you know a few choices that you have for grub while enjoying your Reds baseball…don’t go hungry when you can have a Philly cheesesteak.

Don’t pay ballpark prices for Reds gear and souvenirs!

Order your essential Reds items before you go at Amazon.com, pay far less than you would at the ballpark, AND get free shipping on orders over $25…click here!

Great American Ball Park With Kids – 3 Things To Know

Posted by Kurt Smith

(Note: this article contains affiliate links. If you use an affiliate link to make a purchase, Ballpark E-Guides earns a commission, at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support!)

You could come up with worse family outing ideas than visiting Great American Ball Park with kids. Great American is one of the most kid-friendly (and wallet-friendly) ballparks in MLB, and the Reds offer lots of cool deals for fans.

Here are three great reasons to take the children to a Reds game:

 

great american ball park with kids fun zone

Reds employees are known for hanging curveballs.

#1) The Fan Zone. The Fan Zone in the right field corner of GABP is a multi-level playground featuring a wiffle ball field, interactive games with prizes, and the Reds Heads Clubhouse for Kids Club members. A big slide leads from the upper level to the lower level. Often Reds employees will come out and pitch to the kids.

In addition to all of this, there are fireworks on Friday nights and kids’ giveaways on Sundays.

Looking for cheaper Reds tickets? Try my friends at SeatGeek!

cheap Reds tickets seatgeekClick on the logo to find deals on Reds game tickets, and tell them Kurt sent you!

 

great american ball park with kids newport levee

Bowling! Heck, let’s skip the ballgame!

#2) Newport-On-The-Levee. If you really want to wear the kids out, you can park cheaply in the Newport-On-The-Levee complex across the river in Kentucky, and make a day of it. There’s an aquarium, a movie theater, a Gameworks arcade, and many more places for the kids to have fun and for parents to spend money. Lots of places to eat and fun for kids of all ages.

When going to the game, park in Newport and use the inexpensive Southbank Shuttle, and get dropped off right at the door of Great American.

Book your ideal Reds parking spot ahead of time…with my friends at ParkWhiz!

Great American Ball Park parking parkwhiz

Click the ParkWhiz logo to find great deals on Reds parking!

great american ball park with kids playground

“Really, there’s a playground at the ballpark! Come on kids!”

#3) The Riverfront. There’s a pretty nice riverfront in Cincinnati, with a beautiful walking and bicycling trail, and a perfectly nice playground for the kids to burn off steam at the foot of the Roebling Bridge. Good if you’re there, say, an hour before the gates open. The kids can burn off enough steam to sleep a couple of innings.

There’s three places to see when visiting Great American Ball Park with kids…and if you want to save money on tickets, check this out.

Don’t pay ballpark prices for Reds gear and souvenirs!

Order your essential Reds items before you go at Amazon.com, pay far less than you would at the ballpark, AND get free shipping on orders over $25…click here!

Want to know more about Great American Ball Park? Sign up here for my completely free Great American Ball Park e-mail newsletter series, and score some seriously valuable info about tickets, seating, transportation and food…see you at the Yard!

Great American Ball Park Seating – 3 Cool Spots

Posted by Kurt Smith

(Note: this article contains affiliate links. If you use an affiliate link to make a purchase, Ballpark E-Guides earns a commission, at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support!)

The Great American Ball Park seating chart has something for everyone, and each seating section has its advantages for every taste, even for tightwads.

Here’s a bit of my opinion on just three noteworthy sections…

 

great american ball park seating club

You get to sit in front of people who had to kiss up to their corporate suite-owning boss.

Great American Ball Park Seating, Tip #1) The Champions Club. Like with their neighbors in Cleveland, the club seats at GABP are on the mezzanine level on the first base side, over the field level seats.

The seats here are wider than most and padded, have a great view of the action and a straight ahead view of the Big Board, and best of all include access to the climate-controlled Champions Club and its buffet.

The buffet with non-alcoholic drinks is included in the ticket price, and features Cincy greats Montgomery Inn BBQ sandwiches and LaRosa’s pizza, along with a carvery and Asian food station. At ballpark prices, you should be able to get your money’s worth on that.

Looking for cheaper Reds tickets? Try my friends at SeatGeek!

cheap Reds tickets seatgeekClick on the logo to find deals on Reds game tickets, and tell them Kurt sent you!

 

great american ball park seating sun moon deck

Don’t be fooled by the sparse crowd. It’s not the best grounds crew vantage point.

Great American Ball Park Seating, Tip #2) The Sun/Moon Deck. The Sun/Moon Deck area in right field is so named for your ability to see the sun or the moon easily from the section, which isn’t covered anywhere. There’s actually a pretty nice view of the Cincinnati skyline from here as well.

The Sun/Moon Deck is a popular spot for the river breeze and the proximity to great food and the kids’ play area; just make sure that you’re protected from the sun on those blazingly hot Cincinnati summer days. They have misters nearby in center field.

Book your ideal Reds parking spot ahead of time…with my friends at ParkWhiz!

Great American Ball Park parking parkwhiz

Click the ParkWhiz logo to find great deals on Reds parking!

great american ball park seating mezzanine

See what they did there with the Gap? Better cheap seats!

Great American Ball Park Seating, Tip #3) The Mezzanine. The Mezzanine is what the Reds call the larger 400 level sections that were created as a result of the Gap. Mezzanine seats are almost as close to the field as the Champions Club seats on the first base side, but they are much cheaper, and they have a superb view of the river beyond the outfield.

They don’t include food with your ticket like Club seats do, but you’ll have more than enough money left over with these to enjoy a decent meal in the Machine Room, which is also in the upper level in left field and is also climate controlled. See, I think about this stuff.

That’s just three seating areas of Great American Ball Park; you have a lot more to choose from, like the Scout seats, the Diamond Club or the bleachers. If you’re going cheap, check out this post.

Don’t pay ballpark prices for Reds gear and souvenirs!

Order your essential Reds items before you go at Amazon.com, pay far less than you would at the ballpark, AND get free shipping on orders over $25…click here!

Want to know more about Great American Ball Park? Sign up here for my completely free Great American Ball Park e-mail newsletter series, and score some seriously valuable info about tickets, seating, transportation and food…see you at the Yard!

3 Ways To Score Cheap Reds Tickets

Posted by Kurt Smith

(Note: this article contains affiliate links. If you use an affiliate link to make a purchase, Ballpark E-Guides earns a commission, at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support!)

The Reds are pretty good about making the majority of seats at Great American Ball Park affordable for fans. But it also helps to save money by planning ahead…so here are three tips for scoring cheap Reds tickets.

 

cheap reds tickets newsletter

Imagine all this news in your inbox!

Cheap Reds Tickets, Tip #1) Use The Newsletter. The Reds e-mail ticket alerts offer some truly great deals for fans, and I can tell you the Reds put more offers in their newsletter than most teams do, even when they’re competitive on the field.

Deals include half-price tickets for kids on Sundays, added concessions value and discounted tickets for members of the local library or other Cincinnati institutions. The Reds are very generous to newsletter subscribers, so be sure to sign up.

 

cheap reds tickets fan club

Of course, if you applied online, you could have gotten a cheap ticket to get to this booth.

Cheap Reds Tickets, Tip #2) Join The Club(s). The Reds have three fan clubs for kids of varying age levels; you can find them on the Fans page of the Reds website. Membership includes ticket vouchers that are alone worth the price, but you also get a lot of privileges and gear to go with it.

For adults, if you’re early enough, you can join the Rosie Reds Club, which is a separate entity but also offers ticket deals for members.

Book your ideal Reds parking spot ahead of time…with my friends at ParkWhiz!

Great American Ball Park parking parkwhiz

Click the ParkWhiz logo to find great deals on Reds parking!

save money on souvenirs reds community

The Reds reward good deeds.

Cheap Reds Tickets, Tip #3) Help Your Fellow Cincinnatian. In the Community section of the Reds website are several opportunities to score Reds tickets through being a good citizen. The Reds offer tickets to fans for donating blood, participating in the “Redlegs Run”, or recycling your electronics.

Nothing like getting ballgame tickets for helping your fellow human.

 

cheap reds tickets seatgeek

Click the image to find deals on Reds tickets!

Cheap Reds Tickets, Tip #4) Bonus Tip: Try SeatGeek. SeatGeek is my favorite third party website for Reds tickets, and I’m not just saying that because they’re an affiliate of mine. Anytime I’m looking for deals on baseball tickets, I check SeatGeek first.

Click here to search for deals on Reds tickets. 

There you go, four great tips for finding inexpensive tickets to see the Cincinnati Reds. There are plenty of other ways to save money for a game at Great American Ball Park, however…

Don’t pay ballpark prices for Reds gear and souvenirs!

Order your essential Reds items before you go at Amazon.com, pay far less than you would at the ballpark, AND get free shipping on orders over $25…click here!

Want to know more about Great American Ball Park? Sign up here for my completely free Great American Ball Park e-mail newsletter series, and score some seriously valuable info about tickets, seating, transportation and food…see you at the Yard!

Great American Ball Park Parking – 3 Smart Choices

Posted by Kurt Smith

(Note: this article contains affiliate links. If you use an affiliate link to make a purchase, Ballpark E-Guides earns a commission, at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support!)

There isn’t any shortage of close and convenient Great American Ball Park parking; the home of the Reds is among the easiest to reach by automobile or other means. I’ve looked into this quite a bit, and I have my three favorite spots, each very affordable and with its own advantages:

 

great american ballpark parking streetcar

Reachable by streetcar, and features outstanding Belgian waffles.

Great American Ball Park Parking, Part 1: Park early at the ballpark and make a day of Cincinnati. The Broadway and a couple of other lots are literally right there at the ballpark, but they don’t start charging the game rate until later in the day, so if you’re early enough you can park there for the day for a fraction of the event cost.

And now with the new and inexpensive Cincinnati streetcar, you can very cheaply visit some great local attractions like Findlay Market. (Belgian waffles!)

Book your ideal Reds parking spot ahead of time…with my friends at ParkWhiz!

Great American Ball Park parking parkwhiz

Click the ParkWhiz logo to find great deals on Reds parking!

great american ball park parking newport

Baseball and sea otters…without having to move your car.

Great American Ball Park Parking, Part 2: Park in Newport, KY. The Newport-On-The-Levee garage is cheap, and it’s near a full-blown entertainment center with everything from a movie theater and an aquarium and lots of great eateries.

And multiple ways to get to the ballpark…you can take a lengthy but scenic stroll across the Purple People Bridge, or use the inexpensive Southbank Shuttle to GABP’s front door…or even take a boat from the waterfront restaurants. Great if you’re bringing the kids or impressing a date.

Looking for cheaper Reds tickets? Try my friends at SeatGeek!

cheap Reds tickets seatgeekClick on the logo to find deals on Reds game tickets, and tell them Kurt sent you!

 

great american ball park parking covington

A cheap if rickety ride from a free parking spot.

Great American Ball Park Parking, Part 3: Park in Covington, KY. Covington is nowhere near the entertainment destination that Newport is, but this can be a good thing…it’s more than simple enough to find a free spot, either near the Roebling Bridge for another scenic walk (and not as lengthy as the walk from Newport) or a Southbank Shuttle station for a cheap ride.

There are some nice watering holes with outdoor dining here, like the Keystone Bar & Grill…which will give you shuttle tokens with their outstanding mac and cheese.

There’s three great options for different tastes in getting to Great American, and I hope you find them useful. But there are lots of great ways to get to the home of the Reds…here’s more about that Southbank Shuttle.

Don’t pay ballpark prices for Reds gear and souvenirs!

Order your essential Reds items before you go at Amazon.com, pay far less than you would at the ballpark, AND get free shipping on orders over $25…click here!

Want to know more about Great American Ball Park? Sign up here for my completely free Great American Ball Park e-mail newsletter series, and score some seriously valuable info about tickets, seating, transportation and food…see you at the Yard!

Visiting Great American Ball Park – 5 Tips For Newbies

Posted by Kurt Smith

(Note: this article contains affiliate links. If you use an affiliate link to make a purchase, Ballpark E-Guides earns a commission, at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support!)

If you’re visiting Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati for the first time, there are a few things you should probably know before you go. Great American is a terrific, and underrated ballpark experience, so make sure you get the most out of it.

 

visiting great american july promos

They have promotions in other months too. Don’t sweat it.

Visiting Great American Ball Park Tip #1: Check for ticket deals. Not just through the Reds website, although they definitely have some great offers and you should sign up for team e-mail alerts. But sites like Cincinnati USA, Groupon, etc. also offer discounted Reds tickets. You can get that District ticket with the free drink, or get half-price tickets for the kids if you search a little bit.

Looking for cheaper Reds tickets? Try my friends at SeatGeek!

cheap Reds tickets seatgeekClick on the logo to find deals on Reds game tickets, and tell them Kurt sent you!

 

visiting great american sun moon deck

The shaded area can accommodate approximately four guests.

Visiting Great American Ball Park Tip #2: Be prepared in the outfield seating. If you’re sitting in the bleachers in left field or the Sun & Moon Deck in right field, you will be completely unprotected from the sun during the day, and when you add the concrete and white steel to the Cincinnati heat, it can be rough.

Have sunglasses and sunscreen, and take advantage of the misters that the Reds set up near the home run towers. Probably a good idea to bring a cushion for those metal bleachers seats too. You’ll thank me.

 

visiting great american newport parking

Baseball and sea otters…without having to move your car!

Visiting Great American Ball Park Tip #3: Try parking in Newport. You can park in the Newport-On-The-Levee entertainment complex very cheaply, especially if you’re early, and from there you have several choices to get to the ballpark…the long but picturesque walk across the Purple People Bridge, the inexpensive Southbank Shuttle, or the ferry boats coming from the Hooters and other restaurants on the pier.

Great for a fun outing, and there’s plenty to do in Newport-On-The-Levee for kids of all ages.

Book your ideal Reds parking spot ahead of time…with my friends at ParkWhiz!

Great American Ball Park parking parkwhiz

Click the ParkWhiz logo to find great deals on Reds parking!

visiting great american machine room

If you ask nicely, they’ll put the game on TV for you.

Visiting Great American Ball Park Tip #4: Enjoy a meal in the Machine Room. There are plenty of great food choices in Great American like the Skyline chili cheese Coney, the Penn Station subs and the Frisch’s Big Boy burgers, but those are all local chains and you can enjoy them more cheaply at the actual restaurants in town.

Instead, try the restaurant in the upper left field corner…you may get a table with a great view, and you can get some crazy and messy loaded fries. Remember what I said about arriving early? The Machine Room is another pretty good reason.

Don’t pay ballpark prices for Reds gear and souvenirs!

Order your essential Reds items before you go at Amazon.com, pay far less than you would at the ballpark, AND get free shipping on orders over $25…click here!

visiting Great American Reds Hall

Yes, they traded Joe Morgan.

Visiting Great American Ball Park Tip #5: See the Reds Hall of Fame. It’s great to visit any team’s Hall, but the Reds Hall may be the best of them. You can see a short film of the team’s history, where you’ll learn how Cincinnati was the home of the first professional baseball team (which is now technically the Red Sox, but the city still has great baseball roots) and you can see displays like the 4,256 baseballs for Pete Rose hits and a model of old Crosley Field. Not to mention the Reds Hall itself, which will probably be the only baseball Hall to include Charlie Hustle.

That’s a few essential tips for visiting Great American…if you’re looking for ways to score cheaper tickets, check this out.

Want to know more about Great American Ball Park? Sign up here for my completely free Great American Ball Park e-mail newsletter series, and score some seriously valuable info about tickets, seating, transportation and food…see you at the Yard!

Great American Ball Park Seating – The Gap

Posted by Kurt Smith

(Note: this article contains affiliate links. If you use an affiliate link to make a purchase, Ballpark E-Guides earns a commission, at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support!)

The Great American Ball Park seating bowl features a pretty neat idea that some newer ballparks have quietly adopted – the Gap.

When Great American was built, budget constraints kept the designers from putting in big riverboats or exploding scoreboards, so they came up with a clever way to introduce a quirk to the ballpark.

The Gap is a section of seating between home and third base that was left open; there is an opening there that is a decent standing room spot on the upper level especially.

I’ve read that the Gap allows people to watch the game from Sycamore Street, but honestly I don’t know how that’s possible, unless there is a spot just outside the ballpark that I missed.

 

great american ball park seating gap right field

Watch Cincinnati office workers from inside the ballpark!

The other stated purpose of the Gap was to bring the upper level seats on the third base side closer to home plate. That isn’t quite the case either, well, not exactly.

What the Gap does do is enable larger sections of 400 level seats. These are called “View Box” seats on the first base side of the Gap, and those sections have about five rows, while on the third base side they are called “Mezzanine” but still are numbered with 400 section numbers. The sections on the third base side have 17-18 rows in them.

So yes, it does bring the seats closer to the action; the Mezzanine seats are about at the same level as the Club seating on the first base side. But it doesn’t actually bring the cheapest seats closer to the field, not noticeably so anyway. The Mezzanine seating costs as much as the View Box, sometimes a couple bucks more or less depending on the Reds’ dynamic pricing.

Looking for cheaper Reds tickets? Try my friends at SeatGeek!

cheap Reds tickets seatgeekClick on the logo to find deals on Reds game tickets, and tell them Kurt sent you!

 

great american ball park seating gap view level

More breeze for left-handed power hitters!

Not saying that this is a bad thing, not at all. The Gap provides a nice little opening to walk past and it’s actually pretty neat how the designers of the ballpark created larger 400 level sections. Yes, it costs a few dollars more, but they’re mezzanine level seats as opposed to upper box, and the seats have a good perspective of everything.

Great American Ball Park is one of the most functionally fan-friendly ballparks in baseball, in my opinion, and one of the reasons is the view from most of the seats in the ballpark. In most places the upper rows on the third base side wouldn’t be great; at Great American you have some better choices.

Book your ideal Reds parking spot ahead of time…with my friends at ParkWhiz!

Great American Ball Park parking parkwhiz

Click the ParkWhiz logo to find great deals on Reds parking!

Want to know more about Great American Ball Park? Sign up here for my completely free Great American Ball Park e-mail newsletter series, and score some seriously valuable info about tickets, seating, transportation and food…see you at the Yard!

The Best Way To Get To Great American Ball Park

Posted by Kurt Smith

(Note: this article contains affiliate links. If you use an affiliate link to make a purchase, Ballpark E-Guides earns a commission, at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support!)

More than likely, you’re going to get to Great American Ball Park by car, since public transit isn’t as prevalent in Cincinnati as it is in, say, Chicago.

This is fine, though, since there are ample parking options. And as ballparks go, it is relatively easy to get to Great American, with several interstates on either side of downtown. You have inexpensive and expensive choices, and you have places to park where you can get in easily and places where you can get out easily.

There are also lots of places to leave your car in the neighboring towns of Newport and Covington, across the Ohio River in Kentucky. They aren’t the closest or the easiest places to walk (there are closer cheap spots), but you do have the option of the Southbank Shuttle.

Book your ideal Reds parking spot ahead of time…with my friends at ParkWhiz!

Great American Ball Park parking parkwhiz

Click the ParkWhiz logo to find great deals on Reds parking!

get to great american southbank shuttle

Does everything in baseball have to be named for a bank?

The Southbank Shuttle is a trolley service operated by the fine people at the Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky (TANK). The trolley service runs from either Newport or Covington, and in most cases it passes through Cincinnati and has several stops near the ballpark. It runs frequently enough that you shouldn’t have to wait long, they offer extra service for Reds games, and as of this writing it’s just a buck-fifty per ride.

You can usually find cheap or even free parking in both towns, and the nice thing is that if you plan to take in some pre- or post-game food or entertainment, you have lots of dining options and fun things to do, especially at the Newport-On-The-Levee entertainment center.

Looking for cheaper Reds tickets? Try my friends at SeatGeek!

cheap Reds tickets seatgeekClick on the logo to find deals on Reds game tickets, and tell them Kurt sent you!

 

get to great american southbank shuttle sign

Now, if it were every 20 minutes, I wouldn’t be recommending it.

You might have reasons to park downtown for a game, and there are some good reasons to do so in certain cases. But if you’re looking for inexpensive parking with minimal walking and less traffic after the game, you could do worse than parking in Kentucky and hopping on a trolley.

My only complaint is it’s a bit of a rickety ride. I wouldn’t recommend it for pregnant women. Then again, if your companion is carrying your offspring, you should be dropping her off at the door anyway.

That’s just one way to get to Great American; there’s also the street parking near the ballpark, the new Cincinnati streetcar, even the river shuttles. Click here to read some cool parking options.

TANK website: http://www.tankbus.org

Don’t pay ballpark prices for Reds gear and souvenirs!

Order your essential Reds items before you go at Amazon.com, pay far less than you would at the ballpark, AND get free shipping on orders over $25…click here!

Want to know more about Great American Ball Park? Sign up here for my completely free Great American Ball Park e-mail newsletter series, and score some seriously valuable info about tickets, seating, transportation and food…see you at the Yard!

Great American Ball Park Food – 3 Things To Try

Posted by Kurt Smith

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The Great American Ball Park food menu isn’t overly complicated. The Reds don’t have the ridiculous amount of options that, say, the Mets do. I didn’t see a sushi or lobster roll stand there. But there is a decent variety and you should be able to find something that fits your taste, especially if you’re an American and like hot dogs at the game.

There’s also several stands that celebrate the local chains, and each one has something that makes for great ballpark food.

 

Great American Ball Park food skyline coney

In case you’d like a hot dog with your cheese.

Great American Ball Park Food Tip #1: The Skyline Chili Cheese Coney. If there’s a go-to item at Great American, at least judging by the number of them I saw being purchased, it’s probably the Skyline cheese and chili dog.

Skyline chili is a very popular chain that can be found all over Cincinnati, known for the local style of chili—which is probably different from the way most people outside of Cincinnati know it, with both cocoa and cinnamon as ingredients. There are several Skyline stands at Great American.

The Skyline Chili Cheese Coney is a small hot dog with a generous amount of Cincinnati-style chili and a nice helping of shredded cheddar piled on top. They’re not very long, only about four inches or so…and they’re fairly economically priced so most people get two of them.

Definitely get a fork and some napkins for this one, but it’s good eats.

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My day is complete.

Great American Ball Park Food Tip #2: Fry Box Buffalo Chicken Fries. The Fry Box stand at Great American is fairly new, but it ranks near the top of fry stands I’ve seen at ballparks, and remember I live in the home of Chickie’s and Pete’s in Philly.

Put Buffalo-style chicken on cheesecake and it would probably taste good. But put it on hand cut fried potatoes…which is pretty much nature’s perfect food…and add a generous helping of ranch dressing and blue cheese, and you’ve got a classic why-have-I-been-settling-so-much-in-my-life ballpark dish. When you need a fork to eat your loaded fries, they’ve been done right.

OK, so maybe it isn’t the healthiest thing, so walk it off along the riverfront…

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Most pizza chains would need a plastic pizza replica to make their pizza look this good.

Great American Ball Park Food Tip #3: LaRosa’s Pizza. I would be giving LaRosa’s a shoutout anyway, since I visited one while I was in town and the folks there couldn’t have been nicer to me. But it’s pretty good pizza in its own right, and I’m a South Jersey pizza snob. I live in an area with several chains: Domino’s, Papa John’s, Little Caesar’s, Pizza Hut. LaRosa’s is easily better than all of them, and I hope they open a few in Jersey.

At Great American LaRosa’s is represented with a few stands in the upper and lower concourses; you can get a plain slice, a slice with pepperoni, and a Montgomery Inn BBQ sandwich for some reason. According to the Reds website, they sell a calzone too, but I didn’t see it. Don’t be put off by the congealing slices that have been sitting on display for a while; your slice should be a little fresher.

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That’s three suggestions for Great American Ball Park food; but there’s many other choices, including mac and cheese from the Keystone Bar & Grill, the amazing Taste of Belgium waffles, and Frisch’s Big Boy among many others…here’s a post with some more choices.

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Best Ballparks – Why Great American Is Underrated

Posted by Kurt Smith

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I often get asked my opinion on what the best ballparks are, and usually names like Fenway and Camden and PNC pop into my head. Great American in Cincinnati doesn’t make my top five, or maybe even my top ten. It doesn’t quite stand out among the greats visually, the food selection isn’t as varied, and it doesn’t have the retro feel that so many new ballparks have.

But at the risk of sounding like a boring architect (not that architects are boring, just saying), from a functional standpoint, Great American Ball Park truly is one of the best in baseball. Underrated thing, ballpark functionality, until you’re a season ticket holder.

First, it’s more affordable than most ballparks: for a team that has been competitive in some recent years, the Reds offer some amazing deals for fans. Kids and senior citizens can get half-price tickets, there are several fan clubs that offer discounts, and Reds tickets aren’t that expensive to begin with; even the better seats are relatively affordable.

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Why are these seats crooked?

Another thing I noticed about GABP is the fan-friendly way the seating is arranged. I kind of chuckled at the big deal they made about the Gap in left field at first, but it does bring more seats closer to the action. The curvature of the seating bowl on the first base side and the way the seats are arranged allow for a straight ahead view with no neck twisting.

I searched all over the ballpark, and other than the bleachers missing a bit of the warning track, I couldn’t find a single obstructed view…including seats from which you can’t see the scoreboard.

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It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood…

Few ballparks—especially ballparks planted in the heart of a city—are easier to get to than Great American. There are three nearby interstates, and not only is there abundant parking in the garages and lots nearby, there is much cheaper parking across the river in Newport and Covington. From either town you can use the inexpensive Southbank Shuttle to the ballpark. And now the new streetcar makes a visit to Cincinnati with a ballgame thrown in much easier.

Leaving the ballpark, drivers can move in any direction and find an easy way home. Parking is as affordable as in any ballpark too.

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It’s baseball. There’s a hot dog in there somewhere.

The food selection at GABP isn’t as varied as other ballparks…as far as I know there aren’t any “executive chefs”…but if you want a taste of the popular joints in the Cincinnati area, they’re all here: Skyline chili, LaRosa’s pizza, Montgomery Inn BBQ, Frisch’s Big Boy burgers, and Penn Station subs. Plus about a half dozen different kinds of Kahn’s dogs and Queen City sausages, and an affordable restaurant in left field with cool stuff like Mammoth Fries.

Need to keep the kids occupied? There’s a whole kids play area with a wiffle ball field, and Reds employees even pitch to the kids.

 

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“No running in here, kids!”

All that and more than enough post-game options, whether you want a meal at the Holy Grail or entertainment in Newport-On-The-Levee. And arguably the best team Hall of Fame in baseball.

It’s all here.

Great American, by ballpark standards, is something of a no-frills venue. Most don’t rank it among the best ballparks in baseball. But it’s fan-friendly, family-friendly, transportation-friendly and wallet-friendly, and I can’t say all four of those things about too many ballparks. It’s perfectly wonderful for one thing: watching baseball.

Which, as we may have forgotten in the age of millennial-friendly party areas, luxury suites and restaurants (and GABP has all of those too), is why the venues are built in the first place.

If you’re planning a visit to Great American, check this out.

 

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A Cheap Day At The Cincinnati Ballpark

Posted by Kurt Smith

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Finding a cheap Reds ticket and other deals in my trip to Cincinnati wasn’t difficult. Because of what I do, I’ve learned a few tricks to get the most for my dollar at the ballpark…taking advantage of special offers, giveaway nights, etc.

On my second day in Cincinnati, I hit the trifecta of bang for the ballpark buck.

I usually get the cheapest seat I can get at the game, because when I’m running around taking pictures I’m usually not sitting in that seat much anyway, and it’s usually well into the game before I have an opportunity to sit. Even then, I’m restless thinking I’ve missed something.

 

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I probably should have checked this out…

So while I ordered a ticket for the Friday night game on StubHub, I decided to just buy the Saturday ticket at the box office, where there aren’t any fees. There were plenty of tickets available for the game, surprisingly, so I knew it wouldn’t be a problem.

Friday night I bought an Outer View Level seat for Saturday’s game for $11 and no fees. Not a great seat, of course, but I didn’t care. It was, as I’ve stated, a cheap Reds ticket.

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cheap reds tickets kiosks

A few of the very prevalent kiosks at Great American. Maybe they don’t like talking to people.

Saturday night the Reds were giving out some fairly nice T-shirts…with “Reds” on the front in American flag colors, and Jay Bruce’s name and number 32 on the back (also in U.S. flag style). Jay Bruce sponsors a group called “Bruce’s Battalion”, and buys tickets for members of the military for most home games.

It’s a pretty nice T-shirt…would probably go for $30-35 at the ballpark, at least.

The Reds and LaRosa’s Pizza also run a very popular promotion: if the Reds pitchers strike out 11 batters in a game, LaRosa’s gives a free pizza to everyone at the ballpark. You read that right…LaRosa’s gives away upwards of 30,000 pizzas.

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LaRosa’s is pretty good as ballpark pizza goes. And I’m a pizza snob.

Mat Latos was on the mound for the Reds, and he sat down a bunch of swinging Mariners. The total mounted and the crowd became more enthusiastic with each whiff…eight, nine, then ten. By this point I was sitting high up in the rafters behind home plate, so I had a decent view of everything.

With ten strikeouts on the board some of the crowd started chanting “Pizza! Pizza!” every time a batter reached two strikes. At one point a Mariners hitter had two strikes on him and took a half-swing. The home plate umpire appealed to third base, who signaled safe, the batter didn’t swing. He was loudly booed. It was everything that’s great about baseball.

But Latos did soon pull it off, and the Reds faithful of course went nuts as the scoreboard informed them that they would all receive a free pizza. Then I saw on the bottom of the board: “starting tomorrow”. Unfortunately I was leaving town the next morning. Rats.

But Wade, the nice fellow running the Sharonville LaRosa’s, was happy to honor the ticket, and I got my first taste of LaRosa’s…which as it turns out is pretty good pizza, better than any of the well-known chains in my South Jersey neighborhood. It was a personal pie, certainly enough for one person and I was able to pile four toppings on it. And the price couldn’t be beat.

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Order your essential Reds items before you go at Amazon.com, pay far less than you would at the ballpark, AND get free shipping on orders over $25…click here!

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If you want it today, you’re just gonna have to buy it here.

I think this is a great promotion for both the Reds and LaRosa’s…they could run commercials with the crowd chanting, and the “Pizza!” chant could become a Reds tradition. Then again, I’m not sure LaRosa’s wants to give out 35,000 pizzas so frequently…I’ve heard the Reds pitching has been costing them a lot of money this season.

Regardless, it was a great score for the author of Ballpark E-Guides. For a grand total of $11, I nailed down a cheap Reds ticket, a nice Reds T-shirt, and a delicious pizza. If you want to throw in the $1 O’Doul’s I drank for being a designated driver, then throw in a non-alcoholic beer for a total of $12. Parking in Newport cost me $2. So for $14 I scored close to $50 in value there at normal prices.

Not bad for a sport many people think they can’t afford anymore. Try this page if you want some tips for cheap tickets.

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The First Professional Baseball Team

Posted by Kurt Smith

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I’ve always known that Cincinnati was the home of the first professional baseball team, but until I visited the Reds Hall of Fame and Museum, it always puzzled me how the Red Stockings could be the first baseball team…because how could there be just one team? Wouldn’t they need someone to play against? Did they just stand on the field practicing until another team filled out all of the legal forms? Maybe they signed the contract for their ballpark the day before the Phillies did or something?

I wouldn’t say it kept me up at night, I knew there had to be an explanation, but it was just one of those things that puzzled me a bit.

But now I get it…one less thing to waste brain power pondering.

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first professional baseball team signature reds

Even from way back in the days when they had no one to play against!

The Reds Hall tells the story—that the Red Stockings were the first professional baseball team because they were the first team whose players were actually paid to play baseball. Other teams’ owners balked at the idea of ballplayers being professionals (some things never change), but the Red Stockings were willing to pay players. And by doing so, they attracted some of the best talent around. No doubt radio show hosts in other cities began demanding that their team owners start paying players.

This all-star team of professionals went on a tour in 1869 and won everywhere they went, finishing their first ever season unbeaten and actually drawing some crowds on the road. (I think hot dogs were $1.50 back then.) This was back in the days before gloves and catcher’s masks and the DH, proving that people will play baseball for money even if they’re risking life and limb.

Their second season was marked by dissolution and player bickering (that didn’t take long), despite that the team resumed its greatness, winning all but one game against the Brooklyn Atlantics, in an 11-inning affair. Eventually some players moved to Boston, as did the Red Stockings name—now the Red Sox, of course.

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first professional baseball team statues

Did they even wear gloves back then?

The team disbanded, and then a new Red Stockings team joined the newly formed National League in 1876. This team was banned from the National League for…get this…serving beer at ballgames. Nowadays a team might be banned from the league for not serving beer.

Finally in 1881 another Red Stockings team (they loved that name for some reason) joined the rival American Association, and in 1889 they moved to the National League, replacing the bootlegging Red Stockings team that had been booted. In the move, they changed their name to the Reds, probably to save on stitching costs.

So the current incarnation of the Cincinnati Reds that we all know today wasn’t exactly the first professional baseball team, but you could argue that Cincinnati simply hit a few bumps in the road to become America’s first iconic baseball town.

There is a great deal of history when it comes to Cincinnati baseball, and it’s as good a place as any for a team to feature a Hall of Fame and Museum that is a microcosm of baseball’s Hall in Cooperstown. The Reds Hall of Fame is definitely worth the visit if you’re coming to Great American Ball Park, if only to learn how there could only be one “first professional baseball team”.

But of course, there’s a lot more to know about Great American. Especially if you’re visiting for the first time.

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The Black Sox Scandal and Forgotten Team of 1919

Posted by Kurt Smith

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The 1919 World Series and Black Sox scandal, even today, may have been baseball’s darkest hour. The revelation that eight players from one of the game’s historically best teams had thrown the Series was an earthshaking shock to fans across the country, it resulted in tough new rules that in turn resulted in the permanent expulsion of one of the game’s greatest players, and it’s been poignantly immortalized in literature and cinema.

Much of the focus of the 1919 Series today is, obviously, on the Black Sox and on Shoeless Joe Jackson, the superstar Sox outfielder for whom fans seem to have the most sympathy.

 

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And Shoeless Joe is still one of their best known players.

The book and movie “Eight Men Out” (both are excellent…check them out if you’re a baseball fan) paint a picture of a few ballplayers furious at their penny-pinching owner, falling in with a crooked crowd and ultimately getting thrown out of baseball forever. The book “Shoeless Joe”, and subsequent “Field of Dreams” movie, fictionally chronicle the return of Shoeless Joe Jackson to a corn field in Iowa and his ultimate redemption.

What gets lost in the story is the World Series winner…a Cincinnati Reds team that no one believed stood a chance against the mighty White Sox.

At the Reds Hall of Fame, a film is shown about the history of the Cincinnati Reds. The team’s second World Series title in 1940 is said to have brought a collective sigh of relief to the city…they had finally won a World Series honestly.

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Yes, 1919 is in there.

There are some folks who believe that the Reds would have beaten the White Sox even if a few of the Sox’s best players hadn’t agreed to make Arnold Rothstein richer.

Everything is possible in baseball.

The 1990 World Series between the Reds and the loaded Oakland Athletics seemed like a mismatch, but the Reds not only won, they swept the Series convincingly. If someone questioned the legitimacy of the 1969 Series when the Miracle Mets topped the Orioles, they wouldn’t have been laughed at.

The 1919 Reds, despite not having been any great shakes before that season, were hardly pushovers. They won 96 games—the White Sox won just 88—and while they had little in offensive might beyond Edd Roush and Heinie Groh, they did possess a tremendous pitching staff. Dutch Reuther was 19-6 with a 1.82 ERA; Hod Eller was 19-9, 2.39; Ray Fisher was 14-5 and 2.17. That is some mean starting pitching.

A staff that strong, presumably, would have an edge in a short series…as we saw in 1988, 2010 and in many other triumphs of the underdog. As my father always said, good pitching always stops good hitting. (It’s kind of ironic that the first NL champion Reds team had little offense but great pitching, while the later Big Red Machine teams of the 1970s were just the opposite. Don’t tell Reds fans it’s all about pitching.)

Looking at some details of the 1919 Series, it’s certainly possible to see ways that the Reds could have triumphed in a clean contest.

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This was their slogan in 2011, I believe. Ironic in retrospect.

Shoeless Joe Jackson and Buck Weaver played too well for players supposedly trying to lose. Jackson hit .375, the highest in the Series, and threw out five baserunners, while Weaver hit .324, well above his .272 lifetime average.

It’s fair to say Weaver was telling the truth about his unwillingness to participate, and it’s not hard to believe Jackson’s similar assertion…Shoeless Joe did have a .286 average in games the White Sox lost, but that could arguably be attributed to better Reds pitching on the mound for those games, and in a short series, that is probably only 2-3 hits.

Three other players in the fix, Chick Gandil, Happy Felsch and Swede Risberg, had lifetime averages of .277, .293 and .243, respectively…good hitters if not great, but it’s not as though it’s positive they would have been the offensive difference had they been playing to win. Gandil hit .290 in 1919 and .233 in the Series; Felsch hit .275 and .192; Risberg, .256 and .080 in the Series (Risberg did walk five times, when strikeouts would have been easiest to fake).

That’s significant, I won’t argue, but for Gandil and Felsch only one or two more hits in the Series would have been normal for them…and remember they were up against some good Reds pitchers, so that’s no guarantee. The other position player in on the scandal, Fred McMullin, was a utility infielder who had only two at-bats in the Series.

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“Great win guys! They almost played their butts off!”

With the Reds pitching as strong as it was, it’s not hard to imagine that even if there were no Black Sox scandal, that the Reds pitching could still have effectively shut them down. The Sox scored just 20 runs in eight games, and that’s with two of their best hitters hardly whiffing on each at bat. It was mostly the deliberate errors during games, and meatball pitches from Eddie Cicotte and Lefty Williams, that lost the Series for the White Sox.

So what if Cicotte and Williams had performed to their considerable abilities? Cicotte’s ERA was 1.82 in the 1919 season; had he given up two runs in his starts—questionable given the Reds offense, but for the sake of argument—that might have been enough for the Reds to have won Game 1 and possibly Game 4, since the White Sox scored a total of just one run in those games.

Lefty Williams’s ERA that year was 2.64; the Sox scored just two runs in Game 2, so that could have turned out as a Reds victory as well. Williams obviously handed the win to the Reds in Game 8, so it’s hard to say whether the Reds would have won there.

 

black sox scandal reds hall trophy

It’s moot.

I’m not trying to positively assert that the Reds would have won in 1919 had the Series been clean; bookmakers were going heavily with the White Sox before the rumors of a fix, and they usually know what they’re doing, as anyone who bets on football knows.

I’m only suggesting that the 1919 Cincinnati Reds deserve some credit for a National League championship, a 96-win season and a stellar pitching staff, and that there are conceivable scenarios where in a legitimate Series, the Reds could have taken down the mighty White Sox after all. Stranger things have happened.

Unfortunately, we’ll never know.

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