The Cincinnati Reds are the longest existing professional baseball franchise in history, debuting in 1869 as the Cincinnati Red Stockings. The team has played in various venues over the years, from the humble Union Grounds to their first modern ballpark Crosley Field. The Reds moved into Riverfront Stadium in the early 1970s, hosting the Great Red Machine teams of that decade, but fans saw the building as a cookie cutter ballpark lacking in character. In 2003, the Reds opened Great American Ball Park, which has become one of the preeminent venues in the National League.
Great American Ball Park pays homage to the captivating history of Cincinnati baseball with myriad museums, statues and tributes to the greats that have worn a Reds uniform. The main entrance, known as Crosley Terrace, is one of the best examples of this - it features four large statues from the Crosley Field era, creating plenty of photo opportunities for Reds fans. Above home plate is the "Bridge" a large standing room area in the upper deck that gives fans a chance to watch the action while traveling through the concourses. Another popular photo opportunity is behind the scoreboard, which features the bat, ball and photo of Reds' great Pete Rose breaking the all-time hits record.
Fans can also get a sneak peek at bullpen activities thanks to the stadium's unobstructed views of both the home and visiting bullpens. While other parks place attendees behind protective barriers, Reds' fans can get a bird's eye view from above. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the Great American Ball Park is the view of the river below. The venue is built alongside the Ohio River, which always has its fair share of riverboats making their way downstream, adding to the unique charm of the ballpark.
While the majority of the Reds' success came in Riverfront Stadium, the team has made significant strides in recent years. The team captured a division championship in 2010, its first since 1995, and has built a solid core of talented youngsters and savvy veterans that have done much to shake up the playoff race in the National League. With a glittering new ballpark to play in, an illustrious history that dates back to the formation of professional baseball and a committed fan base, the Cincinnati Reds have plenty of great moments to look forward to in the coming years.