It was coming down to the wire, but the Cincinnati Reds finally released the schedule of events and entertainment during their opening week of baseball for the 2012 season. The best events encompass an exhibition game the day before opening day, opening day, opening night, and then opening Sunday.
Spring Showcase Exhibition Game – Tuesday, April 3 – Reds vs. Futures, 7:10 p.m. (Gates open at 5 p.m.)
- Batting Practice: Fans can see the Futures team, comprised of the top prospects in Reds minor league system, take batting practice from 5-5:50 p.m., followed by Reds players taking batting practice from 5:50-6:40 p.m. The pregame activities will include live mics on Reds coaches and players as well as broadcasters conducting interviews.
- Autographs: The Reds Futures will be signing autographs from 6-6:30 p.m. on the Terrace Level concourse. Twenty players are scheduled to participate including Billy Hamilton, Neftali Soto, Ryan LaMarre and 2012 first round draft choice Robert Stephenson.
- Ceremonial First Pitch: One lucky fan will be randomly chosen from the crowd on-hand to offer up a ceremonial first pitch at 6:45 p.m.
- Gold Glover: Reds minor league catcher Tucker Barnhart will receive his Rawlings Gold Glove during pregame ceremonies. Barnhart won the award in Rawlings inaugural selection of the Minor Leagues top defensive players at their positions last year.
- Behind-the-scenes access: Fans will have the opportunity to tour the tunnels beneath Great American Ball Park and take a photo in front of the Reds Clubhouse entrance.
- Tickets: All game tickets to the Spring Showcase are deeply discounted and start at $5: reds.com/showcase
- Kids free at HOF: Fans 12 and under get free admission to the Reds Hall of Fame & Museum with a Spring Showcase game ticket.
Opening Day – Thursday, April 5 – Reds vs. Miami Marlins, 4:10p.m. (Gates open at 1:40 p.m.)
- 93rd Findlay Market Opening Day Parade Grand Marshal: Aaron Boone, former Reds infielder and current ESPN broadcaster, will serve as the Grand Marshal of the Findlay Market parade, which begins at 1 p.m.
- Ceremonial First Pitch: Retiring Hamilton County Sheriff Simon L. Leis Jr. will throw out the ceremonial first pitch.
- National Anthem: Award-winning singer/songwriter Rodney Atkins will sing our National Anthem.
- Honorary Captain: U.S. Senator Rob Portman will serve as the Honorary Captain of the Game.
- Game Ball Delivery: Miss Ohio Audrey Bolte will deliver the official Game Ball to the mound during pregame ceremonies.
- Moment of Remembrance: The Reds will honor former owner Carl H. Lindner and local victims of the March tornado outbreak with a special Moment of Remembrance.
- American Flag: U.S. Air Force Active Duty Recruiters from the 338th Recruiting Squadron at Wright Patterson Air Force Base and local Future Airmen will hold the giant American flag during the National Anthem.
- God Bless America: Hamilton Country Sheriff’s Court Service Officers James Whitacre and Jeffrey Whitacre will sing God Bless America during the seventh-inning stretch.
- Take Me Out to the Ball Game: Bob Kevoian from the nationally syndicated “Bob and Tom Show” will lead the crowd in singing Take Me Out to the Ball Game during the seventh-inning stretch.
Opening Night – Saturday, April 7 – Reds vs. Miami Marlins, 7:10 p.m. (Gates open at 5 p.m.)
- First Pitch: Josh Hutcherson, star of “The Hunger Games” and Northern Kentucky native, will throw out a ceremonial first pitch.
- National Anthem: Eben Franckewitz, “American Idol” season 11 contestant and Loveland native, will sing the National Anthem.
- Players in the Fan Zone: Reds players will walk a red carpet in the Fan Zone along with Eben Franckewitz, Miss Ohio Audrey Bolte and Miss Teen Ohio Kendall Fein from 5:20-6:10 p.m.
- 2012 Kroger Calendar: The first 20,000 fans will receive a 2012 Reds Calendar, presented by Kroger.
- Gold Gloves: 2011 NL Rawlings Gold Glove winners Brandon Phillips and Joey Votto will be recognized during pregame ceremonies.
- Silver Slugger: 2011 NL Louisville Slugger Silver Slugger winner Brandon Phillips will receive his award during pregame ceremonies.
- Rusty Griswolds: 80’s cover band The Rusty Griswolds will perform from a stage on the right field porch during inning breaks and after the game.
- Postgame Fireworks presented by TriHealth: The Rusty Griswolds will play live during the post-game fireworks show featuring Rozzi’s Famous Fireworks.
Sunday, April 8 – Reds vs. Miami Marlins, 1:10 p.m. (Gates open at 11:40 a.m.)
- Easter Sunday: The Easter Bunny will be available for photos with fans in the newly remodeled Fan Zone from Noon to 1:30 p.m. The photo opportunity is free of charge.
- Reds Easter Tin: The first 8,000 kids 12 and under will receive a Reds Easter Tin filled with red and white jelly beans, presented by Meijer.
- National Anthem: Gloriana, the Academy of Country Music Awards Top New Vocal Group of 2010 will sing the National Anthem.
- Meijer Family Days: Sundays are family days at the ballpark! One member of the family pays full price and may purchase up to three non-premium tickets at half-price in advance of game day only. Excludes Outer View Level and Kroger Bleachers.