Ballpark Digest is previewing what every MLB team is doing to begin the season, both on and off the field, as the 2018 campaign launches today. Up next: the Cincinnati Reds and Great American Ball Park.
When the grand tradition that is Opening Day in Cincinnati rolls around tomorrow (thanks, weather!), the Cincinnati Reds will have plenty to showcase at Great American Ball Park. Through a vast slate of changes that includes renovated group spaces, new drink service areas, and some creative additions to the food menu, the Reds have taken steps to refine the fan experience.
The Reds play their home opener on Friday, when many will get their first looks at what is new around Great American Ball Park. Leading up to the 2018 season, the Reds have placed an emphasis on overhauling their group areas, with one of the most striking changes being the addition of a second level to the Budweiser BOWTIE Bar in right field. Meanwhile, a new Budweiser Balcony will feature 12 loge boxes in right field, each with four seats. The boxes will come with a private table and television monitor. Renovations have also been made to the Center-Field Pavilion, as the glass-enclosed, climate-controlled area is now connected to Laura’s Lean Bullpen Decks, an open-air tiered space above the visitors’ bullpen.
A Garden Bar located inside the main entrance will feature drink offerings that include beer, wine, soda and water from the time gates open until the conclusion of the seventh inning. In addition, ticketholders for The Handlebar at the Riverfront Club presented by JACK Casino will now have access to The Handlebar Terrace, an outdoor space that offers view of the playing field and the Ohio River.
Even before entering the ballpark, fans will notice some changes for this season. The Clydesdale Cart on Crosley Terrace will serve $5, 24-ounce Budweiser beers as part of a pre-game happy hour. Beers purchased from the Clydesdale Cart will be allowed inside Great American Ball Park, and the cart will open two hours before first pitch.
Food items have also been revamped coming into the 2018 season, as the Reds and Delaware North have announced some notable additions. Among the new items this year are the Goetta Fry Box, Queen City Wicked Sausages, Smokehouse Bowl, and the Candy Cloud Waffle Cone. The Goetta fried box can be served with fries or tots, with the offering topped with goetta gravy, bacon, shredded cheddar cheese and green onions. The Candy Cloud Waffle Cone, meanwhile, is a waffle cone that is wrapped in cotton candy, featuring soft serve ice cream and sprinkles. (It was named one of our top new food items of 2017.)
There will also be some recognizable brands in the ballpark, with Dunkin’ Donuts hot coffee and iced coffee and Smoothie King smoothies set to be available at Great American Ball Park. For alcoholic beverage offerings, some of the highlights for 2018 will include the Bootleggers Bar presented by Northside Distilling Co. and Taft’s Ale House.
LED lighting is also on tap for this year. As part of an 18-month project, lighting for the field has already been converted to LED, while the rest of Great American Ball Park’s lighting will be upgraded down the road.
The Reds will offer The Ballpark Express mobile order pick-up station at three locations, including the Kroger Fan Zone, third base Terrace Level, and third base View Level. Mobile food or drink orders can be made through the MLB Ballpark App. From there, fans will receive an alert that the order is ready and can grab their items from a designated locker.
Rendering courtesy Cincinnati Reds.