By Bryan Veale aka RedsFanatic21

It was June 5, 1987. I was twelve years old, and my family was starting out on vacation for the summer. My parents had a habit of just taking off and not telling us kids where we were headed; this was one of those times. About one hour into our trip, they told us that we were going to Cincinnati to a Reds baseball game. I was a huge Reds and Eric Davis fan, so this was easily the best place in my eyes that we could spend our vacation. I was so excited that I felt physically sick. They had to pull over so I could…you know. Anyway after that I felt much better and started daydreaming about what it would be like.

We arrived in Cincinnati, went downtown to park, and walked around to find a place to eat. I could not concentrate on food at this point. I was too hyped up about getting to Riverfront Stadium. Several ticket scalpers stopped us, but my parents were determined to get tickets from the Reds ticket office despite my pleas to just get the tickets now. We waited in a short line to purchase our tickets for the night game against the Dodgers. It seemed like forever to me to be that close and not be able to go inside the stadium. So we finally got the tickets that we could have had downtown from the scalpers and headed through the gate.

My first look at the field was amazing. The turf looked super green in person. It was so much different to how it looked on television that it almost did not seem like the same place. The smell of hot dogs and popcorn filled the air. The players were taking batting practice. It was a perfect moment in my life. Everything that surrounded me formed the images and smells that I remember today as my first major league baseball game.

Once we got into the stadium, I got my score card and walked around a bit. We found our seats in the green seat level in the outfield. If you remember old Riverfront Stadium the lower level stopped at the foul lines, so all of the outfield seats, with the exception of a few lower level rows (blue seats) in right field, were second level green seats. So at this point I was trying to locate my favorite player; Eric Davis. He was having one of the greatest starts in baseball robbing homers defensively and cranking out bombs with his lightning quick bat. He was on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Everyone was proclaiming him the next Willie Mays. I have never seen a more electric player than Eric Davis when he was young and healthy. It is a shame injuries plagued his career.

After batting practice I found Eric Davis out running to get loose before the game. It was so cool to finally lay eyes on my baseball hero in person. The color of the Reds’ white and red uniforms against that green turf painted a very colorful picture. I was very intent for the playing of the National Anthem. I had chills.

When the game finally began, I was in heaven. I was trying to look at everything at the same time to take it all in. There was so much to see that the first half inning was a blur. When the Reds came up to bat I was starting to settle in so I could enjoy the game. I was still excited but at least I could process the plays that were happening now. I was getting used to checking out the scoreboard between pitches. The game was starting to flow.
The Reds got behind early, but went ahead on a Davis three-run homer with two out in the seventh inning. I was going crazy. E.D. also added a couple of stolen bases making his night very satisfactory to me. The Reds won 8-6, which made me very happy. Everything worked out great for my first game. My team won, and my favorite player delivered the winning blow. I had always had fun watching and playing baseball but now I was hooked; baseball was now in my blood.

My love of baseball helped me continue to play through college. I always try to catch a game on television or in person when possible. To this day, it is the most exciting and at the same time relaxing activity that I can participate in. Now I will try to pass my love of the game onto my two young sons.