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This was originally published in The Athletic.
The 1990 Cincinnati Reds didn’t open their season in Cincinnati.
Given that the passage of time has a habit of wearing on the memory, you might not recall that what ended up being a nine-game winning streak to start the season that year actually began in Houston, with an 8-4 11-inning Reds win over the Astros.
A 32-day lockout wiped out most of spring training and pushed back the season by a few days. Games originally scheduled to open the season tacked on to the back end of the schedule.
The good news is the Reds ended up winning the World Series that October. The bad news is that what happened to the opener in 1990 was just the beginning of higher baseball powers messing with our most important day.
This year, like they have every year since their title-defense began in 1991, the Reds will play their first game at home in front of a full house at Great American Ballpark. Fans will hit up the bars early and struggle to make it to the later innings. Right-minded parents will surprise their kids by yanking them out of school to attend the game. A city will shut down, and for a few brief moments at least, optimism will abound for a team that for years now has been short of reasons to feel good about.
But it’s going to be weird.
To read my entire piece, go to The Athletic.