Jose Nogueras: Canceling Christmas equivalent to having no Reds Opening Day

By Jose Nogueras -

Christmas has been canceled.

Don’t panic I am not talking about Christmas on Dec. 25. No I am talking about my Christmas and by that I mean the Reds Opening Day that was going to be Thursday.

For the past 28 seasons, I have gone down to enjoy all the festivities and fun that goes with the beginning of the baseball season in the Queen City.

Like Christmas, there is a lot of tradition that goes into my opening day routine that features family, a parade and the greatest sports gift to mankind — baseball.

Because opening day has been postponed I thought I would share some of my most memorable moments of my favorite day of the year.

1991 – The first one.

No one forgets their first time and for me this was not my first opening day but it was also my first time as a credentialed Reds media member. A life-long fan, I still remember feeling important just signing in to go to the press box at Riverfront and then entering the media area and realizing one of my dreams.

Run by the beat writers you quickly learn about the hierarchy of the press box as I got a seat in the last row and couldn’t have cared less.

Because it was the year after the Reds won the World Series the introduction ceremonies included the late Marge Schott, owner of the Reds, to distribute the championship rings. The bet in the press box was how many players she would call honey or sweetie because she didn’t know their names. It was about 80 percent honeys and sweeties.

1994 – The Other one

This is the one year that I did two opening days. Of course there is the Reds’ one but this year the Indians also opened what was then Jacobs Field. Before Tim Glon was the Ohio Northern University sports information director, he worked as the Van Wert sports editor, and he and I decided to head to this historic moment. We trekked our way up there, got to the credentials’ gate and they said they didn’t have our credentials. We were shuffled back and forth to different spots to inquire and then returned to the original pass gate and they said, “Oh wait here they are.” We got in just in time to see the first pitch and watch the Indians pull out the victory.

1996 – The strange one

This was probably the saddest and toughest one to cover. Every one was happy going to opening day because it was unseasonably warm and the sun felt good. But no one was in a good mood soon after the game started when umpire John McSherry suffered a heart attack right as the game was going to begin. We didn’t know then but he passed away, and we went from covering a sports story to a news story. The hardest part was going into the clubhouse and interviewing players about the tragedy.

1998 – The best one

I call this the best one because this was the first time my son got to attend his first opening day. Salvador was born in January, and I couldn’t wait to take him to his first opening day and introduce him to the game of baseball. Since that time he has been to more than 100 games in more than 20 ballparks and this year would have been his 23rd straight opening day. Since age 3 he has walked in the parade as a member of the Rosie Reds and I cherish every opening day with him.

2011 – The most exciting one

There is nothing like a walk-off home run and the Reds provided that in 2011 when Ramon Hernandez capped off a four-run rally to beat the Brewers. Quick side story. In 2005, the Reds were down in the ninth against the Mets so I went up to the press box only to see Cincinnati rally to beat the Mets and Joe Randa hit a walkoff home run. I never left the photo bay early again after that game and when Hernandez hit his walk off I got some great celebration shots.

By Jose Nogueras

Reach Jose Nogueras as 567-242-0468.

Reach Jose Nogueras as 567-242-0468.

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