Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

TR: Red's Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum - 9/6/06

Trip Report: Reds Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

Cincinnati, OH

September 6, 2006

On September 6, 2006, Mom and I had tickets to go to the Reds baseball game. We decided to make a doubleheader out of it and combine the game with the Hall of Fame and Museum. There is an incentive to combo the museum with a game because the regular admission is $8, and admission with a same day game ticket is only $5. Therefore, after watching the Reds lose to the Giants, instead of returning to the parking lot, we made our way to the concourse behind the 1st base line concession stands, walked across the plaza and into the museum.

In the lobby of the museum are a couple of the public works art sculptures from the Bats Incredible exhibit a few years ago. These artworks required the artist to use baseball bats as the primary ingrediant. One was like a crown made out of baseball bats for the "Queen City", and the other was a fan shaped cluster of bats painted in a patriotic motif. This one was "All American Fan". Also inthe lobby area are a few benches that were labeled as having come from the dugouts in Cinergy Field, as well as a row of Crosely Field lockers stuffed with memorabillia from that era. Another case has President Bush's jersey from when he threw out the first pitch. Above that case are some reds photos, and accross from the lockers and display case is the combination ticket sales counter with a small souvinir selection. Observant eyes may notice the restroom signs came from Cinergy Field.

We showed our game day tickets and were thus allowed to purchase the museum upgrade for $5 each. A railing seperates the lobby from the first gallery in the museum. We showed our tickets and were admitted to enter the museum area. The first room is dominated bu a gigantic bat that was marked as a trophy. It also said that it was a reproduction as the orignal has gone missing. Also in the area is a scale model of the Reds first ballparl, the Palace of the Fans. On the other side of the roomis a row of lockers from Cinergy Field and a display dedicated to the Red's World Series Sweep of 1990. In this area it also contains Marge Schott's seat from Cinergy Field, and Shotzies World Series Collar which was made to resemble the player's rings.

In another corner sits the organ from Cinery Field, it would be a bit more impressive if they had it turned around where you could see the organ console, but they do play a recoding of the Crosley Field organist. This room is meant to be a waiting room for the introductory movie that is shown in the theater. The theater entrance is designed to look like the entrance to the "Palace of the Fans" a movie starts about every 15 minutes, just wait for the automagic doors to open. You do, also, have the ability to bypass the movie, just go along the bypass hallway, its a long narrow hallway lined with historic Reds photos on one wall, and sports cartoons on the other. We had seen the exhibits in the waiting area, and shad about 10 minutes until the next showing, so we looked at the photos and cartoons in the bypass hallway while waiting. We then returned to see the movie.

They have done their best to make the theatre seem like you are inside a ballpark. You sit on bleachers looking at the outfield wall. Before the movie starts you see a vintage style scoreboard the kind where they change the numbers by hand. The scoreboard is a video projection, which is where the movie is shown. It sn orientation movie gives you a bit of Red's history, the mission of the Red's to inspire todays youth and all that, but let's face it the real purpose is a highlight reel of the Rd's greatest memories. Its a very good film, and at the end the automatic doors open up on the other side of the theater. The next major thing you come to is a window looking out at the plaza next to the ballpark, to the Rose Garden specifically. This is the spot where Pete Roses 4,192 landed, the spot identified by the white rose. I placard by the window tells the Pete Rose story. This is also the stairwell, and lining the stairwell is a case with thoussands of baseballs, one for each one of Pete Rose's hits. The museum continues on the third floor and you have the choice of taking either the stairs or an elevator (Provided by Fujitec, hey there is a big sign in the elevator telling you this!) We opted for the elevator which meant we also got to see the " Best Record in Baseball 1981" pennant. The story goes baseball had a nasty mid season strike that year, so they decided to make it two short seasons, the games pre strike and after strike. The Chamonchip games would be between those that were best pre-strike and those that were the best post strike. Although the Reds had the best record overall, they weren't best in either half so they were snubbed from the playoffs. The Red's organzation realizng it had a PR disaster on its hands quickly went to work and created their own penant supposedly overnight and unveiled it at the fnal game of the season in an attempt to appease the fans.

We rdode up th the third floor, and there is a section that shows you some of the historical items from the team's past, then aroom where they show you the business side with old payroll ledgers, transfer papers that sort of thing. In this area you can listen via phone to several recordings detailing important decisions in the Red's history. STuff like first team to pay its players, the decision to add lights, and more.

The next area seems to be the heart of the musuem, this is where the kids can act like their baseball heroes and the young at heart can pretend they are baseball heroes. In the center of the room are several dsplays of players jerseys and stuff, but each one has a video monitor, press a button, get a recording of a baseball tip from that person. Then there are the interative exhibits, the first one is a photo opportunity. The corner of the room is done up like the outfield wall compete with a mural showing baseball fans behind it. They will even loan you a glove and ball so you too can act like you are going to the wall to catch that long drive at the last moment before it turns into a home run. Further in there is a pitching cage where you can pitch balls at a target on the other end and try to get strikes instead of balls, and around the back of that wall, you can crouch down and put your head in an umpires mask that looks through a special window into the pitching cage. Here you get to call the balls and strikes. I didn't notice if it told you how good you did, but the people watching the pitcher know becuase the strike zone is clearly marked on the wall. On the other long wall is a batting cage, hey you know they had to have one. Here though, you don't get into the batting cage, instead you manipulate a bat through the fence. Further along there is a place to get a photo op of yourself in the dugout, and you can get SParky Andersons advice by calling him on the dugout phone. There is a scale mode Crosley Field in the area, and a kids room off to the side with a small baseball themed climbing structure and baseball glove chairs. The kids room even has la section that looks like a baseball locker room complete with unifroms, cathers mask and all the various baseball equipment for the young ones to handle and look at. Elsewhere they are gloves to try on, bases, and even a section of astroturf you can feel. At the end of the interactive area is a media booth. You want to be Marty and Joe, here is your chance, step inside the broadcast booth, and watch a play on the video monitor (cleverly done to look like you were looking out the press box window), as the play transpires on the screen, you make the radio call. At the end it will let you hear how Marty and Joe made the call. Oh, and the other museum guests out in the main gallery have a speaker and a monitor so they can judge your performance. There is another monitor that when you sit inside the press box in the museum it makes it look like you are in the real press box. Nifty.

But what about the game from the fans's perspective, the last "interactive" room is done up like the ultimate Red's fans family room. All kinds of red's memorabillia line the walls, the bars, the bookcases, the floor (watch out for those slippers). A TV shows various films about the Red's and in addition to the couch potato overstuffed lounge chairs, you can sit in your choice of Cinvery Field seats, they have all four color categories present, and yes you can see that the yellow seats were padded.

From the interactive aream you heas into a more formal room, the main thing here is a big sculpture of the players of the Big Red Machine. The scultupre is so big you can walk around and in between the players, really get up close to their statues, pose for photos or whatever. On the other side of the room are the World Series trophies and rings.

Finally the last room is the actual Hall of Fame with the stately looking plaques on columns, aranged historically so once you find your era of Red's fandom you can see all your heroes, well except for Peter Rose, he isn't in the Cincinnati Hall either. At this point you either take an elevator or stairs down to the first floor directly into the Red's main gift shop. Well, thats what you normally do, the gift shop decided to close early, yes it shocked the museum guides as well. There solution was to have everybody backtrack through the museum and exit out the entrance. So in this case the movie bypass hallway in effect becomes the exit hallway. We exit the museum and note that from there it is easy to access either the ballpark admission gate or the parking garage. Oh, and for a limited time which has now expired you can get a good look at the Cirque Du Soleil complex.



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