Over the first week of the season, my wife graciously let me drive up to Cincinnati to catch a couple of Mets/Reds games at Great American Ballpark for my 3rd anniversary. It might be the only park I'll end up getting to in 2009 considering it is the closest MLB city to Atlanta (Tampa is the other one and I've already been to that) and my schedule is up in the air. Next year it's either the Cell or Kauffman.
The funny part is, when it comes to new stadiums and these "reviews" I have read from places like ESPN and ballpark guides, they have put Cincinnati down as one of the worst "new" stadiums around. I failed to see why they did. Great American Ballpark is a BEAUTIFUL PARK! It is in a nice area and parking is relatively cheap and fairly close to the park. The stadium doesn't have that look like the other stadiums have with brick facades on the outside and doesn't have the greetn seats with a skyline overlooking in the outfield on the inside, but after a while, it all becomes the same old, same old park. I thought how the Reds did Great American Ballpark was great. I loved the red seats they had (some of the most comfortable seats I've ever sat in) and the fact they had cupholders was a big plus in my book. I really dug the new riverboat out in centerfield on top of the batter's eye. It gave more character as well as the smokestacks.
One upgrade from last year I was told was their new HD scoreboard out in LF. It isn't as big as Turner Field's one, but it is perfect for that stadium. The out-of-town scoreboard got a boost with the situation spot like so many others are going to. It still had some kinks to work out, but overall, it was fine.
The ONLY blip I had about the park was the food. I tried the Skyline Chili Dog and it tasted terrible. I love hot dogs and I love Cincinnati Chili, but it just did not mesh well with me.
One recommendation for anybody going to Cincinnati is go to the Reds Hall of Fame and Museum. They have an exhibit of Crosley Field that is a must for any ballpark chaser. But they had so many other things. I spent two hours in there and I wished I could have stayed longer before the game started.
Overall of the 13 ballparks I have visited, I would say Cincinnati is ranked third on my list behind Camden Yards and Comerica. Definitely a must-visit.