This would turn out to be my second HRD in a row after attending last year in MIN and my third total with my first occurring at PNC Park in 2006. At the previous two I got my hands on a HRD commemorative. For this one I bought a seat in the Wheelchair section 4 rows back, separated from all the other seats with room to move about. I was confident that I would be able to get at least one ball during the event itself.
After an early arrival I headed around Cincinnati to take in the sights and atmosphere.
Check out how they adorned the Scripps Center building with the moustache and hat.
The weather was warm and the city was buzzing with excitement it seemed. It felt nice to be back at GABP, one of my favorite parks given the early entrance with a tour ticket, its desigh and location along the Ohio River. I like the smokestacks, light towers and dimensions. The fact that the ball flies there is good too.
As I circled the ballpark I came across this, “All Star Summer” piece at the Reds gate by Reds Hall of Fame. Its medium, flowers, very well done.
At the gate I caught up with Cole Adkins and Zack Hample. I also met a cool guy from the bay area who was seeking to have a Mike Trout portrait signed. Cole is a cool dude who shared a lot of good information and was good to talk baseball with. Zack and I caught up on things after not having run into each other for a while. I also caught up with Devon Trone and chatted baseball for a while.
A huge storm with torrential downpours was due to arrive, fitting for how the last month has went with rain. I took a walk up to the deck behind CF to see what was happening on the field, and came upon the tarp coming on. On the way back down to Gate C, which was covered with a roof, thank God, a severe weather alert bell began ringing with an announcement to seak cover.
It was pretty early at the time but it came in sheets for a good while, and then continued to steadily rain for a while. Around 330 the skies finally started to clear, I was relieved after at some points doubting the HRD would occur. After another check up top we saw that the field was set for the show.
When the gates finally opened the players were beginning to take the field. Andrew Mccutchen was stepping in shortly after and I was eager to see my seat in the WC section of 405, second deck. I was confident that I would be able to get a ball up there, but throughout the whole bp portion I came up empty handed. One ball that was reachable from the front row up top fell short, and popped up right into my face smacking me and falling down below. I felt discouraged at the end and pressured to get make some sort of a play during the event itself.
The 2015 HRD participants.
A view of RF at the start of the event.
Ken Griffey Jr and Ken Griffey Sr combined for the first pitch, always good to see my fav player all time.
It turned out a lot better during the event as there were enough chances and close opportunities.
I was expecting a ball off the bat of Donaldson, Bryant or Frazier more so but Manny Machado put on a nice show. After getting on a role he smashed one that went over my head into the first row behind the WC section, I was able to track it well, and with the fan error from the row above it dropped down nicely into my glove, Ball #1.
Manny Machado with the hat backwards resembling Ken Griffey Jr having fun with Nelson Cruz and company.
For the event, as I did last year I wore my yellow We Are Family Pirates shirt, but that would change when I heard about the deal that was offered for wearing a blue Gillette/Head and Shoulders HRD shirt. They offered up to $500 of two tickets to a game, and a $200 dollar gift card to MLB shop. So I wore it for that generous reward. After getting the Machado hr I filled out the form for it and was informed I would get a call in the near future, cool.
Joc Pederson waltzed his way into the final with many smooth bombs and Todd Frazier battled his way with the excited backing of the Cincinnati crowd into the final; beating two tough competitors in Price Fielder and Josh Donaldson.
The crowd was electric with Todd Frazier and the new format creates more excitement with the head to head matches, factor of the clock, and bonus time awarded for 420/475 foot shots.
Joc Pederson rolled off another smooth 14 homers in the final round, again forcing hometown Todd Frazier to put 15 balls over the fence.
Frazier would provide a final power surge in the Final, reaching 15 for the win. Frazier’s 5th hr of the final when the place was beginning to get excited that the win could be had reached the WC section. I took a quick step back, and a quick step to my right to make the catch. I felt thankful for the opportunity and the ability to make the catch, and took a moment to take it in. After settling back down I decided to give the Machado ball to an ecstatic little guy who I took in the action with.
I got a pick of the pair before giving up the first.
Todd Frazier really lit the place up.
Again I filled out the form for the $500 dollars of tickets and $200 MLB shop gift card. I was told by the lady she wasn’t sure you could win twice, but she would see. As of today I haven’t gotten a call from anyone..
The HRD ball
And the only 3 x HRD winner, lets not forget..