MLB: Rounding Third and Heading For Home
With a sold out, standing room only, Great American Ballpark, Cincinnati looked much like it would on any other “opening day” of baseball.
The fans were on their feet, Big Red Smokies in hand and the famous "wishbone C" capped their heads.
Following the 89th annual, Opening Day Parade and a lingering rain shower, which delayed the first pitch nearly an hour, these fans were ready to play ball.
Though the crowd of 43,000 did not get to see the home team victorious over the Arizona Diamondbacks, they were given a charter to witness, the start of a season-long celebration of the life.Former Reds pitcher and announcer, Joe Nuxhall passed away in November 2007 after a long battle with cancer and heart complications.
"Dad, I will never forget this day." The words that have echoed throughout the years, since the invention of the great "American past-time," will today gain a supplementary and deeper essence, through the eyes of many children and fathers alike.
Nuxhall, the youngest player ever to play a major league game in the modern era of baseball, was honored during pre-game ceremonies, including the traditional opening day parade.
Calm rose from the crowd during the team introductions, as each player and coach sprinted onto the field, donning a jersey displaying No. 41, bannered with the name -Nuxhall.
A moment nearly as sobering as Joe's tearful, final broadcast in October 2004.
As expected, all of the players returned to the field wearing his own jersey, with the exception of starting pitcher, Aaron Harang.
When asked about the opportunity to wear the # 41, Harang said, he never gave it a second thought.
The area above the visitors' bullpen was adorned with a Nuxhall jersey, which will remain there for the entire season.
The Cincinnati Reds: The first major league baseball team.
Joe Nuxhall: The youngest player to play in the major leagues.
Opening Day 2008: "Son, I will never forget this day."
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