Reds Opening Day checklist: Everything to know before the first pitch⚾✔️

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Baseball fans everywhere can breathe a sigh of relief: Thursday is Opening Day.

Signifying the official start of the baseball season, Opening Day is particularly special in Cincinnati, where thousands of fans take to the streets to celebrate the Reds in a parade and other festivities before the home opener later that afternoon.

Whether you're attending the celebrations in person or watching the game from home, here's what to know about Opening Day this year.

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Opening Day 2023 for the Cincinnati Reds is Thursday, March 30, against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Opening Day 2023 for the Cincinnati Reds is Thursday, March 30, against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

When is Opening Day for the Reds?

The Reds will kick off their 2023 season Thursday, March 30, against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The home game at Great American Ball Park will start at 4:10 p.m.

Why do the Reds always open at home?

The Reds have started every season in Cincinnati since 1876, except for 1877, 1885 and 1966 because of rain, 1990 for a baseball lockout and 1888 when the team was scheduled to start on the road for the only time.

There is no official rule, instead it's based mostly on geography and tradition. Cincinnati was once the southernmost city in the western batch of National League teams, so there was a better chance of warmer weather.

Many people assume the Reds open each season because the 1869 Red Stockings were the first professional baseball team. But that is not the case, Reds historians John Erardi and Greg Rhodes wrote in their book, “Opening Day.” The press began linking Opening Day to the home of professional baseball in the 1950s as a way to justify what had already been a tradition.

The Findlay Market Opening Day Parade has also been a longstanding tradition, first starting in 1920.

Opening Day's history: Why the Reds (nearly) always have Opening Day at home

What is the Opening Day forecast for Cincinnati?

The National Weather Service is predicting that Opening Day in Cincinnati will be sunny and have a daily high near 60, with a northeast wind around 6 mph becoming south in the afternoon. Thursday night, there is a chance of showers after 3 a.m. with an overnight low around 46.

Is Joey Votto playing on Opening Day?

The longtime Reds first baseman is breaking his 14-year streak of Opening Day appearances. Votto is beginning the year with a Triple-A rehab assignment Friday. He won't be eligible to return to the majors until April 6 at the earliest.

Reds: Joey Votto to begin Cincinnati Reds season on injured list, ending his Opening Day streak

Who are the Opening Day starting pitchers for the Reds and Pirates?

Reds pitcher Hunter Greene will be the team's Opening Day starting pitcher. He recorded a 4.44 ERA in 24 games as a rookie in 2022 and struck out 164 batters.

Mitch Keller will start on the mound for the Pirates, according to MLB.com. He had a 3.91 ERA in 31 appearances last season.

Reds Opening Day lineup vs. Pirates

Here is the Reds' Opening Day lineup.

  1. Jonathan India, 2B

  2. TJ Friedl, CF

  3. Jake Fraley, DH

  4. Tyler Stephenson, C

  5. Jason Vosler, 1B

  6. Wil Myers, RF

  7. Spencer Steer, 3B

  8. Will Benson, LF

  9. Jose Barrero, SS

Pirates Opening Day lineup vs. Reds

Here is the Pirates' lineup for Thursday.

  1. Oneil Cruz, SS

  2. Bryan Reynolds, LF

  3. Andrew McCutchen, DH

  4. Carlos Santana, 1B

  5. Canaan Smith-Njigba, RF

  6. Ke'Bryan Hayes, 3B

  7. Jack Suwinski, CF

  8. Ji Hwan Bae, 2B

  9. Austin Hedges, C

Who's throwing out the first pitch for the Reds' Opening Day game?

Todd Frazier will throw out the ceremonial first pitch for the Reds on Opening Day, the team announced earlier this month. Frazier played on the Reds for five years between 2011 and 2015, earning two All-Star selections.

In 2022, fresh off of a Super Bowl appearance, Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow threw the first pitch to head coach Zac Taylor. Bengals receiver Ja'Marr Chase also presented Reds second basemen Jonathan India his National League Rookie of the Year award.

Who is singing the national anthem for the Reds' Opening Day game?

Marlana VanHoose, a contemporary Christian singer from Denver, Kentucky, will perform the national anthem at the Reds' Opening Day game. According to her website, VanHoose was born blind and with Cytomegalovirus (CMV) and was not expected to live past one year. At the age of two, Vanhoose was diagnosed with mild cerebral palsy.

VanHoose has sung the national anthem all over the country at various sporting events.

What are the rule changes for the 2023 MLB season?

Regular season baseball will look a little different this year.

The MLB is implementing a pitch clock, as pitchers will have 15 seconds to make each pitch when the bases are empty and 20 seconds when there is a runner on base. There will also be a 30-second timer between batters. If a pitcher takes too long between pitches, he will be charged with an automatic ball. Hitters must be ready to hit with eight seconds remaining on the clock, otherwise they will be charged with an automatic strike.

Hunter Greene will start for the Reds on Opening Day. Pitchers will have 15 seconds to make each pitch when the bases are empty and 20 seconds when there is a runner on base in 2023.
Hunter Greene will start for the Reds on Opening Day. Pitchers will have 15 seconds to make each pitch when the bases are empty and 20 seconds when there is a runner on base in 2023.

Additionally, the MLB is banning some defensive shifts. There must be two infielders on each side of second base and all four infielders must have their feet on the infield dirt until a pitch is released.

Another notable change will be the size of the bases. Besides home plate, the size of the bases will increase from 15 inches square to 18 inches. It’s designed to create more stolen base attempts.

MLB rules: A pitch clock. Banning the shift. Inside MLB's rule changes for the 2023 season.

How to get tickets for the Reds' Opening Day game

Opening Day tickets at Great American Ball Park appear to be sold out, according to the MLB's website. However, there are still tickets from third-party resellers:

  • Ticketmaster has tickets listed from $44 to $481 each.

  • StubHub has tickets listed from $41 to $447 each.

  • SeatGeek has tickets listed from $41 to $393 each.

  • Vivid Seats has tickets listed from $37 to $428 each.

Know before you go: Visiting Great American Ball Park for a Reds game this year?

Where can I park for the Reds vs. Pirates game on Opening Day?

Parking for Great American Ball Park is located on the east and west sides of the ballpark.

Here are some parking options. The lots are available on a first-come, first-serve basis:

  • Central Riverfront Garage, 171 100 Joe Nuxhall Way.

  • The western side of Central Riverfront Garage.

  • East Garage, 443 E. Pete Rose Way.

  • Broadway Ave. Lot, 203 Broadway.

  • Western Lots B or D, W. Pete Rose Way.

Great American Ball Park parking lots open 3 hours before game time.

Parking passes for Central Riverfront Garage can be purchased in advance by calling 513-765-7400, option 3 or online at www.reds.com/parking.

How to watch Reds vs. Pirates on Opening Day

All Reds games are airing on Bally Sports Ohio and the Bally Sports app, including Opening Day. Reds vs. Pirates will also air on Local 12 (WKRC-TV) on Thursday.

You can stream Reds games on DirectTV, Fubo, Hulu + Live TV, Sling TV and YouTube TV. If you live out of the Reds' TV market, you can watch games with an MLB.TV subscription.

How to listen to Reds vs. Pirates on Opening Day

You can listen to Reds vs. Pirates on 700 WLW, as well as the Reds Radio Network.

When is the Reds' Opening Day parade?

The Findlay Market Opening Day Parade will begin at noon ahead of the 4:10 p.m. game.

The parade will begin at Findlay Market on Race Street. From there, it will travel straight down Race Street to Fifth Street, turning east on Fifth Street until the ending point at the Taft Theatre.

Opening Day Parade 2023: Here are all the road closures for the Findlay Market parade

Who is the grand marshal for the Reds' Opening Day parade?

Parade organizers have selected Danny Graves and Bronson Arroyo, both former pitchers for the Reds, to be the co-grand marshals for the 2023 parade.

Graves is the all-time saves leader for the Reds. He played in Cincinnati for eight years from 1997-2005.

Arroyo played in Cincinnati for nine seasons, earning an All-Star selection in 2006.

Places to watch the Opening Day parade around Cincinnati

Whether you arrive early or come right before noon to claim your spot along the 1.4 mile parade route, The Enquirer has the list of bars, parks, public spaces and watch parties to enjoy the parade.

Check them out here.

Opening Day parties around Cincinnati

If you're looking to celebrate Cincinnati's unofficial sick day, The Enquirer gathered various places you can pregame before the Reds take on the Pirates on Thursday, including Arnold's Bar & Grill and Newport on the Levee.

Check them all out here.

This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Reds Opening Day checklist: How to watch, tickets, pitchers and more