Thursday, March 26, 2009

Baseball Place No. 38: Crosley Field Replica

Finally, Josh Pahigian and I are on the same page.

We’ve had alternative places going all the way back to the Babe Ruth Museum in Baltimore, spot No. 18 in the “101 Baseball Places to See Before You Strike Out.”

I actually like most of my places more than his, but that’s OK.

But here we are, enjoying the same place once again, No. 38, The Crosley Field Replica in Blue Ash, Ohio.

The Reds abandoned Crosley midway through the 1970 season, and only a plaque and some seats mark its location at the corner of Findlay and Western.

But folks in the suburb of Blue Ash decided that just wasn’t going to do. The Blue Ash Sports Center includes a field created to Crosley’s dimensions, even adding the famous 4-foot incline along the outfield wall.

Created in 1988, the park has some real Crosley seats to add authenticity. But what seals the deal is the five-story scoreboard, an exact replica of the original.

It’s got the ads and Longines “official watch,” but also the lineups and out-of-town scores from June 24, 1970 when the Reds beat the Giants 5-4 for their last game there.

The original, from Opening Day 1957.

The lineup that day included Johnny Bench and Pete Rose, and the Giants fielded Willie Mays and Willie McCovey.

And the scores show the Mets forever beating the Cubs, in a doubleheader, with Tom Seaver getting the victory in the first game and Nolan Ryan in the second.

Only the line score changes, because this is a working scoreboard for recreation leagues. What I wouldn’t give to trot my coed softball team out there!

The park also is recreating a field that mirrors Riverfront Stadium’s specifics, too. But that’s not as quirky, and there no way they could recreate the electric message boards, though some might pine for the dot races.

I do confess that the closest I’ve gotten to this marvel is in the car, catching a glimpse as Will and I headed to Reds games. But I’m sure we’ll head back, and next time we’ll be sure to check out the park – maybe even bring the Wiffle Balls!


Anonymous said...

just came across this article - great writeup, just have one minor correction. The sign is not a replica, it is the actual sign from Crosley Field.

Anonymous said...

i work for the city and unfortunately, it is a replica... we always give 100% though, that's probably why you thought it was real ;-)