Why ticket campout has become a tradition for many Reds fans
Pitching a tent in front of Great American Ball Park. Braving the cold night ahead. Reds fans who do this swear by, not at, the annual ritual for a number of reasons. Dozens of them started lining up at 9 Friday morning for a shot at the 1,500 Opening Day tickets that go on sale Saturday morning at 9.
Camaraderie seems to be one of the biggest reasons. Everyone pulls together and behaves themselves.
"You come down, you make friends with people and you watch each other's backs and stand in line," said Jeff King of Florence, a 10-year veteran of the campout.
At the front of the line, along with family and friends, is Sherry Stone of Fairmount. She's managed to be first several years in a row thanks to planning ahead.
"We come down and scope things out for a couple of days and then just get here early," said Stone. "Even though it says 9 o'clock, we try to abide by the rules, but that doesn't mean we can't walk around and be ready for the stampede in case there is one."
The sale of a limited number of Opening Day tickets was held on Fountain Square in previous years, but was brought back to Great American Ball Park last year . Reds Chief Operating Officer Phil Castellini appreciates the tradition of having the sale at GABP box office.
"We like to have these last few tickets available for fans to get an opportunity to buy the old-fashioned way, " he said.
The biggest reason Reds fans like doing this is their love of the team. That's a sentiment expressed by many of them.
"I have a little t-shirt from when I was younger, from the 1985 Pete Rose era when he broke the record. I still have that framed up in my room," said Joe Young of Fairfield, who's been doing the ticket campout for six years and describes himself as a lifelong fan.
The Reds will sell 1,000 View Level seats and 500 Standing Room Only tickets Saturday morning for the April 1 season opener versus the Los Angeles Angels. Last year's tickets sold out in less than an hour.
These Reds fans all agree the overnight wait outside the ballpark will be worth it.