Photos from the West Coast

Better late than never. We all know the trip to California was a bummer. 2-8, especially after winning the first game in San Francisco, was not what we had in mind. But that’s the way it ended.  And while it was a very bad trip on the field, it’s hard to beat the scenery and the three California National League ballparks.

I guess you could say it took this long to wash the bad taste of the losing out of my mouth, but here are photos from San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego:

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At AT&T Park, they hang a rubber chicken for every intentional walk (a tribute to Barry).

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From the upper deck in San Francisco. The breathtaking views are endless.

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McCovey Cove

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From the top row down the right-field line, looking at the San Francisco skyline.

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Lots of water means lots of bridges.

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A wider shot of McCovey Cove

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The kayakers are there for batting practice, just like the players. Long night ahead hoping for souvenirs.

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A marina lies just beyond the ballpark, which is built into an incredibly tight 13 acres.

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Two AT&T Park attractions: there are two slides inside the bottle.

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During our broadcast, I made a point to mention Marty’s SF microphone stand was the largest I’ve seen for baseball broadcasting. It would fit nicely in a golf bag.

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It’s easy to remember the Giants’ address.

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Fans pose in front of the Willie Mays statue.

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This is the "Fan Lot," a kids play area, near the bottle and glove.

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Speaking of the bottle, here’s the bottom…

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… and from the top, going down the slide.

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Boats beyond the picnic deck in center field.

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Beautiful day at AT&T Park, which opened in 2000…

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… and a beautiful day to go sailing.

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And a few hundred miles south, Dodger Stadium. Opened in 1962, it still looks new.

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On the hills near the ballpark, a little Dodger marketing.

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Looking left, early..

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… and later.

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What a gorgeous day!

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A Dodger Dog, smothered in mustard — nothing like them.

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The press box is named for the legendary Vin Scully..

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… he’s in his 57th year broadcasting Brooklyn/L.A. Dodgers baseball.

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From the very top deck of the ballpark.

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Those are the San Gabriel Mountains in the distance.

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The top row of the park.

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You can see downtown L.A. behind the ballpark.

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Here’s my vantage point as the game winds down and I get ready to go do an interview.  Yes, this fan’s on his cellphone (and, no, it doesn’t just happen in L.A.)

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And you thought Chicago was "the city with the big shoulders."

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Our vantage point as we get on the bus.  Visiting teams exit the stadium walking from the first-base dugout to the busses waiting just beyond the centerfield wall.

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San Diego’s Petco Park, in its third season.

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Here you can see the West Metal Supply Building, which is more than 100 years old. It was actually moved to its current spot so the building could be angled as the left-field foul pole. Party suites and a gift shop keep the building a hopping place.

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The Famous Chicken became famous in San Diego. He happened to make a rare appearance while we were there.

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It’s impossible not to find beautiful views in San Diego. This shot was taken from my hotel room.

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The Omni Hotel has a skywalk bridge to the ballpark.

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Out beyond the outfield wall: "the park in the park." This is an area for fans to watch the game or recreate..

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A picnic area beyond the wall in left-center field.

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Philly Pics

Thanks again for all of your kind words. Now, back to our regularly-scheduled blog, with pics from Citizens Bank Park, now in its third year as the home of the Philadelphia Phillies. Joe was on the trip with me, so a few pics from there:

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We had beautiful weather in the City of Brotherly Love.

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The park is a mile or more from downtown, as it shares parking with Lincoln Financial Field (Eagles), as well as the Wachovia Center (Sixers and Flyers) and the Wachovia Spectrum (former home of the Sixers and Flyers and now home of the minor league Philadelphia Phantoms)

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Our radio booth in Philly.

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The press box.

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Another shot of downtown. William Penn’s statue adorns the roof of City Hall. It is 548 feet tall and used to be the tallest building in town. Also the Wall of Fame is in the outfield.  Dallas Green was inducted while we were there.

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The Ol’ Lefthander and me during a night game.

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Now they couldn’t have a Philly ballpark without one of these, could they?

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Night game… what a series! (Reds won 2 of 3. Two games went into extra innings.)

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One more shot, as the Broering family from Alexandria, Ky., stopped by the booth recently. I promised them a spot on the BBB. Dad Richard with sons Matt (13), Joe (8) and Mark (6). Marty and I are your happy hosts.

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Wrigley Field

Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs

Turner Field

Turner Field, home of the Atlanta Braves.

Thanks Folks

I can’t begin to tell you how grateful I am for all of your kind words. I’ve heard from many of you through this site, as well as our radio e-mail address. I’ve spoken with other fans around the ballpark. This has got to be the nicest fan base in all of baseball.

This is and continues to be an incredible opportunity for me. It is ?the greatest job in the history of jobs,? broadcasting Reds baseball and working with Marty. I continue to learn from him every day. Whatever I do after this season ends, I’m a better broadcaster and a better person for what I’ve been a part of these past three years. Just to say it one more time, they gave me this news in August because I wanted to know my status as soon as possible. I thank them for being upfront. You can be assured that the organization you root for is run by first-class people from top to bottom. And the excitement we’ve experienced this season is just the beginning.

I’ll keep this brief, but thanks again, and don’t worry about me. I’ll be fine. Focus on the final stretch of what’s been an incredibly fun season. That’s what I’m focusing on.

And, yes, the Philly photos will be up soon… still have to get pics of Marty’s cat Palmer and of our scorebooks too?

Yid’s Herculean Hot Dog Effort

I write from downtown Philadelphia, where it is an incredibly beautiful day on this Friday! What an exciting time for the Reds franchise and Reds fans, after splitting four with the Cardinals. The atmosphere was electric at Great American Ball Park, and now the show hits the road.

For this six-game trip through Philly and St. Louis, I’ll be working with the Ol? Lefthander Joe Nuxhall.  Marty will take a brief vacation, which will include a golf outing with PGA Tour player and Cincinnati’s own Brett Wetterich. I have to thank Marty for allowing me to do these games with Joe.  When it was decided that Joe would do 20 games (during Spring Training), Marty could easily have said he and Joe would work all of them together. I would have understood. Who doesn’t love to hear Marty and Joe together? But Marty didn’t think that was fair to me. So he decided that Joe would work 10 games with Marty and 10 with me. Marty and Joe will do the final road trip of the year together, going to Florida and Pittsburgh (they did four previous home games together earlier this season). Thanks to the Hall of Famer for allowing me to work these games with Joe, which I always enjoy.

Now, if you heard us this week on the radio, a couple of things. First, Marty’s "diversion" while the Reds are on the road. It was suggested Marty would sit in with the rock group "KISS." So what follows is a photo that 700WLW Radio’s Scott Stanley sent us showing Marty in his full "KISS" makeup, as well as "action photos" of Dave "Yiddy" Armbruster, our producer, eating hot dogs after pledging to eat one every half inning if Reds fans sold out any of the half-price ballgames. 

Yid’s Herculean effort Thursday was not without controversy. Our friends Bill Reinberger and Dave Collins (not that one) from the Reds Marketing department were in charge of bringing the dogs to the booth for Yid to consume.  As it turns out, three of the dogs were "jumbo" hot dogs, half-pounders, which made Yid’s job much more difficult.  And, as often happens in athletics (and yes, we live in a world in which "competitive eating" is a televised, legitimate "sport"), Yid was "playing hurt." As so many athletes have done before him, Yid selflessly tried to hide his ailment. He was under the weather, we later learned, but still managed to eat 10 dogs. With three of them jumbos, we awarded him the numerical equivalent of AT LEAST 13. Perhaps we should have given him credit for even more.

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If you’re out and see a band performing, look for this man, and be sure to say "Hey Marty!" between songs.

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Notice how trim Dave Armbruster is. He runs almost everyday.  He’s run the Flying Pig Marathon, as well as a marathon in Sarasota during Spring Training this year.

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The Ol’ Lefthander is among the media on hand to witness the proceedings Thursday.  Yid was preparing to embark on his gastronomical journey.

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"And they’re off!!"  Yid consumes hot dog #1.

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Here, the seemingly helpful, benign Dave Collins brings a batch of dogs for Yid to consume over the next few innings. What we didn’t  know was we were about to be embroiled in a controversy that threatened to sabatoge the integrity, the purity of Yid’s digestive display.

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Keep in mind, he was eating while never missing a beat doing his job. Producing our game, in constant communication with Matt Steinman in the studio, and keeping Marty and me on the air.

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"The victims." Hot dogs were an endangered species at Great American Ball Park this week.  Fans (and Yid) consumed 159,715 during the four-game series with St. Louis.  (For the record, I had one.)

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Yid did not get sick, but toward the end of his endeavor, he showed his sense of humor (Seg Dennison enjoyed it).

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What a day for the man who’s brought you Marty and Joe (and me) for 21 years, our fearless leader, Dave "Yiddy" Armbruster. The equivalent of at least 13 dogs, all while "playing hurt." Thanks Yid!!

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EXCLUSIVE: Inside “The JDD”

As the Reds battle the rest of the National League to see who’ll win the NL Central and the Wild Card, I felt it was time to take you to a place inside Great American Ball Park that I’m fairly certain you have never seen. After all, that was one of the main reasons for starting this blog — taking you "behind the scenes." Well, off we go again…

If you’re a regular Reds on Radio listener, you’ve probably heard us refer to the "JDD" at some point during the past couple of seasons. For the uninitiated, "JDD" stands for the "Jim Day Domicile."  Jim Day is our buddy from FSN Ohio. You’ve probably seen him on the Reds pregame or postgame show on TV, or doing the same job on Columbus Blue Jackets telecasts. The "JDD" is a seemingly small, covered structure. It’s located in the camera well just beyond the Reds dugout (first-base side) at Great American Ball Park.

So, without further adieu, we take you "inside the JDD." Enjoy!!

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Jim Day enjoys the view from his "front porch" (the Reds dugout).

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Jim is anxious to give us the grand tour.

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And awaaaaayyyy we go!

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Once you get inside the JDD, the first thing you notice is its enormity. I counted 38 floors inside the giant atrium. You can see the sunlight streaming in from the top. It gets very dark during night games.

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Jim poses for a shot after a night game (a Reds win!).

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The elevator allows Jim to keep tabs on all that goes on inside the JDD. And it looks cool; apparently the chicks dig it.

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Jim is a popular guy, and he graciously entertains many visitors. But with his travels taking him all over the country, he’s set up a concierge desk to help everybody get where they’re trying to go.

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A Reds fan enjoying his first visit to the JDD. Jim gets many requests for photos, but he always has time for his fans.

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When the concession stands aren’t open, Jim provides his guests with a deli.  It can get very busy around meal times.

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Jim likes to stay in shape, and so do his guests. Here, Reds employee Ryan Rizzo works out in the JDD fitness center.

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The JDD features two swimming pools. Outdoors…

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And during the cold months, you can swim inside.

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People are already wanting souvenirs. Demand became so great, Jim opened the JDD gift shop.

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Jim getting ready to leave the JDD. Time for yet another "Real Reds" pregame show.

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And this concludes our tour of the Jim Day Domicile. Ask Jim for details on tours and weekend rates. He offers family discounts as well.

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Living History: Nuxhall and Franco

Sixty-two years ago, a 15-year-old youngster from Hamilton, Ohio, became the youngest participant in a modern Major League game.  For all of Joe Nuxhall’s incredible contributions to the game of baseball, and for all he’s meant to the Reds and their fans, 100 years from now, Joe’s youthful debut will be the thing that keeps him in the history books (if they’re still using books then…LOL).  He will forever be the youngest player in big-league history.

Thirty-eight years after Joe’s debut, Julio Franco, born far from Hamilton in San Pedro De Macoris, Dominican Republic, made his Major League debut.  But it isn’t Franco’s debut that is historic — it’s what he did earlier this season.  The Mets first baseman, pinch hitter and ageless role model, hit a home run on April 20, 2006, at the age of 47 years and 240 days to become the oldest player to homer in a Major League game.  He’ll turn 48 on Aug. 23. Amazingly, he signed a TWO-year contract with the Mets before this season, so he’ll be a Met until he’s at least 49.  He hopes to play until he’s 50.

When the Mets were recently at Great American Ball Park, I thought it would be neat, and somewhat historic, to photograph the youngest player in history with the oldest man to hit a home run.  The irony, of course, is the younger man in the photo is the oldest to homer.  The older man in the photo is the youngest player ever, but you get the idea.

So here are a few shots, including a head-to-toe shot that can be downloaded for you to keep as an 8-by-10 piece of history.  Julio Franco and Joe Nuxhall.  Yet another piece of history in the birthplace of professional baseball:

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Franco would like to play till he’s 50. One of his teammates said he could probably play till he’s 55 (and still look like he’s 35). Here he is taking batting practice (for probably the 40,000th time…)

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Franco says he likes the NL, and enjoys playing defense.  He even feels he could still play in the field every day.

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TO SEE A LARGER VERSION
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TO DOWNLOAD A PRINTABLE VERSION:
- Right click on this link
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- You now have a high-resolution 8×10 digital copy of this photograph. Feel free to print on your personal photo printer, or take it to your favorite photo center to have a copy made.

Mother of All Blog Entries: Part 2

After the All-Star break and a very busy weekend that included a luncheon honoring 700WLW V.P. of Sports Marketing Tom Horan, the Rosie Reds? luncheon/fashion show and the wonderful Reds Hall of Fame induction weekend, it’s time for another MOTHER OF ALL BLOG ENTRIES (part 2):

First of all, it was great working with Joe over the weekend, and great to have Marty back "tanned, rested and ready."  What follows is a collection of photos from the Reds Hall of Fame pregame induction ceremonies (courtesy of Dann Stupp and team photographer Greg Rust). We?ll have photos of Sunday?s formal induction banquet later this week.

I?ve also included photos from Turner Field and Miller Park (like Hank Aaron and the Braves, we made the trek from Milwaukee to Atlanta last week, both enjoyable cities and ballparks).

Tom Horan, by the way, is the man who Marty’s talking to when you occasionally hear him say on the air "Hey Daddy."  As the sales guru and the longest-tenured employee at 700WLW, he is, indeed, "Daddy," and a huge Reds fan, who?s at Great American Ball Park schmoozing with clients in the WLW Founders Suite almost every night.

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Reds HOF Director Greg Rhodes kicked off the pregame ceremonies on Sunday.

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Marty served as emcee for the festivities.

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(L to R) Tom Seaver, Lee May and Tom Browning are the 69th, 70th and 71st members of the Reds HOF. (Browning claimed to be the best-dressed.)

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"The Big Bopper" Lee May led the Reds in homers three times and hit 147 for the club (and 354 for his career).

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"Mr. Perfect" Tom Browning, the owner of Cincinnati’s only perfect game, went 123-88 for the Reds and won 20 games as a rookie in 1985.

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"Tom Terrific" Tom Seaver, a National Baseball Hall of Famer, went 75-46 for the Reds and pitched his only no-hitter while he was with Cincinnati.

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The trio’s plaques are now on display in the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum.

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Dozens of other Reds Hall of Famers (including Tony Perez, Dave Concepcion and George Foster) were in town for the weekend.

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Jerry Narron meets Eleanor Kluszewski (representing Ted Kluszewski) and Joyce Bell Dolle (representing Gus Bell).

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Ken Griffey Jr. meets with Griffey Sr. and Lee May.

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Now onto pictures from Miller Park during our road trip July 3-5. Here’s one from our booth.

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Looking left.

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Looking right.

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Marty with our main man WTMJ’s (and Cincinnati’s own) Bill Michaels. The Elder H.S. alum is also known as "Mr. Free Golf."

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Ben Sheets (working to come off the DL), pitching in a simulated game before the Reds played the Brewers.

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A shot of the massive roof at Miller Park.

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Here’s a shot of our booth (with Marty). As usual, we have the best seats in the house.

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Marty with former Reds employee Mike Vassallo, now the Brewers’ P.R. Czar.

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The Sausage Race is just underway.

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And down the stretch they come!!

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"The Godfather" Marc Lancaster joins Mikey V’s campaign to get Chris Capuano voted onto the NL All-Star team.

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Hall of Famer, Brewers broadcaster and actor Bob Uecker with partner Jim Powell.

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Among the Brewers retired numbers: Yount, Molitor and Uecker (50 years in baseball).

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Exterior of Miller Park.

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Hank Aaron statue in front of Miller Park.

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The plaque below the statue (click on the photo to read it).

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It’s Packers Country, and, yes, fans even tailgate before baseball games.

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Next to Miller Park, in the exact spot where County Stadium was, sits Helfair Field, a Little League jewel, as well as a kids play area.

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Three construction workers were killed during the building of Miller Park. They are honored in front of the facility.

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Bernie Brewer takes a dive down the famous Miller Park slide.

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And now onto Turner Field.

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Looking left.

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Looking right.

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How did this get in here?!?

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(Braves announcers) Skip (Caray) and Pete’s (Van Weiren) Hall of Fame BBQ at the entrance to Turner Field.

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"Tooner Field," a kids play area courtesy of corporate cousin Cartoon Network.

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Inside "Tooner Field" kids playing ball.

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Fans can watch the game from the Budweiser Pavillion (top) or the Chop House restaurant (bottom).

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Remembering "The Launching Pad," Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, the Braves’ home from 1966-1996.

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The most famous Brave.

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Quite a collection of pennants the Braves display in left field.

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Chris Welsh interviews "Everyday" Eddie Guardado in Atlanta before the game.

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Chipper Jones taking BP, on display on MLB’s most incredible video board (eight stories tall!).

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Turner Field from our broadcast booth.

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"Tom Horan (aka "Daddy") with his wife, Sheila, at a luncheon honoring his 35 years at WLW.

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Arroyo an All-Star

060703arroyo_1Congratulations to Bronson Arroyo on his first All-Star selection. Check out the story on reds.com to read about it.

From Mark Sheldon’s column…

"Since I’ve been in this uniform, everything has played out nicely," said Arroyo, who named to the team in a players’ vote. "Starting off as hot as I have and us being in contention like we are as a team no one expected to be here, for me to make the All-Star team was something I never expected."

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