Cincinnati — Is there any better way to show up to the ballpark than in the Reds Fan Express?
To put it simply, absolutely not.
With Aroldis Chapman’s fire-flames fastball leading the way, the boys and girls from the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Cincinnati arrived at Great American Ball Park in style for their day with the Reds. In cooperation with the Major League Baseball Player’s Association and the Player’s Trust, FOX Sports Ohio and the Reds provided the BGCGC with a lifetime of memories all jam-packed into one fantastic day.
Honks from cars and cheers from bystanders followed the boys and girls all the way to the stadium where they were greeted by FOX Sports Ohio Girl Kristine as they loaded off the bus.
"Riding on the bus was exciting and overwhelming," Sydnee Durden, a young girl from the group, said. "The honking and cheers kind of made us feel like celebrities."
On Thursday, they were celebrities.
The group got special early access to the Reds batting practice and even got to meet some of their favorite players.
Sitting behind the Reds dugout, the boys and girls garnered a lot of attention from the players, and you could tell the moment wasn’t lost on either party.
Reds’ catcher Brayan Pena tossed ball after ball from batting practice over to the boys and girls, and was one of the first players to make a trip over to say hello. Pena said seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces was priceless.
"Man, it’s amazing; it’s amazing to be able to share some of our time with them, spend some time sitting down and talking to them. It’s something that money can’t buy to see the smiles on their faces. I think we all love it, and hopefully we can continue to do more for them."
Pena wasn’t the only player to pay a visit. Red after Red came over to say hello to the boys and girls, and give them the few minutes they could spare during batting practice.
"My favorite player I met was Jay Bruce, and he gave me a ball."
Following batting practice there was only one thing left to do, play a baseball game.
The Reds were a unanimous group favorite to win their game over the Indians, and Bagget even predicted they would win by quite a substantial margin.
"I think the Reds will win, 20 to zip."
The group’s celebrity stardom grew even more just before the first pitch. On the Reds video-board, a recap was played of the boys and girls day so far, and immediately following the recap, a camera zoomed in on the kids in their seats. The crowd went WILD!
Once the game started if there was any question what section was going to be the loudest, the boys and girls put that to rest right away.
Cheers of ‘Let’s Go Reds’ rang out from section 108, drowning out any chance of a rebuttal from the rival Indians’ fans.
Sitting there watching their favorite team, Program Director Kevin Bostater said it was a great way for some of the kids to escape things they face every day and just enjoy themselves.
"This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for our kids and I can’t put it into words, honestly, because just to see them smile and their faces light up. They bring in a lot of problems and different situations when they come into our club, so to see them forget about their problems and be able to enjoy a night of baseball, and do some of the special things they have been able to do, has been incredible."
At the same time, as cool as it is for all of the kids, it’s still pretty cool for the volunteers as well.
"It is very exciting. I am definitely a big Reds fan," Bostater said. "It is great to see the organization and FOX Sports Ohio come in and support these kids, and it really gives us motivation to come back in and keep giving back to these kids."
In the end, Bagget’s prediction of ’20 to zip’ was 25 percent correct.
The Reds took down the Indians 5-0, and the boys and girls capped off a perfect day with a perfect ending, a Reds win.
Follow on Twitter @hank_green5
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