More Cincinnati Bengals Players Tapped to Throw First Pitch at Reds/Cardinals Game Friday

If it was good enough for Joe Burrow, it's good enough for Eli Apple, Vonn Bell and Trey Hendrickson.

click to enlarge Members of the Cincinnati Bengals crew stand at the dugout before the Cincinnati Reds' home opener on April 12, 2022. - PHOTO: RON VALLE
Photo: Ron Valle
Members of the Cincinnati Bengals crew stand at the dugout before the Cincinnati Reds' home opener on April 12, 2022.

If Joe Burrow could do it, why not other Cincinnati Bengals?

Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Eli Apple, safety Vonn Bell and defensive end Trey Hendrickson will throw out the ceremonial first pitch when the Cincinnati Reds welcome the St. Louis Cardinals to Great American Ball Park on April 22. The game is scheduled to begin at 6:40 p.m., with the Bengals making their tosses shortly before that. An email from the Reds says that Apple, Bell and Hendrickson will make their pitches "simultaneously."

These Bengals will follow in the footsteps of quarterback Joe Burrow, who threw the ceremonial first pitch before the Reds' home opener on April 12. His battery mate? None other than the Orange and Black's head coach Zac Taylor. And yet another Bengal took the field that day, as wide receiver Ja'marr Chase presented MLB's National League Rookie of the Year award to Reds second baseman Jonathan India.

On Feb. 13, the Bengals lost 20-23 to the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LVI, Cincinnati's first shot at the Vince Lombardi trophy since 1989.

Will that Super-Bowl-run magic rub off on the Cincinnati Reds? The old eight ball says "not likely." As of April 22, the Reds own the worst record in the majors, with the team's 2-11 standing even worse than the Pittsburgh Pirates' 6-7 showing. Most recently, the Reds were swept by the San Diego Padres, who ended a three-game series by completely shutting out Cincinnati  6-0. The mounting losses seem to be fulfilling experts' pre-season predictions of mediocrity for the Reds.
Things have been dark since Cincinnati's Opening Day at home, when Phil Castellini, the Reds' chief operating officer and son of team owner Bob Castellini, taunted fans (and even players)  for (rightfully) questioning why the front office continues to trade productive players instead of building a World Series-contending team. Former Red Nick Castellanos, who was one of the team's top players and whom the Reds let go to free agency, has been commenting more and more about how players and fans feel when ownership doesn't invest for the long haul. And the Florence Y'alls recently reminded the Castellinis that fans, indeed, have other options for baseball.

The Cincinnati Reds will try to bounce back during the weekend's home series with the St. Louis Cardinals. Pitching phenom Hunter Greene — who set the league's pitching velocity record on April 16 by throwing a gazillion fastballs of 100+ MPH — will make his home debut on April 22. Tyler Mahle will take the mound on April 23, followed by Nick Lodolo on April 24.

Though stumbling a little this season, St. Louis (7-4 on the season) features the reliable, longtime battery of pitcher Adam Wainwright and catcher Yadier Molina on tap, and the team recently welcomed St. Louis legend Albert Pujols back into the fold after "The Machine" spent a decade with the Angels and Dodgers in Los Angeles.

A 2021 study showed that Cincinnati Reds fans consider the St. Louis Cardinals to be the team's biggest rivals, but Cards fans don't quite see it that way.

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