Sports: Opening Day Festivities

Professional baseball's oldest franchise opens its 127th season on Monday with a barrage of festivities. Led by Grand Marshall/former Reds great Frank Robinson, the 90th Findlay Market Parade kicks off at 10:30 a.m. WNKU will broadcast live from Arnold's

Professional baseball’s oldest franchise opens its 127th season on Monday with barrage of festivities.

Led by Grand Marshall/former Reds great Frank Robinson, the 90th Findlay Market Parade kicks off at 10:30 a.m. and again features CityBeat’s “float,” a flatbed truck with a choice local band playing live and (probably) loud. The parade proceeds down Race Street from Findlay Market to Fountain Square.

Speaking of local musicians, Jake Speed & the Freddies are taking part in WNKU’s Opening Day Radio Extravaganza at Arnold’s Bar & Grill. The local radio station (89.7 FM) will broadcast live from Arnold’s (which will be featuring a special Opening Day breakfast menu and serving up Cincinnati Red Bloody Marys) beginning at 8 a.m. before giving way to Jake (who’ll no doubt play “Huzzah for the Red Stockings”) at 9:30.

The actual game gets underway at 1:10 p.m., when the Reds battle the New York Mets and their ace pitcher Johann Santana at Great American Ball Park.

Despite some fans whining about the fact that Reds’ owner Bob Castellini and GM Walt Jocketty failed to bring in a big bat to replace Ken Griffey Jr. and Adam Dunn, the Reds won’t suck in 2009. Six of the starting eight position players have turned over from last year’s opening day lineup — led by burgeoning stars Joey Votto and Jay Bruce — resulting in much better overall team speed and defense. And the pitching staff looks as strong and deep as it’s been in at least a decade, led by a solid starting rotation and a bullpen that was one of the National League’s best last year.

Mark it down: The Reds will compete for a playoff birth. I’ll bet my Ron Oester rookie card on it.

Get parade details here.

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