Monday, December 30, 2002

Stadium goes down in 37 seconds


Cinergy/Riverfront falls in spectacular implosion

By James Pilcher
The Cincinnati Enquirer

PHOTO ANIMATION

See Cinergy Field come crashing down
(Glenn Hartong photos)
DESKTOP WALLPAPER
Click on one of these images for a larger version to set as wallpaper:












Large images are 1028 x 768.

Thirty-two years of Cincinnati history crumbled like a sand castle in 37 seconds Sunday morning, as a ring of detonations brought down Cinergy Field and two generations of sports memories.

The biggest implosion in Cincinnati's history saw 1,400 pounds of explosives, implanted in more than 2,000 places, rip apart the stadium's 18 supporting columns like they were a child's plaything.

The fiery detonations claimed the stadium's signature white steel girders, its concrete bleachers, the left-field wall that once held the retired jerseys of Red greats and even the 50-foot red-and-blue Cinergy Field signs that lit the downtown skyline.

Left behind was a 45-foot high circular pile of rubble and a gritty cloud of dust where the stadium had stood on the banks of the Ohio River since 1970.

"It rounded third and headed headlong into home," said longtime Reds announcer and Hall of Fame pitcher Joe Nuxhall.

Dan Finan of Fort Mitchell, who watched from Covington, described the stadium's collapse as "the final wave at Cinergy."

As the final chunk of Cinergy's 22,500 tons of steel fell, inspection crews raced to the $280 million Great American Ball Park - literally an arm's length away from Cinergy's outfield wall - to see if the Reds' new home had sustained damage. Other inspectors checked out the 140-year-old Roebling Suspension Bridge and the under-construction National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.

All gave the OK sign.

"Not a scratch and very little dust. And not a single broken window," said Mike O'Rourke, president of the Linwood demolition company being paid $5.7 million by Hamilton County to bring down Cinergy and clear the site by Aug. 31. "I'd call it a good day."

For others, Cinergy's demise was painful.

"When the thing went down, I remembered being 5 years old, and watching the Reds with my grandparents and father. I can't believe it's gone," said Todd Sledge, 32, of Anderson Township. "It feels like the death of the Big Red Machine."

Tom Gray, a Fort Mitchell native, who returned home from Chicago to watch the implosion, also expressed remorse: "A lot of memories for me went down in all that dust."

The biggest adjustment will come in the days ahead when crews begin to remove the rubble and a new downtown skyline takes shape. For the first time since 1970, it will not include Cinergy Field.

"I'm going to miss it," said Jim Inglis of Withamsville. "It's part of the skyline, and it's like knocking the front teeth out of Cincinnati."

Ultimately the former stadium site will be transformed into the west plaza of Great American Ball Park, which will include the Reds Hall of Fame.

Opening Day is March 31, with the hall to open in 2004.



SEE CINERGY IMPLOSION
Animation from Enquirer photos
Video from WCPO
Galleries: Implosion | Crowd | Aerial shots | Views from Kentucky

CINERGY IMPLOSION STORIES
Cinergy Field down in 37 seconds
Cleanup begins today, will take months
No hitches, no errors
New skyline already earning praise
What's next for the Riverfront?
Partiers impressed by implosion
Fifty-five years that shaped Cincinnati's riverfront

BENGALS
Bengals reach new low in 27-9 loss to Bills
Bengals players, fans wait for Brown to act
Game statistics
Bengals Report Card
Bengals By The Numbers
Frustrated Spikes contemplating future
Bengals Notebook: Kitna misses $1.6M bonus

NFL
Browns make playoffs but lose Couch
Fans can say Browns are back
Jets in; Pats, Dolphins out
Sunday Night Game: Bucs 15, Bears 0

XAVIER MUSKETEERS
After West's outburst, XU circles wagons
Xavier 84, Eastern Ky. 60
Creighton warms up for Xavier with 10th straight win

UC BEARCATS
UC 66, Miami 54
Fouls hurt RedHawks
UC-Miami Notebook: Hicks comes back
DAUGHERTY: What if UC had beaten Ohio State?

WOMEN'S CROSSTOWN SHOOTOUT
UC women beat Xavier with defense
Ex-Bearcats, Pirtle say hello

OTHER COLLEGE BASKETBALL NEWS
Miami looks for breather tonight
NKU finally loses a game
Kentucky's confidence shaken
Duke 85, Dayton 74

FIESTA BOWL
Miami: Buckeyes can't match our speed
All-American Wilhelm letting play do talking
Tough ticket may end OSU fans' streak of 335 straight games
OSU antsy after long vacation

OTHER COLLEGE FOOTBALL NEWS
UK will introduce football coach today
Today's Bowl Games

PREP SPORTS
West's Maupin commits to Ohio State
High School Week Preview
LeBron James legend grows
Sunday's High School Results
High School Schedules
Prep sports home page

WHAT'S ON TV
Today on TV

Return to Reds front page...