By Kevin Kelly
The Cincinnati Enquirer
The irony elicited a hearty chuckle from Pokey Reese.
Once considered the Reds' shortstop of the future, Reese was part of Opening Day at Great American Ball Park on Monday.
He did so, however, as the Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman. "I love it," said Reese, who was traded by the Reds in 2001. "I was supposed to be part of the future and the new stadium here in Cincinnati. But it's a business. It never really went down that way, but I'm still here opening up the new ballpark."
And like some Pirates, who dressed in the starkly furnished visitors clubhouse at the ballpark, Reese believed the Reds' new home was adequate but lacked the flair baseball's best newer facilities possess.
One Pirates player compared Great American Ball Park to buying a luxury car with cloth seats instead of supple leather bucket seats.
"I don't think it's as good as PNC because you can see more of the skyline (in Pittsburgh)," Reese said. "That's what I like about the new stadiums today, you can see the city."
The Pirates play in PNC Park, built for $262 million, opened in 2001 and considered to be on par with Jacobs Field in Cleveland, Pacific Bell Park in San Francisco and Coors Field in Colorado.
"It's good because it's new," Pirates center fielder and former Indian Kenny Lofton said of Great American. "But it's not Jacobs Field."
Pirates pitcher Scott Sauerbeck, a Northwest High graduate who played college ball at Miami University, guaranteed he was the only Pittsburgh player able to identify the smoke stacks located beyond the right-center-field fence.
"It's a nice ballpark, but you go to all the new parks and it doesn't stand out," Sauerbeck said. "Nothing really stands out. It's not like our park, (or) like Pac Bell. It's not any of those other ballparks that have all the charm and character."
Many lauded the playing surface itself - the condition of the grass, the dimensions, the infield dirt, etc.
"I remember the old ballpark, the turf, the long home runs into the red seats in left field," Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon said. "The last couple of years it was a different ballpark.
"I'm sure they're excited about what they've got now."
OPENING DAY: GREAT AMERICAN BALL PARK
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Sights and sounds of Opening Day
For the record...
Opening Day in review
Pirates 10, Reds 1
Daugherty: Reds get first-game kinks out
It's strike one, and then rout was on
Kearns' thoughts turn to real heroes
Reese sees irony in opener
Game supplies new sights for Hall
3-homer inning Haynes' downfall
Benson the answer to trivia question
Sanders spoils park's opening
Game log, by the numbers
Mystery surrounds Rose's new book venture
No news on Rose, but Selig loves new park
NL: Big Unit gets first loss in opener
AL: Yankees victory bittersweet
Jeter out 'indefinitely' with dislocated shoulder
Notebook: Delayed debut
LeBron hits winning shot in All-Star game
Monday's prep results
Kentucky's season surpassed Smith's expectations
Season of parity evident in Final Four
Barnes has Longhorns talking title
T. J. Ford wants to make history
Freshman forward's outside shooting sparks Marquette
Slimmer Graves becomes key player for Jayhawks
A year after NIT, Orangemen in Final Four
Women: Tennessee headed to its 14th Final Four
Howland mum on plans after UCLA interview
NCAA Tournament at a glance
NIT at a glance
It's time for changing of NBA stars
Rockets, Yao fall to Nets 110-86
Bruins clinch playoff berth
Lumpkins sets riding record at Turfway
PLAN YOUR DAY
Tuesday's sports on TV, radio
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