Great American Ball Park gets makeover

Great American Ball Park gets makeover

SARASOTA, Fla. -- In the movie "Bull Durham," the Bulls' stadium featured a sign for hitters that said "Hit bull, Win a steak."

At Great American Ball Park this season, there will be a similar target for Reds hitters. But if they actually hit it during a game, it would become a lucrative moment for a lucky fan.

Last week, the club placed a red 2008 Toyota Tundra pickup truck on top of the elevator shaft well beyond the fence in center field. If a Reds player hits the truck during a home run, one randomly selected lucky fan will take home the $31,000 vehicle.

It would take some gargantuan homer for someone to get the Tundra, however, as the truck is located more than 500 feet from home plate.

The truck promotion is one of several changes Reds fans will notice when the 2008 season opens on March 31 vs. the Diamondbacks.

The Cincinnati Bell Riverboat deck, which was introduced last season, has been given additional awnings and rest rooms. The Machine Room Grille has also been remodeled, and offers unrestricted field views. The restaurant's doors will open three hours before game time.

On the third base concourse will be a new 5,000 square foot Game Day Pro shop. The area will also house the HH Gregg Highlight Zone, which will have 13 high-definition televisions showing every MLB game, and possibly other sports as well.

Like many clubs in Major League Baseball, the Reds have added an "All you can eat" section with nearly 400 seats in the mezzanine section. For $30, fans get unlimited hot dogs, peanuts, popcorn and soft drinks. The team will also introduce the Meijer family section in the right field box area, in which no alcohol will be permitted. Tickets in the family section will cost $22.

Behind the scenes, manager Dusty Baker will be calling the Reds bullpen on the Cincinnati Bell Dugout Phone, using a Nokia wireless phone. The IKEA company is also sponsoring and furnishing a new suite for Reds Radio Network affiliates.

The Ballpark will also be more environmentally friendly this season. In partnership with Duke Energy, the Reds have purchased carbon credits to offset the estimated fossil fuel emissions associated with the operation of GABP for Opening Day. Rumpke and Pepsi are sponsoring a recycling program for all plastics and paper waste. Additionally, cooking oils used in kitchens and concession stands will be recycled for reuse as bio-diesel fuel.

Outside of GABP and in downtown Cincinnati, there will be two new ticket kiosks on Fountain Square and at Skyline Chili on 4th St.

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.