CINCINNATI — We're counting down the days to Reds Opening Day 2023, and the Reds announced Wednesday that former pitchers Bronson Arroyo and Danny Graves will lead the opening day parade.
Both Arroyo and Graves are part of the 2023 Reds Hall of Fame class.
Together, the two co-marshals are the 104th grand marshal for the annual Opening Day Parade. The two will lead the parade, which starts off at Findlay Market on March 30 at noon and works itself through downtown before the game starts. The Reds are scheduled to open the season against the Pittsburgh Pirates at 4:10 p.m.
"The significance of the Findlay Market Opening Day Parade goes well beyond the sport of baseball and people marching down the street," Cincinnati Mayor Aftab Pureval said. "It signifies the love that Cincinnatians have for our traditions and a reminder of how we came together as one large community."
For the first time ever, the Reds had a grand marshal, Arroyo, at the announcement.
"Going into the Reds Hall of Fame this year, this is a great way to kick off the season," Arroyo said.
The former Reds pitcher-turned-musician said he was excited to lead the parade after being in it twice before, and it's "worth everything" in Cincinnati. He said when he was growing up in Florida, there wasn't an Opening Day celebration like there is in Cincinnati, so the day is something special.
"I'm proud to be here, I'm proud to be apart of it and thanks for letting me be in it," Arroyo said.
Arroyo played with Cincinnati from 2006 to 2013, and was a 2006 All-Star. He pitched for more than 1,760 inning for the Reds and struck out 1,571 batters, according to the MLB. In 2010, he had a career-high 17 wins, winning a Gold Glove Award and finishing 12th in Cy Young Award voting. He was also a National League All-Star in 2006.
Outside of his baseball days, Arroyo is now known for his music career. The Bronson Arroyo Band plays at several venues locally, and in February 2023, they recently played at Innings Festival, a music festival in Arizona headlined by Green Day and Eddie Vedder. His band also recently just played at Autism Rocks, which is held by the Ken Anderson Alliance, a charity from the former Bengals quarterback.
"I get an opportunity now to play music in this city, and a lot of times it's raising money for people, and just trying to help the community out and bring some culture here, and it's always fun to be, to feel like you have a place that's home after retiring from the game of baseball," Arroyo said.
This will be the second time Graves acts as grand marshal after first appearing alongside former Reds pitcher Sam LeCure in 2018.
Graves, another former pitcher, played with the Reds from 1997 to 2005 after being traded by the now-Cleveland Guardians. The pitcher — who is the only Vietnamese-born player in the history of the MLB — is the all-time saves leader for the Cincinnati Reds with 182. He also was an National League All-Star in 2000 and 2004. He has won the Lou Gehrig Memorial Award, Ernie Lombardi and Johnny Vander Meer Awards, and was a key contributor to the 1999 Reds team that finished tied for a National League Wild Card berth.
Other than the grand marshals, additional parade participants and new floats were announced Wednesday.
Some new float entries include Cincinnati Reds Alumni, Cincinnati Bengals Kickers and Punters, Cincinnati College Basketball Alumni and Cold Iron: MMA/Wrestlers.
The Reds Alumni float will see George Foster (1971-1981), Doug Flynn (1975-1977), Ron Oester (1978-1990) and Scott Williamson (1999-2003) featured in the parade.
The Bengals Kickers and Punters float will include Pro Bowler Shayne Graham, all-time top scorer Jim Breech and Doug Pelfrey, who is the only player to kick two field goals within six seconds to win a game.
The UC float has former basketball players from various different teams that span back to 1958 with Carl Bouldin, who was on the 1961 National Champion team. Tom Thacker, who was also on that team, is another of the eight Bearcat alumni on the float.
Lastly, the MMA and wrestlers float has multiple different fighters from the area, including Khetag "The Lion" Pliev, who went to Lakota East and won at bronze medal in wrestling at the 2011 Pan American Games.