10 years in, Great American Ball Park built to serve fans

CINCINNATI - Great American Ball Park celebrates its 10 year anniversary this season, and plenty has changed in just the past decade around the ballpark.

"I've spent a lifetime seeking out and finding ways to have a  good time, be it at sporting events, music venues, things like that. So, we came at this job as fans first," said Phil Castellini, Reds Chief Operations Officer and son of Reds owner Bob Castellini.

When building the park Castellini discussed the incorporation of the steamboat in center field as part of that fan experience.

"We were up doing the front gate deck project at the time and we looked across the river, our stadium operations manager and myself, he saw one of the riverboats across the river and he said, 'wouldn't it be cool if we just cut the top off the boat?' . . . the riverboat theme was already here in the form of the power stacks," Castilinni said.

Additionally, Castellini said Crosley Terrace, soon to be the home of a new Joe Morgan statue, adds a particular touch to the history of the Reds organization fans can relate too and has grown over 10 years.

"It's supposed to speak to the history of Crosley Field," Castellini said. "This expansion of Crosley Terrace and breezeway are open to fans all of the time. You'd be surprised how many fans come down here on non-game days."

And fans have a clear view of the field from the terrace by design, on those days, Castellini said. Kiosks and box stands that littered the main entry plaza were removed after the first year.

"So, the first couple of things we did early on was say, 'I want to get rid of all those kiosks that are blocking the aisle way,'" Castellini said, allowing fans to see the full expanse of the field ahead from the entrance to the park.

Another thing that draws some fans, according to Castellini? Even though running a ball club can be expensive, there still are relatively cheap seats, some for $5, to see a game at the Great American Ball Park.

"We still have the $5 ticket," Castellini said. "We still have the dollar stand. You can bring food in and unopened bottles of non-alcoholic beverages."

For more on what's changed in 10 years since GABP opened, click play on the video above (mobile users go to a browser version of WCPO.com).

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