For the first time, the Opening Day game was moved to Sunday night as part of ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball. Up to that point, traditionally Opening Day was held on a Monday, with the Reds customarily hosting the first game of the afternoon. The move was met with some controversy, as many fans and traditionalists, including Reds owner Marge Schott, were not happy about the Sunday night game, especially since it was also Easter Sunday. Many tickets for the Sunday night game went unsold, and the team elected to wait until Monday afternoon's game for the traditional Opening Day pageantry and festivities. A sparse crowd of only 32,803 braved frigid weather Sunday night April 3 to watch the Reds lose 6–4 to the St. Louis Cardinals.
For Game 2 on Monday April 4, dubbed by most in attendance the "traditional" opening day, a sold out, standing room only crowd of 55,093 arrived at Riverfront Stadium, shrugging off the previous night's game. The pomp and ceremony, including the traditional Findlay Market parade was held under sunny skies. Kevin Mitchell hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 10th inning to win the game 5–4.
By Friday, August 12, the Reds had compiled a 66-48 record through 114 games (although they had actually played 115 games, since their April 6 game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Riverfront Stadium ended after the top of the 6th inning due to poor weather). They were leading the NL Central Division by just half a game over the Houston Astros. Prior to the Strike, they had scored 609 runs (5.30 per game) and had allowed 490 runs (4.26 per game).
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