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Opening Day for Cincinnati Reds now Opening Night, to be televised on ESPN2

A national broadcast, in THIS economy?

Atlanta Braves at Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

The lockout bumped-back the Major League Baseball schedule for the 2022 season, and while that doesn’t truly matter too much in the grand scheme, it hit particularly hard in Cincinnati.

Cincinnati, of course, has hosted Opening Day on the banks of the Ohio River since the dawn of baseball time, for a time always, always being the first game of the new baseball season. The lockout delay, though, now means they’ll open on the road in Atlanta on April 7th, and news broke this morning that the game has been moved to 8 PM ET for what will be a national broadcast on ESPN2.

C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic relayed the news.

It’s cool in a number of ways, I suppose. The entire world will have a little bit better access to watching Joey Votto do Joey Votto things, for instance. That said, it will certainly be a change of pace for the Reds and their fans as they go from playing host to the first vestiges of a new baseball celebration to playing the heel for that, as well as for the World Series celebrations that will inevitably be raining down in suburban Atlanta that night.

Even without a healthy Ronald Acuña Jr. and no Freddie Freeman, starter Tyler Mahle will have his work cut out for him against a still-potent Atlanta lineup that night. For Atlanta, though, the question of who will start for them that night still hangs in the balance, with both Charlie Morton (a righty) and Max Fried (a lefty) in contention. Given that disparity in sides of the mound from which they throw and the cobbled-together amalgamation left on the Reds roster, how the Reds line up on Opening Day could look wildly different based on Atlanta manager Brian Snitker’s ultimate decision.

One way or another, though, the Reds will get to roll out their new, payroll-reduced experiment live on a national broadcast for all the world to peruse.