PDT Staff Writer
Jim Saddler is loosening up for the biggest pitch of his life. The well-known veterans leader has been given the honor of throwing out the first pitch at Sunday’s Portsmouth Day at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati.
“He thinks he’s going to get a contract with the Cincinnati Reds,” Jim’s wife Jane Saddler said.
Jim Saddler says he is excited about the opportunity and just wants to get the ball in the catcher’s mitt.
That mitt will be worn by Portsmouth Mayor David Malone.
“I always have my glove very close to me,” Malone said. “I go out and pass with my niece, and sometimes my daughters. So I’m in shape.”
Malone said he expects a large turnout for the game between the Cincinnati Reds and the Washington Nationals, in which Johnny Cueto will face off with Steven Strasberg.
“I’m always excited to go to Portsmouth Day,” Malone said.
Scioto County Career Technical Center’s Criminal Justice Center color guard will be presenting the colors on the field.
“We are very proud of that,” SCCTC Superintendent Stan Jennings said. “Several years ago we started seeing other color guards at other schools, and we attempted to do ROTC, and we just couldn’t get it done. But our color guard performs at all sorts of functions. They’ve done our OSBA (Ohio School Board Association) meetings. Whenever we have Veterans Day, or completion, or anything out at the school, we always have our color guard.”
Led by Criminal Justice instructor Darren Cox, the group generally consists of two rifles, two or three flags, depending on the event, and the leader of the color guard.
“We’re very proud of them,” Jennings said. “They look good too. Sometimes they’re in their blacks, and sometimes they’re in their whites. Whenever they’re in their whites, they are sharp, sharp, sharp.”
Lisa Carver, Director of the Portsmouth Area Chamber of Commerce, said she believes around a thousand tickets had been sold through Thursday morning.
“Out of our office, we sold right around 900,” Carver said. “And then they actually cut our sales off a little earlier this year, and they have continued to sell them there for us. I would say they have sold another 100 tickets for us at our discounted rate. If someone wants to get them, they just have to fax or e-mail them.”
“I think I have been to about every one,” Carver said. “It’s just kind of neat to sit there at the ballgame, look around and see about a thousand people you know.”
Carver said her eight-year-old daughter has been going since she was two years old, and also enjoys the event.
Another highlight of Portsmouth Day will be Hannah Noel, a Wheelersburg High School student, active in area theater, singing the National Anthem.
“They were really impressed with her tape,” Carver said. “We had to submit a tape and they were really impressed with her.”
The game is set to begin at 1:10 p.m.
The Daily Times invites all who will be attending Sunday’s Portsmouth Day festivities at the Washington Nationals-Cincinnati Reds game to send pictures of their experiences.
Fans can tweet, share on Facebook or e-mail pictures to the Daily Times Sunday during the game with the best photos making Tuesday’s print edition and potentially an online photo gallery on portsmouth-dailytimes.com.
Tweet photos to @CodyLeist or @PDTSports with the hashtag #PortsmouthDay. Via Facebook, make sure to “Like” the Portsmouth Daily Times and tag the newspaper in the photos or send them in a direct message. All photos can also be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Deadline for the photos will be at midnight Sunday night.
On April 15 the Reds will celebrate Jackie Robinson Day, just days after the movie “42” opens in Portsmouth. That movie is about the great Brooklyn Dodgers star Jackie Robinson, and Scioto County native Branch Rickey, the man who signed him to a Major League contract in 1947, breaking the color barrier. Robinson played his first game on April 15 of that year. His jersey number 42 has been retired throughout the entire Major League Baseball system.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT.