The Reds' clubhouse got a big boost in "curb appeal" during the offseason, but it took more than just a coat of paint to gussy up the front door.
As part of a series of upgrades to Great American Ball Park, the home clubhouse entrance received a face lift. Before the update, the main entry was rather plain, with some red paint on the wall and gray metal doors. The new look is actually a homage to the much older facility as it was inspired by, The Palace of the Fans, where the team played from 1902-11:
The main entrance to the Reds clubhouse is actually seen most often by visitors, like media and tour groups. Reds players traditionally use a more convenient side entrance that's closer to their parking garage.
Reds chief operating officer Phil Castellini and vice president of ballpark operations Tim O'Connell had the idea for the look, but it was up to Reds finish carpenter Bo Burkhart to use his skills to bring the concept to life.
"I did a drawing off pictures and did the research on it," Burkhart told MLB.com. "I presented it to Tim and Phil and they said to go for it. I just started building. It was a neat one to build."
Following a fire that burned down the Reds' League Park after the 1901 season, a majestic grandstand was rebuilt in its place. The new park featured pillars and columns with boxes that was basically something Queen Victoria might have designed if she was really into baseball. It was fittingly named the Palace of the Fans.
It took Burkhart four weeks to build the replica façade of the old Palace and one week to apply the white paint. The doors are currently painted white as well, but there is some discussion of adding stately wooden doors with smoked glass.
"We still might do it before the All-Star Game. I think it would look very cool," said Burkhart, who has worked at GABP since it opened in 2003.
The look of the old Palace has made its way into other Reds items, inspiring the team's media guide cover and the name plates above player lockers. But it's the front door that has drawn rave reviews.
"It is the most gorgeous thing," Reds clubhouse manager Rick Stowe said. "[Burkhart] put in some man hours for that. It is just beautiful."