Green returns for special Cincinnati weekend

Padres manager looking forward to ceremonies at Great American Ball Park

Green returns for special Cincinnati weekend

CINCINNATI -- Padres manager Andy Green is no stranger to the Cincinnati area.

Green is a Lexington, Ky., native and grew up a Reds fan living just south of old Riverfront Stadium. Just minutes after stepping into the dugout and out of the air-conditioned clubhouse, Green was hit with a 94-degree heat index, 88 percent humidity, and the threat of thunderstorms through Thursday evening's game against the Reds.

It felt like home.

"I drove up here and watched games when I was 5, 6 years old with my grandma and my brother," Green said. "This was big league baseball to me. Any time you get to come back to the muggy air, it's got a homecoming feel to it."

Green never got the chance to put on a Reds uniform, although he did spend part of the 2008 season with the club's Triple-A Louisville affiliate after detouring his career through Japan.

"I'd just come back from Japan," Green said. "I wasn't necessarily thinking about a need to wear a Reds uniform at the Major League level. It would've been very special, growing up a Reds fan just south of Cincinnati."

This weekend, Green will get to re-live a small part of his childhood. The Reds will honor the 1976 World Series championship team and Pete Rose on Friday, while Rose will be inducted into the Reds Hall of Fame on Saturday. In addition, Rose will have his No. 14 retired by the club on Sunday.

As a Reds fan, Green couldn't help but root for Rose.

"It's hard not being a Pete Rose fan when you grow up in this area," Green said. "It's going to be special to watch that happen on Saturday. I loved the Reds in general."

This won't be the first time that Green has had a chance to play spectator to a special Reds ceremony. Last season as a coach with the D-backs, Green was in attendance at the late-August tribute to Hall of Famer Tony Perez.

In fact, Green remembers that well, because he was denied the opportunity to bring out the lineup card and shake the hand of one of his all-time favorites, Dave Concepcion, who delivered the card for the Reds. This time around, Green won't miss out on that privilege.

"I was here last year with the Diamondbacks when Tony Perez had his statue unveiling out there and that was special," Green said. "I think Davey Concepcion took the lineup card out one day and I was fighting for it because he was my favorite player in the early '80s so I wanted to be out there. They didn't let me, though. Nobody can stop me this year, though."

Cody Pace is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cincinnati. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.