CINCINNATI — It’s his offseason, but Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow was asked to make one more throw on Tuesday afternoon at the Reds home opener. Burrow has a history of getting the football to his target.
It was no different with a baseball, as Burrow completed a perfect home opener ceremonial first pitch to his head coach, Zac Taylor, stationed behind the plate.
Moments earlier, Burrow and other members of the AFC champion Bengals received a loud standing ovation when they stepped onto the playing field. After the toss, fans screamed the popular “Who Dey” chant, something not previously heard at Great American Ball Park.
Cincinnati was swept up by the Bengals and the NFL team’s unexpected run to the Super Bowl this past season. That included Reds manager David Bell.
“One of the things we talk about as a team is playing in a way that inspires people,” Bell said. “I think [the Bengals] pretty much nailed that this year. They set a great example of what that’s all about. I know I was inspired. It seemed like the entire city was. That was amazing. They are kind of leading the way, and we’re going to try and follow them.”
During batting practice on the field, Bell got to meet Taylor for the first time. The two had come close to meeting in the past, but it hadn’t worked out for one reason or another.
The Reds-Bengals connection extended to a pair of former top rookies. Wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase, the 2021 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, presented Reds second baseman Jonathan India with his 2021 National League Rookie of the Year Award during pregame ceremonies.