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Three-Chopt owner lands another big honor with his beloved Reds

Matthew Rogers will throw the first pitch and serve as honorary team captain for the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday. Matthew Rogers will throw the first pitch and serve as honorary team captain for the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday.

Matthew Rogers is getting another once-in-a-lifetime opportunity on the field with his beloved Cincinnati Reds.

The owner of Three-Chopt sandwich shop downtown got to know Reds owner Bob Castellini when he used to eat lunch at the shop with Tom Fazio, the renowned golf course designer who lived in Laurel Park at the time. Rogers’s souvenir jerseys and encyclopedic knowledge of Reds history impressed Castellini, who invited him to sing the national anthem to open a game in 2019. That season, Rogers formed a trio of himself alarm company owner Steve Johnson and Philip Wiehe, a retired Episcopal priest and fellow parishioner at St. James Episcopal Church. He’s since sang the “Star-Spangled Banner” for the Reds two other times.
“In honor my father, who took me to a game at Crosby Field and changed my life, I buy a hundred tickets for the Boys and Girls Club every time I sing, along with $15 in food,” he said. “The owner thinks that that is just fantastic.”
When he decided to buy tickets to Sunday’s Hall of Fame game, he thought maybe he’d sing again.
“Johnny Bench and Pete Rose are gonna be there,” he said. “And I called Mr. Fazio and asked him if he could ask the owner — because that’s his best friend — if I could sing because I’m going to go to the game. The owner’s secretary called me back in an hour and said, ‘We have a 25-member choir,’ and said, ‘Would you throw out the first pitch and be our team captain,’ and I said, ‘Of course I will.’”

“My dear baseball coach in high school was just rolling over because I wasn’t that good at throwing,” he said. “I’m gonna make sure that nobody’s behind the catcher. There’s an old saying in baseball that he throws so slow that you could time it with a calendar.”
He said he plans to add some theatrics during his “two minutes of fame.”
“I’m going to shake him off” when the catcher signals the pitch.
“It’s a big game,” he added. “We’re in first place for the first time since 2010. And this is three games against Milwaukee,” which is tied with the Reds in the National League Central with an identical 50-42 record.
Rogers plans to have someone make a video of his ceremonial pitch, which he plans to post on Three-Chopt’s Facebook page.
Singing the national anthem three times, serving as honorary team captain and throwing out the first pitch in a crucial Sunday afternoon game is not even Rogers’s last wish when it comes to his beloved baseball club.
“The next thing that I’m going to ask the Reds to do is, when I turn 65 (next year), to draft me for a day and then release me,” he said.