Here’s a second report from the Dayton stop, by Redleg Nation member Adam Gough.
“We’re not trying to save the manatees here, we’re trying to win a World Series.” (ESPN radio 1410 broadcasting from the caravan, in regards to trading Drew Stubbs for Shin-Soo Choo).
My girlfriend and I pulled in to the U.S. Air Force Museum around 10:00 am this morning. I had read previous posts about the great turnout at the caravan stops, but I thought to myself: “How many reds fans in Dayton are going to jump out of bed on Sunday morning to wait in line for hours?” The answer to that question is what seemed like thousands. [Ed: See picture of the enormous crowd below.]
Of course I have no idea what the actual number in attendance was, but if you told me over 1,000 people showed up I wouldn’t be at all surprised. On a cold and cloudy morning the fans in Dayton were out and excited for baseball. The atmosphere inside the hangar was incredible, as everyone was waiting in anticipation for their favorite reds personalities to make it to the stage. The crowd applauded as CEO Bob Castellini, Bob Miller, Chris Welsh, Todd Benzinger and Tucker Barnhart came and took their seats. Then the crowd erupted as Brandon Phillips came to the stage. From the sound of the crowd, you would’ve thought Justin Bieber had just crossed the stage in front of a thousand twelve-year-old girls. And of course, DatDudeBP was loving every minute of it. Finally Marty came to the stage, introduced everyone who was seated and began the Q&A session.
Questions were pretty simple and seemed to fly by. A woman asked BP if he would marry her daughter, to which he replied, “Where’s she at?” Phillips was entertaining and kept the crowd laughing through most of the session.
One interesting response came from Bob Miller regarding the strength of the pitching staff. Miller talked about how great our starters were last year and how great the bullpen was (He mentioned Broxton and Chapman, apparently no love for my boy Sean Marshall). Finally, he discussed how everyone was coming back from last year and how Chapman would probably be added to the rotation. I was a bit surprised when he said probably regarding moving Chapman to the rotation. Am I reading too much in to that? I’m sure I am and I think just about everyone expects to see Chapman start some games, but I found Miller’s choice of words interesting.
The Q&A session wrapped up and then it was time for autographs. Those who had tickets and were seated were able to get their autographs first, and then the staff would open it up to everyone else. We decided against staying for what would likely be one to two hours and headed out of the hangar. On the way out, everyone in the crowd was talking baseball. I could hear an argument or two between friends, but the general feeling seemed to be one of excitement — a type of excitement I’ve never really been able to experience as a Reds fan.
The one thing I took away from the caravan is “we’re ready for a championship.” The fans, the players, the front office, the sportscasters, everyone feels like this is our time. The lineup is strong, the pitching staff is strong and this is the most excited this Reds fan has ever been for a season. The fans are ready and management is taking the steps necessary to bring another title to Cincinnati. After all, we’re not trying to save the manatees here.
Opening day is a mere 64 days away. Go Reds!
– Adam Gough