Here’s a report from Lexington, KY from Redleg Nation member Kyle Pence.
The Southern Leg of the Reds Caravan made its last stop of the 2013 tour in Lexington today and the Bluegrass showed up on a chilly Sunday morning to show their support. No doubt, Lexington’s favorite color is blue, but there is also a big Reds following here and it was good to see a lot of them out representing our favorite team today. Perhaps most importantly, the conclusion of the Caravan means that Spring Training is just around the corner.
The event itself mirrors the descriptions of the other stops: Incredibly gracious staff and participants, extremely well organized, and a huge crowd of friendly fans. The Lexington Center is a large facility that really serves this type of event well, and the Caravan took full advantage of the space. The stage was set up right in the middle to create a very open and inviting atmosphere. Even the people not in line were able to interact with the VIPs because you could literally walk right up to them. There was a remarkable lack of security and seeing the guys in such a casual setting was pretty neat. I’m always interested in the stories about what these guys are like off the field and these Caravan events are a great chance to get a feel for how normal most of these ballplayers are.
I also want to give a lot of credit to the non-athlete slate of participants. Jim Kelch and Dick Williams are incredibly patient and gracious guys. For every twenty people that went to get an autograph from the Cowboy, Hamilton or Frazier, one would stop for those two. I watched for about 20 minutes and not once did I see either of those guys check a cell phone or even look bored. They greeted every person as they walked by heading over to one of the players and were incredibly good sports about their lack of attention.
I thought both Hamilton and Frazier looked like they were in game shape. It is nice to see those guys not wasting away the winter and keeping focused. I also felt like the Reds made a big statement by having Hamilton participate in the Caravan. They no doubt recognize his potential for many years in this organization and the excitement that a guy with that kind of speed and base stealing prowess brings to a game. It’s a great move having him out front already and I felt like today he displayed the personality that will fit that role. He’s become somewhat of a cult superstar over the last year but it doesn’t seem like it is going to his head. I had to chuckle a little when I noticed that all of the players were wearing their jerseys but Hamilton was just wearing a Reds t-shirt.
All in all, it was a great Caravan stop. I’d love to see a few more of the players participate because this is an event the fans seem to really eat up. Baseball has introduced itself to 2013 and this Reds fan is pumped for another playoff run. I’ll leave you guys with a hat tip to Sam LeCure, one of the best player twitter accounts, and who tweeted out a great picture (below) of GABP summing up exactly how I’m feeling after today.
As he says, is it baseball season yet!?!?
– Kyle Pence