Here is the report filed by Redleg Nation member John Rohrig from the Reds Southern Tour caravan stop in Charleston, WV.

Jim Kelch as MC at the Reds caravan event in Charleston

Jim Kelch as MC at the Reds caravan event in Charleston

This evening the Reds Winter caravan rolled into Charleston, WV after a previous stop in Ashland, KY. Charleston, is fortunate in that it is the last stop of the day and, therefore, are few time restraints. If it runs past time, Reds Caravan officials usually make sure they stay until the last person goes through the line.

On the Southern Tour are Reds announcer Jim Kelch, who emceed the event; Reds 3B Todd Frazier; Reds P Logan Ondrusek; 2-time Reds Minor League Player-of-the-Year, new CF Billy Hamilton, Reds radio announcer Jeff Brantley, and Reds VP of Operations Dick Williams. They were accompanied by Mr. Red and Rosie Red.

Jim Kelch introduced each person and then asked each one a quick question or two, some of which were selected from the fans. Dick Williams spoke briefly about the Reds being selected as the Organization of the year and yesterday’s big announcement regarding the 2015 All-Star game.

Kelch then asked Jeff Brantley a question from a fan who wanted to know how Brantley got the nickname “Cowboy”. Brantley explained he got it from former Reds player Lenny Harris. Brantley said he was from the country and when he would come into the Reds locker room he constantly wore his cowboy boots. He said Lenny Harris took note one day and started calling him “Cowboy”. Brantley quipped, “Guess what? It stuck!”

Brantley on Aroldis Chapman moving to the rotation: “Any time you have a guy, a guy that is unique, has a unique arm like Chapman. The only way to get the best out of Chapman would be to see if he can be a starter. You owe to yourself as an organization to do that.”

Kelch to Todd Frazier: “Who is going to be the everyday third baseman for the Reds in 2013? And you answered this rather emphatically down in Ashland.” Frazier answered, “It’s going to be me. All day, baby.”

I got to ask Billy Hamilton how he felt about this morning’s announcement that he would start the season at AAA Louisville. He said he felt great about that, no distractions, and he couldn’t wait to get started in Louisville.

But something unexpected happened to me this evening. I came away from the event as a big Logan Ondrusek fan. Very, very nice young man. Very personable and very articulate. He is the kind of guy you want to root for. I got to ask him about his new 2-year contract. He said he could relax now and just pitch. He said it was great to know that the team had such confidence in him to give him a 2-year deal.

I have had critical things to say about him in the past at times as have a lot of people on Redleg Nation. But no more. Time to cut Ondrusek a little slack. It’s easy to criticize players from the sanctity of the Internet. But we must remember, these are just young men trying to do the best that they can, and make a living, albeit a great living, doing something they love. Playing baseball. Logan Ondrusek has at least one new fan after tonight. Here’s hoping more in the Redleg Nation will jump on-board the Logan Ondrusek bandwagon. I will be rooting for him to make the roster in the bullpen and play an important role in the bullpen in 2013.

— John Rohrig, Charleston, WV

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky’s Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve’s thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.

Join the conversation! 18 Comments

  1. Already on the wagon.

  2. Logan Ondrusek is a person? A ‘very, very nice young man?’ I thought he was just sorta like a baseball machine like all the others who fans like to boo. Like Drew Stubbs. Learn something new every day! It’s so much easier to hate people when you dehumanize them – look how terrible Scott Rolen is!

  3. I appreciate the point of view and understand that when you meet guys, you become fans, nobody knows that better than I do (see Matt Klinker)…but when someone here is critical of a player, it’s only his baseball ability and results they’re being critical of. It’s not personal, it’s not that anyone thinks he’s a bad guy. It’s strictly baseball related.

  4. @Bill Lack: I think a lot of baseball fans assume that the numbers a player puts up is all there is, and they refuse to look at the player they dislike as a person. Listen to WLW call-in shows and you’ll hear a bunch of callers talk about how some under-performing player is a terrible person who should be forced to retire.

    Same story with the gun control debate. Some people view innocent people killed by guns as numbers and resent somebody (Obama) putting names to faces, others see them as people who were brutally murdered. Identify murdered people and you’ll feel for them, learn about individual players and you’ll like them.

  5. Happened with Rolen a lot last year – some Reds fans wanted Dusty to come out with some speech about how he’d completely given up on Rolen, that the Reds were determined for Rolen’s career to be over midseason. It would have been really rude to Scott Rolen while not helping the Reds – who cared about him, he was a person. It’s nice that the Reds have worked hard to be respectful or Rolen, even this offseason.

  6. @redsfanman: It’s a baseball blog. Please refer to the commenting guidelines.

  7. @Bill Lack: My thoughts exactly. Since I don’t know these guys, I really do look at them strictly in their professional capacity. I don’t really care if they’re great guys or total jerks, and I look REALLY skeptically at media accounts that paint guys as either one.

    But for the organization, I think it’s great that players are really connecting with fans like this.

    However, you like it, more power to you.

  8. There is a side of me that would really love to see Scott Rolen come back but not as an everyday player. I really think that his leadership and clubhouse presence really makes the younger guys give it that extra effort. In fact they may be intimidated by that look that he gives. I would love to see Joey Votto take over that role and really push the entire team but I do not know if he is that type of guy…yet!

  9. @icee82: I see Todd Frazier as being that guy in a few years. But another year with Rolen wouldn’t be a bad thing.

  10. First, thank you John Rohrig. And every other correspondant. This is such a great idea and the execution is wonderful.

    Secondly;Logan Ondrusek, would be a great name for a preppie vampire. Or a a rock, albeit a delicate one;

    3) i hope Scottie Rolen does not start the season with the Reds.

    Fifth) i think Brandon Phillips is the same kind of leader as SRolen.

    • Fifth) i think Brandon Phillips is the same kind of leader as SRolen.

      I disagree completely. Scott Rolen comes off as a reasonably quiet and respectable guy. He talks and his teammates will listen, somebody who might be a team captain if he stuck with one team. Brandon Phillips is loud and outspoken and he thrives on fan attention while angering fans in other cities (St Louis, in particular) – he motivates fans to buy tickets but I sure don’t see him as any sort of leader. They’re both great personalities to have a on a team, but for completely different reasons.

  11. I want Rolen to retire but I want them to be respectful of him in the process, which they’ve been very careful about.

    Baseball is a game for entertainment and I think the players being likable is a big plus. It’s nice that guys like Ondrusek and Frazier have been able to win over fans with their personalities.

  12. @redsfanman: This is just plain silly. These guys aren’t my friends, they’re players on a baseball team. Why do I care if they’re nice guys or mean guys?

    Sure, I’d prefer guys be nice, but again, it’s a baseball team.

  13. @redsfanman: I have never seen anyone on this blog as much as you that sets up spin-drenched comments that no one ever says in order to make himself appear to be reasonable.

    In the time I’ve read comments here I have never, ever seen anyone say anything similar to a player “is a terrible person who should be forced to retire” (in your words). You are simply making it up, which is par for the course, apparently.

    I, for one, strongly feel that Logan Ondrusek should be pitching for the Bats. I don’t know the guy, and frankly, I don’t care if he’s the nicest choir boy in the world. He should be a nice guy pitching for the Bats. I know plenty of nice people, and I don’t want them pitching for the Reds either.

  14. I think that it takes all types of guys to make a team. You need the Scott Rolen type guys but you also need the Brandon Phillips type guys. Those guys are brash and give the team some personality. If all of the team were Scott Rolen’s they would be very quiet and not very interesting people. I think that BP goes over the top sometimes but hey you have to take the good with the bad and nobody loves the fans more than BP. I would not want the entire team to be Brandon Phillips’ type guys though. Frazier does not have the credentials that Rolen brings to the table…yet. I would love for Joey Votto to take that clubhouse leadership position. It is quite obvious that he is going to be a fixture in Cincinnati for the rest of his career so who better to lead the troops?

  15. The type of leader who leads by example. Out there every day. Working hard at practice. The type who cares about the team. Sure, they do it different ways, but they have the same goals. Put it another way, same ends, different means.

    Would I have said this two years ago? I don’t think so.

  16. Went to this one too and was near the end of the signing line after two hours these guys were still talkative and pleasant especially Frazier who I came away impressed with being that he is the kids club face this year….he’ll do a good job.

Comments are closed.

About Steve Mancuso

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky's Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve's thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.


2013 Reds, The Nation Reports


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