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