Last night, the Reds Western Tour caravan made its first public stop in Louisville. Here is the report filed by Redleg Nation member Daniel Matthews and additional information from Mark Duncan. Here are a few pictures at Better Off Red from the Louisville event.
LOUISVILLE (Louisville Slugger Field) – This was actually my first Reds Caravan experience so I really didn’t know what to expect. The big stars who were there: Thom Brennaman, Bob Castellini, Phil Castellini, Walt Jocketty, Joe Morgan, Jay Bruce, and Corky Miller (a fan favorite here in Louisville).
Thom began the evening with a bit of a sales pitch. He talked about the dreary days of Reds baseball prior to the Castellini ownership group and then referenced the success of the past few years. From there, the question and answer session got to be kind of a snooze-fest. People asked questions that loyal Reds should have already known for weeks, like, “What’s the plan for Aroldis Chapman in ’13?” and “Who is playing in the World Baseball Classic for the Reds?”
There were two big pieces of news that Walt discussed. The first was what hit the Twitterverse several hours earlier: Billy Hamilton starting the 2013 campaign as a Louisville Bat playing CF and batting leadoff. The second piece of news: extending the contract with the Louisville Bats as the Reds AAA affiliate through 2016. Walt also said he still thinks St. Louis is the biggest threat in the N.L. Central.
I really enjoyed hearing Joe Morgan speak during the Q&A, but some of the questions were hard to hear due to the poor microphone that fans were using. One I was able to hear was a question directed to Morgan and Bruce, and it was about the toughest pitcher they have faced. Morgan said that Sandy Koufax was the toughest pitcher he faced, simply because he had the best stuff. Bruce gave an answer I didn’t expect. He said that C.C. Sabathia and Andy Pettitte were the toughest pitchers he had faced. I thought that was interesting because of the rarity of ABs he gets against those pitchers. I thought he would have mentioned Roy Oswalt, Jaime Garcia, or, I don’t know, Roy Halladay perhaps.
Another fan asked Joe Morgan if he would still do games on radio from time to time. Morgan reiterated that he was retired and would not be returning to broadcasting. Someone asked Phil Castellini when 2015 All-Star Game tickets would go on sale. When he gave his response about how the best way to ensure getting tickets is being a season ticket holder, you could hear and feel the collective groan in the audience.
Getting autographs was worth the wait in line. Thom Brennaman was by far the nicest one. Bob Castellini was also friendly and talkative to the fans. They were both really vocal to the fans about their appreciation for their support and patience in line.
On a side note, if you ever go to a Reds Caravan, get there super early. My wife and I arrived ten minutes prior to the starting time and the place was already packed. We barely got through the autograph line before they cut it off.
— Daniel Matthews
“Heard Jocketty asked if Chapman is going to be a starter. He says yes, hope so. Meaning as of now. Like last year preparing to be a starter and hopes will be all year. But if it doesn’t work out then will go back to the bullpen.
And I got a picture with the great Joe Morgan. Didn’t have to pay for it at all. But heard he was not going to sign any autographs. Phil C, Thom and Corky were great, even though it got very late. Bob and Walt understood, they were very tired but weren’t grouchy.”
— Mark Duncan
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.