Here’s a report from Redleg Nation member, Cameron Feese, who attended the caravan event in Bowling Green, KY.
The Reds Winter Caravan rolled into Bowling Green, KY today at the Greenwood Mall. I had to go into work today for a couple of hours but left as soon as I could so I could make it over to the mall. I was concerned about being a few minutes late but thankfully the caravan was running a little behind schedule and I was able to see the entire event. Fortunately for me, my brother-in-law Mike and nephew Jackson were standing in line so I got a good spot to see all the action. A fellow Reds fan and his son were more than okay with me cutting line so I could join them. More on that a little later.
As we were waiting on everyone to arrive, I quickly noticed how many people were in line. It was a very good turnout. I would say there were easily 700-800 fans waiting. Bowling Green is far enough west in the state to have a large contingent of Cardinals fans and far enough south to have its fair share of Braves fans as well. However, there is no doubt that this is still Reds country and the turnout today further illustrates that point.
It’s interesting to see what fans wear to these types of things. One guy had a Louisville Bats jersey on and was wearing batting gloves the entire time. Another gentleman had a Pirates jersey and cap on. I think he was lost. Nevertheless, it was an interesting mix of fans.
Once the bus arrived, the caravan participants entered to the right of us and everyone started to clap and cheer. At first glance, I noticed that Todd Frazier is bigger than I thought. Billy Hamilton was a bit taller than I had expected also. The Cowboy, Jeff Brantley, was walking in with a big smile on his face. You just know he was probably munching on some ribs the entire trip. Jim Kelch entered and walked directly onto the stage to introduce Frazier and Hamilton as well as Dick Williams and Brantley. After the introductions, the autograph session started immediately.
During the autograph session, Hamilton and Super Todd were giving on air interviews separately as well as signing and taking pictures. They were both excellent multi-taskers. One of the things that stuck out to me was Hamilton talking about learning to play centerfield. He credited Eric Davis for his development so far and how he would lean on him for further instruction. As a huge Eric Davis fan growing up, this made me very happy.
You could tell that everyone was tired from the travel and hours spent on the road. Jim Kelch was talking about Chapman’s transition to the rotation and was going to mention that Broxton was the new closer but he forgot his name. It escaped him for several minutes but he finally remembered. Everyone was a little tired it seemed, but they were all very interactive with the fans and everyone seemed to enjoy their time there.
An event like this shows how great of an organization the Reds have put together. The interaction and involvement with fans is amazing. The entire production was first class. It was very organized and all the fans seemed to really enjoy coming to see the participants. This is a great way for fans to get ready for the season. As fellow Reds fans, everyone should be excited for the future of the organization. We can disagree on lineup construction and free agent signings, but events like these shows that ownership has a real interest in the fans of the organization. We haven’t always had that in the past. That is something that I definitely appreciate.
Touching back on the gentleman and his son that I was standing beside in the line. I spoke with him for an extended period of time about the team and the future of the organization. We both had a very optimistic view of the team and agreed on many points. Unfortunately I never caught his or his son’s name. Until I read the post that Richard Baker wrote on the stop in Indianapolis. He wrote about a man’s son, Eddie who was featured in a documentary called The Perfect Place with Todd Frazier. Well, that was the same guy and son I spoke to. We were talking about how his son was in that documentary and that he was going to get that movie poster signed – which he did. Small world isn’t it?
I would like to thank Steve and Redleg Nation for letting me write about my experience at the caravan today. I really enjoyed it and will definitely be back next year. If anyone likes to talk Reds baseball (who doesn’t?), follow me on Twitter: @Reds_fan4.
— Cameron Feese, Bowling Green, KY
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.