Redleg Nation member Wayne Moore provides the first of several reports we are expecting from this morning’s caravan event in the heart of darkness, Columbus, OH (trust me, I’m a Michigan fan). If you want to warm your heart, be sure to read to the very end…
The 2013 Reds Winter Caravan stop in Columbus, Ohio at Nationwide Area represents the 4th year in a row that my family and I have attended. With an estimate of over 500 in attendance it is also the largest crowd that I
have been around during that time. Arriving a couple minutes after 10:00, Brandon Phillips, Marty Brennaman, Todd Benzinger, Tucker Barnhart, Chris Welsh, and Bob Miller made their way to their designated spot and Marty began the festivities with the question, “How about those Buckeyes?”
The applause was greater when he asked, “How about those Reds?” and it set the tone for a very light-hearted question and answer session. I have heard in previous years that the stars up front can almost guess the questions they will have to answer so I’m sure they were surprised not to be asked about Aroldis as a starter or if Choo can play center. Many of the questions came from young fans and mostly all of them gave an opportunity for Brandon Phillips and the others to display their sense of humor.
Brandon was asked about playing in the World Baseball Classic and the possibility of injury which BP answered with, “I could get hurt getting out of bed” and for Reds fans not to worry, “I’m going to have a great year.” He also noted that it was a dream he had to play in this event since he was a bat boy for the team in 2006.
The best highlights from the questioning came from the fan who after reading out loud the statistics of Dan Uggla from last year asked BP how he felt about Uggla starting the All Star Game. Brandon answered with a smile, “Well, there is a rumor that he (Uggla) is the best second baseman in the National League.”
Another highlight was the question was addressed to Marty about his hair. When asked if he was going to let his hair grow long again, Marty responded with a quick no and that his wife would not allow it. After all he said, “I am on my third marriage now.”
I appreciated the memory of the 90’s World Series team when Todd Benzinger was asked what it felt like to catch the last out of the series. Benzinger noted that he didn’t get excited at first because he couldn’t remember if it was the last out yet and didn’t want to look foolish if he started celebrating to early. His celebration did begin however when, “I looked at Barry jumping up and down.”
After moving through the line and receiving our autographs, my son and I felt this was one of the more enjoyable years of the Caravan and even though there is snow on the ground we are excited for spring training. BP summed up how Reds fans feel well when in answer to a kid’s question about how many home runs he was going to hit this year he told him that he could care less about the homers, “I just want to win a championship.”
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.