This is the final day for the Reds caravans. Thanks to all who participated with their reports and comments. This report was filed by Redleg Nation member Kyle Collins.
Before I begin my report, I’d like to declare a few things. This is the first Reds Caravan I’ve ever been to and I believe I’m filled with what some might call… excitement. I’m looking forward to donning a new Reds cap, jostling through crowds, and seeing a real-life baseball player (or a certain mercurial announcer). As I look out my window, I see only the summer even though the thermometer read a generous 29°. And like last summer, we’re expecting another Reds hot pennant chase! Pun intended, now on to the Caravan.
While standing in what I thought was the autograph line, one of the museum staff members yelled into his walkie-talkie, “they’re saying this is the biggest crowd ever.” I’m not good at guessing, but I imagine about 800 Reds fans braved the cold to interact with some of the most amiable fellas in professional sports today. Alas, the line was for a chance to win Opening Day tickets (awesome) and not for autographs. Can’t hit a home run without swinging the bat, as they say.
Since this was the final stop for “the Chosen”, the Caravan was working like a well-oiled machine. Marty took charge, introducing the panelists and thanking the Dayton area for their support. As Bob Castellini said, “we’re a small market team and we can’t do it without you.” Uproarious applause followed.
Questions were presented to Marty on notecards and ranged from a marriage proposal for Brandon to Chapman’s transition to starting pitcher. The overall air was one of self-assured optimism. When asked if he would hit a grand slam this year, Brandon didn’t miss a beat, saying, “I hope I hit more than one.” In baseball, we’re always looking towards the future. Hearing Chris Welch wax intellectual about the team and the Central Division helped me forget it’s still just January. With the Q and A wrapped up, waves of Reds fans patiently lined up to get their autographs. Unfortunately, I didn’t want to take up a spot in line that would’ve been better saved for a younger fan, so I snapped a few more photos and walked back through the arctic tundra that was the museum parking lot.
The next few years of Reds baseball look to be years to remember. From the Big Red Machine, to now (insert era-defining team name), the generations are synchronized by the incisive voice of one, Marty Brennaman. With key players on lockdown and more talent coming through the pipeline, don’t let anyone tell you that the Reds aren’t that good. With more arms than a bag of spiders, don’t expect too many blowout losses. If the Caravan taught me one thing, it’s that Reds fans show up! Opening day can’t get here fast enough.
— Kyle Collins
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.