2016 Reds / RN Get Together / RN Meetup

Gypsies in the Palace: A Recap of the RN/RR Meetup

imageIn the recap to Saturday’s game, I gave you a brief rundown about this weekend’s Redleg Nation/Red Reporter Meetup:

–It really was a fabulous day. The weather was perfect, the company was great, and it was a fun baseball game. The score was tight for a long time, then the Reds pulled away, and a good time was had by all.

Again, I’ll give a much more detailed recap soon about the Meetup, but I need to go ahead and thank the Cincinnati Reds for the awesome time we had today. The Reds were extremely nice to us, and I’m very appreciative. They went above and beyond to make our day special, and they really didn’t have to do that. It was a great time.

More details to come….

–Go Reds. I was really happy to be a Cincinnati Reds fan today. And more than that, I was really happy to be a member of this little community we call Redleg Nation.

As I noted in the recap, I wanted to take a little more time to discuss the Meetup, if for no other reason than to get my thoughts down for the sake of posterity.

imageFirst of all, it really was a fun time, from beginning to end. You know, several years ago, we did one or two of these meetups with RN writers and readers, and while it was a lot of fun, it was kinda informal. The last couple of years, the RN writers had been able to get together at a game, and that has been a blast every time. But it wasn’t really a public thing; just a chance for us to get together and talk baseball without a computer screen between us.

A few weeks ago, Red Reporter’s Brandon Kraeling and I began talking about doing a joint meetup. We were both excited about the possibility. I was particularly interested because (a) it had always been in the back of my mind to have another meetup with RN readers, and (b) I have so much respect for all the awesome work they’ve done at Red Reporter over the years. Brandon and I thought it would be fun to get our two groups together and watch the ol’ Redlegs.

Unfortunately, by the time we started planning, the season was almost over, and we were running short on weekend home dates.* We were kinda forced to settle on September 3, despite the fact that it was opening weekend for college football (which didn’t really matter to me, but I’ve heard your feedback on that point, believe me). It was also a bobblehead game, so that made the ticketing situation a little more difficult, on short notice.

*Note: We’ve already begun planning for a similar — but even better — event next year.

But with few dates to choose from, we chose the Cardinals game. We also chose to pick a date when the weather would be perfect (and it was) and the Reds were destined to win big (and they did). That’s great planning. You’re welcome.

Most of the Redleg Nation writers did get together for lunch — which was a great time, because we have an awesome group here — but before long, it was time for everyone to meet up at Great American Ballpark. The Reds let us in the park before gates were open for the Q&A with Reds Assistant GMs Sam Grossman and Nick Krall.

imageA quick note. Once we started planning this event, the Reds could not have been more helpful and accomodating. I was really blown away by their generosity. Special thanks needs to go out to Cincinnati’s Social Media Superstar (TM) Lisa Braun, who helped coordinate everything from reserving the private room for the Q&A to helping resolve last-minute issues with tickets. Every single time I sent her a frantic message about anything related to this Meetup, she was patient and helpful.

(Please help me return the favor by going to the Reds’ last social media game of the year. PLEASE???)

But it wasn’t just Lisa. Grossman and Krall did not have to donate their time to talking to a bunch of internet nerds — and they certainly didn’t have to let us “backstage,” so to speak — but they were very gracious and answered every single question. Grossman risked being late for a flight in order to talk to us, and Krall stuck around even after Grossman had to leave to answer even more questions about every topic under the Reds sun. (Thanks as well to Jamie Ramsey, who helped to moderate the Q&A. I also appreciate the fact that Enquirer beat reporter Zach Buchanan and ESPN analyst Dan Szymborski stopped by. Thanks, guys.)

I’m pretty sure that everyone in the room came away feeling a little better about the front office’s commitment to analytics, and their willingness to listen to our thoughts and concerns.

So the Q&A was an unqualified success, in my opinion. The game was even better. Between RN and RR, we had about 50 people in our group, and we settled into our sun deck seats for the game. What a game it was, a 9-1 Reds victory over our least-favorite team.

In the seventh inning, we got a little surprise. Reds broadcaster Chris Welsh has long been a friend of Redleg Nation, and he talked a little about us on the Reds’ telecast. Here’s the picture; Chris circled our group and was in the process of talking about RN and RR when Joey Votto got a double and the announcers got a little distracted. (Very inconsiderate of Votto, if you ask me.)

image

Unfortunately, we didn’t get a picture of our group, as Steve Mancuso suggested (we won’t make that mistake next year), so this one will have to suffice. Even more unfortunately, Fox Sports Ohio settled their cameras on us at almost the exact moment that much of the Red Reporter crew had stepped out, so a bunch of them are missing. But this is the best we can do.

Click on the picture to make it bigger, if you’d like. I’ll let everyone who was there chime in to identify themselves in this picture (if you don’t, I’ll call you out one by one!). I’m almost in the center of the circle (yes, I know it’s an oval, get off my back), the one moron wearing a black shirt on a 400-degree day. I’m talking to my frequent podcast co-host Bill Lack, who I assume is saying something derogatory about a certain Reds second baseman.

So, to sum up: it was a pretty great day. I was really happy to meet some of you who have been faithful readers of our dumb little site over the years. I enjoyed getting to know some of the folks in the Red Reporter community that I hadn’t met before. They’re an awesome group.

imageOne takeaway was that, in planning for next year’s Meetup, we want to make sure we have more time for the writers and readers to sit and talk and get to know each other. Steve and I both wished we had had more time to mingle. (Also, I promise that we won’t plan this thing at the last minute again next year, so more of you will be able to make plans to attend, I hope.)

You know, I kinda stepped away from Redleg Nation for a while there, over the last couple of years. Life got in the way a little bit (and I really appreciate the work Steve has done during that time — and continues to do — not just keeping the lights on here at RN, but working hard to improve the quality of the day-to-day product here).

Over the last few months, however, I’ve gotten a little re-energized about this community. You know, if you’ve read anything I’ve written here over the last eleven years, that I’m prone to getting a little sappy about baseball. Well, I’m sorry: I think we have a pretty special community here at Redleg Nation. Getting a chance to hang out with some of you this weekend just cemented that in my mind.

I expect to meet all of you at the 2nd Annual Redleg Nation/Red Reporter Meetup next year. That’s an order.

65 thoughts on “Gypsies in the Palace: A Recap of the RN/RR Meetup

  1. I was there but I didn’t want to be the guy walking around asking people if they were from redleg nation. I didn’t notice, was Phillips the last person out of the dugout?

  2. With some advance planning, I may be able to swing the trip. It’s been too long since I’ve watched our Reds in GABP.

  3. I hope to make it next year…so people can put an ugly mug to my sarcastic, wrong-headed or naive posts.

  4. I didn’t have to zoom in to realize Chad was the one idiot wearing black. Every village has one I suppose.

  5. Do you think you can make it during the summer vacation days? I’m a teacher and would love to make it, but I teach out in Massachusetts so I couldn’t make it this year.

  6. It was a heckuva day, and there’s no way around that. It was a pleasure meeting the RN crew, as well as a wonderful chance to catch up with so many of the RR crew that I don’t get to see as frequently since moving West a few years back. I only wish I’d found a flight that got me into town earlier in the day, since everything I’ve heard about the Q&A session was not just awesome, but refreshing from the Reds.

    It’s great to know that they seem to be opening up to the idea that we blogholios aren’t out to get them, per se, but rather act as a bunch of passionate folks who generally care about the stuff that they’re doing day in and day out.

    Many, many thanks for helping put this whole thing together, Chad, and I’m anxiously looking forward to the next time we can swing something like this. Hopefully I’ll plan well enough that go-round to have more time to catch up with everyone beyond just handshakes and putting faces to names!

    • I agree completely with everything Wick says here, especially about the way the Reds are finally being a little more open-minded about who we are and the role we play. We’re their most passionate customer, after all.

      It was great finally meeting you, Wick. We’ll definitely keep you in the loop about next year’s plans.

  7. It was great to meet you chad. Thanks again for taking the time to help set this up.

    • Patrick, I realized you probably wouldn’t be able to make the trip, with the long distance, short notice, baby, wife, job, etc., but I was hoping that you would be there nonetheless. I hope to meet you at next year’s event.

  8. OK, before Chad starts calling us out…

    Look at the top of the circle (uh, oval) on the right side (as you are looking at the photo). That’s three of the four amigos from an absolutely fabulous day and event. The Old Cossack is wearing the red shirt and red cap (I guess that narrows it down, eh?) with the long flowing locks. There is a very disgruntled Cardinal fan in a Cardinal jerset behind my left shoulder. Sitting on my right side is lwblogger2. LW was thoughtful enough to bring his girlfriend (sitting to his right) along for the event, the only one of the four amigos caring and considerate enough to think about such a gesture. Sitting on my left with the binoculars is jazzmanbbfan. Then to jazzmanbbfan’s left is an empty chair previously occupied by WVRedlegs, but he’s apparently camera shy. He mentioned something about a picture posted in the post office or something like that, I think, but he missed his photo op.

    That was the four amigos for the day: lwblogger2, Shchi Cossack, jazzmanbbfan & WVRedlegs. I told Mrs. Cossack when I arrived home several hours after the game ended, that I couldn’t remember the last time I had talked so much about baseball with so many knowledgeable baseball fans. I also met several other writers and commenters during the event. Sam and Nick were open and receptive to all of our questions, even the one’s we were hesitant to ask for fear of offending our hosts during the Q & A. As Jamie referenced multiple times, the elephant in the room. The only issue Sam and Nick politely avoided and refused to discuss was Vladimir Gitierrez, since his contract had not been finalized at the time. Everything else, really EVERYTHING else, was fair game. What an experience!

    Having a VERY disgruntled Cardinal fan sitting behind my left shoulder for the game just made it all the better. I can’t wait to see what we have in store for next year, but the Old Cossack will be there with other Cossacks in tow next time.

    • Really happy I finally got to meet the Cossack — and lwblogger and jazzmanbbfan and WVRedlegs, and everyone else. I wish we had more time to chat. But that’s the big takeaway from this year’s event: I’m going to figure out a way to give us all — writers and commenters, the entire community — more of an opportunity to mingle and talk next year.

    • Doh! In addition to those mentioned above, I want to offer a specific shout out to seat101 and his son. We got to spend quite a bit of time and share some good conversation while we waited outside the gate for the fashionably late Mr. Dotson. I was very impressed with his son and wished I had had the foresight to bring some of the young Cossacks with me.

      • I was probably watching Joey at bat through the binoculars. It was such a pleasure meeting all the people mentioned above by Shchi Cossack, along with several others and the writers, Steve Mancuso in particular since we had the longest chat, and meeting Chad, with many thanks to him for setting this up!! Looking forward to next year. I too was pleasantly surprised at how open Sam and Nick were to all questions other than Gutierrez, for the reasons noted about the contract. It was just an awesome day from start to finish.

      • Thank you! I enjoyed that time as well. By the way I did steal your bobble head. For a small ransom you can get it back.

        • Hmmmmmmmmm…

          I came home with two of the little devils, so someone else must have come up short, unless of course you are refering to the Old Cossack’s bobble head between his shoulders!

        • It was a pleasure meeting you and yes, my girlfriend and I do love, love, love your avatar.

    • It was so nice to meet so many, including Cossack, Jazz, LW, Seat101, Steve and Chad. Just as I step out to get a hot dog and a little shade we get on TV. Sorry I had to leave after the 7th inning as my eye that I had surgery on two weeks prior was getting really tired. And I had a 3 1/2 hour to drive home.
      It was a fun trip that was well worth it. Thanks so much to everyone involved.
      The meeting with Mr. Grossman and Mr. Krall was outstanding and an excellent idea. The Reds went above and beyond the call on this day. It really was a unique behind the scenes look at the Reds that very few will get a chance to see. Just a fabulous day.
      Cossack, I’m not too camera shy, as I did get in the picture with Mr. Grossman and Mr. Krall. I’m the knucklehead wearing a cap indoors. A Reds cap though. And as it turned out, right behind you. My eyes were watering the whole time we were in that room. The glare from that window in the background was killing me. I had to put on my eye patch. I was just hoping people wouldn’t think I was a spy from the Pirates.
      One suggestion on next year if time allowed would be having a second Q&A session with RLN buddy Chris Welsh and maybe Jeff Brantley. Those two together would be a very memorable time.
      Thanks again Chad, Steve, Lisa B. and the Reds, Mr. Krall, and Mr. Grossman for a great day.

    • Cossack, Do you know who that is three rows down and one seat to your left in the Reds shirt with no hat on? I had picked that as you because I think he looks remarkably like a semi shorn version of your Cossack avatar.

      • You mean the person who is looking down and you can only see the top of his head? He’s directly 3 rows below me, but nope. At least not fropm that angle.

        • Sorry, only two rows down from you and one to your left. Third person in from the aisle in a Reds jersey shirt, a guy in green is sitting in the seat aisle. Looks like two couples sitting together.

          To be fair I was going to link to my Facebook profile pic; but, it would be a “before” pic because I’ve lost 35 pounds (by design) since that pic. Besides you already know I look like a long haired Chihuahua, right? 🙂

    • Talking baseball with a lot of passionate and knowledgeable fans. It was good to get some different perspectives on things too.

  9. Chad, thank you immensely! Uniquely fun afternoon at the ball yard. The Reds (and you) went above and beyond for us – it is much appreciated. More time and a format to interact with the writers would be phenomenal, too – looking forward to next year (imagine the fun when our Reds are unexpectedly in contention).

  10. Silent reader for several years and the gatekeeper on the aisle of row H… a post that I man 40 times per season.

    I appreciated your efforts to make beer runs in between innings, and I especially appreciate the effort that goes into this site.

  11. As for the entire day – it was an absolute blast.

    It had been a quite a while since I had talked with Chad or Bill in person, so it was great to see both of you guys again.

    It was great to put so many actual faces with internet/real names of people that I had previously only known through this wonderful internet place (and twitter and Red Reporter).

    The event with Nick Krall and Sam Grossman was outstanding. Everyone had strong questions and they both answered what was asked well – they gave long and complete answers on almost everything. The only thing they didn’t, was actually asked by Jamie Ramsey who brought up Vladimir Gutierrez – who they weren’t allowed to talk about because they technically hadn’t signed him at that point in time. They even answered some lowly minor league questions from some weirdo in a gray shirt who shall remain nameless.

    Being able to socialize with everyone in section 143 once we got to our seats, before, during and after the game was awesome. The baseball conversation during the game wasn’t something I was used to. Being surrounded by well educated fans on all sides was different. It was great.

    Just an all-around wonderful event. Big thanks to everyone involved in the planning and execution of said plan. I can’t wait until next year.

    • I’ll take a shot at answering this and hope I don’t step on any toes or misspeak. The simple answer is no. If it was recorded, it was without the blessing and permission of those involved. The conversation was frank, forthright and detailed, a professional courtesy extended by those involved to those who care so much about what they do and how they do it. It almost mirrored a one-on-one conversation with a trusted associate at times. Such a conversation should not be recorded.

      I will share one detail repeated by Sam, Nick and Jamie. They are aware and do read the blogs. They were aware of our passion and aware of the issues that are important to us. They knew most of the questions we asked before we asked them and even helped get specific when we intentionally asked vague questions in an effort to avoid putting them on the spot.

  12. I have been a huge Reds fan since I was a little catcher and Johnny Bench was the man. But I have never lived near Cincinnati. In Atlanta these days, with one weekend trip a year to GABP. So even with advance planning next year’s meet up may be tough. But I’m thrilled that you all got together, jealous to miss the Q&A and the intelligent in game baseball conversations, and disappointed not to have met any of you except online. But I will repeat something I’ve said a couple of times on the site. Thank you. Thank you to Chad and Steve and all the writers, and to all the RLN commenters and contributors Cossack and Doug and WVRedlegs and a hundred more. You all are my daily dose of Reds and baseball nutrition and I eat it up. This site transforms my Reds experience from just a fan and viewer to an intellectually active participant. You all make my Reds life richer and I’m grateful. Thank you.

  13. Chad, first, THANK YOU! Thanks for organising the event. I had a great time and so did my 14yo son.

    I wish I had made more of the opportunity to talk with more RN citizens, but the broken escalator and shut down elevator (thank you Hamilton County) and the walk from the Q&A to the (great) seats took a lot out of me.

    My son is very impressed with my contacts which allowed us such access. Actually, so am I! He tweets/twits(?) with Jaimie Ramsey and enjoyed seeing him in person.

    I am the large guy sitting behind Jason.

    The best part of the day was BHam’s catch and throw. My son and I will share that moment for the rest of our lives. Thanks for that.

    • It was great meeting you! I’m really glad you and your son were able to make it. Hopefully we’ll have more time to chat next time around.

      • Chad, have you thought of the possibility of doing a meet and greet the night before?

        Plenty of bars/restaurants have the capacity and would enjoy the extra business. People could buy food/drink or not if they wished.

        Thanks again.

  14. Looked like a great time. Shame I had to miss due to being out of town for Labor Day weekend, but hope to make it next year. BTW, what DID the FO say about analytics?

  15. I wanted to add to what Chad said earlier, the Reds could not have been more accommodating to us before, during, and after the Q&A. I felt they answered every question as openly as you could possibly expect them to. I felt that some questions were answered that weren’t even asked, if you looked between the lines (I predicted that day, after the Q&A that Winker wasn’t coming up in September).

    I don’t know what has changed the Reds mindset, in terms of the internet/blogger community, but the difference between now and 3-4-5 years ago is like night and day and I want to thank them for it.

    It was a great day, lots of fun at lunch, the Q&A, the game, and I even got Chad to drink a Hudy Delight at Moerlein House after the game. (He didn’t like it.)

  16. Looking forward to next year when I expect to be there. What a great community we have here fostered mainly by Chad and Steve. I have not found another place on the internet where all invested parties can disagree with each other but remain respectful. Thanks to my fellow staff members and especially our readers who are extremely informed and intelligent baseball fans.

  17. I’m actually in the pic at the top of this page sitting with my family in the upper deck behind home plate. I was in town from St Louis to visit and took the whole family to the game. My wife didn’t enjoy the game nearly as much as me, since she’s a die-hard Cards fan. She even tried to corrupt my two nephews (this was their first baseball game ever!) into cheering for the Cards.

    I would have loved to meet the group, but the logistics wouldn’t have worked and my wife would have had me drawn and quartered if she were around any more Reds fans! I’m glad the event went well and would love to try to attend next year.

  18. Wanted to state for the record that it was great meeting everyone. Seeing a game seated next to Cossack, Jazzmanbbfan, and WVRedlegs was a really good time.

  19. By the way, I’m sitting pretty much the second to last row from the top of the circle. I’m the guy in the white hat (old-timey RedLegs cap), next to the stunning girl in the blue dress*

    * The stunning part may not come through at that distance 😉

  20. I would have loved to make it this year, but work currently has me in Florida and will be heading to Germany in a few months for awhile, so next year probably isn’t in the cards either.

    Regardless, love RN and all the work you guys do! I’m looking forward to using RN to keep me in the loop from many time zones away!

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