The Reds announced Tuesday that their 2017 Caravan will be on the road Jan. 26-29 with stops in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, West Virginia and Tennessee. Fans will have an opportunity to see and interact with current and former players, Minor League prospects, front office staff and broadcasters.
Each of the 17 fan stops will feature a question-and-answer session and autograph signings. All stops are free and open to the public, and at each stop the Reds will raffle two tickets to the 2017 Opening Day game on Monday, April 3 (4:10 p.m. ET) vs. the Phillies.
If you haven’t attended one of the past stops on the Cincinnati Reds winter caravan, you don’t know what you’re missing. It’s a fun time, with a little bit of baseball fun injected into the middle of the long, hard winter.
The full itinerary is here. There are four “legs” of the caravan, each featuring different Cincinnati Reds-related personalities. The North tour is Columbus, Dayton, Lima, and Hamilton; Marty Brennaman (we still love you, Marty) and Dmitri Young are the key names on that leg. The South tour will go through Louisville, Nashville, Bowling Green, and Lexington, and will feature (among others) Bryan Price, Zack Cozart, Tom Browning, Austin Kearns, Sal Romano (everyone’s favorite Mad Men character), and Friend Of Redleg Nation And All-Around Great Guy Chris Welsh.
The East tour will have stops in Athens, Ashland, KY, and two stops in West Virginia; Jeff Brantley, Jim Kelch, Dick Williams, Drew Storen, and Eric Davis are the headliners. The Indiana-centric West tour will go through Muncie, Evansville, Bloomington, and Indianapolis and will feature Thom Brennaman, Jim Day, Tucker Barnhart, Corky Miller, Phil Castellini, and Walt Jocketty.
Permit me to (pretend to) get upset for a moment. For years and years, Virginia was included among “Reds Country,” the regional area in which the Reds focused their marketing to compensate for the fact that Cincinnati isn’t the biggest market in the big leagues. There were Reds on Radio affiliates in Virginia (only one Virginia radio station remains, unfortunately) and the Reds actively pursued fans in the Old Dominion.
Why doesn’t the Reds Caravan make a stop in Virginia??? You may be surprised to learn that Cincinnati is closer to Virginia than it is to Nashville; you can reach the southwest Virginia border in less than four hours from the Queen City. It’s long past time that the Reds reached back out to those longtime Reds fans who live in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
At the very least, the Reds Caravan should venture into eastern Kentucky, on the Virginia border. Add another leg to the Caravan, and call it the “Chad Dotson Tour.” Guests can include Adam Dunn, Mario Soto, Joey Votto, Billy Hamilton, and Barry Larkin. Plus Chris Welsh. We can’t get enough Chris Welsh.
I’m watching and waiting, Reds. Don’t let me down in 2018.
UPDATE: I neglected to mention the fact that we’re always looking for on-the-spot reports from anyone who attends one of the Caravan stops. If you plan to go to one of these events, and if you’d like to take some pictures and write up a little review of your experience, we’d love to run it here at Redleg Nation. Just let me know at dotsonc AT gmail DOT com.
Blame Chad for creating this mess.
Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, “The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds” is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad’s musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine.
You can email Chad at firstname.lastname@example.org.