REDS CARAVAN CHALLENGE
Happy Reds Cap Day!
We’re inside a month away before pitchers and catchers report to the Player Development Complex in Goodyear, Arizona (February 18). As a baseball fan, if that doesn’t put a little extra pep in your step today, you might want to check for a pulse…
And speaking of Arizona, the Reds have announced that they’ve signed to minor league contracts and invited to Major League Spring Training camp pitchers Mike Leake, Justin Lehr and Alexander Smit; catchers Wilkin Castillo, Chris Denove, Devin Mesoraco, Corky Miller and Brandon Yarbrough; infielders Chris Burke, Zack Cozart and Todd Frazier; and outfielders Josh Anderson and Laynce Nix. The Reds Spring Training roster includes 53 players overall.
Folks in the organization involved with the upcoming Reds Caravan had a “prep meeting” yesterday to discuss the upcoming tours through Reds Country. We went over the daily itineraries of each of the 3 tours (North, South, West) and discussed the details of each stop.
I’m a long-time member of the “Rock Star Tour,” the Reds bus group that includes my good friends Ryan Rizzo, Marty Brennaman, Bob Miller, Brandon Phillips and Chris Welsh. We’re set to go north this year and it will be the fourth consecutive year that I’ve been with Ryan, Marty and Brandon. It will mark the second straight year that Bob and Chris have joined us.
Since this isn’t our first rodeo together, we like to consider ourselves the “A-Team,” a band of brothers that can’t be broken or defeated. We are the 1972 Miami Dolphins of the Reds Caravan.
Because the other two legs of the Reds Caravan can’t compete with our impenetrable “clubhouse chemistry” and our overall awesomeness, they try and sabotage our group’s camaraderie. Petty name-calling, lame pranks and delusions of superiority tend to describe what the other two Reds Caravan tours are all about. But not ours – we’re above all that.
I sent my fellow caravan brother Marty Brennaman a text today asking for his take on the long-time Reds Caravan rivalries. He answered by suggesting the easiest way to see who has the best tour group is to simply look at the busses they ride in: “The A-Team (ours) rides in the lap of luxury,” said Marty. “That is, a custom bus outfitted for rock stars! The two other groups travel in school busses, as it should be.”
Sadly, for you folks in cities like Charleston, Indianapolis, Bloomington, Huntington, Lexington, Louisville, Muncie, and both Logans, you will not get to experience the Reds Rock Star Tour this year. You’ll have to make do with the Monkees instead of the Beatles. But I still encourage you to attend because there are some good guys coming to your cities (Jay Bruce, Paul Janish, Eric Davis, Adam Rosales, Chris Heisey, Dusty Baker, Todd Frazier, etc.). Unfortunately for those guys, they’re just not part of the A-Team.
If you’re fortunate enough to live in or near cities like Marietta, Parkersburg, Athens, Columbus and Lima, consider yourself a jackpot winner. You’ll have the opportunity to see the real deal. The good guys are coming your way!
No matter which tour you support/attend, I have a challenge for you…
When you attend a Reds Caravan stop next week, you’re encouraged to bring homemade signs, posters or placards pledging your allegiance to your favorite caravan leg (A good example would be a poster that reads “NORTH TOUR RULES, WEST LEG DROOLS!”).
If you’re spotted at any of the Reds Caravan stops with a sign/poster/placard supporting your favorite caravan team, your photo and sign will be featured here on Better Off Red.
So let’s see what you got! The more creative/clever/unique/artsy, the better!
Here are my colleagues from the Reds media relations department showing off posters from their respective bus tours. The West Tour’s Rob Butcher on the left and the South Tour’s Larry Herms on the right.
If you’re still coming up with name ideas for The Bobblehead with No Name, you have through the weekend to email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Beginning next week, I’m going to post all of the name ideas that I’ve received and together, we’re going to narrow it down to a winner before I depart Thursday on the North tour. Once the bobblehead is named, he will become the official mascot of Better Off Red. He will also be traveling with me on this year’s caravan tour (he’s excited).
This morning I received a list of name ideas from Mrs. Sheffield’s 3rd grade class at Sacred Heart School in Fairfield. They came up with some great suggestions and even voted on which ones they liked the best. I’ll include their ideas next week but I can tell you the one that garnered the most votes was “Red Thunder,” beating out “Bobble Bob” by 3 votes. A close race, indeed…I predict a recount.
Within the Reds minor league ranks is something called the Affiliate Outreach Program. It’s something that provides Reds minor league players and staff opportunities to volunteer their time to various charitable organizations in our minor league cities of Louisville, Zebulon (NC), Lynchburg (VA), Dayton and Goodyear.
The folks in the Reds player development department keep track of the hours that each minor league team and player put in to this program every year. Yesterday, the results were totaled and the Dayton Dragons logged 464 total hours of volunteer time in 2009, the most by any Reds’ minor league team.
Logan Ondrusek tallied the most volunteer hours by any Reds farmhand, finishing with 21.5 hours for the year – a mighty impressive number considering he’s playing baseball most of the time in which he’s living in his minor league team’s city.
How cool is this?! MLB and Scotts announced this week that come spring, baseball fans will be able to purchase grass seed blends and fertilizers that are similar to what is used in their favorite MLB ballparks, including Great American Ball Park.
Here’s a photo of what the bag of seed will look like:
Happy birthday to Reds Traveling Secretary Gary Wahoff, who turns the big 4-0 on Sunday!
Alright, folks. That’s all I’ve got for today. Keep those Bobblehead name suggestions coming. And don’t forget to send in your Reds Cap Club photos…
Have a great weekend. Be safe, have fun and pursue happiness.
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