BOR Guest Blogger Week: Jarrod Rollins
Happy New Year, Reds fans! Hope you had a safe and fun celebration wherever you happen to be in Reds Country.
As appears to be the custom, I will begin my guest blog by thanking BOR’s big cheese Jamie Ramsey for asking me to participate in the coverage during his well deserved absence. J-Ram, hopefully this one stays true to the lofty standards you’ve set for us all.
I have guest blogged in the past here, but since I don’t A) have a radio show or B) work as a mascot, it’s likely that roughly 99.3% of you don’t know who I am. I’m Jarrod Rollins, communications manager for the Reds. I work with Jamie and Lisa Braun on many of the Reds’ online communications and marketing, while also working with pretty much every department in the organization on writing and editing for everything from sales brochures and publications to letters and signage. It’s this part of the job that earned me the nickname “Wordsmith” a couple years ago from our VP of ticket sales, the one and only John Davis. Like many nicknames, it’s slowly shortened recently, first to “Smithy” and now at times to “WS” in e-mails. I’m thinking once I return to the office on Tuesday it may be down to # or some other special character.
Now, onto more interesting things – most notably, your Cincinnati Reds. Like many of you, I can’t wait for the 2012 season to roll around, especially after the addition of Mat Latos to the top of the rotation. A lot can be said – and has been said – about the price we had to pay to get him, but a lot can also be said about what this kid brings to the table. He’s a young stud with a high strikeout rate, and he’s certainly NOT a product of PETCO Park. The prospect of having Latos and Johnny Cueto as a 1-2 with more young bucks in Mike Leake and Homer Bailey supporting them for years to come has to make the rest of the NL Central a bit nervous.
When I look ahead to 2012, it also occurs to me that this will be the 10th season for Great American Ball Park. I have a hard time believing the park’s been open that long, just as I have an equally hard time believing it will be my ninth season full-time with the club. Before that, I was an intern for a year during the ballpark’s inaugural season, and I still feel honored to have been a part of that special year, even if it was in a small way. Although I always enjoyed Riverfront Stadium, I remember being happy that the Reds would again have a home that was dedicated to baseball. Even when we host events like the Paul McCartney concert, you still have that feel of Reds baseball around. I think that’s pretty cool.
Over my time with the Reds, I’ve experienced plenty of great moments at GABP. Not quite as many as Jamie and some others, but plenty enough to appreciate how lucky I’ve been. I was in the stands for the first Opening Day in 2003. I was there for the 2010 division clinch, which thankfully many of you were a part of as well. I was there for Sir Paul and to see a sitting President throw out a first pitch. I was there on field level to see the beginning of GABP’s first playoff game and biggest crowd ever at the ballpark on 10/10/10.
Yet, as I’ve told several people before, one moment sticks out above all the rest. As you may remember, in 2009 and 2010 the Reds hosted Major League Baseball’s Civil Rights Game, which included a weekend full of festivities featuring dignitaries from sports, entertainment and the civil rights movement. During the first weekend in 2009, the three big honorees were Muhammad Ali, Bill Cosby and Henry Aaron. Talk about a heavy-hitting lineup. Prior to the game that Saturday, Reds players had the opportunity to meet “The Greatest” in the hallway outside of the clubhouse. I made sure one of our team photographers was there to get a few shots and will always remember how special that part of the weekend was. I’m used to seeing our players at GABP, at Redsfest, on the Caravan and elsewhere signing for fans with smiling faces who are thrilled to meet their favorites. However, on this day it was the players who were awestruck. It was the players who scrambled back to their locker to grab their cell phone to get a photo taken. It was the players who were beaming at the opportunity to shake Ali’s hand. That was a great reminder for me that even though we may idolize many of our favorite athletes or artists or actors, they’re still just regular people, with their own idols and childhood heroes.
Well, I think I’ve used up enough of your time with this post, so I’ll let you all return to your normal New Year’s Day festivities/recovery. If you’d like to hear more from me (which makes you a saint by the way), you can find me on Twitter @jarrodrollins talking Reds baseball, Bengals football, Hoosiers basketball, WWE, poker and more.
Jarrod Rollins is Communications Manager for your Cincinnati Reds. Nothing in the front office gets done without him.