As we travel the highways and byways of this great state of Ohio in the early morning hours of Day Two of the 2013 Reds Caravan, it’s a time for reflection – a reflection of what turned out to be an incredibly successful Day One.
These daily get-togethers with you have only to do with the Rock Star Group. Because, afterall, does anyone else matter? Every stop, if it’s possible, was better than the previous one. Whether it be a small intimate gathering in picturesque stops like Dayton, Chillicothe and Middleport or an appearance before a massive throng in Athens, Ohio – we conducted ourselves in the same, classy manner no matter where we were. We never tire from the love and adulation that these great Reds fans insist upon bestowing on us; and make no mistake about one thing – they get it back a thousand-fold.
Can today be possibly any better?…You bet it can. When I look into the eyes of people like Brandon Phillips, Tucker Barnhart, Bob Miller, Chris Welsh, Todd Benzinger, Jamie Ramsey and LeRoy Rizzo; at times I’m overwhelmed by the commitment these people are making and will continue to make.
Bring on the wonders of Day Two for this magnificent array of talent – known as the Rock Star Group.
Until tomorrow…parting is such sweet sorrow,
PS – Guess who asked about Thom Brennaman last night in Athens?…..No one.
Rob Butcher and the Western leg in Louisville tonight
As always, a huge stop in Louisville, this year at the Bats’ Louisville Slugger Park. Presiding Mayor Corky Miller was king. We estimated about 600-700 people. Great, great event attended by Bob Castellini and Joe Morgan. The Bats did a terrific job. Our crew stayed late to accommodate an extra 150 people. Talk about Rock Stars!!
Photos courtesy of Rob Butcher and Michael Anderson
Rob Butcher, Reds Director of Media Relations, is a blogging machine
The Hoosier Theater in Vevay, Indiana is my personal favorite stop. What a great venue. It was our first “formal” question-and-answer session, leading to the inevitable inquiries about Aroldis Chapman’s move from the bullpen to the rotation, yesterday’s 2015 All-Star Game announcement and Jay Bruce’s performance at the Grand Ole Opry as accompanied by the legendary Garth Brooks. More about that later. Louisville Slugger Field, our biggest stop, is next.
Photos courtesy of Rob Butcher and Michael Anderson
Rob Butcher checks-in from the Bluegrass State
Angilo’s Pizza in Cynthiana, Kentucky hosted our live broadcast on Reds on Radio affiliate WCYN Radio. Cruise director Zach Bonkowski’s notes indicate “tough, windy road to get there” from Maysville. Accurate description, but beautiful, beautiful country. The restaurant was decked out in Reds gear, complete with photos from past Caravan visits featuring Dusty Baker, Brandon Phillips, vintage 2009 Jay Bruce, Chris Heisey and our old friend Ryan Freel. The takeout food was outstanding.
And more photo fun from the road:
Our 2013 Reds Caravan kicked-off this morning from the Reds Hall of Fame and Museum. Three tours will cover over 2800 miles, 4 states, and 15 public stops in just 4 days. We hope to see you along the way!
Here’s video of us getting things started: Kick-off Event
Get the tour routing and latest info, photos and tweets here.
Update from Rob Butcher, Reds Director of Media Relations
The Western Leg’s first stop was at Reds on Radio affiliate WFTM Radio in Maysville, Kentucky. We already decided it will be hard to beat the food: Skillet potatoes, hot brown cassarole, wings with Kentucky Bourbon sauce, baby back ribs and the area’s famous transparent tarts. That was the first of today’s 5 scheduled meals. The members of our caravan were commissioned Kentucky Colonels by Governor Steven L. Beshear. Next stop, WCYN Radio live broadcast from Angelo’s Pizza in Cynthiana.
My dear friend “Mercury” Marty Brennaman has issued a few words regarding the upcoming 2013 Reds Caravan (Northern Tour)…
The Reds Winter Caravan is almost here. Four days out of the 365 each year that I point toward.
Its a gathering of greatness…the Rock Star Group (also known as “The Chosen”), if you will. Bob Miller, our spiritual leader, Jamie Ramsey, Ryan Rizzo, the great Brandon Phillips, last years’ Caravan Rookie of the Year, Tucker Barnhart, Gapper and, I’m truly blessed, yours truly. Talent, personality, humor, humility and, above all, the God-given ability to connect with you great Reds fans in a positive and in some cases, a life-changing, way.
Believe me, we don’t take any of this lightly. Others might but we don’t. We hope…no, we know, when you leave one of our Caravan stops, you’re a better person for the experience.
It all starts on Thursday and I fervently hope that before it ends on Sunday the 27th, our paths will cross with yours. If not, and I don’t mean to sound flippant or trite, there’s always next year.
Every year it’s a love-fest for us. We know you feel the same.
In closing, always remember…one autograph per person!
For the final time on this Southern Tour, Mercury Marty takes time out of his busy schedule to wax poetic on the final 36 hours of this Reds Caravan event…
For the second time in as many days, we find ourselves traveling north on I75 back to Cincinnati. But today is considerably different because this is the end. It is with no small sense of melancholy and sadness that I write this knowing that it won’t happen again until next January. It is always a time of reflection. And while the sadness is there, it’s a sadness of good (author’s note: that’s a LeRoy-ism) because of the wonderful things we’ve accomplished beginning on Thursday morning.
Last night in Bowling Green, Kentucky we were besieged by great Reds baseball fans – but then again that’s the way it is everywhere we go. Today in the shopping area beneath Rupp Arena, it was not UK basketball they wanted to talk about – it was Reds baseball.
When I lay my head down tonight on a familiar pillow for the first time since Wednesday night, you’ll pardon me if I shed a single tear. If you could walk in my shoes, and travel with the likes of Chris Welsh, Brandon Phillips, Bob Miller, Lee May and the Rookie of the Year Tucker Barnhart, as well as the spiritual leaders in this rock star group, this brand of brothers, The Chosen, if you will – Jamie Ramsey and Ryan LeRoy Rizzo. You could full well appreciate why these four days together are so special.
Already we look towards January 2013, and the same kind of love, camaraderie and courage that we’ve come to expect but never, I said NEVER, take for granted.
Until next year,
A recap of Saturday’s Northern Tour activites from Rob Butcher, Reds Director of Media Relations:
First, we begin today’s blog entry with the most heartfelt congratulations to the Southern “Rock Star” Leg. At the Select-A-Seat event at Great American Ball Park, that talented group presented to itself the inaugural Courage and Camaraderie Award. You guys do, indeed, rock. The more subdued Northern Leg began with another huge crowd in Columbus at Polaris Fashion Mall. I’m guessing about 500 diehard fans attended. Reds President and CEO Bob Castellini was a hit, as always. We even were visited by a few fans wearing Better Off Red shirts. Zach took the opportunity to find a few more movies for us, Beerfest, The Mechanic and Super 8. Our bus full of critics weren’t high on last night’s entry, Contagion. Too depressing, as was the pilot episode of AMC’s Walking Dead. I guess I didn’t realize there is only one way to kill a zombie….. Following a terrific luncheon hosted by WBVI Radio in Findlay, the Lima Mall stop, hosted by WIMA Radio, was off the charts. Couldn’t see the stage from the end of that line. It was awesome. More Reds fans than we could count. During that stop, Jay Bruce texted me that he joined the Twitter world. We asked our followers to follow him, and he jumped to 1,500 followers in a hurry. Follow Jay at @JayABruce. You can also follow Ryan LaMarre, the talented young prospect on our tour, at @ryanlamarre4
On to Dayton, where we’ll spend the night awaiting Sunday’s final stop, at the National Museum of the USAF at Wright Patterson Air Force Base. That’s a spectacular stop for us, a great way to round out the caravan.
See below how packed Lima was!