This just in…
SS Zack Cozart and RHP Mike Leake have agreed to terms on 1-year contracts through the 2015 season, both avoiding arbitration.
If you’ve been reading Better Off Red through the years, you’re probably already aware of how much I love the Reds Caravan. In my opinion, the annual caravan tour is the most unique off-the-field event produced by the Reds…and they do it right. Four buses load up at the Reds Hall of Fame and Museum on a Thursday morning and head out for a goodwill tour, covering over 3,300 miles of Reds Country. One bus goes north, one south, one east and one west. All of the motorcoaches return late Saturday night and the four groups come together the next day for the Sunday Select-A-Seat event at GABP.
Each of the four luxurious motorcoaches contains a Reds broadcaster, a baseball operations employee, a media relations staffer, a Reds employee to direct the trip, a current Reds player, a former Reds player and a current Reds minor league player…and of course, a bus driver. Each bus also has a few advance teams navigating the trip in separate vehicles to make sure every caravan stop is set up and ready to go. Those folks are the ones who do most of the heavy lifting and do so without the benefits of the ridiculous pampering the guys on the bus enjoy.
All four caravan groups have one or two large public stops each day of the tour, usually at a mall, with several smaller private stops scheduled throughout the day. The smaller private stops are typically held at Reds-On-Radio affiliates in many of the cities throughout Reds Country. There isn’t a whole lot of wiggle-room in the daily itinerary, as it’s precisely scheduled and rigidly enforced.
Many of my personal favorite moments of working for the Reds have occurred while on the Reds Caravan. To commemorate the Caravan, the groups I’ve been a part over the years have taken “team photos,” each of which has been framed and hung on the wall in my GABP office (you can check them out below).
I’m lucky enough to be on the “Rock-Star Tour” as we so humbly named ourselves many years ago. The Rockstars contain a core group of myself, my close friend Ryan Rizzo and the one and only “Mercury” Marty Brennaman. There have been many others in the group throughout the years, but we remain the original three. Bob Miller, Lee May, Brandon Phillips, Chris Welsh, Tucker Barnhart and Devin Mesoraco have all been Rockstars on more than one occasion (and Eric Davis & Doug Fynn have life-time memberships, despite just one year on the “chosen” tour) but for one reason or another, those guys won’t be with our group this year…and that’s a shame because we all have a great time together.
I got to meet one of my all-time favorite people in the world while on the Caravan bus – Lee May. Lee, or “Mo” as he often goes by, is arguably the funniest person on the face of the planet – and I honestly don’t think I’m overstating it. His verbal sparring battles with Marty on the motorcoach are the stuff of legend – and one day, if I write a book, I’ll include the actual language, warts and all.
That’s not to say Marty isn’t up there on the comedy scale with Lee, because he most certainly is. There have been times while traveling on the bus that I’ve nearly barfed due to perpetual belly-laughing. I keep a notebook of all the ridiculously funny Brennaman-isms, the content of which I can’t share here. But something that Marty does on the Caravan that I can share with you are his hilarious daily caravan recaps. Those will return here on Better Off Red next week with Caravan coverage , so be sure to check ‘em out (and prepare to laugh).
So as we get ready for another year of the Reds Caravan tour, I hope you folks in and around Reds Country get a chance to stop by and see at least one of the four groups that’ll be appearing near you. It’s fun…trust me.
For more details on the Reds Caravan CLICK HERE.
Another great night of trivia took place on Tuesday night at the Holy Grail Banks. The theme was “National League Central” and the film focus was the original Bad News Bears. If you’d like to see Tuesday’s trivia script/questions/answers click here –> January 13
Eight teams joined the brain-bending fracas; however, conspicuous by his absence was last week’s defending champ “The Guru.” Check out the photos below to see who took home this week’s title…
The Reds Hot Stove League radio show and Better Off Red Baseball Trivia returns to the Holy Grail Banks on Tuesday, January 27th. Hope to see you there!
From the Dayton Dragons…
FORMER REDS CATCHER CORKY MILLER ADDED TO DRAGONS COACHING STAFF
DAYTON, OH —The Dayton Dragons announced today that popular former Cincinnati Reds catcher Corky Miller has been added to the Dragons coaching staff for the 2015 season. Miller will join manager Jose Nieves, pitching coach Tom Browning, and hitting coach Luis Bolivar on the Dragons staff. Miller will also visit other Reds affiliates on select dates in a catching instructor role in 2015.
Miller completed a 17-year professional playing career in 2014. On August 31, 2014, he became the first player in the history of the Triple-A Louisville Bats to have his number retired by the club. He is the Bats all-time career leader in games played, first appearing in a game with Louisville in 2001.
Miller spent parts of 11 years in the Major Leagues, mostly with the Reds. He also played for the Braves, White Sox, Twins, and Red Sox. He made his big league debut with the Reds in 2001 and played in his final Major League game in 2013 at age 37, becoming the oldest Reds player to start a game at catcher since 1951. He was originally signed by the Reds as an undrafted free agent in 1998.
“We are excited to transition Corky Miller onto our Minor League coaching staff in 2015,” said Jeff Graupe, Reds Director of Player Development. “Corky will be based out of Dayton and will split his time working with the Dragons and roving around our system developing our catchers. As a player, Corky was well known throughout the game as a terrific defensive catcher with outstanding fundamentals and quality relationships with his pitchers. He will be a tremendous asset for our young catchers to learn from.”
Miller’s Career Highlights:
• Hit two home runs in one game for Reds vs. Cubs on October 3, 2001, his first year in the Major Leagues.
• Notched what turned out to be the only stolen base of his big league career when he stole home on September 27, 2001 vs. Philadelphia. He became the first Reds catcher to steal home since Johnny Bench in 1976.
• Selected to play in the Midwest League All-Star Game in 1999 as a member of the Rockford club, which relocated to Dayton the following year.
• Voted the “player you want most in your clubhouse” and “player who will make the best future manager” in a poll of the Southern League in 2000 by USA Today Baseball Weekly.
• Enjoyed his best Minor League season in 2001 when he batted .309 with 16 home runs and 70 RBI over 103 games with Chattanooga and Louisville.
• Made the Reds opening day roster in 2004 and 2005. Made the White Sox opening day roster in 2009.
• Spent parts of 14 consecutive seasons in the Triple-A International League from 2001-2014.
The Dragons will open their 16th season in the Midwest League on April 9 at West Michigan and open their home season at Fifth Third Field on April 12 vs. South Bend. For information on season tickets, luxury suite rentals, and group outings, call (937) 228-2287.
Tonight’s Better Off Red Baseball Trivia takes place at Holy Grail Banks immediately following a live episode of the Reds Hot Stove League radio program at 6pm (hosted by the Barnstormin’ Brennaman Boys).
Tonight’s trivia theme is “National League Central” with a film focus on the original Bad News Bears (1976). Oh and tonight is also team picture night…so comb your hair!
See ya tonight!
*Here’s a photo clue to one of tonight’s trivia questions…
To view the Reds 2015 Spring Training Roster, click here -> Spring Training Roster
As if the image above hasn’t convinced you yet to book your flight to Arizona for Spring Training, I have some added incentive…
The folks in Goodyear are giving away a couple of collector’s edition bobbleheads this spring!
On March 7, the Indians host the Dodgers at Goodyear Ballpark and the first 1,500 fans will get a Michael Brantley bobblehead. Why do you care about a Michael Brantley bobblehead? Because it attaches to the Billy Hamilton bobblehead that will be given away seven days later to the first 1,500 fans at Goodyear Ballpark when the Reds host the Rockies!
Pretty cool stuff, huh? Check out the photos of the aforementioned bobbles…
Interested? I know you are…check out Reds.com/Spring to learn more about Spring Training travel packages!
Reds pitchers and catchers report to Goodyear on February 18, followed the next morning by physical examinations and then an afternoon workout.
Reds position players report February 23, followed the next morning by physical examinations. The first full-squad workout will be February 24, following the position players’ morning physicals.
Another record turnout for Better Off Red Baseball Trivia Tuesday night at the Holy Grail Banks! Thanks to everyone who came out and participated!
We had a couple of themes last night, one was “Hall of Fame” and the other was “Field of Dreams.” If you’d like to see last night’s script/questions click here –> January6
Here’s last nights leaderboard…
1. The Guru – 126 pts.
2. Sons of Pitches – 86 pts.
3. Team Spro – 74 pts.
4. The 3rd Platoon – 73 pts.
5. The AL Kids – 44 pts.
6. G over L – 40 pts.
7. In-Seat “B” Squad – 33 pts.
8. Marty “Not” Brennaman – 8pts.
9. Ramon Santiago Fan Club – 7pts.
10. OU Bobcats – 6pts.
T11. Catch Ya Later, Little Red Machine, Team Xavier – 0 pts.
We’d love to see you next Tuesday for another round of BOR Baseball Trivia at the Holy Grail Banks!