A report from Redleg Nation member Scott Laney about the Columbus event. 

Die-hard Reds fans wait outside before the Columbus caravan stop. Photo: Scott Laney

Die-hard Reds fans wait outside before the Columbus caravan stop. Photo: Scott Laney

The Columbus stop on the 2013 Reds Caravan was like an injection of mid-July in January. We arrived at Nationwide Arena around 8:45 am for the 10 am start to the Caravan and there was already a line of approximately 100 people waiting in the 25 degree snowy weather. I later heard that the first arrivals had gotten there at 7 am. There are definitely some true Reds fans in Central Ohio.

The doors opened at 9 am and we quickly filed in and ended up as the first people in line without a seat. The hour wait went by quickly as we chatted with the group around us and watched as the line more than doubled up around the entire arena. I don’t know the estimate, but the Reds staff remarked that this was the biggest crowd they had seen. We attended last year at Polaris Mall and this was definitely a much larger crowd.

The stars of the show arrived promptly at 10 am, with Brandon Phillips getting the lion’s share of the attention before he even sat down. Marty quickly took the microphone and began to energize the crowd, playing to the home of the Buckeyes, and talking about the 2015 All-Star Game at GABP.

Marty introduced everyone on the panel and went into some detail about Tucker Barnhart’s responsibilities on the bus (Director of Digital Entertainment) and Brandon Phillips preference in women’s footwear (Christian Louis Vuitton).

The Q & A session was a big hit, mostly due to the fact that the sound system was very good and everyone could clearly hear the questions and answers. There was a wide range of questions with some very funny responses from the panel. Here are a few of the best ones:

Q: To Brandon Phillips: Are you a little worried about getting hurt playing in the WBC?

A: I can get hurt anywhere. I could have gotten hurt at the frat party I was at last night.

Q: To Marty: Are you going to keep your hair short?

A: I said at the time that you would never meet a man with a greater love affair with his hair than me, but I have been converted. You won’t believe how much time I save every day. Besides, my wife likes it and she is my third wife, so I can’t afford to lose her.

Q: To Brandon Phillips: Was it the .221 Avg., the low OBP, or the terrible fielding pct. that qualified Dan Uggla to start in last year’s All-Star Game? (Huge crowd reaction)

A: Apparently, he was the best second baseman in the National League. That stuff doesn’t really matter to me, but maybe you guys should vote more.

Q:  To Todd Benzinger:  How did it feel to catch the final out of the 1990 World Series?

A:  I’m glad it came to me, so no one dropped it, but I wasn’t sure it was the third out until I saw Barry Larkin jumping up and down.

Q: To Brandon Phillips: What does it take for a girl to get a ride in your purple Audi.

A: I’m real particular about what girls ride in my car and since you are married, I really don’t want to get shot.

Q: To Brandon Phillips: Since we are at the home of the Blue Jackets, which Reds player would be the best hockey player.

A: I can do it as long as I don’t have to hit the puck and can fight a lot. Everybody thinks Joey would be good, because he Canadian, but I think Sam LeCure looks like a hockey player.

The questions were wrapped up and the autograph session started. The staff was adamant about no posed pictures, so there were no opportunities to get a picture with any of the players, but we were able to get quality pictures as we went through the autograph line.

Everyone was very friendly and chatted easily with all of the fans I was near. I was able to discuss bow ties with Chris Welsh, get some more detail about Tucker’s entertainment responsibilities (insert DVD, move out of the way), exchange twitter stories with Brandon, and compare haircuts with Marty as we moved through the line.

After going through the line, I attempted to get a good picture of the line, but it stretched too far into the arena to even see the end. Reds Staff Member Shannon Senger should be commended for the way she handled the fans in line, tirelessly answered questions, and made sure that everyone was where they were supposed to be.

All in all, a great experience for an energized fan base starving for a deeper playoff run and maybe an NL Title.

— Scott Laney