[This report was submitted by Art Austin who attended the Reds Caravan stop in Nashville, TN. Thanks, Art!]
Decked in my Reds gear, I got a ringside seat. Questions were solicited. I got three answered. The first one was to the promising prospect, Phillip Ervin, who answered my question: Why Ã‚Â the drop in his batting average to the low .200’s?, he answered he experimented too much. The next was to Scott Williamson about his use of the cutter when he pitched, his answered he did. The last question was to Bryan Pena. Was Johnny Cueto’s bread and butter the cutter, he answered the change-up.
The turn-out was large. It could probably be larger if it was held in the Green Hills Mall, some 15 miles SW. Nashville divides its loyalty between the Reds and Braves (both telecast on cable thru the baby foxes). It is a better choice because the fans in this area are more knowledgeable and able to afford to travel for the games to Cincinnati.
Reds’ personnel were upbeat about our chances to finally reign over our Central division foes. The crowd was supportive of this position. I personally thanked Bryan for being one of the bright spots during a gloomy season with his outstanding subbing for Joey Votto at 1st, especially with his fielding and clutch hitting whether catching, playing first base or pinch-hitting. Of course, it was no coincidence that Bryan arrived as Cueto’s 20-win season unfolded. He did everything except sell popcorn.
The Reds need to build on the return of Jay Bruce and Votto, Todd Frazier and Devin Mesoraco’s scrappy performances and developments, Brandon Phillips and Zack Cozart’s repeating as the top double-play combination and Billy Hamilton’s expected, mature performance on the bases, field and batting. Hamilton needs to get rid of that uppercut in his swing and go to left with the ball at every opportunity like Pete Rose did. Marlon Byrd and Votto will be 1-2 in leading the offense to new heights in 2015.