This post was a contribution from Joe Rettig after attending the Reds Caravan stop in Batesville, Indiana last week.
This Saturday I attended the last leg of the Reds Caravan Western Tour. This was a great way for me to get more excited about the upcoming season that’s only a few months away after one of the most exciting winter off seasons in recent memory. This isn’t the first Reds Caravan I’ve attended. It’s the second year in a row I’ve attended in Batesville, Indiana.
The others I attended were in Bloomington. With it being in a smaller town it wasn’t as crowded as the Bloomington ones I’ve been to in the past. It wasn’t as crowded as last year though. First, the weather wasn’t good. Second, it was the third annual Basketball Day in Indiana and Indiana was playing at Purdue from 2-4 P.M., while the event was from 4-6 P.M. It was at the YMCA in Batesville, and a lot of their staff helped work it. They were very nice and helpful.
The Reds involved on this stop of the Western Tour were: Dick Williams – Reds President of Baseball Operations, Eugenio Suárez – Reds third baseman, Tyler Stephenson – Minor League Catcher, Jeff Brantley – former Reds pitcher and current broadcaster, Jim Day – Reds broadcaster, and Mascot Rosie Red. They showed up on time and Jim Day introduced everyone and said a few words about the upcoming season.
The floor was then opened for a question and answer session. I thought there were a lot of tough questions that were blunt and to the point, mostly directed towards Dick Williams. I thought they all did a great job answering the questions. The first question was directed toward Williams:
I see a lot of chatter on twitter about the Reds and a trade involving Sonny Gray, are we going to get him?
Williams responded that you shouldn’t always believe what you see on twitter, but the Reds aren’t done with acquiring players either through trades or free agency and that he can’t discuss any particular player. As it turns out, sometimes you can believe what you see on twitter.
One fan asked Jeff Brantley about who was going to replace Marty and whose decision it was the Reds or WLW, and the fan suggested Jim Day. Brantley responded that the decision starts with the Reds front office and agreed that Day does a great job when he gets the chance to call games.
Another fan asked Suarez about soccer in Venezuela and if baseball or soccer is the number one sport and how he chose baseball. Suarez responded that it was always baseball and his whole family loved baseball. His dad played and so did his brothers, and that he still loves baseball.
Williams was asked another tough question about Yasiel Puig. I’m paraphrasing here, but it was something like this:
“I like getting Alex Wood, but what about Yasiel Puig? I honestly don’t like him and think he disrespects the game. Are you worried about the way he’s going to act and how it will affect the team?”
Williams said that he’s talked to Puig a couple of times on the phone and through text but hasn’t got to meet face to face yet. He said he wasn’t concerned about the way Puig acts. And that a lot of players aren’t liked by certain people. He said that he loves the game and thinks that being in a clubhouse with Votto, Suarez, Scooter, Tucker, etc. will make the way he acts be a non issue.”
Everyone did a good job answering questions especially Williams. I’m excited for this season especially with Williams answer to this question, “Are the Reds still in rebuild mode or win now mode?” His answer, “Win now mode!”
This caravan isn’t something that the Reds organization or it’s players have to do. We as Reds fans are lucky that this organization gets out to Reds country during the offseason. It’s great to do something like this to meet fans and sign autographs.
The final part of the stop was the autograph session. This was my favorite part and the main reason I went. We were towards the back of the gym. The nice thing was that we were on a basketball court and were all sitting in chairs. That meant we didn’t have to stand until it was our rows turn. Once it was our rows turn it didn’t take very long. No one was turned away.
I had a picture of me with Suarez to sign from when I got his autograph last year at Sports Gallery in the Forest Park area. If you haven’t been there I highly suggest it. It’s the best sports memorabilia store I’ve been to. They do great signings throughout the year. My parents went with me and took Caleb, a junior high student they’re mentoring with us. They got a spring training program and bobble head autographed by Suarez for me. I also had cards for the four of us for Jeff Brantley to sign. They were all very friendly!
Overall I think going to any of the caravan stops would be worth it. It is definitely a good way to get excited for the season. It is also one of the easiest and cheapest ways to get Reds autographs. What a great way to get excited for summer and the start of Reds season.