Figured with the Winter Caravan '09 in full swing....we'd see who on Redszone is going and to which stops. Even though me and the missus live in Columbus, we are probably going to hit the Lima (Thom B.) stop on Saturday (chance to meet the in-laws as well) and then see the Cowboy and company on Sunday in Dayton; while also checking out the Air Force museum....plus that means two chances for Opening Day tix....
Went to "Marty's Bus" stop in Nashville this morning. Kinda surprised at the crowd as there was probably a couple hundred people there, pretty good considering I didn't hear one word about it locally... only online. Same format as always, they had about 15 minutes of questions.
Some guy asked if Brandon would move to shortstop... he said he missed it but he'll do what they ask him to do...
Somebody asked if Griffey or Dunn would be brought back, Marty was kind of smart to him and said something along the lines of, "don't you understand the meaning of no" don't remember it exactly
For some reason somebody thought it would be a good idea to ask why they got rid of Josh Hamilton... Bob Miller answered it about as professionally as possible
An old lady said she liked the way Brandon ran sideways when he hit a homer and he explained to her that it was part of the "shoulder lean" dance, haha, I had always noticed the way he ran around the bases but for some reason have never said anything to anyone about it and have never heard anything from anyone else so I thought this was funny
Brandon was strutting around before the questions and came up to the little table later than everyone else. He seemed like a really nice person and was respectful to everyone but he just puts out a vibe, which is not necessarily a bad thing as long as he plays well
Didn't stick around for the autographs, not really my thing, there were a lot of kids there...I'm sure they got much more out of it than I ever would have... overall it was worth the 15 minute drive, some people were there from hours away which I couldn't have imagined with the crew the Reds brought down but anyway... I enjoyed it and I encourage you to go (because I had second thoughts before I went)
Last edited by CRedsLarkin11; 01-24-2009 at 08:32 PM.
Yeah, I was at Marty's stop in Nashville too. We drove up from Huntsville, which we didn't feel too bad about because it gave us an excuse to hang out in Nashville for a day. My dad who lives in Murfreesboro met us there, too, so that was a plus.
I had no idea there were so many Reds fans in the area. Almost makes you wish they still had some minor league teams in the state.
I went to the stop in Bloomington with Dickerson, Alonso, Johnnie B. Baker, Grande and the Cowboy.
A couple of notes: The Cowboy is in mid-season form in talking about how good this Reds team is going to be. It's going to be a strong pitching, defense and speed team like the Reds haven't had in years, according to Brantley, who if I recall correctly kept saying early last season that the Reds were going to win the division.
Johnnie B. said he's excited about the young players - Bruce, Votto, Phillips and Encarnacion (he said Edwin will probably get better). He also said he knows there are other good players down on the farm.
The interesting thing to me was that this was the first time the caravan has ever come to Boomington, which is about a 2-1/2 drive from Cincy. By adding a third bus to the caravan this year, they were able to add cities like Evansville, Nashville, TN and Bloomington that haven't been stops in previous years.
This is part of an effort to reconnect with places that used to be part of "Reds Country" but have lost a lot of ground to the Cubs and other teams as a result of cable superstations and inattention by the Reds over the years. There will also be a Bloomington night at GAB with discount tickets (another first) on May 9, I learned.
Lima---fun caravan stop---I started the questioning asking Thom about what he felt about his dad ragging on him being on the "B Team" caravan wise. Thom knocked my softball out of the park by responding---"Look around at this huge crowd (which was probably in the 300 range) and tell me if this is the B Team. Noooo way." Walt Jocketty was asked about the lack of a big stick---he responded that the team will have to try to win differently this year--pitching, defense, moving runners (small ball).
Walt was also asked about Homer Bailey---he said he was told there was a difference in Homer's maturity during the second half of the season. The topic of a salary cap was also broached---Walt said it is being discussed; but the players union would probably go the route of a work stoppage if the owners tried it. Walt also brought up that the cap may affect teams like Florida and KC by making them spend more than they want by the cap's "floor" figure. The autograph portion went well--except for Thom chastising some in line about the autograph line setup---those seated were allowed to go first. Everyone was in good spirits and Phil Castellini seemed to make it a priority to greet everyone personally in line.
Dayton---more lowkey, maybe since it was at the Air Force Museum and the Q and A was in an auditorium. George Grande made some lengthy introductions of those in attendance (Dusty, Brantley, Dickerson) and a monologue about what he felt we should expect in 09. Hal McCoy was also in attendance and was surprised by being introduced by Grande on stage. Much longer Q and A session than Lima or has been reported from other stops. Dusty mentioned how he wants batters to work counts more and players to not be content with losing. Brantley mentioned how when he pitched batters working counts and runners moving drove him crazy. McCoy and Brantley both said the Reds should be ok---if "every thing breaks there way". I am editing heavily---Brantley and Grande love to talk and talk. The other highlight was a rather enthused older man who took the mic and decided to ask about the farm system and then go into a crazed praise for the Cowboy (Brantley) and having him added to the broadcasting team. Grande made gestures for the mic handlers to take the mic from him--but no one did. So Dusty responded by egging the guy on and Brantley asked the crazed fan to be his agent. Dickerson recalled his days in Dayton (smooching the fans up a little). Autograph session went ok, Dusty was engaging with the fans, Dickerson and Grande were friendly--but unfortunately the Cowboy seemed preoccupied with getting his flight out of Dayton and didnt really seemed to want to mingle much. Cant blame him---four days of travelling around gladhanding could get tiring after awhile.
Hopefully someone can fill us in on the Columbus stop---since I forsaked my hometown to do two caravan legs. Thanks...
I went to the one in Athens. I was kinda hoping the question/answer session would be a bit longer, but they were about a half hour late getting there, so I'm sure they wanted to make sure to get everyone a chance to get autographs. Everyone there was extremely nice. A few of the guys seemed a bit tired, but I can't blame them. My girlfriend made the comment to me that Tom Browning looked a bit like Archie Bunker. She told him that, and he got a pretty good laugh out of it. I was very glad I attended this event, and for someone who no longer lives in Reds country, it was nice being around other Reds fans once again, since I really don't get that here in Pittsburgh.
We went to the one at the National Museum of the Air Force in Dayton. After some bad run ins with previous players and managers, I was very happy with what we found.
Hal McCoy talked to everyone who stopped him and I did not see him refuse one request for an autograph. Dusty Baker took the time to talk to our son for a couple of minutes and was very sincere in his comments.
The Bowling Green (KY) was a great stop as well. I, like the previous posts about Nashville, was surprised about how many Reds fans were this far south. I'm friends with one of the DJ's from the local ESPN radio station, that was covering it, so I got pseudo back stage passes. Marty was a real nice guy and I had Welsh sign his 1982 Donruss Padres card, with those ugly brown jerseys. Marty made a comment about how bad he looked and Chris sorta shrugged it off.
My 2.5 year old daughter, who's a huge fan of Gapper, was there just to see him. The Reds workers told us the costume was in the tour bus that was being refuled, and Gapper didn't get there until near the end. But when he did get there, the Reds staff was very courteous and made a special point to get Gapper over to my daughter rather quickly and bypass some people. We were very impressed, and didn't expect them to do that. But my daughter loved the fact that Gapper played with her little stuffed Gapper, she had on hand.