Today marks the beginning of the 2016 Reds Caravan, in which Reds players, broadcasters, coaches, and all-time greats traipse through this great country* of ours to meet and greet with adoring Reds fans, maybe even signing a couple of ball caps and kissing a couple of babies along the way.
*Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia
The Reds have watched a number of their former fan favorites be shipped away over the previous 12 months, which leaves the Reds Caravan seats open to some fresh (and not-so-known-or-loved) faces. Regardless, it's still a great event to attend (especially if you have youngsters), so take a look at the full itinerary here.
- Thursday, January 28: Columbus, Ohio (Polaris Fashion Place), 6:30pm-9:30pm
- Friday, January 29: Lima, Ohio (University of Northwestern Ohio Event Center), 5:30pm-8:30pm
- Saturday, January 30: Dayton, Ohio (National Museum of the US Air Force) 11am-2pm
- Saturday, January 30: Hamilton, Ohio (Parish Auditorium at Miami-Hamilton University), 3pm-6pm
The North leg of the tour features probably the biggest combination of names, though one of the biggest will only be visiting Dayton and Hamilton, as Devin Mesoraco will only be showing during the Saturday portion of the trip. Don't worry, Columbus and Lima, because Thom Brennaman and Jim Day will indeed be descending on your fine city this evening. JJ Hoover and Cody Reed will be the other players joining, while former catcher and member of the Red Reporter Favorite Players HOF Corky Miller will also be in attendance. Heavy hitters of the Reds brass will also be taking part in the Ohio swing, as bosses Walt Jocketty and Phil Castellini will make the trip along with Chief Talent Advisor Mr. Reglegs.
- Thursday, January 28: Louisville, KY (Louisville Slugger Field), 5:30pm-8:30pm
- Friday, January 29: Nashville, TN (CoolSprings Galleria), 7pm-9:30pm (6pm-8:30pm CST)
- Saturday, January 30: Bowling Green, KY (Greenwood Mall), 11am-2pm (10am-1pm CST)
- Saturday, January 30: Lexington, KY (Fayette Mall), 4:30pm - 7pm
Those seeing the Reds on the southern leg will be greeted by Cowboy Jeff Brantley, speedy Billy Hamilton, and top offensive prospect Jesse Winker. If you're in Nashville, you'll also get to see how Zack Cozart is getting around these days and if you're in Louisville you can meet Adam Duvall (who is curiously listed as "infielder Adam Duvall" on the itinerary). Former outfielder Austin Kearns will join the gang in Lexington, and the trip will be oversaw by Reds Senior Vice President and Assistant General Manager Sam Grossman and Senior Vice President of Analytics Rosie Red.
- Thursday, January 28: Athens, Ohio (the Market on State), 6:30pm-9pm
- Friday, January 29: Charleston, WV (Charleston Town Center), 6:30pm-9pm
- Saturday, January 30: Parkersburg/Vienna, WV (Grand Central Mall), 11am-1pm
- Saturday, January 30: Ashland, KY (Fannin Motors), 3:30pm-6:30pm
The eastern leg of the event will span three states in three days (well, two states and West Virginia) and feature Marty Brennaman and Chris Welsh on vocals, Tucker Barnhart
on lead guitar, and Amir Garrett
on bass. Former Red Dimitri Young will provide drums and it will all be managed by Assistant GM Nick "Pretty Sure Not This Guy
" Krall. Director of Gameday Operations Gapper will also be in attendance.
- Thursday, January 28: Muncie, IN (Stoops Automotive), 6pm-8:30pm
- Friday, January 29: Evansville, IN (Eastland Mall), 6pm-8:30pm (5pm-7:30pm CST)
- Saturday, January 30: Bloomington, IN (College Mall), 10:30am-1:30pm
- Saturday, January 30: Indianapolis, IN (Castleton Square Mall), 3pm-6pm
And if you are lucky enough to live in the great state of Indiana, the Hoosiers get to see broadcaster Jeff Piecoro, HMFIC Bryan Price, players Ivan Dejesus Jr., Keyvius Sampson, and Alex Blandino, along with all-timer Tom Browning, Director of Player Development Jeff Gaupe, and Assistant to the General Manager Mr. Red. Yes. Run, don't walk, to see Piecoro, Dejesus, and Sampson! You should be able to cut the feeling of excitement with a knife.
The whole thing wraps up with a big finale bash in Florence, KY on Sunday, January 21. Doors open a 9am to the Center Court at Florence Mall, and a special Q&A session will be held with all four legs of the caravan. Afterwards, fans will be able to get autographs of the coaches and players and be allowed to take part in a photobooth session with either the former players or the minor leaguers.