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Reds Caravan 2018 comes rolling into a town near you

Catch all your favorite (hopefully) Reds players, prospects, broadcasters, and front office personnel next week!

Pittsburgh Pirates v Cincinnati Reds Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Reds will kick off their annual Caravan Tour a week from today, where select members of the team, broadcast crew, former players, and front office personnel will break up and visit different cities in Reds Country that may not normally get to see their favorite Reds in person.

As always, the Caravan is broken into four different groups; a North, South, East, and West tour. Each group will feature different players and team personnel, along with mascots to entertain the kids (or you, if you’re a big Rosie Red fan).

The tour will converge on it’s final day (Sunday, January 28th) for one final bash before everyone packs up and heads back to Cincinnati in anticipation for Spring Training. Pitchers and catchers will report to Goodyear, Arizona just 16 days after the Caravan wraps up in Florence, of course.

It honestly wasn’t until I wrote that last sentence that I realized how close Spring Training actually was, and now I’m more excited than I should be for baseball in mid-January.

North Tour

Date Location City Time EST
Date Location City Time EST
Thursday, Jan. 25 Polaris Fashion Place Columbus, OH 7 - 9 pm
Friday, Jan. 26 Apollo Career Center - new for 2018 Lima, OH 5:30 - 7:30 pm
Saturday, Jan. 27 National Museum of USAF Dayton, OH 11 am - 2 pm
Saturday, Jan. 27 Parrish Auditorium Hamilton, OH 3 - 5:30 pm
Sunday, Jan. 28 Florence Mall Florence, KY 11 am - 2 pm

The North leg of the tour finds itself in familiar Reds territory: Dayton, Columbus, Lima, and Hamilton, Ohio. Featured will be Reds On Radio broadcaster Jeff Brantley, Fox Sports Ohio’s Jim Day (you know what to do, Northern Red Reporters), young Reds pitcher Amir Garrett, Reds 2015 number one pick Tyler Stephenson, former infielder Todd Benzinger, and the General Manager himself: Dick Williams. Also featured: Rosie Red.

In my opinion, Dick Williams is the highlight here, just because he seems like a good dude to meet. Amir Garrett is a breakout candidate for the Reds staff this season, so meeting him before that happened would be pretty cool, too.

There’s also Jim Day.

South Tour

Date Location City Time EST
Date Location City Time EST
Thursday, Jan. 25 Louisville Slugger Field Louisville, KY 6:30 - 8:30 pm
Friday, Jan. 26 CoolSprings Galleria Nashville, TN 7:30 - 9:30 pm (6:30-8:30 pm CST)
Saturday, Jan. 27 Greenwood Mall Bowling Green, KY 11 am - 12:30 pm (10 am-11:30 am CST)
Saturday, Jan. 27 Fayette Mall Lexington, KY 5 - 7 pm
Sunday, Jan. 28 Florence Mall Florence, KY 11 am - 2 pm

On the South leg, Reds play-by-play guy (and imagine I just said that in his voice... you can hate now) Thom Brennaman will join the crew for all stops, as will Reds 2013 number one draft pick Phil Ervin, minor leaguer TJ Friedl, roving catching instructor and King of Hearts Corky Miller, senior director of player development Jeff Graupe, and Reds President and COO Phil Castellini.

Former outfielder Austin Kearns will show for the Lexington stop. Adam Duvall will be available for the Louisville stop, as will former GM and current executive adviser Walt Jocketty. As of print time, I cannot confirm Mr. Jocketty will be eating green beans dipped in Diet Dr. Pepper, but I’ve reached out to the Reds for comment.*

*no I didn’t.

Don’t worry Reds fans in Louisville, Nashville, Bowling Green, and Lexington... Mr. Redlegs will be on hand as well. To look directly into your soul.

East Tour

Date Location City Time EST
Date Location City Time EST
Thursday, Jan. 25 Athens Community Center - new for 2018 Athens, OH 6:30 - 8:30 pm
Friday, Jan. 26 Charleston Town Center Charleston, WV 6:30 - 8:30 pm
Saturday, Jan. 27 Grand Central Mall Parkersburg, WV 10:30 am - 12:30 pm
Saturday, Jan. 27 Huntington Mall - new for 2018 Huntington, WV 2:30 - 4:30 pm
Sunday, Jan. 28 Florence Mall Florence, KY 11 am - 2 pm

The East part of the Caravan will visit our friends in Eastern Kentucky and West Virginia.

Highlighting this portion is the Reds first round pick in 2016, Nick Senzel. I can only imagine that he’s being sent out east to win over as many baseball fans as possible, because the greatness of Nick Senzel can penetrate not only West Virginia, but Virginia and Maryland and Pennsylvania, once the stories are told. /East Coast Biased

Joining Senzel is Reds Live host Jeff Piecoro, pitchers Sal Romano and Cody Reed, manager Bryan Price, along with Reds HOFer “Mr. Perfect” Tom Browning and Reds Vice President & senior adivser to the general manager Buddy Bell.

Mr. Red will entertain, as well.

West Tour

Date Location City Time EST
Date Location City Time EST
Thursday, Jan. 25 Stoops Automotive Muncie, IN 5:30 - 7:30 pm
Friday, Jan. 26 Eastland Mall Evansville, IN 5 - 7 pm (4-6 pm CST)
Saturday, Jan. 27 College Mall Bloomington, IN 9:30 - 11 am
Saturday, Jan. 27 Castleton Square Mall Indianapolis, IN 12:30 - 2:30 pm
Saturday, Jan. 27 Southeastern Indiana YMCA - new for 2018 Batesville, IN 4 - 6 pm
Sunday, Jan. 28 Florence Mall Florence, KY 11 am - 2 pm

Now we get into the Grimey portion of the tour.

I live in Indianapolis, grew up ~30 minutes away from the Batesville stop, and was just in Bloomington and Evansville a week ago today.

As of print time, I strangely haven’t been invited to make an appearance. I’ve reached out to the Reds* and will update the story should I get an explanation.*

*no I didn’t

*no I won’t

I have logistical problems with this leg that I won’t bore you with here (meet me in the comments). But, to me, Taylor Trammell is the hit, just because I’m super excited about what he’s going to be in the Major Leagues. For most of Reds Nation (but not necessarily our fellow Red Reporters), Marty Brennaman is the highlight. Hoosiers love their cantankerous, no-nonsense sports fellas.

Pitcher Austin Price, former Red Dimitri Young, and Vice President & Assistant GM Nick Krall will be in attendance. As will the worst Reds mascot, Gapper. (Sorry not sorry, Gap).

Scott Schebler will join for Thursday (Muncie) and Friday (Evansville) only, while Indy’s own Tucker Barnhart will only join the crew in Muncie, Indy, and Batesville only (Thursday and Saturday).

As I mentioned before, the Caravan will end with a bigger celebration in Florence, KY at the Florence Mall. The doors open at 9am. From 11 to Noon there will be a Q&A with Marty, Jim Day, and Jeff Piecoro, and then starting at noon and going until 2PM there will be an autograph session with the Major League players and also autograph and photo opportunities with the minor league players and former Reds.

I’m poking some fun at the guests at some of these events, but it really is a unique opportunity to go out and see some of the Reds players and personnel if they happen to be coming by your town. It’s especially cool to take in if you have kids that might’ve taken an extra special liking to someone like Tucker Barnhart or Scott Schebler or Adam Duvall or Amir Garrett in their small-ish time in the Bigs. And it’s cool for these guys to sacrifice a little bit of their personal time to park their asses back on a bus for four days at a time.

So get out there and take a picture with a Red. And be sure to let Red Reporter know about it, if you do.