What time is it?
Holy crap it’s February 11th! Ok….ok…ok lots to do, things to prep! Baseball starts in a week!
So here we are, the long off season is just about over and where I said before that the Reds needed to get moving on making trades and changes even though the owners were saying that wasn’t going to happen. Well Walt surprised us. Let’s see some of the highlights both good and bad.
I’m a pessimist so let’s start off with the bad.
1. No more Rosales
Yep… That’s pretty much it.
Ok now with the good.
1. Orlando Cabrera : As reported by the fantasy news on MLB “At no point in his career has Cabrera been a top-tier shortstop, but few have been able to match him for consistency. The veteran journeyman will always play a full slate of games, bat around .280, score at least 80 runs and collect a fistful of steals.”
I don’t think I could have said it better myself. After our time with all stars that fail to produce a man known for his consistency is exactly what this team needs. He’s a strong defensive player with a batting average that plays with .300. So for a team with one of the worst offenses in baseball this is good news.
2. Aroldis Chapman: He is the 30 million dollar mystery man. Was he a great addition, an awesome addition for the future or a grave mistake? No one knows. What I do know is that it took some guts for us to go out there and get him. For now that tells me we are not laying down this season, and that’s a good thing.
3. Willy Taveras: (he’s not even worth linking) WE GOT RID OF HIM!!! And good riddance. We didn’t come out clean of scars from what was supposed to be a great leadoff hitter and the leader of our new small ball, young and fresh team with steals on the brain. We lost Rosales and we picked up Aaron Miles . He’s going to have to prove his worth or I’m going to stay on the bandwagon I started on. Which was to dump him quick! Why?
a. `He’s a Cub
b. There’s nothing stat wise that is better than Willy, and well that’s not good.
c. He’s on the rebound from a horrible year, overachievers never do well coming to Cincy to reclaim what they lost. Also I don’t like the reputation of this being the place you go when you are trying to find yourself again. We don’t need it.
Who was the real winner in this?
How are why? Simple, the fans were getting restless and another year like the last few and attendance was going to go down. The battle was on and this year is either going to be the year the Reds have a positive .500 season or something big was going to have to change. Be it Walt or Baker. Walt knew it and has put his best foot forward. This puts everything back into Dusty’s hands to make it happen. If he doesn’t and if it can be pinned on him I could see this being one of his last years as a Red. So 2010 is the year he has skin in the game. This should be interesting.
December 5 7:30AM:
It was hard not to wake up like it was Christmas morning this Saturday. I was trying to keep my enthusiasm down and just focus on getting dressed and out the door. Today was going to be my first Redsfest. An event that I wasn’t really sure was going to make my winter or prove to me that we needed an even bigger fan facelift than I expected. So I pulled out this years jersey and hat one more time and get the car ready as though it was time to make the road trip to see a game. My finance Wendy mentioned later that “She missed Reds days” and needless to say I did too.
We managed to get forty or so miles down the road before our stomachs got the best of us. So we went through the drive through of a McDonald’s to get some breakfast. This must has been the only food place open for breakfast in the area as the parking lot and the drive thru was packed. The good news however was they were used to this and had an excellent AM team working to make sure we got our order fast. So we continued on our way. While eating we made small talk about what we needed to do and of course if we were still on schedule to make it in time for the opening. That led me to my big mistake of the day. I went on the record saying “We’re making great time and we shouldn’t have any trouble at all getting there on time.”
As we all know when you tempted fate, fate won’t take the slap in the face and let you get away with it. A sacrafice needs to be made to even the score…
That’s right the car. The one thing we need for this to go right. The one thing I trusted to do it’s job, because…well it’s a good fairly new car. We were driving down the road a guy pulls up beside us doing 70 mph and yells “Your tire is flat!” and after we pulled over in pretty much the middle of nowhere Ohio he was right one of the rear tires was going flat quick. We managed to limp it to a local shop to get some air in it, and then to a tire place a couple miles down the road to only find out that we in fact needed two tires! It seems that we had managed to pick up a few nails and random metal shavings that was taking out our other back tire slowly but surely. There went $300 and an hour and half of unexpected time. Fate had gotten even in spades, but we were not willing to give up the trip yet. So admitting that we weren’t going to get there when it opened we continued on our trek.
December 5 12:00pm
We’ve made it! We’ve never been to the Duke Energy Convention Center before, but after a little detour we managed to find a parking spot and make our way up and inside. So what would it look like? How many fans are we really talking about? I’ve seen the layout map, but will it be as good as I hope or as low end as some comic book conventions I’d been to? I didn’t have to wait long to find out.
There I was in a hallway looking down on two or more convention halls opened up with nothing but a sea of red. I saw the Reds logo big and proud over everything, the MLB logo toward the center of the room and nothing but thousands of Reds fans scrambling from one place to another and it was all baseball. Here in Indy I’ve gone to some Pacer’s rally’s and some Colts Rally’s they are nice, but these guys really took the prize in putting together a meeting of Reds fans! After the months of being by myself in a town where in popularity baseball barely beats out horseshoes I was finally in a place where that wasn’t true, but in fact reversed. Yes I was in complete awe.
I turned my head to look at the other side only to see more. A huge stage, vendors and collectors selling things that I thought were long since gone or purchased and being saved in peoples basements. It was a wonderful site to see. A total of 17,500 fans made it out over two days and I was never happier to see it. Reds fans were out in force, and it was time for me to go and join the fun. We hurried down the escalator and got our tickets to be met by tons of people asking for our names and email addresses for contests, normally I would ignore them or be annoyed that they were asking, but I really was too happy to care. We filled out a few, got our bag of goodies at the door and made our way into what would be an awesome experience for the next several hours. Not knowing where to start our first thought was to roam around, but I felt conflicted because I knew the longer we waited the less chance I was going to get for autographs. I had a hat I wore all this year, and I was working on a tradition of getting it autographed by the team whenever possible. I’m not one of those guys who is standing with the kids at the baseline asking for autographs so really this happens now here at Redsfest and the Winter Caravan. This is my chance to get them while not looking like I’m stealing a chance for a kid to meet his favorite player or look like some guy who’s planning on selling his autograph. As I plan on getting a new jersey and hat to wear and get signed untill I find the lucky one that we go to a World Series! So off to the lines we go.
First stop Adam Rosales…
We got in a line that I would admit looks like it would take forever to get through until you realize that all he’s really going to do is say “Hello and your welcome” while signing his autograph and move on to the next person. So a line of a hundred was done in pretty close to thirty to fifty minutes. While you were waiting you had plenty of time to talk to fellow Reds fans. It was a lot like going to a comic convention or for the less geeky and slightly higher class fair. There were people you avoided making eye contact with because they were scary. There were uber geeks that wouldn’t shut up about their experiences at fantasy camp or that time they spent $6,000 dollars to have dinner with Johnny Bench. Then there were the normal people, people like me (okay I might be a little bit on the geek side of normal, but I’d like to think not too far gone okay…thanks) This is what I’m happy I have Wendy for. She can make small talk with anyone, I on the other hand tend to keep to myself, but she did what she does best making friends with people in line talking about the Reds, cameras, babies, you name it.
She even made friends with…
With some time to spare after our signing with Adam we did make our way around to see some of the exhibits and special events they had setup.
Some real and fake photo oppertunities
And who can leave out Bronson Arroyo Singing..
So after a little tour and some great Cincy pizza we made our way back to the lines for autographs. This time for Cueto,
While we were waiting in line I was on my phone reading twitter updates from Reds fans and
noticed the Mark Sheldon was somewhere in the building covering the event. Mark is the MLB.com reporter for the Reds, he’s a good guy and in many cases I trust his words more than I trust what our broadcasting team says. Don’t get me wrong Cowboy and Marty are great, but I can rely on Mark to put a little less spin on what’s happening which for me is a good thing. So I tweeted (I never thought I would ever use that word…) him half joking that he needed to find me because I wanted his autograph. Cool guy that he is, he made time to come down and say hello and I shocked him a little bit by asking for his autograph. In
my mind you get an autograph from the team and he’s apart of it, and you also get autographs of people that you are fans of, and I am of his work. If I could wake up tomrrow and go to school, then know I would get a job with the MLB covering Reds I would do it! Wouldn’t you? I really wish I wasn’t in line as I would have liked to spend a little more time talking to him and to see what his day was going to be like. I’ll do better next time. So we made it through the line and headed on to our next autograph line. Now I’m sure they did this on purpose, but this would be one of my few complaints about this event. Seating, after standing in line for forty minutes there really wasn’t any place just to sit down that wasn’t in front of the main stage. The other would be the rules for autographs. If you stand in line and you wait forty minutes to get an autograph and time is up so the next player is going to take over it should be your choice to either stay in line for the new person or leave. The volunteers booted you and started the process all over again. So now you’ve upset a fan by not getting him the autograph they wanted and now you’re irrating them again by making them start all over. Not good. I’m sure some logic was used in making this decision I’m just not a fan of it, and I can tell you neither were many of the fans around me. Thankfully this never happened to me.
So our last autograph of the day was Aaron Harang.
I like Aaron, and I think he’s good for the Reds. I managed to take advantage of one line
ending and another being created (see previous paragraph) to get a good lead on this line so our wait wasn’t too long here. Aaron was nice and was having fun with the crowd a bit while signing. By this point the crowd was listening to the Bearcats game and talking college football while standing in line. It was interesting to hear as I’m from Indy and don’t know a single player’s name I think if I was quizzed shortly after that line I could have answered a lot of general questions!
By the time we were done there we were running out of time so we made our way back to the vendors and picked up some awesome things to put up in my office. I found a recently signed baseball bat by Pete Rose, a 3 stage action photo of Pete’s slide into catcher Ray Fosse, and my son’s kid’s club membership for the Reds 2010 season. All and all not a bad way to spend a Saturday. Next year I will definately plan to have more time and more money to spend at Redsfest as it definately was an experience worth the time and money.
December 5 4:30pm
On the road home back to Indiana. I really enjoyed my trip to Redsfest.
Players and Mark
Overall great ROI
Only once a year
Needs more seating areas
Increase autographs even if it’s more people sitting at one area I could only really avg 1 autograph an hour. Which wasn’t great.
More player oppertunities, they made it sound like they were all there, but if they were where were they. I definately didn’t catch 40 players or even half for that matter.
Needs a better special savings on seasons tickets. This is the time to convert regulars to lifetime fans. If there was something better than the norm it wasn’t advertised well.
Four stars, what I put in bad was just being picky. I really, really enjoyed Redsfest and can’t wait for it to come around again!