For generations baseball has been America’s pastime. Growing up in rural eastern Kentucky with no professional sports teams in the state, locals have for the most part adopted the Cincinnati Reds as their home team.
The Reds organization recognizes all of the years of diehard support they receive in the mountains and reward the most loyal fans by adding a stop on the preseason Reds Caravan to give fans a chance to meet and greet their favorite players and learn what to expect from the upcoming season. This seasons caravan was sponsored by Mountain Top Media and Community Trust Bank, while other individuals/businesses in the area could reserve a table for sponsorship as well.
Last Friday the caravan made it’s way to Buffalo Wild Wings in Pikeville, and the reception was overwhelming. On their stop in Pike County, the Reds brought two legends and a host of current players with the club. The longtime voice of the Red legs Hall of Famer Marty Brennaman was the emcee of the event. Last season the legendary broadcaster capped off his 55th and final run as the voice of the Reds, and has been with the organization for 46 of those years. Brennaman has already been inducted into five different Halls of Fame including in Cooperstown, where he is enshrined in the broadcast section. Coming up on April 26th, 2020 he will be the sole member inducted into the Reds Hall of Fame.
Also joining Brennaman was Reds Vice President and General Manager Nick Krall. Krall has been with Cincinnati for 18 seasons and served as assistant GM since 2015, before being promoted to General Manager and VP in May of 2018. Krall oversees all day-to-day operations inside the Reds organization.
The third member of the caravan was a former player nearly everyone who grew up in the 80’s and 90’s remembers as the face of the Cincinnati, Reds legendary outfielder and Hall of Fame member Eric Davis. Eric “The Red,” as he was known, was inducted into the Reds Hall of Fame in 2005. In his 17 year career, he spent nine seasons with Cincinnati. Davis, a two-time All-Star, won three gold gloves and two silver slugger awards throughout his career and was instrumental on the 1990 World Series championship team where they swept the Oakland A’s. He is currently a special assistant coach for player performance with the Reds.
The current players attending the caravan were outfielder A. J. Bumpass. The North Carolina native is a familiar name to the Cincinnati area before being drafted by the Reds as he played college baseball for the University of Cincinnati Bearcats. Last season he was named the American Athletic Conference Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player as his Bearcats eliminated the defending NCAA national champions Oregon State.
Reds relief pitcher Lucas Sims was also in attendance. Sims made four starts for the club last season but played the majority of the year with the Triple A Louisville Bats. The 25 year old was selected as an International All-Star which led to him making 24 appearances for the Reds last year.
The final current player in the caravan was 25 year old outfielder Aristides Aquino. Known as “The Punisher,” Aquino set major league records last year for fewest career plate appearances to 15 home runs and fewest career games to hit 14 long balls. He was also named the Cincinnati Reds Minor League Player of the Year for 2019.
After a brief question and answer session, in a big change from events as this, the Reds legends and players made their way to each table to chat with fans and sign baseballs provided by the sponsors. Fans really enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere and the chance to talk with the players and management in a setting where they weren’t rushed through after getting an autograph. This years caravan allowed fans to get personal with the Reds and was greatly enjoyed by all of those in attendance.