Mark Carpenter/The People’s Defender
The Northern Tour of the 2013 Reds Caravan made a media stop in Maysville last Thursday morning. Representing the Reds on the stop were (left to right) Reds COO Phil Castellini, veteran catcher Corky Miller, minor league outfielder Ryan LaMarre, All-Star right fielder Jay Bruce, President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Walt Jocketty, and broadcaster Thom Brennaman.
Mark Carpenter/The People’s Defender
Cincinnati Reds All-Star right fielder Jay Bruce signs a baseball for Jordan Carpenter of Ripley during the 2013 Reds Caravan stop in Maysville last Thursday.
A yearly winter tradition for the Cincinnati Reds is the annual Reds Caravan and the Caravan made a media stop last Thursday morning at the Limestone Center in Maysville. Enthusiasm is high as the defending National League Central Division champions and the numerous Caravan stops all over Reds country allows the media and fans to share in that excitement with spring training just around the corner.
It was the Western Tour of the 2013 Caravan that stopped in Maysville and included Reds President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Walt Jocketty, who spoke about last year's success with WFTM Radio.
"One of the secrets to our success last year was the fact that we did have different people that picked up the team," said Jocketty. "It was Bruce for awhile, then it was Todd Frazier for awhile, Scott Rolen, a lot of different players that stepped up for us."
"Our pitching was pretty consistent all season."
One of the topics on every fan's mind is the future of young speedster Billy Hamilton. Many fans were surprised to hear Jocketty's response to that inquiry.
"Billy will start they year playing center field and leading off at Louisville (the Reds AAA affiliate). That is our plan right now to get Billy ready for the majors the next season."
Also part of the stop in Maysville was Reds broadcaster Thom Brennaman, who enjoys his time on the Caravan and is looking forward to a big year in Cincinnati.
"This Caravan is kind of like the unofficial beginning of the baseball season," said Brennaman. "We know that right around the corner from this whole thing getting going."
"Everybody sees the way the entire franchise is moving in an unbelievably positive direction. Their best days are yet to come and they are in the not too distant future."
Brennaman also spoke of some of the player moves that the team has made in the off-season.
"They have moved some things around and brought Ryan Ludwick back and Todd Frazier has certainly made his claim to be the starting third baseman," continued Brennaman. "Of course the biggest move is the decision to move Aroldis Chapman from the bullpen to the starting rotation."
"All of us are very excited anticipating what that could turn out to be for the Reds and I think it could be a monumental moment for the franchise if he turns out to be the pitcher that everyone thinks he can be."
The biggest name player to make the stop in Maysville was All-Star outfielder Jay Bruce. Bruce had a big year in 2012 and like all of the team is anxious to get back on the field to erase the bad taste left over from last year's disappointing playoff loss to the eventual World Champion San Francisco Giants.
"We are just looking to build on the successes we had," said Bruce in an interview with The People's Defender. "Obviously, the end of last year leaves a bitter taste in your mouth but you have to take a step back, keep perspective, and look at the whole picture."
"We played extremely well and we have added a few pieces that are really going to strengthen us and I'm excited for that. I believe we are still the team to beat and going into next year we intend to treat it that way."
Bruce also knows that the Reds will be tested early as their opponents on the opening home stand include the Los Angeles Angles and the Washington Nationals, two of the strongest squads in Major League Baseball.
"We welcome that challenge and you might as well test yourself against the best teams in baseball right off the bat. Everyone can look good on paper but you have to produce and execute which is what we plan on doing."
In addition to Jocketty, Brennaman, and Bruce, the Maysville stop included Reds COO Phil Castellini, veteran catcher and fan favorite Corky Miller, plus minor league outfielder Ryan LaMarre. Cincinnati opens their spring training schedule on Feb. 22 in Arizona against the Cleveland Indians and the regular season begins with Opening Day on April 1 against the powerful lineup of the Los Angeles Angels.