The road to the 2007 World Series made its first stop of the year at the Duke Energy Center located in the heart of downtown Cincinnati, as Kahn’s Redsfest returned after a two-year hiatus. The doors opened Dec. 1 at 4 p.m., to more than 7,000 fans in the newly revamped convention center.
Redsfest gave fans a up close and personal interaction with their favorite Reds players. Whether it was an autograph or a picture, the Reds and it’s fans were able to take the weekend and make it one to remember.
The event kicked off with Hall of Fame Reds announcer Marty Brennaman introducing the newest voices to the radio booth, his son Thom Brennaman and former Reds closer Jeff Brantley.
After months of anticipation, it was time to get the party started with the unveiling of the new 2007 Cincinnati Reds jersey. With mixed reactions, Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips hit the stage wearing the red alternate Sunday jersey that brought Reds fans to their feet with his flashy presence.
Reds reliever Todd Coffey sprinted to the stage and wore the new road uniform which consisting of a grey jersey, traditional Redlegs lettering (introduced by Major League Baseball) and cap featuring red with black bill.
Outfielder Chris Denorfia finished the show with the home jersey, which has red piping along the front, the Reds logo on the left chest and a red hat to top it off. “These are sweet. These are playoff uni’s,” Reds catcher David Ross said according to www.cincinnatireds.com press release.
With the surprises out of the way, fans were able to pack the lines and wait for pictures and autographs from their favorite past and present Reds players. Among the present Reds who signed autographs for the first 200 fans were Ryan Freel, Bronson Arroyo, Todd Coffey, David Ross, Brandon Phillips, and Reds Manager Jerry Narron. Among the past Reds were Dave Concepcion, Chris Sabo, Eric Davis, Tom Browning and Rob Dibble.
With all of the big names floating around the Duke Energy Center, fans also got a look at some of the up-and-coming stars on the Reds team. First round draft pick, centerfielder Jay Bruce brought many fans to the “Rising Stars” line as he signed autographs on more than one occasion. Other future stars that signed and took pictures were Paul Janish, Phil Dumatrait, Chris Dickerson and Tyler Pelland.
Once fans had their chance through the lines, they were able to go hands-on in a big league wiffle ball tournament, at the Buddy’s Carpet Field of Dreams which drew a number of fans who were able to watch local celebrities such as Bengals wide-receiver Kelly Washington play in Celebrity Wiffle Ball. Fans were also able to participate on the field afterwards.
Also, fans 21 and up had the opportunity to compete in the Reds Community Fund Celebrity Poker Tournament, which gave fans a chance to come out a bigger winner. “There isn’t a better fanfest type of celebration in baseball,” said Reds Chief Executive Officer Bob Castellini, according to article on www.cincinnatireds.com. “The Cardinals do a good job, but there’s nothing better than this.”
Redsfest continued throughout the day with more special appearances by newly-acquired outfielder Bubba Crosby and former Red Lee May.
With all of the excitement going around the Duke Energy Center, all of the attention drew to All-Star starting pitcher Arroyo as he geared up for a memorable concert for his Reds fans. Arroyo took the stage and performed songs from his latest album and ended the first night in true Reds fashion.
With all the energy Redsfest brought, more surprises were still to come. Owner Castellini introduced a new 7,500 square foot Cincinnati Bell Pavilion that will hold up to 150 fans. Another 170 fans will gather around the indoor technology center with access to the rooftop deck, which will be located above the Batters Eye at Great American Ballpark.
All in all, the 2006 Kahn’s RedsFest was a success and an enjoyable experience for Reds fans of all ages. The road to the World Series shifts to the Winter Meetings in Orlando, Fla., where Reds General Manager Wayne Krivsky will get down to business and hope to make some major moves to bring playoff baseball back to Cincinnati.