Annual Reds caravan slides into region

By Kyle Lovern

January 26, 2014

The annual Cincinnati Reds Winter Caravan slid into the region this past Friday and Saturday with several stops in Kentucky and West Virginia.

On Friday, for media and invitation only events, the 2014 Reds convoy stopped at Pikeville, Ky. for a luncheon at the Expo Center hosted by East Kentucky Broadcasting.

Later that afternoon, the bus stopped at the Logan Convention Center for a meet and greet with WVOW radio clients and personnel. A public event was held at the Charleston Town Center on Friday evening. The “East Tour” of the Reds Caravan was to make stops in Parkersburg, W.Va. and Ashland, Ky. on Saturday. There were four different tours by the Reds this season, north, south, east and west trips.

Andrew Joyce, sports director for EKB hosted the Pikeville luncheon, while longtime W.Va. radio personality Speedy Bevins hosted the Logan event. Both broadcasting companies have stations that are Reds affiliates.

I was fortunate enough to get invited to both events and was able to make it to the Pikeville stop.

New Reds manager Bryan Price and starting pitcher Homer Bailey headlined the Reds representatives on this version of the winter caravan.

Bailey, 27, went 11-12 with a 3.49 earned run average last season. In 32 games, all starts, the hard-throwing right-hander allowed 181 hits, struck out 199 and walked 54 while holding opponents to a .234 batting average. Bailey, who is in the final year of his contract with the Reds, is one of just 27 pitchers in Major League Baseball history to have thrown two no-hitters - one in 2012 against the Pittsburgh Pirates and another last season against the San Francisco Giants.

Price was hired Oct. 22 as the 61st manager in Reds history, replacing Dusty Baker. Price had served as Cincinnati’s pitching coach the previous four seasons. He also had served as pitching coach with the Seattle Mariners and Arizona Diamondbacks.

Seth Mejias-Brean, 22, the Reds’ eighth-round draft choice from the University of Arizona in 2012, also made the trip. Last season, the third baseman hit 10 home runs and drove in 79 runs while batting .305 with an on base percentage .381 and slugging percentage of .453 at Class A Dayton. Mejias-Dean earned a brief promotion to High Class A Bakersfield last season and figures to begin the 2014 season there or in Class AA Pensacola. He hopes to make an impression in spring training and quickly make the move up to Cincinnati.

Red’s TV and radio announcer Chris Welsh also made the trip. Welsh is a former major league pitcher with the Reds, San Diego Padres, Texas Rangers and Montreal Expos. Welsh pitched in the big leagues from 1981 through 1986.Welsh has broadcast Reds games since 1993.

Jeff Piecoro, a Reds field announcer for television, was also on board the caravan. He has broadcast “Reds Live” for 17 of his 18 years with Fox Sports Ohio. He also works the booth at University of Kentucky football games and University of Dayton basketball games.

I’ll have more stories from the 2014 Reds Winter Caravan later in the week.

(Kyle Lovern is the Sports Editor for the Williamson Daily News. He can be contacted at klovern@civtasmedia.com or at 304-235-4242, ext. 33 or Twitter @KyleLovern)