Saturday, December 7, 2013

News and notes from day one of Redsfest

When virtually the entire Cincinnati Reds organization converges underneath one roof, along with thousands of its adoring fans, there is bound to be some noteworthy nuggets to report.

Such was the case on Friday as players, coaches, broadcasters, reporters, team personnel, and fans alike came together to participate in Redsfest. Despite nasty weather conditions that snarled traffic and kept much of the locals confined to their homes, many diehard Reds fans labored through the obstacles to join the fun. And by many accounts, a great time was had by all.

Here are several tidbits of news and notes from day one of the event:

+ The biggest headline of the day was the fact that Brandon Phillips showed up. News broke Friday morning that the All-Star second basemen would be making an appearance after it had been previously reported that it was highly unlikely he would not. When it came right down to it, the Reds and Phillips put all negative feelings aside (amid rampant trade speculation) and gave the fans what they wanted.

+ GM Walt Jocketty spoke with reporters about the Phillips situation and although he claimed the team was no longer actively shopping the Gold Glover, he stopped short of saying Phillips wouldn't be traded at all. The same goes for team owner Bob Castellini, who admitted Phillips was an intrinsic part of the franchise, but also cautioned that the club has to do whatever it can to get better, even if it means dealing Phillips.

+ Mike Leake is apparently putting on some pounds in an effort to pitch with more body weight next season. The right-hander also told Mark Sheldon of that he is happy to know he has a guaranteed spot in the rotation heading into the winter. That hasn't been the case is years past.

+ The Reds unveiled two new alternate uniforms. One includes a camouflage theme to honor military while the other is green to pay homage to St. Patrick's Day. Personally, I dislike both designs, but I do like the cause for sporting the camo jerseys. The club also unveiled new black batting practice jerseys.

+ Somebody goofed and misspelled Skip Schumaker's name on his jersey. On a related note, the newly signed veteran will don the No. 25 in 2014.

+ The team announced individual player awards with Shin-Soo Choo earning team MVP honors. To see the rest of the list, please go here.

The second and final day of Redsfest will run Saturday from 11:00 AM to 6:30 PM. The weather looks much better so that should lead to a larger crowd.

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