After departing the throng of fans in Charleston, the Southern team headed for Huntington, WV, where the Reds Community Fund hosted a youth baseball clinic at Huntington High School. The clinic was co-hosted by Champions Baseball Academy and promoted the Reds summer campsplanned for later in the summer. Kids ages 12 to 17 were on hand to receive tips and encouragement from Chris Welsh, Marty Brennaman, Lee May, Brandon Phillips and Devin Mesoraco.
After the clinic, the bus headed to Fannin Motors in Ashland, KY, where hordes of Reds fans were on hand to get autographs from the Reds group. Longtime Reds scout Gene Bennett , who’s from nearby Wheelersburg, OH, made his way to Fannin Motors for this stop and was received warmly by the local crowd.
“We’re here to see Brandon Phillips,” said Reds fan Kim Young, who came with her sons Hank, 8 and Townes, 3. “Considering it’s our local team, it’s good to see the Reds reciprocate our committment to them by showing up here in Ashland every year.”
Alan Madden brought his wife Markie and 13-year-old son Jordan and said, “I used to come to the caravan stops in Portsmouth years ago. It’s just good relations for the team being here. I’ve been a Reds fan since I started breathin’ air and grew up with with the Big Red Machine. I took my wife to a game on our 20th anniversary.”
And what does Madden think of the Reds chances in ’09? “We’re gonna get ’em this year!”