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Redsfest brings out the kid in me

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By Matt Birkholtz

If you have never gone before, I would suggest when next December is here for you to visit Redsfest at the Duke Energy Center in Cincinnati.

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We all have a little child inside of us and it was apparent that mine came out Dec. 4, when I got pictures with current and former Reds players.

I have been a Reds fan since as far back as I can remember and when I first came here to Grant County, I told everyone how I slid on the carpet at the television when I was 5, imitating the 1990 World Champion Cincinnati Reds.

There was no sliding or goofing around for me, but it was a good time with my fiancé Jessica Purnell and my aunt, Brenda Buckner.

We got pictures with Johnny Cueto, Drew Stubbs, four relievers (pictured right), Jonny Gomes, and many more.

It was a day filled with fun.

After getting pictures with some of the players, we decided it was time to munch on some food. As we got our food we watched a game played with Topps cards, where you could win a pack of baseball cards. Neither Jess, my aunt or I won anything, but it was entertaining.

We walked off our food and heard a big roar of cheers, saying, “MVP!” as Reds first baseman Joey Votto arrived. Votto was a hot commodity at Redsfest as the line for photo opportunities was wrapped around the convention center, with no end in sight.

Bronson Arroyo performed on the main stage with jazz saxophonist Elan Trotman. This year there was more of a crowd watching Arroyo perform, and his show was just as good, if not better than last year.

Arroyo announced that he would sign autographs if you purchased his CD, with benefits going to the Reds Community Fund.

Earlier, when the three of us were walking around, I had found a picture of Jay Bruce coming into home plate on the night they clinched their first division title in 15 years. I got my first Reds autograph since before I was an employee of the Reds.

My aunt had to head back to Richmond, Ind. to avoid the snowy weather hazards, so Jess and I continued to walk around and explore.

While we were waiting to get a picture with Gomes, the printers for the photos were not working properly, so Gomes just started signing autographs. I was so excited that it brought that little child out of me. I got one more autograph that day with Ryan Hanigan, who I  had interviewed in 2008 at the Triple-A All-Star Game in Louisville.

I told him the story of that day and he asked how I had been. He signed the photo as well.

What this day brought was the joy of being a kid again. It is good medicine for us to be like a kid, especially during the holiday season.

So again, if you love baseball and are an avid fan wanting to be like a kid again, go to Redsfest in 2011. I’ll be there.

(Matt Birkholtz is the sports writer for the Grant County News. He can be reached at mbirkholtz@grantky.com.)