Reds will be here Friday

Want to meet Hall of Fame broadcaster Marty Brennaman?

Or talk to all-star second baseman Brandon Phillips?

You can do both on Friday when the Cincinnati Reds Caravan visits the Grand Central Mall from 5 to 7 p.m.

The Vienna facility is the second stop on the Reds’ Northern Tour, one of three preseason caravans designed to drum up excitement for the 2013 season.

In addition to Brennaman and Phillips, others who who will make an appearance include broadcaster and former pitcher Chris Welsch, minor league catcher Tucker Barnhart, general manager Bob Miller, and the team mascot, Gapper.

If you are busy on Friday and don’t mind a short drive, the caravan kicks off from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday at The Market on State in Athens, Ohio.

At every stop during the caravan, a raffle will be conducted for two tickets to the Reds traditional home opener, set for 4:10 p.m. on Monday, April 1, against the Los Angels Angels.

Perhaps no person is more associated with the Cincinnati Reds than Marty Brennaman, who joined Joe Nuxhall to form the Reds’ radio team in 1974. During the second game Brennaman broadcast, the Reds won and when the victory was sealed, he uttered the words “And this one belongs to the Reds.”

Today, that is trademark. Even if Cincinnati is ahead by seven runs, fans stay tuned until the last out just to hear Brennaman utter those sweet words.

Brennaman has been a part of many great Reds moments, including calling Cincinnati’s World Series victories in 1975, 1976 and 1990; Tom Browning’s perfect game in 1988; Pete Rose’s 4,192nd hit in 1985; and Hank Aaron’s 714th home run against the Reds that tied the legendary Babe Ruth in 1974.

Marty isn’t the only Brennaman employed by the Reds. Son Thom joined the team’s broadcast crew in 2007 and, in addition to working alongside his father, does Reds games on Fox Sports Ohio.

Welsh is in his 20th season as a Reds TV analyst. He teamed with George Grande for 17 years as the Reds TV broadcast crew. He was a Major League pitcher for five seasons.

Phillips made his Major League debut in September 2002 as a late-season callup for the Cleveland Indians. In April 2006, he was traded to Reds for a player to be named later, which eventually turned out to pitcher Jeff Stevens. Talk about a good trade. Phillips is a two-time National League all-star who has won three Gold Glove awards. He has a career batting average of .273 with 148 home runs, 601 runs batted in and 154 stolen bases.

Plus, if you watch him play day-in and day-out, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more intense competitor who gives it his all on every play.

With frigid weather forecast for Friday, the Reds Caravan couldn’t have picked a better time to visit the Grand Central Mall.

See you there!

Contact Dave Poe at dpoe@newsandsentinel.com