It was a good year to be a Cincinnati Reds fan in 2010.
For the first time since 1995 the Reds made the playoffs after winning the National League Central Division title.
Such success has returned the Reds to prominence with the fan base, and for yet another year local fans will be given the opportunity to meet and greet the Reds as Cincinnati's Winter Caravan will make a stop at the Grand Central Mall in Vienna, W.Va. on Jan. 28.
The event will run from 4:30 to 7 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 28, one day after making a stop at The Market on State in Athens from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 27.
This will be the fourth year that the Reds caravan has stopped in the Mid-Ohio Valley.
"I'm glad they've made a commitment to come over here," said local Reds fan Mike Wagner. "I think there are a lot of folks that travel from here over to there (Great American Ballpark)."
The northern leg of the Reds Winter Caravan tour will feature broadcaster Jeff Brantley, pitcher Travis Wood on Thursday and Friday's stops only, pitcher Homer Bailey on Saturday and Sunday's stops, and minor leaguer Todd Frazier and Mascot Rosie Red.
The biggest name to stop in Vienna, however, is none other than Reds manager Dusty Baker, who very nearly claimed the National League Manager of the Year award after leading the Reds to their first winning season since 1999.
Baker, in his third year as the Reds manager, guided the Reds to a 91 win season as they won the NL Central.
For his success this past season, when he finished just one point behind Padres manager Bud Black for NL Manager of the Year, Baker was rewarded with a two-year contract extension.
This will be Baker's second stop in the Mid-Ohio Valley as part of the Reds Winter Caravan.
Wagner got the opportunity to talk to Baker one-on-one at his last caravan stop, and walked away impressed by the Reds' skipper.
"Baker's real informative. When I talked to him, it's not that I tried to stump him or anything, but whatever you ask him there's not a hesitation," Wagner said. "He'll answer your questions. He has an answer, very knowledgeable."
Wood, a southpaw starting pitcher for the Reds, took a perfect game into the ninth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies in just his third career start last season as a rookie on July 10.
Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz doubled in the ninth to end Wood's bid at the perfect game, which he couldn't have gotten anyway as the game went extra innings with the Reds losing 1-0 in 11 innings.
During his rookie campaign Wood compiled a 5-4 record and a 3.51 ERA over 102.2 innings of work. He walked just 26 batters and struckout 86.
Of all the young Reds pitchers on the 2010 staff, Wood was the one who impressed Wagner the most and not just because of the bid for the perfect game.
"One thing I really like about Wood is he doesn't get rattled. He goes out there, he's cool, calm and collected. He throws strikes, puts the ball over the plate and makes them hit it," Wagner said.
While pitchers like Bailey, Mike Leake, Edinson Volquez and Johnny Cueto have been strong, Wood is the one Wagner feels has the best future ahead of him.
"If things pan out the way it looks, he'll be the next Don Gullet. If they don't trade him, if they can keep him and sign him and keep him healthy, he's going to give the Reds some quality wins over the next five years," Wagner said.
Bailey, who will not appear in Vienna, compiled a 4-3 record with a 4.46 ERA over 109.0 innings of work. Bailey walked 40 and struckout 100 batters this past season.
Frazier, a right-handed left fielder, is one of the Reds upcoming prospects but has yet to make his presence felt on the big stage.
This past season with the Louisville Bats, the Reds AAA affiliate, Frazier hit .258 in 480 at-bats over the course of 130 games.
Included in Frazier's stats were 17 home runs and 66 RBIs. He also had 14 stolen bases in 18 attempts while striking out 127 times and walking just 45.
Brantley, referred to often on Reds broadcasts as "The Cowboy", compiled a 43-46 record and a 3.39 ERA during his 14-year playing career and has been broadcasting with the Reds since 2007.
He began his broadcasting work on the Reds Radio Network alongside Marty Brennaman and Thom Brennaman as well as on the FSN Ohio broadcasts with Chris Welsh and George Grande.
Brantley's slow, easy to follow verbal delivery and his sense of humor has drawn comparisons to late Reds' radio broadcaster Joe Nuxhall, and his insightful observations on pitching have made him a popular guy on Reds broadcasts.
With an impressive group of Reds coming to town, the 2011 stop of the Reds Winter Caravan figures to be a popular draw for local fans.
"We'll probably even hit Athens the day before (the Vienna stop)," Wagner said. "I think the fan base is coming back, not only here, but they had a very nice crowd at Athens as well."
The site locations as well as the players and officials participating in the Reds Winter Caravan were announced to the media by e-mail on Tuesday.