The Reds caravan stopped in Damon's in Muncie from 3:30-5:30 p.m. yesterday afternoon. Actually, I think it turned out to last quite a bit longer than that, for reasons I'll get to shortly. It seemed like a good place, in that it could supply beer, though it turned out that I wasn't able to get much of that.
First, I should set the stage. When you walk into the Damon's in Muncie, you can veer right to enter the clubhouse area with the T.V.'s or you can veer left into the banquet room. The Crack Technical Staff and I had both imagined that they would hold the Caravan in the dining room, probably move out all the tables and line up the chairs in rows, similar to how it was done at Pinheads last year.
Apparently, they did not anticipate the crowd that showed up and thought that it would be OK to, instead, take up most of the clubhouse with the tables where the caravaners would be sitting and hope that everyone else could fit into the other half of the clubhouse. When I arrived at 2:50 p.m., they told me that there hadn't been a table available in the clubhouse since 11:30 a.m.
They should have known better, though, because they had WLBC, the single-most powerful broadcasting entity in all of east-central Indiana, behind the event. This is a station that convinces a few thousand people to go out to “Muncie Gras,” a freezing-cold street party where the town's watering holes set up temporary shop in the abandoned storefronts downtown and sell you $8 Hurricanes, every February.
Speaking of, I talked to vice-president, station manager, and morning show host, Steve Lindell, about the event. He said that he'd been asking the Reds to come to town for 15 years. Since at least a couple hundred people showed up to stand in line in the cold (they couldn't close the front doors because of all the people, so even inside it was freezing), hopefully they'll be back next year. Ideally at a bigger venue. Muncie has a convention center, people.
Anyway, when the CTS and I got there, we took a seat in the dining room to have some nachos before the show began. The waiter (“Dano”) seemed to think that we'd be able to hear the radio show over the speakers, but when it began, we could not, so we got up to stand in the lobby and try to hear something. We couldn't hear much of anything there, either, so basically we were just standing in the lobby. Whatever we did manage to catch on the recorder we'll include in the podcast tomorrow, so you can look forward to that.
After the show was done, they finally started people going through the autograph line. It was 5:25 when I got up to the table, but they'd already announced that they were staying late to get through more of the line. The conversations I had with the people there will probably show up in the podcast, but I'll sum up for you:
- Tom Browning remembered me interviewing him about his book. I was super-psyched about that.
- Chris Dickerson acknowledged that he probably will not make the big league team out of spring training, but he seemed pretty positive about it. Good attitude on that kid. Cute, too.
- Jerry Narron remembered me from the caravan stop last year, but said he never received the cross stitch I sent him. I guess that explains why I didn't get a thank-you card.
- I asked Todd Coffey if he minded that his brother goes around to website advertising his relationship to a celebrity (actually, I think the phrase I used was “sponging off your fame”, but I didn't mean it to sound that mean, Coffeybro. I was on the spot). He just said that he loves his brother. Awwww.
- Phil Castellini asked if I was the one who nicknamed Chris Denorfia last year and made me blush before I had a chance to demand to know why he hadn't returned any of my phone calls.
Was that worth the standing in the lobby for two hours? I'm not sure. But I'll be looking forward to next year anyway. I'll have to bring my own beer.