CINCINNATI -- Stacks of boxes, suitcases and baseball equipment were piled up in the loading dock at Great American Ball Park on Tuesday. Clubhouse workers were grabbing them and loading them into an 18-wheeler truck.That means it's almost time for Reds Spring Training, which opens in Goodyear, Ariz., next week.Led
CINCINNATI -- Stacks of boxes, suitcases and baseball equipment were piled up in the loading dock at Great American Ball Park on Tuesday. Clubhouse workers were grabbing them and loading them into an 18-wheeler truck.
That means it's almost time for Reds Spring Training, which opens in Goodyear, Ariz., next week.
Led by vice president of home clubhouse operations Rick Stowe, who began working for the club in 1981 and became head of the clubhouse in 1997, the Reds have a well-oiled machine with regard to packing up and moving out.
"It's about a three- or fourth-month process, and we get done in about one hour," said Tony Walter, a home clubhouse assistant. "It's a lot of planning, buildup and anticipation for about an hour's worth of work that's completed relatively efficiently."
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The truck is scheduled to leave Cincinnati on Wednesday for a 1,825-mile trek to the Reds' player development complex in Goodyear.
Reds pitchers and catchers will report to Spring Training for physicals on Feb. 12 and work out for the first time the following day. The first full-squad workout will be held on Feb. 18, and Cactus League play will open on Feb. 23 vs. the Indians at Goodyear Ballpark. Camp will break on March 24, and Opening Day for the 2019 regular season will be March 28 against the Pirates at Great American Ball Park.
"We are out there for 45 straight days, so everybody tries to pack efficiently and not leave out anything we might need," Walter said.
What were among the items going west?
• 10,000 baseballs
• 1,000 bats
• 500 hats
• 400 socks
• 400 pants
• 300 T-shirts
• 200 batting practice jerseys
• 200 hooded sweatshirts
• 100 game jerseys
• 160 buckets of bubble gum
• 120 batting helmets
• 100 cases of sunflower seeds
There were also cases of office supplies, medical equipment, computers, kitchen supplies and food supplies put on the truck. Then there were personal items for players and staff, including suitcases, toys for their kids, fishing poles and more.
"We take extra of everything that we use," Walter said. "There will be 60 to 65 players in camp, so we don't want to want for anything while we're out there."
Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.