CINCINNATI -- Four Reds prospects paid a visit to the P&G MLB Cincinnati Reds Youth Academy to assist with drills and field questions on the eve of the Reds Caravan sendoff.Brantley Bell, Stuart Fairchild, Tyler Stephenson and Taylor Trammell spent Wednesday evening tossing batting practice to members of the 14U
CINCINNATI -- Four Reds prospects paid a visit to the P&G MLB Cincinnati Reds Youth Academy to assist with drills and field questions on the eve of the Reds Caravan sendoff.
Brantley Bell, Stuart Fairchild, Tyler Stephenson and Taylor Trammell spent Wednesday evening tossing batting practice to members of the 14U RBI softball team and assisting and instructing softball players ages 14-18 with some advanced work on defense.
Stephenson and Trammell were familiar with the Roselawn-based Academy, but for first-timers Bell and Fairchild, the venue did not disappoint.
"My first thought walking through these doors was that I would love to take some batting practice in here," Bell said. "It doesn't get much better than this. I don't think even Major League fields have this kind of stuff, so they've really done it right here."
The players met with a group of the girls for a Q&A before stretching out and getting to work on the field. They shared stories of being selected in the MLB Draft, when their love of the game first started, what life is like on the road and much more.
"This is such a crucial time," Stephenson said. "I feel the ages of 10-14 are the most important times where a kid will learn whether they love or hate a sport. The more a coach can do for a kid to show that they care goes further than anything else."
Whether in Cincinnati, their hometowns or wherever they may be playing, the Reds players have made it a point to get out and be visible and available to kids in the community.
"It's such a cool opportunity to give back," Fairchild said. "Thinking back on all the coaches when I was growing up who contributed to my career and helped get me to where I am right now, just to have a tiny influence on these kids is huge."
When it comes to sharing advice with aspiring baseball and softball players, they each emphasized the same thing.
"Enjoy the game," Trammell said. "I can't stress that enough. You can't be good at a game and be the best person you can be at anything you're doing if you don't love it."
All four players hopped on a bus Thursday morning and began their four-day tour through Reds Country on separate legs of the annual Reds Caravan. For Bell and Fairchild, this is their first Caravan experience, while Trammell and Stephenson are returning for a second year. Bell is a part of the north leg, Fairchild is on the east, Stephenson is heading west, and Trammell is going south -- on the Marty Brennaman-proclaimed "Rock Star Tour" -- as the fans await at every stop.
"I love how we get to go out and see them," Trammell said. "We get more out of it than they do, because we get to see how they react to us. We just throw a ball and hit a ball and everyone makes us feel so good about ourselves, so it's amazing to be able to give back."
Brendan Hader is a contributor to MLB.com.