CINCINNATI -- One of the final milepost markers of the offseason is about to be crossed with the arrival of the 2013 Reds Caravan. When the troupe of club personnel arrives in your town, you know baseball season is right around the corner.
Actually, lots of milepost markers will be crossed when members of the Reds hit the region's highways from Jan. 24-27. The caravan will split into three legs to make 15 fan stops in four states while covering more than 2,800 miles.
All fan stops are free and open to the public. At most visits, fans will have opportunities to interact with current and former players, broadcasters and front office staff. Time is usually set aside for question-and-answer sessions, the chance to pose for pictures and sign autographs.
Scheduled for the Reds Caravan Northern tour are stops in Ohio and West Virginia. The group will feature second baseman Brandon Phillips, broadcaster Marty Brennaman, broadcaster and former pitcher Chris Welsh, assistant general manager Bob Miller, Minor League catcher Tucker Barnhart and mascot Gapper.
For the first time, the Columbus, Ohio, stop will be held at Nationwide Arena, home of the NHL's Blue Jackets. That event is slated for Saturday Jan. 26, with doors opening at 9 a.m. ET.
The Southern tour will zip through West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky and carry third baseman Todd Frazier, reliever Logan Ondrusek (Thursday and Friday only), top Minor League prospect Billy Hamilton, broadcasters Jim Kelch and Jeff Brantley, vice president of baseball operations Dick Williams and mascot Rosie Red.
On the Western leg that will make stops in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, right fielder Jay Bruce will appear on Jan. 24 and 25 only while pitcher Homer Bailey hops on the bus for Jan. 26 and 27 only. It will also include general manager Walt Jocketty, chief operating officer Phil Castellini, catcher Corky Miller, Minor League outfielder Ryan LaMarre and mascot Mr. Redlegs.
Reds President and CEO Bob Castellini and Reds legend Joe Morgan will also appear at selected stops, to be announced at a later date.
Each stop will also feature a raffle of two tickets to the April 1 Opening Day game vs. the Angels at Great American Ball Park. Tickets to the season's second home game vs. the Angels on April 3, also known as "Opening Night," will be on sale at selected fan stops.
The caravan will also visit more than 20 of the Reds on Radio affiliates throughout Reds during the trip.
For the full itinerary, go to the 2013 Reds Winter Caravan page on reds.com/caravan
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon.