- Mark Schmetzer Contributing Writer
Major pieces of the Cincinnati Reds’ future will be front and center at downtown Cincinnati’s Duke Energy Convention Center on Friday and Saturday.
Infielder Nick Senzel, Cincinnati’s 2016 top draft pick, and pitcher and Sports Illustrated cover boy Hunter Greene, the Reds’ 2017 No. 1 pick, will be among the players on hand to sign autographs, pose for photos and participate in games and other activities on stage and around the floor during the ballclub’s annual Redsfest extravaganza.ou
Redsfest, presented by PNC Bank with Fox Sports Ohio as the naming sponsor, is open Friday from 3-10:30 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
The event features 300,000 square feet of activities, including autograph and photo booths, interactive games for fans of all ages, game-used and authentic memorabilia and more.
More than 75 current and former players, coaches, minor leaguers and broadcasters are scheduled to attend and more than 100 player autograph and photo sessions are free with a Redsfest general admission ticket.
Senzel and Greene were overall No. 2 draft picks. Neither is even on the Reds 40-man roster, but there’s a good chance fans could see Senzel in Cincinnati in 2018.
“We see him as an important part of our lineup and team in the future,” President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Dick Williams told mlb.com about Senzel, who hit .329 with seven home runs and 36 RBIs over 58 games with the Dayton Dragons in 2016. “I think he’s valuable enough and talented enough that depending on our situation, when and if he’s ready, we have flexibility with him.”
The Reds plan to audition the 22-year-old Tennessee native and University of Tennessee product at different positions during spring training, Williams said.
“This is a guy that played shortstop in college, played third base in college, played second base as an amateur,” Williams said. “We think he’s clearly athletic enough to go to left field or right field. He’s got the bat to do it.”
Besides getting the chance to rub elbows, fans have plenty of options at Redsfest. New this year is the Scooter’s Scooter Sweepstakes. Fans can enter for a chance to win the Yamaha Zuma 125 scooter presented to Gennett by the team in recognition of his five-hit, four-home run, 10-RBI game June 6. Each sweepstakes ticket costs $10. They will be available at the Community Fund booth.
The annual Texas Hold’em poker tournament with a guaranteed $11,000 first prize is Saturday. Bingo returns as well on Friday evening.
The first 11,000 fans at Redsfest each day will receive a free Rosie Red ornament and drawstring bag. Tickets can be purchased in advance at reds.com/Redsfest or at the Redsfest doors. Two-day tickets are $25 for adults, $12 for kids 12 and younger. One-day tickets are $17 for adults, $7 for kids 12 and younger. Children 3 and under are admitted free.
All proceeds from Redsfest benefit the baseball-themed outreach programs of the Reds Community Fund.
For information and additional details about Redsfest, including Autograph Opportunity Sweepstakes and Elite Pass Auctions plus registrations for Redsfest Bingo and Poker, visit reds.com/Redsfest.
Fans entering the Duke Energy Convention Center and Redsfest may be subject to random inspection. Carry-in items are subject to inspection by Reds personnel prior to entering or at any time inside the convention center. No carry-in items, luggage or rolling duffle bags larger than 16 inches-by-16-inches-by-eight-inches will be permitted in accordance with Major League Baseball and convention center policies.