Reds’ Moustakas excited to ‘mesh with these boys and have some fun’

Newest Reds infielder part of North Tour of Reds Caravan, which visits Dayton on Saturday

Mike Moustakas answered the inevitable question about whether he’s ever tried Skyline Chili on Thursday night as the Cincinnati Reds Caravan visited Columbus. He said no, but Corky Miller, a former Reds catcher now serving as roving instructor for the franchise, expressed confidence Moustakas would like it.

» PHOTOS: Reds Caravan in Columbus

There may be some question about that, but there's little doubt Reds fans will like Moustakas, who the Reds signed to a four-year, $64-million deal in December, if he produces as he has throughout his career.

“If you’ve seen me play, you know what you’re going to get,” Moustakas said. “I’m going to try to win every single baseball game I play in. That’s all I try to do: try to find ways to win, try to help this team get back to the postseason. It’s a great team we have, a great pitching staff. (Manager David Bell) Skip basically told me to go out and be myself and I’ll fit right in. I’m excited to have that opportunity to show up and mesh with these boys and have some fun.”

Hundreds of fans waited in line to see Moustakas, Bell, Miller, Reds President Phil Castellini and other members of the North Tour at Polaris Fashion Place, a mall on the north side of Columbus. It was the first day of a three-day trip.

The same group traveled to the Apollo Career Center in Lima on Friday and then to the Air Force Museum on Saturday (10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.) before finishing the journey later that day (1:30-3:30 p.m.) at Parrish Auditorium at Miami-Hamilton University.

Moustakas signed with the Brewers as a free agent last February just before spring training and didn’t get to meet fans in the offseason. It’s been a different story this offseason. He attended Redsfest in Cincinnati not long after signing with the Reds and was excited to participate in the Reds Caravan.

“It’s been unbelievable,” Moustakas said. “It’s been awesome. To be able to sign my contract and then come out to Redsfest at the same time, I was able to see the love and passion fans have for this team and this organization. My family, the warm reception we got, it was incredible. I’m just excited to get to spring training and excited to get to the season and start winning some ballgames for this team and these fans.”

» EARLIER COVERAGE: Bell calls Moustakas a winner

Moustakas and his wife Stephanie have a 3-year-old daughter, Mila, and an almost 2-year-0ld boy, Michael, and they have another kid on the way. He said his family has gotten used to moving and loves traveling and going to games.

“My wife is incredible,” he said. “She brings them to almost all the games. (Great American Ball Park) is an unbelievable kid-friendly park. They’ve got a great kids room for the families. I’m excited to have them come out and watch dad play some baseball.”

Moustakas has played in 14 games at Great American Ball Park in his career: five times during his eight seasons with the Kansas City Royals and nine times last season when he was with the Brewers. He had 12 hits and eight walks in 18 games against the Reds last season in Cincinnati and Milwaukee, so he had plenty of time to talk to Reds first baseman Joey Votto, who’s famous for chatting with opponents on first base.

What did Moustakas and Votto talk about when they crossed paths?

“Honestly, it’s a lot,” Moustakas said. “We talk about a lot of different things. It can go from ‘How’s the family?’ to ‘What am I doing in the offseason to get better?’ I remember a conversation last year in Miller Park. He asked me about striking out and what my batting practice routine is like. I’m excited to get out there and learn from that guy. He’s a phenomenal hitter, one of the best in the game.”


Saturday’s schedule

10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.: National Museum of the U.S. Air Force

1:30 to 3:30 p.m.: Parrish Auditorium at Miami-Hamilton University

Note: Seating is limited at all Caravan stops. Autographs will be available on a first-come, first-served basis while time allows. No posed photographs. There may be restrictions on items participants can sign.

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