© 2010 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.

12/04/10 6:47 PM EST

Bruce optimistic about new deal with Reds

CINCINNATI -- Unlike teammate Joey Votto, who is non-committal about his desire to remain in Cincinnati long term, Reds right fielder Jay Bruce has been more than open. Bruce wants to stay under a multi-year deal and believed it could get done.

"I have a lot of optimism," Bruce said. "This is the place I want to be. We're in a great position as far as the team, and the front office is doing all the things necessary in order for us to continue to win. That's what I want to be a part of. I'd love to be here. There's nothing imminent. I'm optimistic, and they are, too. I feel like we're both pretty realistic with what we expect and what we want. I'm sure it will get done eventually."

The 23-year-old Bruce established numerous offensive career highs in 2010 while batting .281 with 25 home runs, 70 RBIs and a .353 on-base percentage. Defensively, his arm netted seven assists. He also certainly enjoyed getting the phone call from his agent earlier in the offseason that told him he reached "Super 2" status. It meant he had just enough service time to qualify for arbitration ahead of the usual three seasons.

That will mean a significant pay increase from the $440,000 he earned this past season.

Bruce was one of the main draws at Redsfest on Friday and Saturday. There were reminders of Bruce's home run that clinched the National League Central title for the Reds in September. One included a large photo of his teammates waiting for him to touch home plate. It was signed by most of the team.

"A lot of fans say, 'Hey, man, awesome home run.' They comment on it, sure," Bruce said. "Hopefully there are better pictures to come. I hope it becomes a normality."

Fans set attendance records at Redsfest

CINCINNATI -- Whether it was to get autographs, pictures, memorabilia or just to mingle, Reds fans packed the Duke Energy Center for the 13th edition of Redsfest more than ever before.

A record 21,781 fans came through the turnstiles over Friday and Saturday. The crowds of 8,747 on Friday and 13,034 on Saturday both were single-day records, despite the first snowfall of the season in the area.

There was a lot of activity to take in on the second day. Besides the autographs, Reds pitcher Bronson Arroyo performed a concert on the main stage. Radio icon Marty Brennaman hosted the Hot Stove report with general manager Walt Jocketty. There was also a kids-only question-and-answer session.

Later, Joey Votto accepted the Ernie Lombardi Award as the Reds team Most Valuable Player.

Several players, including Brandon Phillips, Ryan Hanigan, Jonny Gomes and Johnny Cueto, did instructional drills with younger fans on the Wiffle ball field.

"We are so thrilled with the turnout," said Karen Forgus, the Reds' senior vice president of business operations. "We expected it to be big because the season was so successful. This is for the fans. It was natural that they would come out."

O'Neill popular draw for fans at Redsfest

CINCINNATI -- Although he committed to attend at the last minute, which prevented much advance promotion, the presence of former Reds right fielder and fan favorite Paul O'Neill was a huge hit at Redsfest on Saturday.

O'Neill played the first eight years of his 17-year career with the Reds. His body of work is likely more identified with the Yankees, where he was an integral part of four World Series winners. But he still lives in Cincinnati and Reds fans are more than happy to claim him as theirs.

"It's where I've made my home to start with," O'Neill said. "My kids were raised here. I'm an Ohio native myself and we chose to live in Cincinnati. I keep up with what the team does. It so happens I ended my career in New York and work there for the Yankees. I was excited as everybody else was to see the Reds get into the playoffs. It's always fun to see hometown teams do well. You can feel the vibe of the city. It was a fun summer."

A member of the 1990 World Series winner, O'Neill drew considerable lines for his autograph-signing session in the Reds Hall of Fame exhibit inside the Duke Energy Center. He also posed for a lot of pictures in the photo-booth area and fans tried stopping him to sign their memorabilia throughout.

"You do an event in New York and you're talking about specific years -- 1996 on. Here, people are talking about 1990," O'Neill said. "As a player, it brings back good memories. It's a different era and different times from your career. I was so young and enjoyed my time here. Obviously when I was traded, I will never forget. It was one of the biggest disappointments in my life when I was traded from the Reds."

In a trade the Reds would regret, they dealt O'Neill to the Yankees on Nov. 3, 1992, for Roberto Kelly. A .259 hitter for the Reds, O'Neill went on to bat .303 over his nine seasons with the Yankees. Kelly's career fizzled by comparison.

Reds president/CEO Bob Castellini met with O'Neill to see if he could get him to become more involved with the club. Castellini has been able to convince other former Reds, like Joe Morgan and former O'Neill teammate Barry Larkin, to come back to the fold.

"I don't know. If something happens down the road, it would be great," said O'Neill, who works as a TV analyst for the Yankees-owned YES Network. "I'm happy to see them do well. Right now, the work I do is in New York and has been since I retired."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.