12/04/10 6:47 PM EST
Bruce optimistic about new deal with Reds
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
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."