Pensacola and Bayfront Stadium will host the Cincinnati Reds for an exhibition game on March 28, 2014. The Pensacola Blue Wahoos website made this announcement yesterday. Pensacola is the Reds Double-A affiliate and a member of the Southern League.
The Blue Wahoos website also notes this will be the first time a major league team will visit Pensacola since 1958. The White Sox and Cardinals were the teams involved in that tilt. Pensacola will also use the game to kickoff their 2014 ticket sales.
Blue Wahoos owner Quint Studer on the event and the vision of 2014 as a whole:
“To watch current Reds players like Joey Votto, Homer Bailey, Jay Bruce, Aroldis Chapman, Tony Cingrani and others is an experience that we are so pleased to provide. Great college games, a Major League team playing in downtown Pensacola, then onto another wonderful Wahoos season. It looks like 2014 is going to be a very special year, and we’re grateful to [the] Reds organization and the Blue Wahoos sponsors and fans for making this game possible.”
Earlier this year, it was announced that Bayfront Stadium will also host two college Division I baseball games in 2014. On March 4, the Florida will square off against Southern Miss. A March 25 date will see Alabama face Troy.
Upon hearing this news, I wonder if the mid-August visit by Reds GM Walt Jocketty was more business than I previously believed. Thought it might be more of a visit. Well, during that visit, Jocketty stated he was “impressed with the way they handle their fan relations”. This according to Bill Vilona of the Pensacola News Journal. That might have gone a long way in making this decision. Could have been what sealed the deal.
Some players on the Reds active roster have donned a Blue Wahoos uniform including Tony Cingrani (2012), Billy Hamilton (2012) and Logan Ondrusek (2013). Donald Lutz started this season in Pensacola prior to being called up to Cincinnati. Yorman Rodriguez, Kyle Lotzkar and Carlos Contreras, players on the Reds current 40-man roster, played in Pensacola this season.
On a couple of occasions during this past season, Pensacola was also utilized by the Reds as a location for players to go for their rehab assignments such as Chris Heisey and Manny Parra. While Heisey’s playing time as a Blue Wahoo lasted all of a half an inning, Parra’s seem to get him on track for this season.
If you would like to hear and view yesterday’s press conference, you can do so here.