Reds fans head out to park to select seats

Reds fans head out to park to select seats

CINCINNATI -- For potential Reds season-ticket buyers, it's the ultimate test drive.

On Saturday at Great American Ball Park, the Reds held their annual "select-a-seat" event for fans seeking to purchase or renew season tickets for 2010. They could meet with club ticket representatives to ask questions and learn about the different ticket plans.

And of course, they can venture into the ballpark and see exactly where their seats might be.

"There's nothing like putting yourself in that seat, as opposed to looking online," said Reds fan Mike Curtis from Wyoming, Ohio.

For the first time, the outing was paired with a Reds Winter Caravan stop that featured the Southern leg of the tour with manager Dusty Baker, infielder Adam Rosales, outfielder Chris Heisey, Reds great Eric Davis and broadcaster Jeff Brantley. It featured a question-and-answer session, and fans that purchased a 20-game package or more got a chance to meet the Reds and get autographs.

More than 100 fans turned out at the Champions Club room inside Great American Ball Park.

"We had more people on hand to be able to take people into the ballpark, and we used every one of those people," said John Davis, the Reds' senior director of ticket sales. "We got to the point where we had to hand out numbers and have to call numbers for next in line as people came back in. It's a good sign, definitely."

Brian Ramsey and his wife were signing the paperwork to buy a 20-game package and sit in the left-field bleachers -- section 403, row three. The caravan stop provided extra incentive to come out to get tickets, rather than doing it the conventional way.

"They're having the Q&A and I'm a huge memorabilia collector, so it's an autograph opportunity," said Ramsey, who is from Cincinnati. "Another reason was guarantee at playoff tickets with the 20-game package. Last year was promising. A huge reason was you're able to get Opening Day tickets. That's the biggest party in Cincinnati."

A few minutes later on the other side of the room, Reds group sales representative Claire Horstman led Curtis and his 9-year-old son, Wyatt, outdoors to see some seats. With the exception of the temperatures that felt like they were in the mid-teens, the ballpark looked ready for baseball.

"We split a season package with a guy last year and were literally seven rows behind the dugout," Curtis said. "But it was too flat down there. When you get someone big in front of Wyatt, he couldn't see around them."

Horstman took the Curtis family to the right-field sun/moon deck to look around in sections 140 and 141.

"You get an idea of what it looks like. Let me take a picture," said Curtis as he pulled out his cellphone to get a shot.

Later, the group ventured to see some more seats in the upper deck. Horstman said Curtis eventually bought three seats for a 20-game package back at section 140 in right field.

"Guys are literally in a section looking at six different locations, and they've got to test drive each seat, each seat and each seat," Davis said. "That's exactly why you have an event like this, but you'd think when it's 10 degrees, people wouldn't be as picky, but good for them. It's why we do it."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.