Cincinnati Opening Day is basically a public holiday. Companies give employees a day off, which is a parade through the center, and although this was not a traditional opening day, check out the crowds in the streets hours before the home opening on Tuesday:
And yet, a few hours before the aforementioned home opening, a member of the family that owns The Reds cast a shadow over everything.
The primary owner and chairman of the Reds is Bob Castellini. His son, Phil, is president and CEO who runs a business and football field.
Here’s Phil Castellini at the WLW (Red Flagship Station) on Tuesday when asked about fans who may be frustrated with the team.
For those who can not listen, I will transcribe here:
Well, where are you going? Let’s start there. I mean, sell the team to whom? I mean, that’s the other thing I mean, do you want this debate? If you want to look at what you want this team to do to make it more profitable, make more money, compete more in the current economic system in which this game exists, it would be to pick it up and move it somewhere else. And then be careful what you ask for. I think we are doing the best we can with the resources we have.
We are no more satisfied with the results than the fans. I’m not sitting here saying someone should be happy, I’m not sitting here polishing trophies in the office right now. And that’s what we’re here to do. But the bottom line is that I think we have had to move the discipline, we have tried many things that did not work. They came so close to work and did not, no one needs to tell me they did not work. So I think we have learned from those things. Trust me, [general manager] Nick [Krall] is a guy on a mission.
It’s hard to know where to start at all. Wait actually, no it’s not.
This man was asked what he would say to fans who are frustrated by the lack of success on the field, and before he said “compete more”, he said, “profitable” and “make more money.”
You know, those are the two mainstays that every fan wants from their team, right? Profitability and for the owners to make more money! As long as the owners are taken care of, we have to hope that our favorite team wins.
Aside from sarcasm, let’s repeat the biggest takeaway here: A team owner was asked what he would say to fans who are frustrated, and the message he wanted to convey to fans was that he would wish he could make more money. And for apparently no reason other than to be cruel, he threw in all the “maybe we should move” nonsense that some owners like to dangle on occasion.
These are paying customers that Castellini talks to, the vast majority of whom have exponentially less financial impact than a family capable of owning and operating a Major League Baseball team. It’s just unbelievably tone deaf.
The Castellini family bought the Reds in 2006. Since then, the Reds have had a losing record 10 times, a winning record four times, reached the playoffs four times (one of these four was the 2020 playoffs) and have gone 0-4 in the playoff series . They have won 2-9 in the playoffs. Asking the Castellini family about a frustrated fan base is beyond reasonable. That is the easy and obvious question.
Let’s dig into the “sell team to whom?” also rhetorically as he behaved as if there was no chance that others would lower themselves to own the reds.
There would definitely be interested buyers. Marlins was sold in 2017 for $ 1.2 billion. There is no doubt that the Reds have more prestige and play in a market that would land more than the Marlins did. Even if you disagree, the Castellini family bought the club in 2006 for $ 270 million. Set these figures up, even taking into account inflation and appreciation. Are the Royals comparable to the Reds? Optionally. They were purchased in 2019 for $ 1.11 billion. For what it’s worth, the Forbes Reds’ value in March was estimated at $ 1.19 billion.
I’m not sure the complacency needs to accompany the ‘sell team to whom’ line, Mr Castellini. And again, he said it was as if anyone who thought the Reds could sell the team was ignorant. Isn’t that just another shock to the fan base?
It would not be too difficult to discuss the direction of the team, throw support behind general manager Nick Krall and even express hope for the future due to players like Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo. Instead, Castellini laughs it up from his ivory tower.
We can not expect perfect answers. Maybe he was not ready for such a question – which would also be mistreatment by someone in his position – but man, that feels like one of the worst possible answers he could have given.