reds President Phil Castellini, less than a year shy of making his famous opening day comments, spoke to a Reds supporter on Saturday saying the Reds operate like a “non-profit organisation,” calling baseball an “industry in crisis,” and bemoaning the state of the sport. which has an increasing number of teams out of contention on Opening Day.
Castellini and his father, team CEO Bob Castellini, have been the subject of many fans’ ire online since they began cannibalizing the team that made it to the playoffs in the COVID-19-shortened 2020 season.
last opening day, Castellini alienated the Reds fans By asking “Where are you going?” In response the team traded some of their biggest names before the season even started. On the team’s home opener radio station, the way to make the team more profitable and competitive, Castellini said, “is to pick it up and move it somewhere else, so be careful what you wish for.” Castellini doubled down on his comments in a pre-match television interview, but issued a statement apologizing for his words after the match.
Saturday, Castellini was the speaker at the Rosie Reds luncheon. The Rosie Reds are a charitable and social organization that was formed in 1964 amidst rumors that owner Bill DeWitt wanted to move the team to San Diego. The group was founded as a “women-only group” (but not women-only since 1967) and the name Rosie was an acronym for the Reds’ “Rooters Organized to Stimulation and Enthusiasm”.
Castellini began his remarks by saying that he had only recently learned that “Rosie” was an acronym, and asked if others knew of it. The members groaned and said that they did.
– Table 28 (@Kelly_Gretchen) January 14, 2023
It doesn’t seem to get better from there.
Reached Sunday, Karen Furgus, Reds vice president of commercial operations, declined to comment. Major League Baseball He also declined to comment.
Although it was a members-only event, Castellini’s remarks were tweeted by many in attendance.
Among his notes was that the ownership group ran the team like a “non-profit organization”. Rosie Reds president Sarah Matthews said that was just part of the statement, noting that she believes the overall message is that Castellini means the team returns any winnings to the team. Others didn’t take that away from commenting.
“This team operates as a nonprofit.”
– ☃️❄️Brooke🥂🍾 (HawkeyeBrooke) January 14, 2023
“It opened the conversation confirming that the Reds are a nonprofit organization,” said Tracy Johnson, season ticket holder and Rosie Reds member. “I worked for a 501(c)(3)s and I was freaked out, to say the least. I got off from there. He was really trying really hard to support, ‘Hey, we’re trying and the system is against us.'”
Castellini bemoaned the guaranteed contracts in the game, asking the group, “Does anyone get paid here to not do their job?”
Susanna Davies, a Rosie Reds board member who was present Saturday, said she believed Castellini’s remark about guaranteed contracts was “tongue in cheek” and that his comments were generally misunderstood by those on social media.
Castellini has also described Major League Baseball as a business “in crisis”, citing the economic discrepancy between the franchises due to individual television deals among other factors. Castellini brought out a slideshow, including one that announced there had been a 75 percent increase since 2019 in teams eliminated from competition on Opening Day. He used FanGraphs’ Playoff Probability for this definition: his criteria included teams listed as having a 25% or less chance of reaching the playoffs when the season begins.
– Amy (@amyeditress) January 14, 2023
The Reds were one of those teams in 2022 and the expectation is that they will be back again in 2023.
For now, Castellini said the team’s goal is to “progress” from 2022.
Guys, we will lose less than 100. “Progress” pic.twitter.com/Uhos4ohtfA
– Table 28 (@Kelly_Gretchen) January 14, 2023
According to Johnson, Castellini celebrated the team’s farm system and noted that the team had such promising prospects that one day they’d be a great Reds team—and then joked that they’d be ex-Reds, saying, Johnson recalled, “Of course we’re going to lose them.”
Johnson said Castellini also lamented the economics of the game and what he viewed as inequality, including new rules that would allow teams to sell advertising rights on uniforms. While this is, in theory, a source of income, it is uneven in his mind, as he explained that the Reds were paid $5 million for their advertising space while red socks He received 17 million dollars.
The biggest part of his pitch was his analysis of where the game is going, which is basically the regional sports networks going broke and it’s not sustainable.” He was kind of acting like this was new information. In the next two years, he said, there will be an opportunity for the league to regain those rights.”
Matthews said she was surprised when she saw videos, photos and tweets of Castellini’s comments.
“Overall, the feeling I had in the room was positive,” Matthews said. “I had quite a few people come up to me and say they really appreciated the presentation. And even based on the Q&A (they were positive).”
Matthews said she felt the online comments were limited to a small group of attendees. Several people who tweeted from the event declined to comment or did not respond to interview requests.
Johnson said most of those at her table were unhappy with the comments and some of her members decided not to attend when Castellini was announced as the keynote speaker.
“It was a hot mess of conversation,” Johnson said. “I don’t know how they could have portrayed it any other way.”
Castellini declined to comment when reached about the event.
The Reds have lost 100 games in 2022, which is only the second time in franchise history that a team has reached this dubious milestone. Before locking up after the 2021 season, the Reds traded Tucker Barnhartdid not submit a contract Wade Miley And a defensive player Nick Castellanos Withdrew from his contract. The Reds were the only team not to sign a major league contract prior to the lockout. After the lockout, the team replaced the former All-Stars Sonny GrayAnd Jesse Winker And Eugenio Suarezas well as the Savior Amir Jarrett. The Reds opened the season 3-22 and lost 11 straight games after Castellini’s comments.
At the trade deadline, the Reds traded several veteran players, including their pitchers Louis Castillo And Tyler MahleyBeside Brandon Druryand Tyler Naquin and Tommy Pham. General manager Nick Krall was praised for his moves throughout baseball, getting what were seen as impressive returns for the players he traded. But it led to an inexperienced team, along with injuries to key players such as Joy PhotoAnd Tyler Stephenson And Mike Mostafa.
Due, who owed $22 million for the final year of his $64 million contract, was designated for waived and released. Mustafa was the last player left from the team’s spending spree after the 2019 season. Then-president of baseball operations Dick Williams signed Moustakas, along with Castellanos, Miley, reliever Pedro Stroup and outfielder Shugo Akiyama. Strop didn’t last long, however, Castellanos opted for a free agency and $100 million deal with Veles After the 2021 season, Miley was non-tender and the Reds purchased the final season of Akiyama’s contract in the spring.
Castellini’s opening day comments and “Where are you going?” The rhetorical question strangled lines throughout the season as the team’s attendance dipped to 1,387,947 over its 79 home dates. Excluding the 2020 pandemic season, it was the lowest total attendance in the 19-year history of Great American Ball Park and the lowest total since 1984. It was the fifth-lowest total attendance in a full season since the team moved from Crosley Field in 1970. The Reds have attracted fewer Fans of what they did in 2021, when there were restrictions on attendance due to COVID-19.
Noting that the Rosie Reds had 150 members in 2022 compared to 2021, Matthews said membership numbers are heading in a similar direction for 2023. The Rosie Reds also support youth baseball and softball among other charitable efforts.
The encounter with the Rosie Reeds was a rare speaking appearance for Castellini since the Opening Day fiasco. Neither he nor his father ran the questions at RedsFest. Bob Castellini has often participated in fan Q&As during the team’s annual fanfest that takes place every December. This year, ownership has been noticeably absent from programming.
(Castillini photo: John Minchello/The Associated Press)