Interesting story in today’s DDN (if you can access it; they have the absolute least user-friendly registration process of any site I’ve seen. It’s ridiculous):

The first question from the crowd was about the absence of a live organist at Cincinnati Reds baseball games.

“I’ve got a couple people here listening to this right now that know I’m going to ask them about it,” said Reds Owner Bob Castellini to a chorus of laughter from the crowd.

Castellini, Chairman Joe Williams and General Manager Wayne Krivsky met with about 80 Reds fans on Thursday night for a question-and-answer session that produced a few such laughs, a few interesting suggestions and a few questions about how the Reds can change.

If nothing else, the night signaled that Castellini, who bought the team last winter, cares about his team’s fans and what they think … even if he doesn’t agree the ballpark dimensions should change.

Wish I could have been there, although my questions likely would have been more pointed than the ones they received.

There was a table of finger foods and soft drinks. And, for those who might have paid closer attention to the Cincinnati Reds in the past month, a selection of adult-oriented beverages.


That was just part of the effort Thursday night to make Reds fans feel as though their thoughts are important. Invited to the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum, a group of about 80 mingled for a half-hour, shaking hands with Owner Bob Castellini, Chairman Joe Williams and General Manager Wayne Krivsky, before entering the theater for a scheduled question-and-answer session.

But the biggest questions weren’t ones any of the three men could answer. That is, how would Reds fans treat their leadership? What do supporters want to know when their team takes a nose dive from the National League wild-card lead that no one seems to want? …

The Big Three were asked about everything from the potential for a designated hitter in the National League to scouting Asian countries. There was one about the three catchers, and another about the outfield dimensions for one of the most home-run friendly parks in baseball.

And one comment that Lou Piniella should be the manager.

Among the somewhat interesting items discussed:

• Castellini wants to have the All-Star game in Cincinnati, potentially as soon as 2011.

• Last season, there were 44 arm surgeries in the Reds minor-league system, according to Krivsky. This season, there were 14.

Wow, that’s a huge difference. Can that difference be blamed entirely on the difference between Krivsky and Dan O’Brien? If so, that’s definitely a point in Krivsky’s favor.

• There was great internal debate this season about whether to promote Homer Bailey, the right-hander who ripped up Class AA.

• Castellini’s management style: “The best description of our management style is empowerment. We try to surround ourselves with the best people we possibly can, then let them run with it. I’m always available.”

He was available Thursday night, and I’ll tell you this: If I were a Reds fan, I would feel very good about Castellini being my owner. He’s stern, smart and demands results.

Well, there are reasons to be concerned about next year, as I’ve written before. But I agree with the sentiment that Reds fans should be very happy about having Castellini as an owner. He’s the best thing to happen to this franchise in years.

One Response

  1. Hugh D. Pohl

    I agree with the comments above by Bill and Greg; the arm surgery issue could be a cumulative result from the O’B years, but, oh well; even if that is attributable to O’B, I am glad that era is over. I read something today in a book by the Baseball Prospectus folks that reminded me of O’Brien’s “pitch to contact” mantra. New research has shown that strikeouts, walks and home runs allowed are very significant as to what pitchers can control in a game. Once the ball is put in play WITHIN THE BALL PARK (NOT A HOME RUN WHICH IS RELATED TO THE PITCHER’S SKILL AND CAN BE PREVENTED BY THE PITCHER)about 45% of the result is DUE PURELY TO CHANCE. Only about 17% is due to pitcher skills (as, for example, the ability of some pitchers to induce pop-ups to the infield). If you are “pitching to contact” you had better have a good defense behind you! Even then, almost half the time whether the batted ball becomes an out or a hit is random.