From the Cincinnati Enquirer:

Castellini discussed the issues on (Paul) Daugherty’s show Friday night.

“If there is any question about us giving up on the Reds this season, it’s out of the question,” Castellini told Daugherty. “So we’re excited about the team. And I think the article today didn’t necessarily say we weren’t excited about it, but I kind of got the impression that maybe you could read that we weren’t excited about it.”

snip…

Castellini expressed great optimism about the team’s chances this season to both Cunningham and Daugherty.

“We have a contender,” he told Cunningham. “Barring injuries, we’re going to be in there at the end. Now you can quote me on that. And at the end of the year, if we’re not in there on the end, then you can play it back forever. But I really feel that way, and our organization feels that way.”

I really don’t think this means anything. It’s the owner trying to sell tickets (which is his job); but I thought it was noteworthy that he’d backed off on his earlier statements. (He also admitted that he was not taken out of context by the media with his “win now” comments.)

John Erardi voiced his opinion about the Reds chances in another article:

I have doubts that the team on the field will live up to the quality of the marketing effort this winter or match the crispness of the announcers who will bring us the games this spring.

Still, the buses roll out and the dispatches roll in. Spring training is just around the corner.

There is hope.

UPDATE (by Chad): It gets even better. Check out a partial transcript of Castellini’s interview with Bill Cunningham on WLW, which includes the segment Bill mentioned above:

Reds CEO Bob Castellini went on with WLW’s Billy Cunnnigham to try to spin things a little bit today. The interview started with Cunningham reading Castellini the front page headline on my story today.

Castellini rigorously defended this year’s team: “What really irritates me is that people are saying we’ve written off this year. We have an excellent team. We have a contender.”

Really? This team is a contender?

Bill’s right; he’s just trying to sell tickets. But who are the fans who actually believe this nonsense?

Finally, a little more interesting is the partial transcript of another interview Castellini did with WLW yesterday, talking about what a “fantastic” defense the Reds are going to have. He says this team is just super awesome!

I guess he knows his audience. If you ever listen to the people that call in to WLW on these sports talk shows, they are going to be eager to swallow up every last spoonful of Castellini’s spin.

22 Responses

  1. Travis G.

    I’m not sure how to code this here to appropriately increase the font size of my “if,” but *if* the young pitchers can build on last year’s performance and the veterans can avoid the problems that dogged them in ’08, and *if* the lineup can stay healthy and play up to their potential, and *if* the Cubs get bit by injuries and the Cardinals play the way everyone thought they would last season instead of the way they actually did, then yeah, this team could find itself looking to trade some prospects for a difference-maker come July.

    The Reds actually do have the prospects to make something happen in the unlikely event that they’d be midseason buyers.

  2. Chad

    Bill, you beat me to the punch on posting this, so I added a couple of items I had intended to mention in my post.

    Your analysis is correct; it’s just spin.

    And Travis G, that’s a lot of ifs!

  3. Bill

    That’s only on weekdays, don’t make me sound THAT old…and I don’t turn the lights out until 10.

  4. z blakey

    left my head spinning for sure…

  5. Mark In CC

    One positive thing to hang the hat on is that on paper they are better than last year.

  6. KY Chip

    The amount of spin generated in those interviews could be a threat to knocking the earth off its axis.

    As Travis said, there’s a lot of “IFs” that will all have to fall just right for this team to win more than 80 games. To his list, I’d like to add a couple:

    *IF the Brewers team plane gets lost over the Great Lakes Triangle and they end up landing in the American League…
    *IF the Astros can stop laughing when they hear former teammate Willy Taveras is being counted on as our lead-off hitter…
    and *IF the Pirates just, well, be the Pirates we all know and love…

    … then yes, this year’s Reds club could be a contender.

  7. Cary

    While Castellini may be guilty of overstating his team’s ability, for whatever the motives, I think the “non-mouth breathing” fans are equally guilty of stating their woes, and do so with a condescending, “I am a sophisticated fan” attitude. It is little wonder that front offices grow tired of all those “experts” out there.

  8. GregD

    “One positive thing to hang the hat on is that on paper they are better than last year.”

    Taveras, Hernandez, and whatever they’re doing in LF is better than Griffey, Dunn, and Ross/Valentin/Bako?

    The rotation is essentially the same.
    The bullpen is essentially the same.

  9. Bill

    Except that the “sophisticated fan” has been a better judge of the Reds future performance every season than the Reds front office has….

    And I partially agree with GregD, I think the offense will be markedly worse than last year. The bullpen will about the same, but I expect the rotation to be better (improvements from Harang, Cueto and the #5, Volquez won’t be as good, Arroyo will be Arroyo); but not enough to overcome the lack of offense.

  10. Cary

    Oh, come on Bill, like you have any idea what the assessment of the team behind closed doors is. You can only base that on what you hear them tell the general public. Like they are going to say “yea, I don’t think we have a snowball’s chance” when they have a business to sell. And no “sophisticated fan” is making decisions based on what is actually doable, they just get to make a boatload of assumptions about what they should do, as if all options are possible and its just a matter of making the right decision.

  11. Bill

    Cary, if you read what I say in the original post, I understand PR to sell tickets and thats’ what Castellini’s statement is.

    But to believe that they make better decisions because they’re professionals (which is what you seem to be saying), the results of the past few years prove that to be false. The most recent example of this was the professional decision to sign Corey Patterson for $3M (when they were only bidding against themselves) and the professional decision to continue to lead him off no matter how badly he played.

    There are some fans that are of the “we’ll trade David Weathers for Albert Pujols even up” variety; but “knowledgeable fans” don’t fall into this category. They voice opinions based on logical assumptions.

  12. Steve Price

    Bill,

    To add to what you’ve said….they’re not just “logical assumptions” and it doesn’t take “sophistication” to understand statistical and mathematical probability.

    That’s what the Reds are choosing to do; it’s what Dusty Baker chooses to do. It’s what Bob Castellini is choosing to do.

    First…serious baseball analysis has been around (in advanced forms) since the early 1970’s. Well, probably the 50’s, but books available to the public started popping up in the 70’s. My first one, ‘Player Win Averages” I bought as a paperback in 1970.

    All “science” “moves.” As more is learned, the formulas are adjusted. However, offense has been pretty much pegged for 20 years, and to ignore it, is being the proverbial ostrich with its head in the sand.

    I firmly believe that most baseball owners own a team for ego (as others have said about the Reds ownership). Some understand…unfortunately, the small market teams (A’s excluded) have allowed the Red Sox take over the analysis market, too, to go along with their big payrolls. They have money to blow, so I suppose they can blow $3 million on Corey Patterson, and then demand fans to come and pay his salary.

    That was my outrage about Castellini.

    Now, for Baker and Castellini. Castellini loved the 70’s Reds, Baker played for the 70’s Dodgers. Reds had the perfect storm of talent…that’s not going to be duplicated, plus we have a different ballpark in a different baseball styled era now (it’s not OBP and speed, it’s power and OBP). He doesn’t get it.

    Baker played in a pitcher’s park with great pitchers where manufacturing runs mattered. He didn’t have the same success playing with the Braves in a hitter’s paradise where they had bad pitching. I suspect he prefers the way he won in LA…unfortunately, that’s not our ballpark, and it’s not that style of baseball any more.

    Frankly, Castellini and Baker deserve each other….so they got Jocketty….who built a baseball team out of running on an artificial turf….and a lot more money to spend than the Reds have…and he was chased out of St. Louis for not adopting “modern” baseball analysis.

    That’s the team we’re supporting….

  13. pinson343

    I didn’t know Bob was such a poor speaker, he puts his foot in his mouth a few times. He said a few things he might be remembered for: “And what we mean by winning is: not just games, winning in attitude … an attitude of winning in our franchise, there’s no question about that. Certainly winning in the minor leagues.”

    Reminds me of Wayne Krivsky’s “learning to lose the right way.”

    Still, I like Bob C. a lot more than that Scrooge Carl.

  14. Tom

    It is little wonder that front offices grow tired of all those “experts” out there.
    =========================

    Then I guess maybe they should shut them all up and start making the kind of moves that is going to put a winner on the field. That is going to take a change in directiion since what they are doing now is sure as heck not working.

  15. Y-City Jim

    Good point, Tom. Eight straight losing seasons tends to support the concept that maybe the “experts” might be smarter than the front office.

  16. Cary Loughman

    Bill,

    You missed the point of my post by about as far a Charlie Sheen fastball. It has nothing to do with “they’re professionals, you are not.” It has to do with the oversimplified world that is created by the commentator on the moves of a baseball team that allows them to create their own reality of what should and could be done to build a team. It is fun to ponder, but I just find the continual attitude of the “experts” as “I am doing a better job, if they’d just listen to me,” which is little more than the guy with the lunch pail eating his bologna sandwich and telling anyone who will listen that he could run the company better than the suits. Of course, while it may be true that he could do a better job, he is most likely only aware of a very small portion of the company and what it takes to run the company and all the factors involved in making decisions, and that some decisions have nothing to do with the best option, but have various limitations that make less than optimal decisions necessary.

    So, it isn’t about the “professionals,” its about not being so arrogant as to assume that the different decisions that you speak up about would make the results of the Reds much improved over what has happened in the real world, where people had to actually make each and every decision instead of just cherry picking the one’s they wanted to opine on.

  17. Steve Price

    Oh, there’s no question that if “we” were spending the money the decisions would be tougher.

    In fact, I can find a way to defend lots of bad decisions made by management….why take a chance on a devil you don’t know, when you know this particular devil?

    the problem with that, though, is that then we never win, because if you already know certain players can’t play, they just aren’t going to magically start playing…so, that essentially makes the “professionals” amateurs since any amateur could make that same decision. What’s the skill level with that?

    What makes management successful is finding the answers….and it’s not in retreading failed players from teh past.

    And, yes, it would be nice, in my mind, to say “let’s just trade away Cordero, Gonzalez, Taveras, and whomever else” without regard to contracts, but contracts are part of the world…and, to get who we want we sometimes have to make compromises.

    But, again, that goes back to what I said before…..why take the chance on soemthing that’s been proven not to work, or, at least not cost effective….very few shortstops play regularly at the position past age 32 (healthy or not), and relievers can be found on almost any street corner….isn’t that why we pay scouts?

  18. Cary Loughman

    Steve,

    I do not have an issue with “doing something different.” I have watched many a night since 2002 saying “been there, done that, got the t-shirt.” What I am addressing is the hubris of fans who pay a lot more attention than others thinking that “if I was in charge” would have most certainly yielded better results. I mean, they couldn’t do any worse, right? One will never know, which is really my point in the end. I just don’t think it is fair for people who know they will never have to answer for their “decisions” to puff out their chest and make the claims that they do.