Cincinnati Reds President and Chief Operating Officer Phil Castellini was on the radio this morning for (home) Opening Day festivities with Mo Egger and Scott Sloan on 700 WLW (the full segment can be found here). The Reds have seemingly been on an all out public relations blitz with three different articles showing up on the Cincinnati Enquirer’s website in the last three days praising ownership for not selling the team and or trying to make it seem as if they can’t afford to compete by sharing graphs and charts with plenty of incomplete data that no author even put their name on, merely having the article by “The Enquirer”.
Mo Egger presented this question to Phil Castellini: Sloaney (co-host of this segment Scott Sloan) asked you about the quote ‘Show a little faith in us’, right? And I saw you got raked through the coals. And you have people saying faith is earned, 15 years of ownership and they haven’t won to the extent we like and so you had my faith, but you’ve lost it. Why should that fan maintain trust in you?
You can listen to this specific portion of the interview at the link above at the 10-minute mark.
Here is Phil Castellini’s answer to “why should the fans maintain trust in you?”:
“Well where are you gonna go? Let’s start there. Sell the team to who? That’s the other thing – you want to have this debate? If you want to look at what would you do with this team to have it be more profitable, make more money, compete more in the current economic system that this game exists – it would be to pick it up and move it somewhere else. And so be careful what you ask for. I think we’re doing the best we can do with the resources that we have. We’re no more pleased with the results than the fans. I’m not sitting here saying anyone should be happy. I’m not polishing trophies in the office right now and that’s what we’re here to do. But you know, the bottom line is, and I do think we’ve had to shift the discipline. We’ve tried a lot of things that didn’t work. They came this close to working and they didn’t. Nobody’s got to tell me it didn’t work. I think we’ve learned from those things. And trust me, Nick is a guy on a mission. He is a bull in a China shop that has his way to do it and that way’s to grow your own and he’s doing just that.”
The first words to why fans should trust you is where are you going to go? Then the talk is about profits and making more money before how you compete? But then you talk about how to do that you need to move the team somewhere else because the current economic system is set up against you, and if you sold someone else could take the team to another city?
Whew. That was, uh, something. Let’s break down a few things that Phil Castellini said.
Where are the fans going to go? Well, he’s got us there. Thanks to Major League Baseball’s Anti-Trust exemption another team can’t just open up shop in Cincinnati. If you want to actually go to a game in person in Cincinnati, you’re out of luck and stuck with the Reds. Of course where else can the fans go has an endless amount of answers. They don’t have to go to another baseball game. They could just spend their time and money on something else. And plenty of them have.
As for who the current ownership group could sell to…. let’s find out. There are plenty of people out there who want to own a professional sports team. Of course you’ve said your family/group isn’t planning on selling, so this is a little bit pointless.
Let’s talk about this economic system real quick…. only the Atlanta Braves have open books, so we don’t know the actual economics of the Cincinnati Reds. There are two things we can do: Take your word for it, which seems like a questionable thing to do because you are clearly very biased in what you will say publicly about the finances, or we can look at the sourced information from a place like Forbes.
From 2016-2022 the estimated revenue for the Reds has been between $237M and $266M (not including the covid year). The San Diego Padres have been between $244M and $299M (not including the covid year). That seems to put the two teams in a similar “economic environment”. Yet the Reds went out and shed payroll this year while the Padres have the 5th highest payroll in baseball this season. It certainly seems that other teams have figured it out, Phil. And yeah, the Padres also lost a bunch of money due to the covid year, too – 50% more than the Reds did according to the numbers sourced by Forbes.
As for the threat of be careful what you ask for because someone else might buy the team and move it….. come on, stop it with this boogeyman that every professional sports franchise tries to lay on the fans. In the last 50 years one team in Major League Baseball has been relocated – the Montreal Expos. That’s it. Fifty whole years. One team. And that ignores that the Reds have a lease with Hamilton County through 2037. That’s 15 more seasons before the “new owner” could even THINK about moving the team.
But we’ll be fair and give it to Phil Castellini, even if he says we don’t need to tell him – he was 100% right that they have tried a lot of things that didn’t work.
Happy (home) Opening Day, everyone!
Updated at 9:25pm ET
Brandon Saho of WLWT in Cincinnati asked Phil Castellini about his words on the radio earlier today, still prior to the game, and he had this to say.
Before Opening Day, WLWT's Brandon Saho asked Reds President and COO Phil Castellini about his message to the fans after his comments during an earlier radio interview. Here’s his response:
— WLWT (@WLWT) April 12, 2022
Nearly seven hours later the Reds and Phil Castellini released the following statement, and we’ll let you take it for what you will along with all of the other things that he said today:
“I apologize to Reds fans and regret the comments that I made earlier today. We love this city, we love this team, and we love our fans. I understand how our fans feel and I am sorry.”