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#pounditMonday, September 26, 2022

Reds exec criticized for controversial comments on radio

Phil Castellini in a suit

The home opener for the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday garnered national attention for all the wrong reasons.

Reds President and Chief Operating Officer Phil Castellini made controversial comments during an interview with 700 WLW in Cincinnati’s Mo Egger and Scott Sloan Tuesday morning.

The Reds made several trades this offseason that seem to indicate they are rebuilding. Castellini was asked why fans should still maintain trust in the team’s front office. He didn’t mince words in his response.

“Well where are you gonna go?” Castellini asked.

“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.”

Castellini then acknowledged the team’s front office was not happy with the results but asked fans to maintain their loyalty.

Telling fans that they are trapped into cheering for the Reds probably isn’t the best selling point, which is why Castellini received criticism.

Castellini was given the opportunity by WLTW5 sports reporter Brandon Saho to issue a clarification. Castellini, who spoke with Saho prior to Tuesday’s game against Cleveland, seemed to double down on his initial message.

“Are you going to abandon being a Reds fan?” Castellini said. “We haven’t abandoned it. We haven’t abandoned investing in the team. The point is how about everybody just settle down and celebrate and cheer for the team.”

Reds fans have every right not to have faith in Castellini and the entire organization.

The Reds had their first back-to-back winning seasons since 2012-2013, recording an 83-79 record in 2021 and a 31-29 record in 2020 that culminated in a trip to the National League Wild Card round.

There seemed to be some hope that the Reds could be a consistently competitive team again, and one that could contend for just their third division title since 2000, both this year and beyond.

But that success looks like it may be short-lived.

The organization executed a number of big trades this past winter, including sending two stars to the Seattle Mariners. The Reds have the 10th-lowest payroll in baseball, according to Spotrac.

Trading away All-Star-caliber players, combined with having a bottom-tier payroll, is all the evidence Reds fans need to know that Castellini’s comments are hollow.

The Reds are 2-2 so far this season, and began a two-game series with the Guardians Tuesday.

Photo: Phil Castellini, Cincinnati Reds president and chief operating officer, guides a tour of the changes at Great American Ball Park in downtown Cincinnati on Monday, March 29, 2021. The Reds introduced a number of new amenities, concessions and COVID-19 related regulations for the 2021 season. Sam Greene/The Enquirer via Imagn Content Services, LLC

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