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One year ago, Cincinnati Reds President and COO Phil Castellini made one of the worst comments a sports team executive can make. In response to a question about the team’s poor on-field performance, Castellini snidely commented “where are you going to go?”
Phil is the son of owner Bob Castellini. And, essentially, he implied that fans are going to show up no matter what, so who cares if the owner doesn’t invest in the team. Boy, he was WRONG.
Reds fans love baseball. Cincinnati has always been a baseball town. But with the emergence of Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals, the tide is turning. And turning QUICKLY.
Lest you think fans have deserted the team itself, they haven’t. Check out the pictures from the Opening Day parade in the Queen City.
Fans lined the streets to support the team.
But you know where fans aren’t going, Phil? To Great American Ballpark.
Cincinnati loves the Reds, but it hates the Castellinis
The Reds haven’t won a playoff series since 1995. Bob Castellini purchased the team in 2006. Yes, 0 playoff wins since the Castellini’s took over.
But don’t worry, Reds fans, it’s not their fault.
As Phil Castellini said during a presentation this winter, small-market teams can’t compete in Major League Baseball. He called them a “non-profit” organization (think he meant “doesn’t make profit,” since the ownership sucks).
Heck, he even said the Reds were out of playoff contention before a single pitch was thrown!
Wooooo? pic.twitter.com/JMEXDXPDs2— Amy (@amyeditress) January 14, 2023
That comment caught the attention of MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred. He was … not happy.
“I think most people who pay attention to our game realize that we do have a disparity issue in the game, both on the revenue side and consequently on the ability to spend on players,” said Manfred, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.
“I think sometimes in markets that produces frustration that leads to what I regard to be unfortunate comments. Unhelpful.”
“Unhelpful.” That’s a very good word to describe Phil Castellini.
“Unfortunate.” That’s a good word to describe how Reds fans feel having the Castellini’s owning the team.
Reds fans are not coming out to the ballpark, and that’s the best way to send a message
But Reds fans are fighting back. And they’re doing it the best way possible: by not showing up.
The team ranked 24th in attendance last season, according to ESPN, after Castellini’s comments.
And they’re not showing up — uh, even more? — this season. Yes, fans came out for Opening Day. They always do; Opening Day is basically a holiday in Cincinnati.
But that was pretty much it. They had one of the biggest drop offs in baseball from game one to game two.
The team recorded a record-low attendance earlier this week. They followed it up with what appeared to be a worse crowd.
They announced the attendance for that second game as over 11,000. Right. You find me 11,000 people in that crowd and I’ll fork over my life savings (That’s not all that much, by the way, so don’t waste your time trying).
It’s not an MLB-wide problem, either. Many teams are actually seeing increases as normalcy continues to return from the COVID-ruined seasons.
I had a hard time finding crowd shots from Wednesday afternoon’s drubbing at the hands of the Rays — probably because the Reds aren’t excited to advertise the crowd — but based on the videos it’s another sparse crowd at Great American.
As Reds fans in Cincinnati have become fond of saying: “Sell the team, Bob.”
Please, for everyone’s sake.
Sell it to someone who cares.
Follow Dan Zaksheske on Twitter: @RealDanZak
2 CommentsLeave a Reply
The Redskins of MLB, who could’ve guessed?
Castellini has been taking a drubbing on his core businesses in recent years. Has shutdown almost all of them. He is an old man that needs to just sell the team and go out to pasture. Probably one of the least wealthy owners in all of sports.