CINCINNATI — Cincinnati Reds president and CEO Phil Castellini is once again angering his own fanbase after comments he made about the organization.
Castellini, the son of owner Bob Castellini, not only put his foot into his mouth, but it might as well have been his whole leg. And this isn’t the first time the younger Castellini has said something controversial about the organization to its supporters.
Last April, he made headlines after a local radio interview when he called out frustrated Reds fans who were calling on the Castellini's to sell the team.
He said, “Well, where you gonna go? Let's start there. I mean, sell the team to who? I mean, that's the other thing, I mean, you wanna have this debate? If you wanna look at what would you have this team do 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.”
Needless to say, Reds fans were not happy with Phil, and it took him more than a month to apologize—he finally issued a statement at the end of May.
Fast-forward to January 2023, and Castellini, appearing at an annual Reds supporters' lunch, not only didn’t learn his lesson from just under a year ago, but he doubled down and angered Reds fans even more.
Castellini made a presentation in front of a booster group called the Rosie Reds—a group founded in 1964 and whose acronym is Rooters Organized to Stimulate Interest and Enthusiasm—that seemed to be Castellini complaining about owning and running a baseball team in the 2020s.
He once again brought up the current economic system in baseball, and it seemed his goal was to make Reds fans side with him and agree that it must be challenging to run a small market Major League Baseball franchise in 2023.
Things took a turn when that presentation had a slide titled, ‘Teams out of contention by Opening Day,’ which was a chart showing how many teams since 2019 started the season with no chance of making the playoffs. Guess which team Phil is talking about? You guessed it. His own Cincinnati Reds.
That kind of statement from a team’s President and COO will not stimulate interest and enthusiasm. In fact, it did the exact opposite.
Locked On Reds podcast co-hosts Jeff Carr and Steven Offenbaker were flabbergasted on their podcast's latest episode while discussing Castellini’s weekend antics, with Carr saying, “What the heck was the endgame with this?” Offenbaker added, “What he’s saying is, there’s no point in watching the Reds! We haven’t even had the first pitch of spring training, and we’re out of contention.”
Castellini went a step further during the luncheon and joked about the Reds operating like a non-profit organization. Another statement that was not well received by Reds fans because the Reds are a company that is supposed to make money and is not a charity.
Furthermore, Castellini is in a position to help the club get better. Still, from what he says in public, it seems he doesn’t want to without complaining about how the current system keeps him from doing that job.
So is there a lesson in all of this? Yes. The lesson is the Reds need to keep Phil Castellini away from plugged-in microphones, look at presentations before signing off on them, and maybe the Reds should think about hiring someone who wants to do Castellini’s job and wants to make the team better.