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An Open Letter to Cincinnati Reds Ownership
Dear Bob Castellini and the rest of the Reds Ownership Group,
I’ve followed you as the Reds owner for many years now, and one thing is clear. You’re a fan, just like me. Like fans, we might disagree on what’s best for the team, but at the end of the day, we’re cheering for the W. I wanted to write you this open letter to address the state of Reds baseball in 2021. I’ve seen a lot of criticisms levied your way. It’s hard to know their accuracy without being privy to those behind the scenes conversations. Rather, I’d like to provide my point of view as a fan.
So, fan to fan, let’s chat.
First off, the fan experience at the ballpark is incredible.
I’ve visited many ballparks, and I truthfully believe that Great American Ball Park is the best place to watch a baseball game. GABP was the backdrop of my childhood, and so many positive family memories were made there.
Your ballpark has something for everyone. There’s great activities for kids. There’s an awesome selection of food and drinks. Affordable seating has a great view of the field. There’s simply nowhere I’d rather be during the summer.
It’s even fun for non-baseball fans. There’s a friend of mine who hates baseball and thinks it’s too boring. She went to a game at GABP and came back a fan. It wasn’t the team that converted her. It was the ballpark experience that she couldn’t stop gushing about.
Hats off to you and your team for making Cincinnati such an awesome place to watch a game.
As a Reds fan, I’m proud of your involvement in the community. It’s clear that you’re invested in the improvement of people’s lives and building the game of baseball. You make it simple for interested parties to participate and are making a clear impact. What you’re doing goes beyond what would be reasonably expected and is an indication that you have a real heart for community outreach.
Creating a Winning Team
Here’s the thing: Fun ballparks and community involvement are really nice for fans, but they’re not as important as having a winning club.
I’ve lived in the Cincinnati area for 22 years now, and in that time, the Reds have had only four winning seasons. If achieving a winning seasons was the same as getting on base, the Reds would have an on base percentage of .182. For this
season, Reds starting pitchers have managed an on base percentage of .195. In
other words, The Red’s 2021 starting pitchers have done a better job getting on
base than the Reds have done at winning over the last two decades.
We’re currently playing pretty well, but it could be so much better. At the beginning of the year, we got rid of two quality relief pitchers for basically free. It was explained to fans as “resources being reallocated.”
However, the money saved on these relievers was not used on any new talent. Fast forward to now. Our bullpen is flat out embarrassing. If we had a bullpen that was even slightly worse than average, there’s no doubt in my mind that we’d be sitting comfortably at first place for the NL Central. Instead, we’re heading into the trade deadline seven games behind the Brewers and without a realistic path towards winning the Wild Card.
No more was this lack of a strong bullpen more prevalent than when the Reds faced off against the Brewers this past week.
Going into the first series, we were 6 games behind the Brew Crew, and we’d be playing them seven games in a row. Talk about an opportunity to play catch up. There is a strong argument to be made that this was the most important 7 game stretch of the entire season. With our weaknesses very apparent, nothing was done to improve the roster going into this series.
And it showed.
Shortstop Willy Adames (whom the Reds did not trade for) was stellar against the Reds. It felt like every time he was at the plate, something good happened for the Brewers. Subtract Adames from the Brewers and add him to the Reds, and we’re looking at a very different standings. The bullpens were also incredibly mismatched. Even if we had a small lead, once our respective bullpens came to play, I knew the game would end in a loss.
Now look where we are. With a little over a week until the trade deadline, we’re seven games behind the Brewers. Our team’s weaknesses are as apparent as ever, and there hasn’t been any real indication that we can expect improvements to be made at the deadline.
Pointing the Blame
A lot of fans are pointing at you, Bob right now.
Whether fairly or not, you’re being blamed for every loss. I know that revenue was hurt during the 2020 year, and it’s easy for me to spend money that isn’t mine.
Here’s the thing though: I really don’t care.
At the end of the day, whether you’re making money hand over foot or losing your fortune, all fans want to see is a winning team.
Reds ownership: There are some amazing things you’ve done for this team. Our ballpark is modern and is a fun and relaxing way to watch a ballgame, and your outreach to the community is highly respectable. Being a baseball fan is extremely accessible and enjoyable when you live in Cincinnati.
Here’s the thing, though: I’d trade all of that for a real playoff contender. In 22 years, I’ve only seen four winning seasons, and no playoff advancements. There’s still time to make a real playoff contender, rather than a team that barely squeaks into the postseason, only to get swept by the Braves before we can even score a single run.
We’re coming up on the trade deadline, and we’ve got the makings of a really good team. Starting pitching has been solid this year, and our offense is hitting the ball hard as well. However, there are some very painfully obvious holes in our roster that will either keep us from the playoffs or result in our first round elimination. You have an opportunity to address those holes and make a run, not just at the division, but also the World Series.
Bob, from one fan to another, what are you going to do?
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