Cincinnati Reds president to disgruntled fans: 'Where are you going to go?'

Cincinnati Reds announcer Marty Brennaman, center, stands with Reds owner Bob Castellini, left, and Phil Castellini, right, before a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers, Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019, in Cincinnati. The 77-year-old broadcaster is retiring after 46 years. (AP/file)

CINCINNATI — Cincinnati Reds president Phil Castellini appeared to tell fans they had no choice other than to accept the team's pared-down roster, then apologized hours later.

Phil Castellini, also the team's chief operating officer, is the son of Reds chief executive officer Bob Castellini, the team's controlling owner since January 2006. Cincinnati has made the playoffs four times in 15 years, losing in the Division Series in 2010 and ‘12, and the wild card round in 2013 and ’20. During that span, the Reds finished with a winning record in just five seasons.

Speaking Tuesday on WLW radio before the team's home opener, Phil Castellini was asked why should a fan maintain trust in him?

“Well, where are you going to go? Let’s start there. I mean, sell the team to who?” Castellini said. "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 anybody should be happy. I’m not polishing trophies in the office right now, and that’s what we’re here to do. But 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. And they came this close to working and didn’t. Nobody’s got to tell me it didn’t work. So I think we’ve learned from those things. And trust me, (general manager) Nick (Krall), he is a guy on a mission. And 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.”

During the offeason, the Reds traded former All-Star pitcher Sonny Gray, outfielder Jesse Winker, and third baseman Eugenio Suárez and reliever Amir Garrett.

After the Reds lost 10-5 to the Cleveland Guardians and dropped to 2-3, Phil Castellini issued a statement.

“I apologize to Reds fans and regret the comments that I made earlier today," he said. "We love this city, we love this team, and we love our fans. I understand how our fans feel and I am sorry.”

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