Memories of Schottsie's Owner Should Get Castellini Out of The Doghouse
Social media sites are rife with Cincinnati fans lambasting its baseball team's owners, due to a perfect storm of regretful comments and one of the poorest starts in the club's long history. Most posts express in not-so-friendly terms the desire for the Castellini family to sell the Reds, preferably to someone with deeper pockets and is willing to spend on players.
Much of the criticism is justified, given that it was Phil Castellini himself who brought it on. Speaking with hosts Scott Sloan and Mo Egger on WLW Radio on Opening Day, Castellini sniped at the legions of fans who have been clamoring for his family to sell the team.
"Where you gonna go? Let's start there. Sell the team to who? ... “ Castellini snarled. “What would you do with this team to have it be more profitable? ... It would be to pick it up and move it somewhere else. So, be careful what you ask for."
Naturally, there was much backlash about Castellini's remarks, which were followed by an epic stretch of failure on the field. The Reds, who had two wins and two losses at the time of the comments, lost eleven straight before a third win that has been followed by another long losing streak.
In spite of the insensitive remarks of the son of the owner, and the dubious streak of futility in April, Cincinnati fans have endured worse. All we need do is look back a couple of decades, and examine the owner at that time.
Marge Schott and her infamous comments make Castellini's words sound like they came from a Dr. Seuss book, perhaps The Cat in the Reds Hat.
“I would never hire another (epithet for African-American),” Schott was overheard as saying after a brush up with outfielders Eric Davis and Dave Parker in 1991. “ I'd rather have a trained monkey working for me than a (same epithet as above).”
Her racism was not limited to people of color, as fans discovered a few years later.
“I don't like Asian kids outdoing our kids in high school,” Schott said in Sports Illustrated in May 1996. Earlier that same month she had defended displaying a swastika armband, which she said had been a gift from a former employee.
As ill-timed as was the remarks of Castellini on Opening Day 2022, Schott chose that very day in 1986 to reveal just how deep ran her insensitivity. The long-standing ceremonial game had been greeted with a blustery day when, after the first pitch was delivered, plate umpire John McSherry fatally collapsed on the field.
“Snow this morning, and now this. I feel cheated,” Schott said upon learning the umpires had decided to postpone the game until the next day. “This isn't supposed to happen to us, not in Cincinnati. This is our history, our tradition, our team. Nobody feels worse than me.”
No matter how loud and how often Cincinnati fans demand Castellini sell the Reds, they should also heed the truth of his warning to be careful what you wish for. We may want to give him another shot in order to avoid another Schott.