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TeamBoone
03-09-2006, 05:29 PM
Thursday, March 9, 2006
In one minute, it all changed
Suddenly, lifer Casey is just another former Cincinnati Red
BY PAUL DAUGHERTY | ENQUIRER STAFF WRITER

BRADENTON, Fla. - The last innocent ballplayer vanished in December. Sean Casey left Cincinnati. The breed's officially extinct. "I was going to be one of those guys that played my whole career in one city," Casey said Tuesday.

It's amazing how some rare individuals can stroll across life seeing nothing but good. Cynicism is an acquired skill. Casey never got it. At age 31, he never will. He thought he'd never leave the Reds.

Former general manager Dan O'Brien called him. "The conversation was pretty informal: 'How ya doin', we've traded you, tough decision, good luck,'" was how Casey described it. "I don't know if I expected a little more. I don't know what I expected. I didn't expect to be traded.

"That's when I realized, wow, you give your heart and soul to an organization for eight years and you get a one-minute phone call."

You could rationalize it a million different ways: Casey made too much money ($8.5 million this year.) Casey didn't hit with enough power. Casey hit into too many double plays. He couldn't pitch.

But it was Sean Casey.

"I never thought I was the face of the organization. I never thought I was above the organization. I just loved it there. I grew up there. My two boys were born there. I felt like I was leaving family," he said.

An irony of pro sports, maybe the biggest, is that while teams depend on emotions to sell tickets, they can't get puddin'-headed themselves. It's a business that encourages passion but demands cold blood. It's like directing "My Dog Skip" while banning crying on the set.

Bob Castellini, the man who approved the Casey deal to Pittsburgh, has this story:

"The little boy who lives across the street from my daughter shows up at her doorstep, crying. She asks him what's wrong. He says, 'Is it true your dad traded Sean Casey?'"

What do you want, then? A great human being? Or a better ballclub?

You don't get both.

But it was Sean Casey.

If Dave Williams, the left-handed starting pitcher Cincinnati got for Casey, throws 200 innings and wins 12 to 15 games, you'll feel a little sad about Casey. But you'll get over it. Casey's trade says much about Castellini's clear-eyed approach. Sentiment is nice. Winning is nicer. Loyalty works best as a concept.

And innocence in Baseball is officially done.

"I can look back when I'm finished and say, you meet some great people along the way, you make some great friends, but when it's all said and done, it's a billion-dollar business. Anybody's expendable," Casey said. "Your gut reaction is it's personal. Then I stepped back and (remembered) some things that happened to (Barry) Larkin (who) put 19 years in that organization."

Casey has rented a house in the Pittsburgh neighborhood where he grew up. His parents are two minutes away, "built-in babysitters," he says, for his three small children. He just sold one of his two Cincinnati houses. His dad, Jim, will be at most home games.

Time passes. Different than before, perhaps better. Perhaps.

Casey saw all the letters to the editor in The Enquirer. We'd asked readers for a favorite Sean Casey story. He read all of them. You could say he was humbled, but he's already there. We'll just say he was grateful.

"Maybe I did have an impact there. My heart grew reading that stuff," Casey said. "When it's all said and done, I think we'll be judged more by the impact we've had on people than the impact we've had on our profession."

OK. How can you trade that?

The answer is, easily. All it takes is a decent match with another club and a 60-second phone call. Baseball moves on, a billion-dollar business. Memories fuel it, though, and no one in Cincinnati will forget Sean Casey.

He has one last thing to say. "This is what I want you to write," says Casey.

"I am not bitter. I have nothing but the fondest of memories. Not one bitter bone about any of this stuff. Please say that."

Done.


http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060309/COL03/603090395/1071

TeamBoone
03-09-2006, 05:33 PM
A feel-good story, but yet, kind of sad. It really does have to be hard to leave a team you've been with for eight years.


3-9-06
‘Weird’ day for former Red Casey
New Pirate manager Tracy determined to trade for 1st baseman

SARASOTA, Fla. He walked into camp like royalty, and well, Sean Casey was treated like visiting royalty, receiving more hugs than a favorite teddy bear from his former Cincinnati Reds teammates.

Casey used the word weird over and over and over as he described his feelings about returning in a black and gold Pittsburgh Pirates uniform.

Ive gotten over the trade, but I miss these guys, he said. My whole Major League Baseball life was with the Reds. It was so weird one phone call, and it was, See you later, and my whole life changed.

New Pittsburgh manager Jim Tracy, a Badin High graduate, said the first thing he did when he was hired was to ask general manager Dave Littlefield to call the Reds and see if theyll give up Casey.

It was quickly done, and Casey was traded for left-handed pitcher Dave Williams.

When Tracy arrived Wednesday morning, the habitually late-arriving Casey already was there, and Tracy said, Did you make the clubhouse coffee?

Casey batted third in a game won by the Pirates 5-0 as the Reds had only four hits.

In his first exhibition game for the Pirates, Casey doubled down the right-field line, And I did a whale flop, head-first slide into second base. All my teammates got on me about the ugly slide, and I said, Get used to it; thats how they all are.

Casey put a massive hug on massive Reds first baseman Adam Dunn, who later said, Theres one guy you can say never used steroids. He is old-man strong, like your father always was when you were a kid. They always criticize him for not hitting home runs, and I say thats because his swing is too pretty to hit homers after he does all those gyrations when he gets into the box.

Before slipping into Pirates uniform No. 25, Casey stood outside the Reds clubhouse, taking grief from Reds players for wearing black and gold training shoes.

I dont know how to act, he said. I miss these guys and I aint lying. Im glad Im playing today to get this step out of the way. Its weird playing against Cincinnati and these guys, but it is the nature of the beast.

Now, though, he is a Pirate and said, A good bunch of guys who have made it easy on me. Plus, Joe Randa is there, and that made it easier for me.

Randa, traded by the Reds to San Diego last July, signed with the Pirates as a free agent in the off-season. Hell be at third base and Casey at first.

Our corner defense has been upgraded with those two, Tracy said. Its only six or seven games, but I can see were going to catch the ball. You cant win without catching the ball.

The hugs and chats finished early, and Casey retreated to the visiting clubhouse, a place he never saw during his years with the Reds.

Thats the thing about baseball, he said. When you cross the lines, it is baseball competition. You never forget the friendships and relationships you made, and all those Reds guys always will be my friends, but now its time to do something to beat them for the Pirates.

Casey received the biggest applause of any player on either side when he came to bat in the first inning and flied to left field.

When he stepped in the box for his second at-bat, a female fan wearing a Reds jersey yelled, We still love you, Casey. We dont like that shirt, though. Wrong color.

Then Reds pitcher Mike Gosling hit him above the eyebrow with a pitch. Casey went down, but got up quickly and took first base, finishing the third inning before coming out.


Hal McCoy covers the Cincinnati Reds for Cox News Service. He can be reached by e-mail at hmccoy@DaytonDailyNews.com.

http://www.journal-news.com/sports/c...asey_tweb.html

TeamBoone
03-09-2006, 05:34 PM
Publication date: 03-09-2006
Eventful day for Casey
Wayward pitch hits former Red
By Marc Lancaster / Post staff reporter


SARASOTA, Fla. - "Batting third, the first baseman, number 25, Sean Casey."

With those words over the Ed Smith Stadium public address system Wednesday afternoon, the early arrivals in the crowd let loose a cheer louder than any Red would get when his spot in the batting order was announced.

In the outfield, Casey stood with former teammates Adam Dunn, Austin Kearns and Felipe Lopez, chatting between warmup sprints. As Casey's name was announced, Dunn lifted his buddy's arm in the air like a referee anointing a prizefighter.

The real butterflies, in Casey's estimation, won't come until April 6, when he visits Great American Ball Park for the first time as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Still, Wednesday's test run had Casey wondering which end was up, and it began hours before the game.

He and another Reds Opening Day starter from last year, third baseman Joe Randa, drove down together from Pirates camp Wednesday morning. They spent a while making the rounds among their old friends in street clothes as the Reds took batting practice. It was all hugs, handshakes and inside jokes, and it brought reality down hard on Casey's shoulders.

"I kept telling myself, 'It's not going to be weird, it's not going to be weird,'" said Casey. "It's weird."

In the third inning, it turned scary for a moment.

After flying out to left field in his first at-bat, Casey had worked a 2-0 count on Reds starter Michael Gosling. The left-hander, who had trouble with his command all day, had one get away from him and it sailed up and in, hitting Casey's batting helmet just above the brim over his right eye.

Casey went down hard with close friend Jason LaRue kneeling at his side, and Pirates trainers came out to attend to him. As Casey was checked out, Gosling stood bent over at the waist about 10 feet away, grasping his head with both hands. After shaking off the initial shock, Casey stayed in the game and ran the bases, but that was the end of his workday.

"Hey, that's baseball," said a typically gregarious Casey a short time later. "It happens. The ball got away from him, that's the way it goes. You take that risk every time you walk into the batter's box."

Gosling seemed significantly more shaken than Casey was about the incident. Drilling one of the most popular players in Reds history was not the best way for the new acquisition to endear himself to Cincinnati fans in his first home appearance, but Gosling was happy to hear Casey was OK.

"I felt terrible," said Gosling. "I don't know Sean, but from everything I've heard, he's just a fantastic person and obviously an all-time favorite in Cincinnati. There's probably not a worse guy I could hit, and I just felt awful. I was obviously really glad to see him get up and go down to first base and I hope he comes out of it 100 percent fine."

Though Casey has a history of concussions, including one suffered during a collision in Pittsburgh last September that ended Casey's season, he didn't seem to be carrying any ill effects after leaving the game.

In fact, he said, he considered it a "good day" even though he had trouble sorting out everything he was feeling as he greeted longtime friends.

"I see all the guys over there and there's mixed emotions, no doubt about it," he said. "I'm a human being. I like the guys here in the Pirates' clubhouse, they've been good to me since Day One, but hey, I've developed so many relationships over there with everybody - from Marty Brennaman to (clubhouse manager) Rick Stowe to Dunner to LaRue. All those guys. ... Even coming up and seeing LaRue at home was weird, it felt like it was intrasquad or something."

Casey will have plenty of time to get used to the odd sensation of being on the opposite side of the rivalry. Cincinnati and Pittsburgh will square off five more times this spring, including today in Bradenton, and 16 times during the regular season. The first of those meetings will come April 6, when the Pirates begin a four-game series at Great American Ball Park.

That's the reunion Casey has been anticipating since he was traded in December, where he'll undoubtedly receive a weekend-long ovation from Cincinnati fans. It's the kind of scene that might make it difficult to focus, but Casey said he thinks Wednesday's events started him down that path.

"I think it'll be a different atmosphere, but it helps," he said. "It helps to see these guys and play against these guys. ... Getting all that weirdness out of the way, that'll be good come the regular season, we can just get down to business."

When that time comes next month, Casey's transition should be complete. Wednesday was evidence that it hadn't happened quite yet, but he was taking steps in that direction.

A couple of innings after Casey left the game, his wife, Mandi, pushed a stroller down the right field concourse toward the players' parking lot. The couple's newest addition, 3-month-old daughter Carli, dozed contentedly. Their sons, 4-year-old Andrew and 2-year-old Jacob, scurried around. The boys wore matching Pirates jerseys, with "Casey" and "25" on the back.

http://news.cincypost.com/apps/pbcs....603090320/1027

Johnny Footstool
03-09-2006, 05:50 PM
If Dave Williams, the left-handed starting pitcher Cincinnati got for Casey, throws 200 innings and wins 12 to 15 games, you'll feel a little sad about Casey.

No I won't, because if that happens, the very fabric of reality will be torn asunder, and I'll be too busy trying to cling to my own sanity to worry about Sean Casey.

FlyingPig
03-09-2006, 06:07 PM
I refuse to buy another player jersey.

Baseball may be just a business, and trades happen all the time, but seeing one of your all-time favorite Reds in a different uniform still hurts.

Dunner44
03-09-2006, 06:34 PM
Taht pic of Sean with Freel, Dunner and Kearnsie looks sooooooo weird.

RedsMan3203
03-10-2006, 12:24 AM
All of the stories were awesome reads.... I'm gonna miss that guy..... But it was for the best of the team... I've been telling my self that for over a year now (before and after the trade)..... We'll get there...

I can't wait for opening day!

Sabo Fan
03-10-2006, 12:35 AM
So Tracy made it a point to get Casey, Littlefield obviously agreed because he made the effort, and all the Reds could get for a player that was actually desired by another team was Dave Williams?

Before I had assumed that the Reds were shopping Casey and Pittsburgh just said "Sure, sounds like an ok idea. We get a local boy to bridge the gap to our up and comers and you guys get some salary relief. Why not? Tell you what, we'll even throw in this Williams guy so that it doesn't look like a strict contract-dump." From what I can tell from that first article, the inital contact was made by the Pirates and if that's the case, then O'Brien has no business even being a concession worker, let alone a GM.

TeamCasey
03-10-2006, 07:09 AM
I refuse to buy another player jersey.

Baseball may be just a business, and trades happen all the time, but seeing one of your all-time favorite Reds in a different uniform still hurts.

:( Sure does. I had colleagues stopping by my desk after his trade to give me their condolences. :laugh: I didn't even know these people knew I followed baseball.

Thanks for posting these TB. :)

RANDY IN INDY
03-10-2006, 07:47 AM
TC,

My son, Matt 8, is still not over the trade. Casey was, and still is, his favorite player. Doesn't look right in that Pirate uniform, but I hope he has a great season for the Bucco's.

TeamBoone
03-10-2006, 10:21 AM
Does anyone else think it's kind of tacky that they notified him in a one-minute telephone call?

I don't know what they could have done differently, I suppose, but it just seems like a very callous way to inform the guy who was here for so long and who poured his heart and soul into the community in such a big way.

I love the part about Castellini's neighbor kid. He'll probably never be forgiven!

Chip R
03-10-2006, 10:43 AM
Does anyone else think it's kind of tacky that they notified him in a one-minute telephone call?

I don't know what they could have done differently, I suppose, but it just seems like a very callous way to inform the guy who was here for so long and who poured his heart and soul into the community in such a big way.


The guy lives in Florida. Were they going to fly all the way down there and tell him to his face? I'm sure if they traded him during the season they would have done it face to face.

TeamBoone
03-10-2006, 10:49 AM
The guy lives in Florida. Were they going to fly all the way down there and tell him to his face? I'm sure if they traded him during the season they would have done it face to face.

That's why I said I suppose they couldn't have done it any other way. Seems they could have been a bit more personable about it though.

membengal
03-10-2006, 10:49 AM
Singing telegram?

RFS62
03-10-2006, 11:00 AM
Candygram

membengal
03-10-2006, 11:09 AM
"Unicef."

"Pizza delivery."

deltachi8
03-10-2006, 11:20 AM
"That's when I realized, wow, you give your heart and soul to an organization for eight years and you get a one-minute phone call."


Oh and the few million dollars for your efforts...

Chip R
03-10-2006, 11:22 AM
"Unicef."

"Pizza delivery."

"Land Shark"

membengal
03-10-2006, 11:37 AM
"Land Shark"

Exactly. Was assuming a few others besides me remember comedy genius.

RFS62
03-10-2006, 11:53 AM
[Scene: A New York apartment. Someone knocks on the door.]
Woman: [not opening the door] Yes?
Voice: (mumbling) Mrs. Arlsburgerhhh?
Woman: What?
Voice: (mumbling) Mrs. Johannesburrrr?
Woman: Who is it?
Voice: [pause] Flowers.
Woman: Flowers? From whom?
Voice: [long pause] Plumber, ma'am.
Woman: I don't need a plumber. You're that clever shark, aren't you?
Voice: [pause] Candygram.
Woman: Candygram, my foot. Get out of here before I call the proper authorities. You're the shark, and you know it.
Voice: I'm only a harmless dolphin...
Woman: A dolphin? Well...okay. [opens door]
[Huge latex and foam-rubber shark head lunges through open door, chomps down on woman's head, and drags her out of the apartment, all while the Jaws attack music is playing.]

Highlifeman21
03-10-2006, 01:47 PM
I'm sure I'll catch some crap about this, but in all honesty, Sean Casey wasn't a great pick up in that trade with the Indians IMO. He was a glorified doubles hitter whose liabilities outweighed his assets. I've met him twice and I think he's a great guy, one of the nicest human beings I've ever met, but in terms of a baseball player, you'll never see him confused for a HOFer.

I feel bad for all the fans that fell in love with him as a person and have to deal with losing him, but as a baseball player in Cincinnati, he shouldn't be missed.

TeamBoone
03-10-2006, 03:12 PM
I'm sure I'll catch some crap about this, but in all honesty, Sean Casey wasn't a great pick up in that trade with the Indians IMO. He was a glorified doubles hitter whose liabilities outweighed his assets.

Casey was very young when the Reds acquired him. Hindsight is 20/20.

Highlifeman21
03-10-2006, 04:32 PM
Let me clarify... Sean Casey for Dave Burba is a trade I would have made everyday of the week, and twice on Sundays, but with the quality of prospects in the Indians organization, I think we really "settled" for Sean Casey. Sure, at 24 he was young, but with the incredible success he displayed in the minors, I guess I was hoping for a more overall productive pro career. Maybe my expectations were too high.

Casey's tenure with the Reds was a clear example of waiting too long to move him. Had we moved him after 1999 or 2000 when his value had peaked, then people wouldn't have fallen in love with him as much, and they could have accurately viewed the transaction for what it's worth: a business decision.

But then again, slap hitters shouldn't make almost 9 million a year...

princeton
03-10-2006, 05:26 PM
Casey was very young when the Reds acquired him. Hindsight is 20/20.

princeton's foresight is 20/20, too:

not Casey! The Indians want Casey more than Richie Sexson, so take Sexson plus a young arm instead!

Sexson has hit twice as many HRs since. And it's not like an arm wouldn't have helped.

redsfanmia
03-10-2006, 07:37 PM
Did Sean forget that he played for the Cleveland Indians?

TeamBoone
03-10-2006, 08:02 PM
Did Sean forget that he played for the Cleveland Indians?

Probably, he only played for them one season (6 games in 1997).

max venable
03-10-2006, 10:40 PM
When I told my 10-year-old daughter that the Reds had traded Sean Casey, she said, "Are they stupid?"

He was her favorite player, too.

Aronchis
03-10-2006, 11:09 PM
Sean was supposed to hit out at something like 350 28hr 110 rbi's, only twice did he get close to that type of production he was supposed to make a career of. What caused him to not "hit his ceiling" only the baseball Gods know. He wouldn't be the first.

The deal was not a major win for the Reds as hoped, but he wasn't the only "disappointment" from that era.