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Thread: Quasi-Game Thread - 1/20/06 - Ownership Change

  1. #1
    This one's for you Edd Heath's Avatar
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    Quasi-Game Thread - 1/20/06 - Ownership Change

    Why am I getting an early start on this?

    Well - I figured this article from Hal McCoy might be a starting spot of a recap of the OLD ownership - might has well start a P/C thread on top of it..

    COMMENTARY

    Hal McCoy: Tenure with Reds will taint Lindner's legacy


    As a Cincinnati philanthropist, Carl Lindner earns an "A" for awesome. His wallet prints are all over the city.

    As an owner and CEO of the Cincinnati Reds, Lindner earns an "F" for flop. His wallet was not much of a factor in the fortunes of the moribund Reds over the past few seasons.

    His most famous quote and there are very few from the man who was a baseball recluse as far as the media is concerned said it all and it was uttered shortly after he became majority owner and CEO: "I don't want to make money, but I don't want to lose money, either."

    He certainly earned money during his tenure as lead chair for the Reds. His sale of the Reds for $270 million assured that.

    But as a man whose business is worth $22 billion, he missed a chance to insure himself a legacy in Cincinnati. He'll be remembered as a philanthropist, but he could have become a Cincinnati icon by loosening some of his fortune into turning out Big Red Machine II. Instead, his teams were more like The Little Red Radio Flyers.

    He leaves the CEO's chair with five straight losing seasons and no championship rings.

    It seems a bit strange that a man who built a $22 billion empire by investing money didn't realize that to make money in baseball, and to build a winner, one must spend money.

    So did he leave any imprint on Cincinnati baseball?

    If he has a legacy, it is Ken Griffey Jr. He gave approval to then-general manager Jim Bowden to trade with Seattle for Griffey and to give the megastar outfielder a 10-year, $116.5 million contract.

    That occurred in February 2000 and Lindner attended the press conference in the Crosley Room of old Riverfront Stadium. It was the only press conference involving the Reds he ever attended.

    He attended some home games, sitting with his wife several rows up behind home plate, but never was spotted at a road game.

    His other appearance in the limelight was when former shortstop Barry Larkin was about to become a free agent. Bowden traded Larkin to the New York Mets, but Larkin used his no-trade power to squash the deal.

    Lindner immediately stepped in and signed Larkin to a three-year, $27 million contract, a move that infuriated Bowden and other members of the front office.

    Lindner's reason: "Barry Larkin is my grandson's favorite player."

    When the three-year contract expired, the Reds were ready to let Larkin go. He talked about retirement and the Reds planned a day for him. Larkin called off the ceremonies and Lindner stepped up with another one-year contract.

    One thing the Reds seldom did under Lindner's watch was pay large sums for free agents. Unfortunately for him, when he did allow general manager Dan O'Brien to invest $22.5 million over three years in left-handed pitcher Eric Milton it was a fiasco, with a capital 'F.'

    It exploded in his face when Milton's first season with the Reds last year was an 8-15 bust. He had a 6.47 earned-run average the worst in club history for a starter with more than 30 starts and gave up 40 home runs in 186 1/3 innings.

    Milton has two years remaining on the contract to make amends, but the Reds were not players on the big-name pitchers free-agent market this year. Instead they traded popular first baseman Sean Casey and his $8 million salary to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Dave Williams, a left-handed pitcher with injury issues and a career losing major-league record.

    Lindner was the boss when the team moved into new Great American Ball Park in 2003. Fans were told that a new stadium and expected attendance surges would turn the team into a winner. Instead, the team got worse and the fans didn't forget the promise. When Lindner was introduced on the field on Opening Day 2004 he was booed.

    Lindner's problem was that he purchased the team to make certain it was owned locally, that it wouldn't be sold to outsiders. It was a civic pride move, not one to build a winning team.

    He sold most of his shares to Robert Castellini because he is a friend and he is part of Cincinnati. Reds fans hope they won't see more of the same, that Castellini is committed to winning and fans won't be force-fed mouthwash.

    As they say over at Timex, or in the case of baseball players, over at Rolex, only time will tell.
    Press Conference can be heard on WLW - online at www.700wlw.com

    Starting lineups probably would be the following:

    Robert Castellini - New Owner
    The Williamses - New Owners
    Carl Lindner - Old CEO
    John Allen - COO
    Dan O'Brien - GM
    Jerry Narron - Manager

    Enjoy.
    Some people play baseball. Baseball plays Jay Bruce.

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  3. #2
    The Lineups stink. KronoRed's Avatar
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    Re: Quasi-Game Thread - 1/20/06 - Ownership Change

    This lineup sucks


    Go Gators!

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    Off the schneid TStuck's Avatar
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    Re: Quasi-Game Thread - 1/20/06 - Ownership Change

    But they are a scrappy group with lot's of veteran leadership.

    BTW - Watch out. Don't step in the leadership!
    Better to be silent and thought a fool, than speak and be proven one.

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    Pagan/Asatru Ravenlord's Avatar
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    Re: Quasi-Game Thread - 1/20/06 - Ownership Change

    One thing the Reds seldom did under Lindner's watch was pay large sums for free agents. Unfortunately for him, when he did allow general manager Dan O'Brien to invest $22.5 million over three years in left-handed pitcher Eric Milton it was a fiasco, with a capital 'F.'
    correct me if i'm wrong, but didn't Hal call this a great signing at the time?
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    Rally Onion! Chip R's Avatar
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    Re: Quasi-Game Thread - 1/20/06 - Ownership Change

    Quote Originally Posted by KronoRed
    This lineup sucks


    Another Sunday Special.
    The Rally Onion wants 150 fans before Opening Day.

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Rally-...24872650873160

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    Member top6's Avatar
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    Re: Quasi-Game Thread - 1/20/06 - Ownership Change

    I am not the biggest Lindner fan, but I think that article is really unfair. They claim the Reds didn't sign free agents during his tenure - yet they signed Griffey to what at the time was the largest contract in baseball history (even though it was below market value). He signed Larkin to a huge deal. He signed Milton to a huge deal.

    The bottom line is that by signing Griffey to the deal they did, the Reds tied their fortunes to him. Alas, lady luck opted to deal him a string of horrific injuries. If Griffey had been healthy the last 5 years, and producing like Griffey can, the Reds would be in a very different situation. He would be chasing 700 home runs this year or next year - and after the Bonds steroid accusations he would be the absolute darling of the baseball world. Griffey would be an institution - and a money making machine. The Reds would be, at the very least, a very fun team to watch - and no doubt more competitive, if not World Champions.

    That was the vision that I'm sure Bowden sold Lindner on. And I can't blame Lindner for taking the chance - and neither should anyone on this board. We ALL supported the Griffey signing.

    Once Griffey tanked (again, through now fault of his own), I think it would have taken a miracle to turn this team around. Blame Lindner for allowing the hiring of incompetent O'Brien, sure. But I think he took a major gamble early on in his tenure as owner. He lost, but I think it was a gamble we all would have made at the time.

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    Rally Onion! Chip R's Avatar
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    Re: Quasi-Game Thread - 1/20/06 - Ownership Change

    Quote Originally Posted by Ravenlord
    correct me if i'm wrong, but didn't Hal call this a great signing at the time?
    Hey, sportswriters reserve the right to change their minds even if it contradicts with what they wrote earlier.
    The Rally Onion wants 150 fans before Opening Day.

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Rally-...24872650873160

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    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: Quasi-Game Thread - 1/20/06 - Ownership Change

    Quote Originally Posted by Ravenlord
    correct me if i'm wrong, but didn't Hal call this a great signing at the time?
    http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/baseball/lind12.shtml

    Reds' multi-millionaire owner driving force behind Griffey deal

    Saturday, February 12, 2000

    By HAL McCOY
    COX NEWS SERVICE

    CINCINNATI -- One of Carl Lindner Jr.'s three private jets picked up Ken Griffey Jr., and his family in Orlando Thursday and whisked them to Lunken Airport, where Lindner's Rolls-Royce Bentley provided ostentatious transportation to Cinergy Field.

    It was trappings fit for royalty, of which Griffey certainly is to Cincinnati Reds baseball.

    For the next nine years, Griffey is the visible symbol of baseball in Cincinnati, but the man behind the scenes for now is the 80-year-old Lindner, the club's chief executive officer and the man who signed off on signing the checks that will provide Griffey with $112.5 million over the next 25 years.

    Does Griffey's arrival signal an open-wallet policy for the Reds? Well, probably not a wide-open New York Yankees-style policy, but Lindner's wallet is fat enough that he doesn't have to open very wide.

    He has told chief operating office John Allen and general manager Jim Bowden, "I don't want to make money, I'd just like to break even."

    Forbes lists Lindner's personal wealth at more than $800 million and includes him among the richest 400 persons in the United States. His wealth comes from controlling interest in Chiquita bananas, controlling the majority stock in Amtrak, United Dairy Farmers, Thriftway groceries and he is chairman of American Financial and American Annuity Group.

    And for the most part, he is a wisp, preferring to stand in the shadows, ignoring publicity and recognition. He won't be on the field with his pet dog before games, as was the preference of his predecessor, Marge Schott. And he won't keep an office at the stadium, as Schott did. He comes to games, but slips in unnoticed and sits in his private box.

    He is a man of few words, three- and four-word sentences, but a man of fast action.

    Lindner, a life-long Cincinnatian, loves the city and loves the Reds. When it looked as if even $112.5 million might be too much for the Reds' budget, Lindner gave a quick nod of approval.

    Even Allen had been dubious just a few days ago about bringing home the prodigal son, who so wanted to return.

    Acquiring Griffey is the biggest exchange of a superstar via trade since the St. Louis Cardinals obtained Mark McGwire from Oakland. The Cardinals estimate his presence has been worth 600,000 additional fans a season at home and they drew 3.22 million fans last year, even though they won only 75 games and finished fourth in the National League Central, 21 games behind division-winner Houston and 20 games behind second-place Cincinnati.

    Lindner attended Thursday's press conference and read from a prepared statement in his low, measured voice.

    "This is truly an exciting day for Cincinnati and the fans who have grown up rooting for the oldest team in baseball," he said. "I love this city. It is where I grew up, raised my family, built our businesses and brought in new businesses from other cities. I've always tried to give back some of my good fortune and do what's best for our city. One of the highlights of my career is what we've accomplished today . . . bringing Ken back to Cincinnati for the rest of his career.

    "In these times, where big markets and big money seem to steal the stars, it speaks so much of Ken's character that he has chosen instead to come back where he belongs. The future of the Reds, with Ken and the new stadium, can't be more exciting."

    Lindner couldn't have left a better legacy to fans of the Cincinnati Reds.

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    Re: Quasi-Game Thread - 1/20/06 - Ownership Change

    I think people underestimate the difficulty this franchise faced in overcoming the Schott years.
    "Baseball is a very, very complex business. It's more of a people business than most businesses." - Bob Castellini

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    Member Strikes Out Looking's Avatar
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    Re: Quasi-Game Thread - 1/20/06 - Ownership Change

    All this franchise needs is pitching. I know it is hard to come by, but three starting pitchers tossing 200 innings with sub 4 eras would have the team in post-season contention and our many complaints would decline.

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    Churlish Johnny Footstool's Avatar
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    Re: Quasi-Game Thread - 1/20/06 - Ownership Change

    Lindner was extremely generous with the Larkin and Griffey contracts. Then when Bowden started negotiating deals for expensive pitchers like Bartolo Colon and Brad Penny, the purse strings suddenly tightened. Granted, Lindner didn't want to sign big deals while there was a threat of a strike, but spending extra money to bring in high-caliber starting pitching would have kept the Reds from having 5 straight losing seasons. If nothing else, the Reds would have had some marketable pitching to trade and restock the minors.
    "I prefer books and movies where the conflict isn't of the extreme cannibal apocalypse variety I guess." Redsfaithful

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    Member Reds4Life's Avatar
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    Re: Quasi-Game Thread - 1/20/06 - Ownership Change

    About 3 hours and 20 minutes to go until disappointment.............errrrr...........I mean the press conference.
    Pessimists are well informed optimists

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    Member cumberlandreds's Avatar
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    Re: Quasi-Game Thread - 1/20/06 - Ownership Change

    Quote Originally Posted by lollipopcurve
    I think people underestimate the difficulty this franchise faced in overcoming the Schott years.
    I agree with you. Schott started the destruction of the farm system but Lindner didn't do anything to build it back. So he has to take a huge amount of the blame for the shape this franchise is in.
    Reds Fan Since 1971

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    RZ Chamber of Commerce Unassisted's Avatar
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    Re: Quasi-Game Thread - 1/20/06 - Ownership Change

    For the benefit of those who still have hope of something substantial coming out of the presser... WCPO-TV will be streaming the event live. Details at http://www.wcpo.com/news/2006/local/01/20/reds.html

    I will not be tuning in.

  16. #15
    This one's for you Edd Heath's Avatar
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    Re: Quasi-Game Thread - 1/20/06 - Ownership Change

    The letter has been written:

    From the new owners via the Enquirer......

    New Reds owners make vow to fans

    The new Reds owners are pledging to “bring championship baseball back to Cincinnati.”

    In a letter to Reds fans, Robert Castellini and his partners vow to “build one of the most respected organizations” in baseball and “rekindle the RedsNation spirit.”

    The letter, obtained by The Enquirer, represents the first public comments from Castellini and new partners W. Joseph Williams Jr. and Thomas Williams since the sale of the team from Carl Lindner was announced in November. Baseball owners approved the sale Thursday.

    The new owners will hold a news conference at 4 p.m. today at Great American Ball Park.

    Here is the text of their letter:

    "Dear Cincinnati Reds Fans,

    "We are proud to be the new owners of America’s first professional baseball team, the Cincinnati Reds.

    "We’re long-time baseball fans who have grown up with the Reds and have fond memories of going to the ballpark. In our lifetime, we faithfully cheered on the Reds through three World Series championships, six National League championships and eight division titles.

    "We know this team truly belongs to you, and we understand what the Reds mean to our city and our region. We know what a winning team can do for a city’s pride. We also understand the unique legacy the Reds hold in baseball history and the potential to reignite an American love affair with the nation’s first professional baseball team.

    "It is with a sense of both responsibility and respect that we pledge to Reds fans:

    • " We will bring championship baseball to Cincinnati. The Reds have a long tradition of success. Only three teams have won more World Series than the Reds. We will work hard to be a championship team again.

    • "We will build one of the most respected organizations in baseball. As partners in other successful baseball organizations we know how it’s done. We will build a winning management team by putting the right people in the right positions with the right resources to win. We will foster a winning attitude and culture.

    • "We will have a greater community presence. We will continue to improve the lives of area children by building on already successful Reds Community Fund programs like the Rookie Success League. Whether it’s providing a way for inner-city children to play baseball or generating funds for charity, we’ll take this outreach to a new level.

    • "We will rekindle the Reds Nation spirit. We'll share our story and our strategy, communicating directly with fans everywhere who want to know what is going on. When you visit the ballpark, we’ll periodically be asking for your feedback so we can continuously improve the experience. Our goal is that you feel a part of the Reds Nation whether you’re at the game, listening on the radio or living in another major league city.

    • "We will not rest until you are happy. The Reds are, after all, your team. You buy the tickets. You watch the games. You support us financially and emotionally. Without you, the Reds cannot be great. We know you won’t be happy until the team wins. We won’t be happy either.

    "Bringing championship baseball to Cincinnati is the ultimate goal. Like you we believe in the power, potential and magic of the Cincinnati Reds. We will work tirelessly to bring a winner home to you.

    "We thank you for this opportunity and hope to earn your support."
    To quote Linda Richman - Discuss amongst yourselves.
    Some people play baseball. Baseball plays Jay Bruce.


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