Friends say new Reds owner will get job done
BY FORREST SELLERS | COMMUNITY PRESS STAFF WRITER
HYDE PARK -- A former St. Mary School classmate of new Cincinnati Reds owner and chief executive officer Robert Castellini said he is not surprised to see him heading up the Reds.
"He was probably the smartest kid in our class," said Patrick Feely, an eighth-grade instructor at St. Mary School. Feely and Castellini attended St. Mary Grade School in the 1950s.
"From what I've read, he is choosing a path of success for the team, and I applaud him (for that)," Feely said. "I admire him for his commitment to the city of Cincinnati and (to) the Reds."
If Feely's and other reactions are any indication, the new Cincinnati Reds owner has hit a home run.
Castellini, a Hyde Park resident, spoke of his plans for the team during a press conference Jan. 20. Major League Baseball executives approved his ownership Jan. 19.
"I was a Reds fan," Castellini said. "Now I'm a Reds fan and owner."
Thomas Williams and W. Joseph Williams Jr., whose father William J. Williams Sr. served as vice president and part owner of the Reds from 1966 to 1982, will also have controlling interest in the team.
"Our goal is to put a contender on the field this year," Castellini said. "We're going to give 110 percent."
In addition to bringing championship baseball to Cincinnati, Castellini said he wants to build a respected organization and have a greater community presence.
Castellini is chairman of the Castellini Group of Cos., which specializes in produce distribution and food processing. He was also a former investor in the St. Louis Cardinals.
"I'm excited and think it's a very good thing," said Stan Hertzman, who is also a Hyde Park resident. "He sounds like a terrific guy who will make things happen. He also has the finances to do it."
Hertzman said Castellini seemed like someone who would invest the money necessary to make the Cincinnati Reds a success.
"All they need is a few good pitchers, and they are a whole different team," Hertzman said.
Castellini said he has been a Cincinnati Reds fan since he was a child.
"I remember listening to Reds games on my big old Crosley radio," Castellini said during the press conference.
In fact, he said, the vacuum tubes on the radio actually set his bed covers on fire. Fortunately, no one was hurt, he said, although his parents didn't let him listen to games for a while after.
Castellini is enthusiastic. During a video documenting the history of the Reds, he watched with a big smile on his face.
He said an effort will be made to reach out more aggressively to the fans.
"We will be visible within the community," he said.
He said the organization will also work to make a visit to the ball park memorable.
"This is baseball," he said. "This is fun."