We all remember the day we listened to the Castelinni press conference and he spoke those words that this franchise has been waiting to hear for many years. "I promise we will bring championship baseball to Cincinnati."
The headlines were written as every Reds fan gazed in excitement. The Reds Nation was swept with the feeling of change. Not the kind of change you see in a corporate venture, but the kind of change every sports fan dreams of. We all fealt we finally had an owner that not only would do everything he could to remake a name for this franchise, but he would also hold himself accountable for failures.
It was a dream day, a day where many Reds fans sat at their desk at work while listening to the radio hosts analyse the situation the best they could, all the while not getting a lick of work done. Visions of high-caliber pitchers became more than just a wet dream but fealt close to a possibility.
The owner was named, the stars were aligned, now he simply had to produce on his promise. In came Wayne Krivsky. Reds fans cheered the newcomer because anything was better than the man he replaced. But he didn't have much time or much else to shop for upon his hiring. He put a few things together during the season, which somehow all worked out better than imagined. People were calling Krivsky an extremely trustworthy General Manager. We were all glad to have him on our side. A God's gift to eye talent. "In Krivsky We Trust," remember that?
The dust settled and the Reds found themselves a few games away from playing in October. What a pleasant surprise. But as all fans do, you expect more for the next season and hope to see a contender. Reds fans went into this offseason with the highest of expectations, and for good reason. This is when we get to see Krivsky do what he didn't have the chance to do last year. Here is where Castelinni starts building on his promise.
Along with the promise came the words Castelinni spoke to Wayne Krivsky at a press conference:
"I'll just throw this out to Wayne Krivsky," the Reds' CEO said at a Tuesday afternoon press conference. "If you can put together as good a team on the field as John Allen has put together in the broadcasting booths, we'll be in the World Series next year."
Reds fans started buzzing about the possibility of seeing big things happen. Castelinni flat out stating that the money is there, just find the guys we need to win. All of us started looking for a personalized Jason Schmidt jersey or a Barry Zito one with the Reds logo on it. Thankfully we all remembered that the Reds were to produce new uniforms for next season or some of us would have made a major mistake.
Schmidt signed with the Dodgers and Zito is set to make crazy money. What went wrong? Castelinni had us expectant, Krivsky was the perfect GM to get it done, why couldn't we get one of these guys?
The fact of the matter is, the market for free agents rose from incredibly expensive to shockingly brutal. Were the newly owned Reds ill-prepared for such an endeavor? I believe the answer to that is; absolutely.
The major question from this year's off-season happenings is whether we should be concerned for our beloved Reds or whether we should sit back and watch other franchises destroy their futures. But is that the truth? Are teams like the Cubs and Mariners spending too outrageously? Are these owners going well beyond the bounds of good taste?
I don't believe that these owners are all-in and sitting across from Phil Ivey hoping for the best. Its my belief that the state of baseball has once again met intensely drastic variables which causes more owners to open their wallets in hopes to create the dynasty all fans hope for. Baseball has become a money game and money has a lot more to do with this sport than any other. Once again, baseball has raised the bar and the team that doesn't spend the money will be left wondering what happened.
I don't worry about the futures of these ballclubs. These teams will maintain their high level of spending because it is where the business of this sport is going. New owners like Castelinni get taken off guard and are left with a dream and the feeling of whether they should keep up or just sulk in unexpected shame.
The promise is still written and Mr. Castelinni has a choice to make. Follow the raised bar or stick with the original plan; become mediocre and simply hope for the best. Which way builds on the promise and which way abolishes it?