I have been posting infrequently of late, and apologize if this has been covered in the last few months, if it has, please take the weedwhacker to it mods. Basically, this is a tangent on all of the threads on the off-season moves to date.
To sum up, the Reds are now owners, for better or worse, of Alex Gonzalez, Jeff Conine, Chad Moeller and a host of aged relievers. Whether or not those moves do anything to help the club down the road we can all perhaps agree to disagree on, but it seems pretty evident that they have had zero impact on the club's profile in terms of fan excitment for 2007. Other than the natural hope that will accompany the coming of spring training, given how they struggled down the stretch in 2006, there isn't a whole lot to get fired up about in terms of the team. I live in Memphis now, transplanted from Cincy for a decade now, and am not the best measuring stick for game to game attendance decisions, but am at least not at this moment budgeting for my annual sojourn to Cincy for a weekend set of games. That loss of eight game tickets won't exactly ruin the club financially, I would suspect, but I wonder how many around Cincy who go more frequently feel the same way. There just isn't a lot to get the blood boiling about the team right now as they retool the minors and set off on whatever plan it is that WK is putting into effect.
To the extent I am accurately summing up the ennui that surrounds the fanbase of the team right now (and I think ennui may be arguably a correct term), does that matter to Castellini? If it doesn't, should it? If it does, will we be more likely to see Homer Bailey rushed to Cincy out of Sarasota if he has a good spring, just to give people something to get excited about?
Frankly, the current juncture of the franchise is a huge concern at the moment. Sitting out the insane free agent market is defensible, and, perhaps, really, the right move. I was one of the ones who tried in vain to hope good stuff out of Eric Milton, and freely admit that his signing was awful for the team. Getting nothing is better than taking on another Milton-bad contract and the performance that has gone with that contract given the prices that decent players have commanded in this market. But what we are left with as a fanbase, then, is more of the same. A same that has worn thin over the years. None of that is Castellini's fault, of course, but it is his inherited problem.
It's going to be a tough sell this year, when the most interesting thing to happen to this team in the off-season involves Jeff Brantley and Thom Brennamen.