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New Reds era about to dawn

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  • score4
    Didn't take long for him to make a mark!!!!!

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    Guest replied
    In the following article, the new owner promises a championship to the fans...

    A new Wayne Huizinga?

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  • redlegsfan21
    Reds New Owner Makes Some Changes

    By JOE KAY

    Robert Castellini, new owner of the Cincinnati Reds, speaks during a news conference at Great American Ball Park, Friday, Jan. 20, 2006, in Cincinnati. Castellini's first move was to change the front office's structure. Chief operating officer John Allen will stay but will focus on the business side of the ballclub. General manager Dan O'Brien will run the baseball side, reporting directly to Castellini. (AP Photo/David Kohl)

    CINCINNATI (AP) - The new owner of the Cincinnati Reds already is moving in and moving things around.

    In his first day running baseball's oldest professional franchise, produce magnate Bob Castellini reorganized the front office and promised fans a championship.

    He also announced Friday that he was moving into an office at Great American Ball Park, where he plans to see how things are done with an eye on more sweeping changes down the line.

    "As we build our organization, we'll likely do some other things differently once we get our sleeves rolled up," Castellini said at an introductory news conference attended by about 300 civic leaders and dignitaries. "I intend to work out of the Reds' offices on a daily basis until I have an insider's understanding of how we work."

    Castellini's first move was to change the front office's structure. Chief operating officer John Allen will stay but will focus on the business side of the ballclub. General manager Dan O'Brien will run the baseball side, reporting directly to Castellini.

    Robert Castellini, new owner of the Cincinnati Reds, puts on a Reds jersey during a news conference at Great American Ball Park, Friday, Jan. 20, 2006, in Cincinnati. In his first day running the ballclub, produce magnate Castellini reorganized the front office and promised fans a championship. (AP Photo/David Kohl)

    Under previous owner Carl Lindner, Allen ran the entire operation and reported directly to the owner. Castellini and two other Cincinnati businessmen bought control of the team from Lindner in November, a transaction approved Thursday by major league baseball owners.

    In many ways, Castellini demonstrated he will be much different from previous owners. He was more comfortable in front of a microphone - Lindner generally kept to himself - and showed a broad knowledge of his team, his players and what they've done.

    Castellini, who will run the team as its chief executive, said the payroll this season would be $60 million to $65 million, roughly the same as last season. The Reds lost 89 games last year, when they opened with a $60 million payroll that ranked 19th in the majors. The 2006 payroll was set before Castellini got control of the team.

    The new owner also showed a fondness for former Reds manager Lou Piniella, who is out of baseball at the moment. Tampa Bay bought out the final year of his contract at the end of last season, and Piniella is doing television work this year.

    Castellini met with Piniella and asked him to become a special adviser with the Reds. Castellini said Piniella turned down the offer because he wants to take a year off.

    Robert Castellini, middle, new owner of the Cincinnati Reds baseball team, stands with Thomas Williams, left, Reds vice chairman and treasurer, and William J. Williams, Reds chairman, at a news conference at Great American Ball Park, Friday, Jan. 20, 2006, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/David Kohl)

    "I wanted Lou to come up here in the worst way as a special adviser," Castellini said. "He promised me if I asked him to, he'd come down to spring training. He's just a terrific guy. He'll not be with us this year."

    The Reds have put together five consecutive losing seasons, their longest such streak in 50 years. Castellini said that will change.

    "I want to make a promise today to Reds fans wherever you are, a promise from one fan to another: We will bring championship baseball to Cincinnati," he said emphatically.

    The five-year losing streak reflects an organization that lost its direction in the late 1990s, unsure whether it was rebuilding or contending. General manager Jim Bowden was fired midway through 2003 - the first season at Great American Ball Park - when the lack of pitching and prospects caught up with the team.

    The Reds have put more emphasis and money into the farm system since Bowden left, but haven't been able to develop pitching prospects. Last season, the Reds had the NL's top offense - most runs, doubles and homers in the league - but their pitching staff finished last.

    Robert Castellini, the new owner of the Cincinnati Reds, watches a video during a news conference at Great American Ball Park, Friday, Jan. 20, 2006, in Cincinnati. In his first day running the ballclub, the produce magnate reorganized the front office and promised fans a championship. (AP Photo/David Kohl)

    "We spent a lot more money on scouting in the last two or three years and a lot more on minor league development, but the results are not showing yet," Castellini said. "And I understand that it's supposed to take longer than that, but I'm impatient."

    He's also more willing than Lindner to get involved. Like former owner Marge Schott, Castellini plans to have an office in the ballpark, studying how things run. Lindner and other Reds owners preferred to work out of their business offices.

    "I'll be here every day," Castellini said. "I will be hands-on. That's a promise."
    I really like these photos of Castellini, the Reds Pride button, him and the Williams brothers wearing Reds uniforms (those Sunday Alternates).

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  • Ravenlord
    Castellini's announcement speech
    01/20/2006 3:45 PM ET

    Thank you for being here. It means a lot to see so many of you, and we're honored that Marty Brennaman came here to introduce us. Marty's a Hall of Famer, he's the voice of the Reds and the biggest fan I know. But you know Marty, too. He calls them as he sees them and he'll be watching us closely.

    Our goal is to make Marty -- and fans everywhere -- proud of the entire Reds organization and what we will accomplish.

    You probably want to know -- who are these people? Why did they put together the group that's buying "Our Reds," and what do they plan to do?

    It's really pretty simple. I'm here today because I'm a life-long Reds fan, also. I love baseball. Always have. Since I was a little kid.

    I also love Cincinnati. I believe in this city and the people who live here. It's where our family business started, grew and prospered. And it's where I became a fan of the Cincinnati Reds.

    I remember listening to Reds games on my big old Crosley radio. They called it portable, but it was 20 times bigger than today's portables. I'd hide it under the covers at night when I was 6 or 7 years old and had to go to school the next day. I'd listen to the Reds games and Waite Hoyt. I loved it. Even rain delays were great because Waite would tell stories about his early days playing with Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.

    Some of you may remember -- those old radios had vacuum tubes, and they really got hot. One night I dozed off, and that radio got so hot it set my covers on fire.

    My parents were pretty hot, too. It was a while before I could listen to Waite Hoyt and the Reds again.

    In that very personal and special way a kid loves a baseball team, the Reds became part of my life. Just as they've become part of yours. Today is a new chapter in my life with the Cincinnati Reds. Today I'm proud to be both a fan and an owner of the Reds -- the first and one of the most storied franchises in professional baseball.

    I want to make a promise today to Reds fans wherever you are -- a promise from one fan to another -- we will bring championship baseball to Cincinnati. This is just our first day on the job. From this moment forward, we will work toward that dream, and will not rest until we exceed the expectations of our fans.

    The Reds belong at the top of the standings. Our tradition is one of success and achievement. Only three other teams have won more World Series than the Reds -- the Yankees, the Cardinals and the Red Sox. We want to bring that tradition home.

    Before I go any further, on behalf of the entire ownership group, I want to thank Carl Lindner for his stewardship of the Cincinnati Reds.

    We respect him deeply as man of integrity and applaud his intense loyalty to Cincinnati. I want to thank George Strike, a past and continuing partner in the Reds, for teaming with Carl to allow us the opportunity to purchase this fabled franchise. We respect their continuing the tradition of nearly 140 years of hometown ownership of this community jewel and this American icon.

    If it hadn't been for Carl's help and advice and George's as well, we wouldn't be here today as the new owners. We're happy that they are retaining a portion of their shares, and we're happy that Carl has agreed to stay on board as honorary chairman. Longtime fans and owners Louise Nippert and Bill Reik will continue with the group as well.

    I also want to introduce my partners in the new ownership group:

    • W. Joseph Williams, Jr. (Joe Williams) will serve as chairman.

    • Tom Williams will serve as vice-chair and treasurer. The Williams family has long been associated with the Reds and, with me, most recently we were partners of the St. Louis Cardinals.

    We were fortunate to have had many people with Cincinnati ties express interest in joining the ownership group. Completing our group of owners is a most impressive list of accomplished business and civic leaders -- all of whom are passionate about the Reds. Because Major League Baseball has not yet completed approval, we are unable to single any out at this time. Within a few weeks, a list of our partners will be disclosed.

    In addition to sharing my long history with the Reds, these men and women also share my passion. Together we will work with the staff, the team and the fans to bring championship baseball to Cincinnati.

    We're not new to this game. Some in our ownership group have been in baseball as part owners of the Reds and with the Orioles, the Rangers and the Cardinals. As partners in St. Louis, Tom and Joe Williams and I had front-row seats for the transformation of the St. Louis franchise.

    Ten years ago, the Cardinals' situation was almost identical to where the Reds are now. A long-range plan that focused on building a world class organization by putting the right people in the right jobs was put in place. Improved performance led to improved attendance. Improved attendance led to more revenue. More revenue led to more payroll. Now, the Cardinals are a strong, consistent winner.

    That's where we want to be. We're buying the Reds to win. Anything else is unacceptable. We will not rest until we are putting a contender on the field ... year in and year out.

    Our first step will be to create one of the most respected organizations in baseball. We'll forge a winning attitude and culture. We'll ensure that the best people are in the right roles with the resources to win.

    To do this, we are going to change the management structure by separating responsibility for the business operation and the baseball operation. This will allow our people to focus on delivering the best possible results in their areas of responsibility.

    I will serve as chief executive officer, with both groups reporting to me. I'm happy to announce that John Allen has agreed to stay with us as chief operating officer to head our business operation. Our general manager and head of baseball operations, Dan O'Brien, also will report directly to me.

    Second, we'll have a competitive budget. We'll operate this year with a budget in the $60-65 million range, comparable to last year. There are very successful teams with comparable budgets. For example the White Sox, Astros and Athletics. Two of those three teams were in the World Series last year.

    Or, Cleveland, who finished two games out of the playoffs, only had two-thirds of our budget. Most importantly, we will invest our budget opportunistically and strategically. Our experience as owners with other franchises has proven that it's not so much what you spend -- it's how you spend that's most important.

    As we build our organization, we'll likely do some other things differently once we get our sleeves rolled up. I intend to work out of the Reds offices on a daily basis until I have an insider's understanding of how we work -- what we're doing well and what we can do better.

    I'm sure there are other issues and personnel matters that you have specific questions about. We don't have all the answers yet. It's our first day. But we're moving quickly. We met with all the Reds front office and operations staff and talked with our manager and coaches to discuss our plans and hit the ground running. Spring Training opens in 27 days, and we will be ready.

    Third, we're also going to increase our community involvement. We are big believers in giving and will work to make the Reds Community Fund more visible and impactful than ever.

    Along those lines, we'll also be reaching out more aggressively to our fans in this city, the region and throughout the nation. We will be visible within the community...telling our story and strategy. Our goal is to make the fans in Reds Nation feel a part of the baseball experience and our communications will be timely, transparent and truthful to foster this sense of pride and passion through understanding.

    And, as I told employees this morning, we will work to make the experience at Great American Ball Park even more memorable. Kids and adults will want to be here. This is baseball. This is fun. And it should be fun for everyone, whether you're an associate, a player or a fan. And just as I'm proud to be a Reds owner, I am proud to be a Reds fan.

    I want our fans to be proud and passionate about being Reds fans. Look for Reds employees in the stands periodically asking for your opinion on how we can make being at the ballpark a memorable experience.

    The bottom line is that we are not going to rest until our fans are happy. My wife, Susie, has a pillow in our living room. Stitched right into that pillow is the phrase, "If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy."

    In our Reds organization, if our fans ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.

    That is going to be our driving force.

    We will create a winning team worthy of the unwavering loyalty of our fans.

    We are America's first professional baseball team. We believe that once again we will be the best. We've seen how a winning organization shines a national spotlight on our community and our region. That's what this community deserves.

    I thank you all for this opportunity.

    We look forward to bringing championship baseball home for all of us.

    Thank you.
    Q&A Transcript:
    Hal opened things up: "How long will it take for a contender?"
    "Our goal is this year. But looking at things from the glass half empty perspective, we obviously have some pitching challenges. Our minor league system has been very poor and I know it takes some time to fix that, but I'm an impatient guy. We have an outstanding manager" (didn't say the same about the GM or COO one time I noticed). We will be better than people think this year."

    Brad Johanssen inquires about the budget:
    "The budget will break even. If attendance goes up by us placing a winning team on the field, the payroll will also go up."

    Furman spews about a possible increase in personnel:
    "There is a potential of all of that."

    John Papovich from WCPO asks about scouting and he basically said they will try to improve it. Not too much more detail now though.

    Daugherty (who gets complimented by Cast for his good columns) asks him to pretend he is at a job interview and asks him why he's the right man for the job:
    "Expect passion and energy. 110 percent. We will look at the cup half full."

    Marc asks them if they are willing to take a hit on budget to help the team:
    "Yes. If we are in the middle of July and contending, we will bite the bullet. Not early on though."

    Dan Hoard asks about him meeeting with Sweet Lou and if he's a candidate to be with the team:

    "He is a winner. He is a taking a year off this year. We wanted him as a special advisor. He promised to come to Spring Training with us if we asked him to come, but he won't be with us this year."

    And they cut the interview off after that.

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  • Ravenlord
    the press conferance will happen at 4 today. here is a letter from from the new owners:
    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."

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  • sschirmer
    Reds Fans, I am so happy for you guys. I really feel this group is going to be good for the organization. I really look forward to seeing you guys' fortunes improve in the next couple years. Good Luck!

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  • Ravenlord
    started a topic New Reds era about to dawn

    New Reds era about to dawn

    Thursday, January 19, 2006
    New Reds era about to dawn
    MLB owners expected to approve sale during meetings today

    By Cliff Peale
    Enquirer staff writer

    Today marks a new beginning for baseball's oldest professional franchise.

    Cincinnatians Bob Castellini and Tom and Joe Williams will take control of the Cincinnati Reds after Major League Baseball owners approve the sale of the team at their meetings today in Arizona.

    Castellini, a Xavier University trustee, planned to return from the meetings today to attend Xavier's Crosstown Shootout battle with the University of Cincinnati at the Cintas Center tonight.

    Friday afternoon he's to make his first public statements about the Reds in a 4 p.m. press conference at Great American Ball Park.

    Castellini, who will serve as chief executive officer, and the other owners will face major challenges:

    The team on the field. The Reds have posted five straight losing seasons. There are no indications there will be a major boost in payroll in 2006 that might bring in prominent players.

    The club's top management. It's not expected that the new owners will make immediate changes, such as replacing or reassigning chief operating officer John Allen or general manager Dan O'Brien.

    Media and marketing. Major changes could be forthcoming here. For example, the club already has hired former WLW-AM general sales manager Bill Reinberger as its director of corporate sales, and Castellini's son Phil is taking some of the marketing duties.

    Approval at the meetings today is expected to be a formality. Owners will be occupied with more controversial matters, including MLB's sale of the Washington Nationals and plans for the upcoming World Baseball Classic. Steve Greenberg, the New York investment banker who helped broker the Reds deal, said it could be "a two-minute presentation."

    "This went very smoothly," Greenberg said. "Once they got in, Mr. Castellini and his partners knew exactly what they wanted to do."

    The group led by Castellini and the Williams brothers control 75 percent of the stock in Cincinnati Reds LLC, worth about $120 million. The remainder is smaller units owned by former CEO Carl Lindner, Louise Nippert, Bill Reik and George Strike.

    Castellini's group still could sell smaller units to other investors, so it is not known how much Castellini personally will own.

    "I want to congratulate all of the new owners of the Reds," Lindner said Wednesday through a spokeswoman. "Many of them have been longtime friends and business associates. They are leaders in Cincinnati and love the Reds as I do and as our fans do.

    "I am pleased, and have always felt it was very important, that the team's ownership remains in our community. The future prospects for the Reds are bright because the new managing owners - Bob, Tom and Joe - bring with them many years of baseball experience and a love of the game. Edyth and I look forward to attending a Reds World Series game real soon."

    The sale started last March when three shareholders - Nippert, Strike and Gannett Co., owner of The Enquirer - announced they would put their combined 51.5 percent stake up for sale.

    But Lindner did not commit to relinquishing his CEO role until last fall, when the Castellini group emerged.

    Castellini and the Williams brothers formerly were minority owners of the St. Louis Cardinals. The principal owner in that group is Cincinnatian Bill DeWitt, whose father owned the Reds in the 1960s.

    E-mail [email][email protected][/email
    Last edited by Ravenlord; 01-20-2006, 02:32 PM.

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