Or is it.......(yawn)......followed by....."sell the team, Bob!"......"they don't care, why should I?"....and..."who do you think the Bengals sign in free agency?"
As much as I'm excited by the end of the 99 day lockout and the return of baseball, I'll admit a hesitancy going into the show last night. I feared getting what I ultimately got from listeners: A combination shrug of the shoulder and flip of the middle finger towards the Reds.
I get it. The lockout was mind numbing and tone deaf as billionaires spared with millionaires as gas prices soared and concerns escalated with Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
But it goes even deeper than that. It's been a rough offseason for the Reds.
Prior to the lockout, fans had experienced a September stretch run collapse after ownership left a likable/loveable team to fend for itself without reinforcements and help offered. Then came the offseason and like opponents facing Heath Hembree, the hits just kept on coming.
Tucker Barnhart was traded away, Wade Miley was given away and Nick Castellanos opted out to walk away.
Nobody can forget the ominous tone set when GM Nick Krall dropped the now infamous "we must align our payroll to our resources” line that had fans reaching for a pitchforks to storm the castle that is Great American Ballpark.
A lockout followed on December 2. Gone was baseball and with it any semblance of Reds offseason news. No Redsfest. No caravan. No reporting of pitchers and catchers. The original Opening Day canceled. Then came the public reveal by Hall of Fame writer Hal McCoy that Reds ownership had tried to get him fired for criticism when he wrote for the Fox Sports Ohio website.
And oh by the way, all of this was happening as the Bengals engineered a magical run to the Super Bowl that seized the city, capturing the support and attention of anyone and everyone in the process. You could almost feel the sports landscape shifting below your feet.
Momentum is wearing orange and black.
So, what now?
Something has to happen to shake Reds fans at their core and rekindle their inner fire of hope, optimism and excitement.
It's not another bobblehead.
The Reds have a young exciting core that includes Rookie of the Year Jonathan India and Tyler Stephenson. The pipeline has the likes of Jose Barrero, Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo. The fans want to moved. The fans want to be excited. But the 2021 version of the Reds wasn't good enough, and as of today, the 2022 version is several steps back of that, with a gaping hole in right field.
I've got two words. Nick. Castellanos. Over 300 free agents are frantically searching for a team at this moment. Nick is one of them. The uncertainty of the market provides the Reds an opportunity. Make it easy and comfortable for him. Offer him a one year deal. Pick a number, say $22M. That's a $5M bump from the qualifying amount the Reds offered and he rejected while opting out of his deal.
It's a win, win.
Let Castellanos settle and focus on baseball in surroundings he's already comfortable in. Nick and his family know their way around Goodyear and Cincinnati.
It would sure beat scrambling to a new city, with a new team, finding new housing for spring training and finding a new place to call home during the regular season.
Yea, I know, Scott Boras is his agent and he's looking for a long-term deal with a lot of zeros in it for his client. But isn't there a better chance of finding that next offseason when things have settled with the market and the game?
As for the Reds, imagine the shockwaves and celebration if they announced the return of the fan favorite. Castellanos provides a swagger and in-your-face-don't-give-a-damn that the city fell in love with.
Signing Castellanos might only be for one-year, but it would buy the Reds some time and certainly change the narrative about the organization.
More importantly, it would make the Reds an immediate contender in a very winnable NL Central.
Ownership signed off on the CBA. They have agreed to the terms of competition.
Now invest in the fan base. Time for the Reds to spend some money to make some money.
Short of that, I'm worried.
It's almost eerie how much what fans say about Reds ownership sounds like what I heard for years and decades about Mike Brown.
It's like the talking points were handed from one fan base to the other.