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It’s not my Money(ball)! - Parts Revisited

Or “Updates on Part 3.5 and Part 4” Or “Yeah...about that...”

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Oakland Athletics
Oakland A’s President Dave Kaval
Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

For those keeping score:

And now...Parts Revisited or “...Yeah...about that...”

Good Idea, Bad Idea

Did you know that you can request office hours with Oakland A’s Team President Dave Kaval? I did not. At first glance, under normal circumstances, that idea seems neat. Granted, the included link says one would be screened, which is sensible, but otherwise, I would not expect face time with Andrew Friedman or even Brandon Gomes if I were trying to get some equivalent facetime with Dodgers personnel.

Courtesy of the Oakland Athletics

I bring this tidbit up because I had a couple of edits to fix in Part 4 (which are now live), and I got a weird news notification on my phone because I had forgotten to turn off my news alerts about the Athletics once Part 4 was published.

TrueBlueLA, Michael Elizondo, April 22, 2022:

Moreover, I would be remiss if I failed to mention that last year, A’s President Dave Kaval tweeted from a Las Vegas Golden Knight Playoff game, while the Athletics were currently playing at home against the Mariners. Don’t believe me? Well...

You would think that tweeting from a not-Athletics game in the city the team is rumored to be moving to while the Athletics are playing (in a playoff chase, no less), would be emblematic of poor taste. Let’s face it, there are bad ideas and there are...bad ideas. But, time has a way of moving on. And you would likely think that the team president could not possibly make things worse now. Even with the Triple-AAA team now outdrawing the main club. Yeah...about that...

Per KNBR on April 26, 2022:

The Oakland A’s are averaging 7,942 fans per home game so far this season, by far the worst mark in Major League Baseball. Yet, A’s President Dave Kaval seems to be more interested in how many people are attending games across the Bay.

In a bizarre string of tweets, Kaval complained about how the local media is not covering the Giants attendance issues, retweeting multiple photos showing a sparse crowd at Oracle Park for the first game of the Bay Bridge Series on Tuesday.

Kaval tagged multiple Bay Area reporters, and even responded to an account called “Oracle Park Seagull”, as he apparently tried to make the case that the media is favoring the Giants by not covering their attendance issues in the same way they are covering the lack of fans at the Oakland Coliseum.

You might think, maybe he’s posting from his personal account. That’s not the best public relations move, but okay, he has the right to express his opinion — oh, he’s doing this hostile tweeting on the team account. Yeah...about that...

Oh wow, you can literally access all of the tweets on the Oakland team page (as of when I wrote this essay).

Screenshot of his page on the Athletics’ website from April 26, 2022.
Courtesy of the Oakland Athletics

I often do not fail at having things to say. What more needs to be said after seeing the following:

I did not think that the situation in Oakland would take such a turn or at least I did not have it reaching farcical levels in April. If you had “Twitter fight with a (not a) seagull” on your MLB bingo card, congratulations? But the following was a postscript to Part 4, at least, for now...

“Where are you gonna go?”

In Part 3.5, I focused, in part, on the Cincinnati Reds. I mostly focused on how the team was stripping itself down for parts, in a baseball sense, with almost frightening speed. The most notable example was the trade of OF Jesse Winker, 3B Eugenio Suárez to the Seattle Mariners for RHP Justin Dunn, OF Jake Fraley, LHP Brandon Williamson, and a player to be named later.

TrueBlueLA, Michael Elizondo, April 5, 2022:

To recap, in order for the Reds to clear the now-Cody Bellinger-esque contract on their books (Bellinger is making $17 million this year to hit like a pitcher so far, and Suarez is set to make $11 million to do the same), the Reds gave away an actual All-Star to clear that Suarez’s entire contract off their books. Oh, and if you watched the Bauer clip, Suarez was the hitter who didn’t have the RBI hit, presumably because Joey Votto was the lead runner...or something. No idea.

If I were a Reds fan, I would revolt and not spend a dime until the bad man was gone, a la Frank McCourt (but even he’s not really gone per se - spoiler alert for an upcoming essay).

But how can the Dodgers profit from this baseball malpractice masquerading as a major league team? Well, the Dodgers should clearly re-enact the Homer Bailey trade and take Joey Votto off the Reds’ hands for the sole purpose of obtaining a Luis Castillo or Tyler Mahle. Except for the fact, Joey Votto has a full no-trade clause and he has previously stated that he doesn’t want to be traded. Maybe he likes cinnamon and cloves in his chili, who knows. And the Reds just named Tyler Mahle as the Opening Day starter. They wouldn’t trade their Opening Day starter, would they?

Again, you would think that the situation in Cincinnati could not get worse right? Yeah...about that...

Opening Day in Cincinnati is essentially a public holiday because, for the longest time, it was the first game of the entire major league season. Per the team’s historian:

Veteran Cincinnati baseball fans will fondly recall that Cincinnati not only had the home opener every year, but that the Reds also hosted the first game of the season. And this tradition, which surely was embedded somewhere in the U.S. Constitution, or at least in the hallowed rules of Major League Baseball, was rudely snatched away from the Reds in the 1980s, and well, baseball just hasn’t been the same since.

In case you were wondering, the Dodgers and Reds have played in Cincinnati on opening day five times, with the last instance being in 1989. Even with the uniform schedule now, as you saw on the news clip and the tweet below, Opening Day in Cincinnati is a big deal.

So with all that history in mind, with all that civic pride in play, on this particular day, you would think that all Reds management had to was not figuratively set the stadium on fire and you would chalk the day up as a win.

Yeah...about that...

Reds President Phil Castellini caused the current controversy, which is weirdly worse than how the newscast described it. So I will present the offending excerpt in his own voice and let you judge for yourself.

Sell the team to who? Wow. Pick up and move the team elsewhere? Wow. Just wow. I suppose folks should be grateful that he did not say everyone should shut up and eat Skyline Chili, I suppose. I am stretching for charity today. So let us go over the timeline of what was said because it actually is worse than you think.

So, then you would think - okay, he said something incredibly tone-deaf on what is supposed to be the most team-friendly day of the year. You would think that Phil Castellini immediately apologized at the first opportunity, right? An apology would not be the greatest public relations move on Opening Day, but okay, rip the band-aid off and say mea culpa and put the story to bed. He didn’t make it worse, right? Yeah...about that...

Wow. Just wow. Okay, it is so bad. I never thought I would see a practical use for this classic Simpsons bit.

Only after all that did the club issue the following statement that night:

“I apologize to Reds fans and regret the comments that I made earlier today. We love this city, we love this team, and we love our fans. I understand how our fans feel and I am sorry.”

As Dodgers fans, we do not have an equivalent holiday. I suppose if the team had an annual Vin Scully day, which he would have had to have been fine with, which isn’t his nature due to his humility, for fifty years and then someone in management openly disparaged the team or the fans...yeah, I just cannot wrap my head around it.

Anyway, coincidentally enough, the Reds lost eleven games in a row that ended on April 24, 2022, after the Castellini statements, which is not a great look. Apparently, Mr. Phil Castellini has sent team employees a letter attempting to apologize again. But the Reds are 3-20 at this point and fans, have already brought out the paper bags to show their disgust.

And if this situation somehow gets worse, I will write up an update. But once again, I figured that I would share a couple of quick anecdotes about matters where it is not my money.