Phil Castellini chats with Reds fans
Chief operating officer discusses park upgrades, 2008 season
Castellini: Hi everyone, thanks for joining us today. With five days before Opening Day, we're all very excited to start the 2008 season.
bsbabyboy: What is your favorite new addition to Great American Ball Park? What do you think will attract the fans' attention the most?
Castellini: Without question, the third-base concourse with the Gameday Proshop, the HH Gregg Highlight Zone, the Watson's patio area and the Toyota Tundra in center field.
manson1979: I love what has been done to the uniforms, but has there been any thought to wearing the all-red hat with both home and away uniforms?
Castellini: Yes, it's been discussed internally, but we have not made any decisions yet. Changes need to be approved by MLB one season in advance.
bac2: With many families coming to the ballpark and the new area set up, are you doing any package deals so that more families will be willing to come for a whole series?
Castellini: I am assuming that you are referring to the new Meijer Family Section, down the first-base line near the Fan Zone. We reduced the price of the section seats from $34 to $22, to make it appealing for families throughout the season.
big_druff: What kind of stuff do you have planned this year to bring people down to the games?
Castellini: More fireworks on Friday nights, the renovated Machine Room and bands pregame on weekends. Plus, the Hall of Fame Induction Weekend, celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Reds Hall of Fame. Thanks for the great question!
tr07: Do you have any speculation as to who will make the 25-man roster for Opening Day? Will there be any surprises?
Castellini: I am as anxious as any fan to find out what the Opening Day roster will be. Those decisions are in the capable hands of Wayne Krivsky, Walt Jocketty and our baseball staff. I'm primarily focused on the business side of the team, to make sure the fan experiences are the best in baseball.
taxi219: We camped out for Opening Day tickets and were first in line at Fountain Square. Is there any thought to moving that back to the ballpark?
Castellini: Thanks for your dedication, and we appreciate your support for sitting in the rain for two-plus days. Bringing the camp-out to the square, with 3CDC, gives the fans many more amenities than at the ballpark, including the restaurants, etc.
skullcrshr: Have you ever thought about illuminating the retired numbers below the press box? Putting some light on them might be nice for the fans to be able to see them.
Castellini: Thanks for the input and idea. We'll add that to our list of new projects to evaluate with regards to the ballpark experience. The Reds are very blessed to have such a rich tradition and heritage, to be able to promote the number of retired jerseys and microphones.
lcua30: I look forward to seeing new ballpark features, such as the renovations to the Machine Room Grille. Is the Reds organization planning more ballpark upgrades for subsequent years?
Castellini: We removed all of the permanent booths from the Machine Room. Fans really need to check it out, you can see the field much better. We're in the process of a master-plan exercise for the entire facility, in which we will evaluate all parts of the ballpark.
skullcrshr: Other teams have a weekly -- and sometimes daily -- show during the spring, covering what's going on during Spring Training. Why don't the Reds do this? At the very least, a camera could be put in the studio for the Hot Stove League show.
Castellini: We're working with our broadcast partners to look at additional ways to add content to our programming.
jOHNTN: The Reds have done a good job of marketing to their local fans. Do you have any plans to expand further?
Castellini: Great question. We've doubled the outreach of our winter caravan, covering twice as many cities and twice as many stops. And by bringing our radio network in-house, we are expanding our reach to the outlying areas of Reds Country. We have also added four regional sales reps that cover Columbus, Ohio, Indianapolis, Ind., and Lexington and Louisville, Ky. -- and all parts in between.
jOHNTN: Are there any plans to expand your marketing reach to areas that used to be considered Reds Country, like Tennessee?
Castellini: We know we have many fans in the Tennessee region, and our radio affiliates are strong in the area, too. If you're interested in bringing a group to the park, please contact out Group Sales Department at (513) 765-7600 or www.reds.com and look for group sales.
jayevans21: Do you feel the Reds have done enough to win the city's diminishing interest in the organization back with the acquisition of names such as manager Dusty Baker and right-hander Francisco Cordero?
Castellini: There is no question we are committed to winning. The signings of Cordero and Baker illustrate that fact, but results must be proven on the field of play. There is no question we can improve the fans' interest in the team with a winner on the field. That is our No. 1 priority.
rox08: How is the team feeling about the possible move to Arizona for Spring Training in 2010?
Castellini: Those negotiations are ongoing with the city of Goodyear, Ariz. As we all have read in the papers, we'll know more about the status of the negotiations sometime in April.
tr07: I saw that they added a truck in the outfield. How far would Adam Dunn have to launch one to hit that thing?
Castellini: I believe it's estimated to be longer than 500 feet, and that certainly would be one for the record books. It would rival Dunn's blast from 2004 that almost made it into the Ohio River.
jayevans21: What does Baker do differently than the previous managers the club has had?
Castellini: Baker arrived with great credentials, and as a winner. I've had the privilege to witness Baker in Sarasota, Fla. He has great communications with the players, and puts an emphasis on family and camaraderie. His style is a noticeable, positive change in the atmosphere for camp this season.
big_druff: Do you think anyone will actually hit the truck?
Castellini: On the right day, with the right wind, with the right bat -- anything is possible.
Phillips08: How do you think the Reds will fare in the National League Central this year?
Castellini: The NL Central continues to be a wide-open division. We feel we are just as suited as any other team to compete for first place.
colin1113: It is impossible for me as an active-duty soldier to plan on four games. Are there any other options for seeing Opening Day?
Castellini: We have a free military ticket program for active members of the military -- for all games Monday-Thursday. We appreciate the service of the dedicated members of our armed services.
tr07: Are the Reds thinking about making any more trades before the season?
Castellini: With Opening Day just five days from now, the baseball operations department is always looking for ways to make the team better. We'll continue to do so throughout the season. I'll make sure to pass along all your great suggestions to Wayne, Walt and the baseball operations team.
Castellini: Thank you to all for participating in this chat. We look forward to seeing everyone at Great American Ball Park during the 2008 season.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.