We're in a world of instant takes, where people rarely pause to think about how they feel about something. In my line of work, the ability to quickly fire off opinions somewhat coherently as soon as something happens is valued more than any other trait. Sometimes, I think possess a tiny bit of that ability.
Other times, I'd rather have some time to really think about how I feel about something before I unleash my thoughts.
Even other times, I might ponder for a few days and still not have a hard, definitive opinion about something that everyone else is breathing fire over.
The Reds firing Bryan Price is one of those time.
As I write this, it's been nearly 48 hours since the Reds whacked their manager, a move that didn't exactly pay big immediate dividends last night in St. Louis. As I watched Brandon Finnegan struggle in the first inning, I imagined what the texts between Price and former pitching coach Mack Jenkins would've looked like if they were watching back at home. But even with the benefit of time to think about it, I don't have a real definitive take on what the Reds decided to do.
That's probably because Bryan Price never moved the meter that much. He was always just kind of there, occupying a place in the dugout, speaking on behalf of the team, and occasionally doing something worth talking about, but rarely a central figure in any real Reds development. I long ago started to assume that he'd be long gone by the time the Reds were good again, and even as I openly lamented how he was never given a real chance at success, I admitted that he had to have been smart enough to know what he was signing up for.
I understand why a 3-15 team would blow out a manager who'd never won. I also understand that it looks like the Reds are scapegoating Price, in the process bringing themselves a ton of criticism about their current state of affairs. I wouldn't have cared if the Reds kept Bryan Price around for the rest of the season, nor does it move me emotionally that they decided to move on so early in the season. I never viewed Bryan as a big part of the problem, but I didn't see him as part of the solution either. More than anything, I'm left with the feeling that if the Reds had decided that he wasn't going to come back in 2019, then they did him a favor by not making him stick around for whatever misery might lay ahead in 2018.
And honestly, today is probably the last day I'll think about Bryan Price.
More important to me is what happens next, both in the short term and down the road. I'm not naive enough to think that a couple of changes in the dugout will take a season that's gone sour so quickly and salvage it enough to make the wins and losses matter, but I'm perhaps unreasonably hopeful that we can still watch some interesting baseball in Cincinnati this summer.
I'm also interested in what other changes might in be store. Not necessarily from a personnel standpoint, but in terms of how this club operates. John Fay wrote a piece on Friday about how the Reds lack a "way," which is something the Cardinals have been so identified with. As I read it, I couldn't help but wonder what role ownership could have in setting forth an organizational way of doing things that could eventually pay off.
I like Bob Castellini. He's built back up the Reds' brand, he helped deliver an All-Star Game, he's signed off on many great ballpark improvements, his team's community outreach efforts are beyond commendable, and the link the Reds have made with their former greats should be emulated throughout sports. My few interactions with him have been very, very pleasant. But while I wouldn't call him the most meddlesome owner ever, I do wonder how much he's gotten in the way of decisions that, had they been made, could've helped his team achieve better results.
The refusal to sign off a rebuild in 2014. An insistence on not starting the rebuild until after the Reds hosted the 2015 All-Star Game. Being a little too fond of Billy Hamilton. Some financial decisions he spearheaded that handcuffed the team and the front office. Maybe being just a little too involved, acting a little too emotionally.
I don't write this out of exhaustion with blaming Bryan Price that compels me to point the finger toward Bob Castellini. Instead, I write this as a way of wondering out loud whether a new way of doing things might be best executed if the owner allowed the people who work for him a little more autonomy and drifted further into the background.
I could be very wrong about this, but I've read and heard about what the Reds owners wants and doesn't want enough to make me think that perhaps his team would be better off if Bob Castellini would best help the Reds put forth a "way" by getting out of the way.