New-look Reds have no look

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 4, 2003

My 10-year-old son, Brandon, went to Great American Ballpark with his grandfather Friday to watch the Reds play the Giants.

Although he was excited to see Barry Bonds play in person for the first time, he was somewhat disappointed he would not get to see many of his favorite Reds. Ken Griffey Jr. and Austin Kearns are on the disabled list. Aaron Boone, who had taken over as his favorite Red in recent weeks, is now a Yankee. Jose Guillen, who he was just starting to appreciate, has packed his bags and moved to California, joining the Oakland A's.

Last week, the Reds decided to clean house. On Monday, John Allen, chief operating officer for the Reds, fired manager Bob Boone and general manager Jim Bowden.

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Neither move was unexpected. The team had been losing and it was, perhaps, time for change.

I do have a problem with what Allen did next. He stood behind a podium and told Reds fans "This doesn't mean we're throwing in the towel on the season."


On Tuesday, closer Scott Williamson and his 21 saves were shipped out to Boston for a minor league pitcher, a player to be named later and cash. On Wednesday, Guillen, who was third in the National League with a .337 batting average and had 23 home runs, was traded to the A's for pitcher Aaron Harrang and a couple of minor leaguers. On Thursday,

Boone, the team's lone All-Star representative this year, was traded to the Yankees for pitching prospects Brandon Claussen and Charlie Manning and $1.5 million in cash. Later in the day, left-handed reliever Gabe White joined Boone on a plane bound for New York for future considerations.

Not throwing in the towel? Did he think nobody would notice that those guys were missing from the team?

The Reds can call it rebuilding, but I call it a firesale. They have intentionally misled the paying customers, the fans. When Great American Ballpark was under construction, the taxpayers were led to believe that if they agreed to build a new stadium, the Reds would put together a team that would contend. Obviously, this is not the case.

Once trust is broken, it is extremely hard to earn back. John Allen is about to learn that lesson the hard way.

Rumor had it, the Atlanta Braves had an interest in Sean Casey, and offered the Reds a box of baseballs in return. The Reds accepted, but Major League Baseball nixed the deal. After that, the Reds pulled a deal off the table that would have sent Adam Dunn to the Seattle Mariners for a top-of-the line fungo bat.

OK, these deals were never really considered, but the way the Reds unloaded players this past week, it would not have been all that shocking.

Shawn Doyle is managing editor of The Ironton Tribune.