It was one of the more bizarre pre-game ceremonies I’ve ever seen.
As I’ve stated, this is the last game the Reds will play in Sarastoa. So there were some city officials on the field doing an official farewell kind of thing, with Reds president and CEO Bob Castellini and GM Walt Jocketty saying goodbye to the stadium operations folks with a framed picture and a handshake.
But as the city officials were talking to kick things off, there were boos. And more than a few. It’s not a huge crowd here at Ed Smith Stadium, but clearly those here are still not pleased with how Sarasota botched this. Talk to most, and the blame falls largely with the city that the Reds are leaving. And the fans here today let them hear it.
Castellini quieted them somewhat by saying that the folks on the field were among those who worked to keep the Reds here and he wouldn’t have been on the field with them otherwise. It’s a departure, he said, that was bittersweet.
“We’ve played baseball in Florida for the past 87 years,” Castellini said. “We leave a lot of memories and a lot of tradition. We leave Sarasota with some heavy hearts.”