“I’m a lot happier this year, you know,” he said. “Last year, with all of the restrictions and the state of the country and the anger and everything. I was just an unhappy, depressed, trapped person. And that’s not a good remedy for success in anything you do.”
Castellanos is a much happier guy these days, even though he is taciturn with few smiles during interviews. A lot of that has to do with no face-to-face interaction with the media.
Even with the mask restrictions and other rules lifted after the Reds reached the vaccination requirement, all media interviews are done via Zoom.
As he addressed the media before Monday’s game, Castellanos was in a room staring at a camera.
“Get rid of Zoom? Yeah, honestly, this is terrible,” he said. “What am I doing, talking to screen? A camera and a screen. Y’know? Screens to me are the worst possible things people can look at. I’m sick and tired of it, honestly.”
Of the lifted restrictions, Castellanos said, “Anything to get back to the good old days of 2019, I’m for. I’m ready to put everything that has to do with Covid in the rear-view mirror and never look back at it.”
As he appeared on the screen, as usual, Castellanos was wearing a red shirt he wears under his uniform. On the chest is the number 21.
“I got this at the Roberto Clemente Museum in Pittsburgh,” he said, referring to the former Pirates outfielder/humanitarian. Clemente finished the 1972 season with 3,000 hits, then perished off the coast of Puerto Rico in a plane crash
The cargo plane, later discovered unfit to fly, was filled with supplies to aid earthquake victims in Nicaragua, a flight he organized and for which he paid.
“It is an incredible place (the Clemente Museum) with a tremendous amount of baseball history. It’s an awesome celebration of pretty much who Roberto Clemente was, how he played the game, how he treated other people and what he meant to the city of Pittsburgh.”
Castellanos isn’t the only Reds player who pays tribute to Clemente. Pitcher/outfielder Michael Lorenzen wears Reds uniform No. 21 in honor of Clemente.
Wade Miley was scheduled to come off the injured list Monday to pitch against the Phillies, carrying a 4-4 record and a no-hitter against the Cleveland Indians.
“That’s massive,” said Castellanos. “If he does what he did in Cleveland every single time, I like our chances.”
Miley is back, but Jesse Winker and his high-powered bat were not in Monday’s lineup. It was one of those planned days off that Castellanos has taken and that Eugenio Suarez has taken.
“It is tough taking him out of the lineup, for sure, the way he is swinging the bat,” said manager David Bell. “But coming off that road trip (three games in Washington, three days games in Chicago), I really believe this is the right day It is something he and I talked about for a few days leading up to today.”