Extra! Extra! You’ve read all about it. On Jan. 17, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette posted this article on its website regarding the current ownership of the Pittsburgh Pirates. “A petition drive is underway, lobbying Major League Baseball to force the owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates to sell the team. The drive on Change.org was initially seeking 25,000 signatures but bumped that goal up to 50,000 because more than 40,000 had signed. Pittsburgh is a baseball town that is being destroyed by a greedy owner. There are so many loyal fans who truly care and support this team through thick and thin. We deserve better. There needs to be change from the top of the organization down. Bob Nutting needs to sell this team, so that we can see a competitive baseball team year in and year out…”
The petition was started a day after the Pirates announced they would trade Andrew McCutchen, the face of their franchise, to the San Francisco Giants.
Let’s go back to June 2007. Bob Smizik of the Post-Gazette wrote: “The Pirates are doing their best to downplay the fan walkout scheduled for after the third inning of the team’s game Saturday night with the Washington Nationals…The protest is an attempt to draw national attention to the lack of success of the Pirates over the past 15 years.”
The Pirates fans keep yakkin’ and yakkin’ without one ounce of backbone. Herein lies my advice to the Buccos’ faithful. As my grandfather in New Orleans used to say when he would observe someone throwing more “woof tickets” than punches: “Don’t keep talkin’ war talk with peace on your mind.” On Dec. 18, 2012, an article on bleacherreport.com was titled: “Major League Baseball: 10 cities that deserve a team.” Some cities mentioned were Indianapolis and Charlotte. There are only 30 cities that currently have Major League Baseball team franchises. Baseball owners know that they are an exclusive “fraternity.” As they say in most of the urban pool rooms, “quit talkin’ and start chalkin’.”
The deck is stacked against the public. Why? The Green Bay Packers are the only fan-owned team in any of North America’s top four professional sports leagues. The Packers have been owned by a community-based corporation since 1923. The NFL currently bans such an ownership structure, but “grandfathered” in the Packers ownership. Why is a public consortium of ownership prohibited? A group of rich “fat cats” can form an ownership group and get the blessing from all of our professional sports leagues but the general public is prohibited from such an action?
Don’t get it twisted. A petition or any other social ammunition is not going to do you any good. Opinions posted on Facebook, Twitter or Shi___er as well as any other social media “nook and cranny,” will just be lost in the sauce, period. It’s all about numbers. In 2017 the Pirates attendance for the year was 1,919,447, while the MLB average attendance for the year was, 2,553,787, a difference of 634,340, and the Pirates continue to get revenue sharing.
Forbes.com estimates the value of the Pirates to be around $900 million. If 1 million of the 1.9 million fans put up $1000 that would be a billion dollars, giving the Pirates ownership a possible $100 million profit, but remember such an investment is not permitted.
Bud Light here, get your peanuts and popcorn…
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