Pirates' Owners: Show Me the Money

Marshall CupelliContributor IMarch 18, 2008

What is wrong with the ownership of the Pittsburgh Pirates? Their off-season has probably been the quietest I have seen in a while, making no big improvements to a squad who went 68-94 the previous year. Their biggest free agency splash is RHP Byung-Hyun Kim (one-year, $850,000), who we all can admit will do very little to stop the Pirates downward slide. I believe the Pittsburgh Pirates even took a step backward in their quest for a World Series Championship by letting some decent talent go. The lack of moves has even angered players. Jason Bay said it himself. “I don’t think anyone in this room is going to tell you we’re a championship-quality team.” The departures from the pirates include RHP Saloman Torres, INF Cesar Izturis, INF Jose Castillo, on top of RHP Shawn Chacon. All of whom were decent players who could have contributed this season. Now, all we have to show for it is Kim and ball hog Doug Mientkiewicz. I don’t believe all their other acquisitions will have an impact this season.

If the Pirates want to end their losing ways, they need to go out and be more competitive in free agency. To be competitive, you must open up your wallet a little. I know the Pirates are going be in the bottom eight in payroll again, but the Nuttings and McClatchy continue to make profit in the millions each season. With this in mind, there should be no reason that they could not bring in more quality talent.

Last season marked the 15th straight losing season along with a drop in attendance that ranked 15th in the MLB in 2007. The Pirates are losing their fan base that has supported them for so long. Fans disappointed by so much losing and poor ownership organized a walkout on June 30, 2007 (ironically it was Bob Walk bobble head night). I had the opportunity to participate in this walkout that was supposed to take place after the fourth inning.Fans who were disappointed with the current ownership would just leave their seats and wait in the main concourse area till the fifth was over. By the time the fourth inning was over, my friend and I got up, along with a couple other dissatisfied fans to show the Pirate ownership how important it is to not worry about profit and worry about winning. I believe this is a great example of the how sick Pirate fans are of losing. Things can be turned around so easily. As of now, we have a pair of young aces in Tom Gorzelanny and Ian Snell, the 2006 NL batting champ Freddy Sanchez, along with young talent in the minors such as Andrew McCutchen and Neil Walker gives fans like me hope for a bright future, but it seems like I might have to witness a major league record of 16 straight losing seasons before I see that bright future.