And he doesn’t mean their books about evil, either. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Bob Smizik is no stranger to turning up the heat on Pirates ownership, but following recent pleas of poverty from GM Neil Huntington and team president Neil Coonelly, the veteran columnist takes his protests to an entirely new level ; “Isn’t it about time someone or somebody —- Majorr League Baseball or the Pennsylvania Legislature or the Allegheny County Council or the Pittsburgh City Council —investigated how this team is operated?…someone has got to put some pressure on this organization, which is playing in a taxpayer-funded stadium.”
More than a decade after fans were told a new stadium would enable the Pirates to play competitive baseball, we are told by executives of the team that if nothing changes the Pirates cannot play competitive baseball.
Since the Pirates have had 18 losing consecutive losing seasons, lost 105 games last year and are the laughing stock of not just baseball but all of sports, Connelly’s comments are roughly equivalent to these:
“Build me a restaurant. I will serve rotgut food and won’t improve on its quality until people flock to eat this garbage. When we have accumulated enough profit by serving the dreck, we will improve the product.”
The Nutting ownership group — by the very words of its top two baseball executives — cannot afford to be in the baseball business.
It cannot deliver, as promised, a competitive baseball team. This is true although revenue sharing is beyond the wildest dreams of what ownership might have expected when the competitive promise was made.