UnitedHealthcare Health insurance that includes all Western PA hospitals
Sunday March 24 2019
Leave this field empty.

Don't blame Bob Nutting for being savvy with business

PSR Logo
We miss what we never had. In 2013-15, the sample cart finally swung around the Pittsburgh Pirates fanbase, and it sprinkled on the palate what these devoted enthusiasts have been missing out on since the early ‘90s: glory.

Not only has that cart moved on from your local ballpark, but the flavor has been discontinued.  At least, it has in the stadium that sits on the banks of the Allegheny river, which moved just a little bit slower last week when news rang out that the posterchild of a franchise, who stood just feet from its shoreline on a patch of center field grass every summer for the last nine years was traded. 

Andrew McCutchen, the last quintessential piece to the frenzied fire that was cooking (aside from Manny’s BBQ in center field) in PNC Park those three-magical aberrations, was dealt to the San Francisco Giants, putting the final bucket of water on the now-smoldering, charred remains of a house that will never have the same foundation.

Pirates owner Bob Nutting talked in great lengths Monday about how difficult it was to let the linchpin of Pittsburgh baseball, for nearly the last decade, walk.


So difficult that he’s willing to pay the final $14.75 million of McCutchen’s contract just to get him out the door.

Fans, naturally apoplectic with ownership, started a makeshift petition last week for Nutting to relieve his duties as the supreme ruler of the north shore swashbucklers. 

Sure, that’ll work. 

Posting your petition for Bob Nutting’s removal is the same as your thoughts and prayers Facebook post for hurricane victims, or your Bernie Sanders bumper sticker.  All of this and a “help the homeless” retweet will make about as much difference as me placing a slinky at the top of a moving escalator in hopes that it will someday reach the ground.

Major League Baseball is a business.  Nutting is a shrewd businessman with the sole agenda of yielding profit regardless of on-field results.  What has he done with his business model thus far?  Only an estimated 328% increase since 2009, while turning a franchise that was valued at an estimated $90 million in 1996 into the $1.25 billion dollar operation that it’s estimated to be valued at today.  The Pirates pushed a revenue increase from $144 million in 2009 to a present day $265 million. 

This real-world Max Bialystock is returning a golden profit of over $20 million a year with this team.  He knew exactly what he was doing when he jumped on the Black Pearl with Kevin McClatchy in 1996.  A true businessman can foresee when a commodity will be at its apogee of worth, and that’s why in 2007, Mr. Nutting bought those remaining shares from Mr. McClatchy and became the sole owner of the franchise.

And like Mel Brooks’ whimsical musical, who cares if this thing is a flop?  The television deal is still pumping an estimated $20-25 million into this machine, the groups, field trips, etc. that pack the building—even on those Thursday afternoon games will still show up and PNC Park itself is a baseball mecca that calls like a money-grabbing siren to fans all over.  You, your friend, Bernie Sanders and the thousands of others that refuse to believe that profit trumps wins and losses can’t and won’t do anything about it. 

Signing Felipe Rivero is the microcosm of the little things that have been done to deflect the idea that an on-field, winning product is secondary.  If grabbing AJ Burnett or Edinson Volquez on the cheap actually pans out, then that’s a two bird, one stone deal.  If they turn out to be Jonathan Sanchez or Brandon Inge-worthy, it need not matter.  It's all in the details. 

And if you get angry enough with the team, you still have to combat the wonderful work of Pirates Charities, which, in 2006, was cultivated into the finest altruistic model in Pittsburgh that is today.

From the Miracle League Fields to the CARE-a-Van, Pirates Charities has done amazing things for this community.  You may look at it as a smoke-and-mirror job, another eye-obstacle built to distract you from the consistent losing occurring on a yearly summer basis on the North Shore, but it doesn’t matter.  The substance of life-changing, difference-making work is happening.  And what Pirates Charities does for Pittsburgh sure beats the good riddance out of what your Facebook petition does.

It’s not like Nutting is Gordon Gekko, standing in front of the Teldar Paper shareholders, explaining why “greed, for lack of a better word, is good,” while he's simultaneously plundering the company.  This isn’t Blue Star Airlines, people.

If the Pirates win, then it’s a well-welcomed bonus.  If they lose, ownership will still make money.  How can you, as a human being living and breathing in a monetary world reading this, possibly fault Mr. Nutting for taking advantage of a system that allows this very profit-pushing business occur?  This is not personal, it's merely taking advantage of good business at a time when Major League Baseball is at its most valuable.  

The fans, they don’t have to be here for any of it.  At the end of the day, nobody pulled your arm to enter PNC Park and buy food, beer and swag.  Nobody ever hijacked your remote and tuned it to the Pirates playing Miami on a weekday three-game series.  If you don't like what is going on, then exit stage left.  

The facts are unequivocal.  Mr. Nutting will continue to squeeze profit out of this highly-successful business, until the product itself is no longer a valuable commodity.  When the Major League Baseball boom turns to bust, you’ll more than likely see Mr. Nutting be one of the first to drop out of the race.

Until that time comes, you’re better off being a Cleveland Indians fan.

See video
Full size video and summary... Misc YouTube Player 1 Penguins TV Channel
See video
Full size video and summary... Misc YouTube Player 2Penguins TV Channel
Full size video and summary... Misc YouTube Player 3
Josh Bell had not hit a walk-off home run since he was a member of the Altoona Curve in 2015. He changed that Friday with a soaring shot for the left field loonies.
Custom 1North Shore Notes
Francisco Cervelli is as passionate about the current state of Venezuela as anybody you'll find. Last month, the Pirates' catcher spoke passionately about the movement, his country's state of affairs and the future of Venezuela.
Custom 2North Shore NotesPress Room
Gustav Nyquist and Jimmy Howard led the way for the Red Wings, who landed Pittsburgh its fourth straight regulation loss.
Blue LineCustom 3Press Room
Monday night was more than a game. For Jameson Taillon, it was another heave in an ongoing push to liberation from a disease that can break down the toughest of men.
Custom 4North Shore NotesPress Room