Sunday, January 31, 2010

Pirates, all of them

There are several ways of looking at this recent news that Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle want to buy the Bucs, and almost all of them involve various levels of mistrust in someone.

First of all, we can mistrust Bob Nutting. We can believe that he truly is hanging onto his stake in the Pirates because he profits from the revenue share, even as the team and market suffer. This isn't to implicate Huntington or Coonelly, necessarily; in fact, they give me every reason to trust them. But Nutting could be pulling a scam.

Second scenario, we could choose not to trust Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle's interest in baseball, and instead just see this as a sports market consolidation move, as is alluded to in the AP copy. Personally, I doubt Mario would go to many Bucs' games in June if his Penguins are still playing, but that doesn't mean he'd be a completely aloof, out-of-his-element owner. I mean, no more so than other owners in sports. I suppose what I distrust isn't his or Burkle's commitment, but their ability to see that the Pirates' actually do need to stay the course on this long slog of a journey towards a rebuilt farm system, and that before they do that, there's no reason to make splash signings in free agency just because it'll supposedly put butts in the seats.

Third scenario, everyone's crooked. We either have a guy who is content to spend nothing and cash in every offseason, or guys who spend on crap but make up for it thanks to a TV network cash cow.

Fourth scenario, maybe everyone isn't crooked? Maybe Bob Nutting does legitimately get it that we don't need to spend money until there's something to spend it on? And perhaps he's lining his pockets for that day? Maybe Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle are legitimately concerned with Pittsburgh baseball and just want to help make the city a winner again?

I don't know. I defer all the conclusion-making to Matt who actually attended PirateFest. Ask him.

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