Selig and the owners finally had enough of McCourt and took action, but
what about the franchises that are still technically solvent but just
suck? Why hasn’t the commish done something about the Pirates?
why shouldn’t they? In all of professional sports, one would have quite a
difficult time finding a more moribund team than the lowly Buccos.
While all of the big four US American sports thrive by having a healthy,
parity-laden cycle of teams going from the top of the ranks to the
bottom and everywhere in between, the Pittsburgh Pirates have been stuck
at bad. For 18, long, terrible, horrible, awful, green-pea-spew inducing years.
In a row.
So, indeed, Mr. Dan, you bring up an excellent question: How is it that MLB sees no issue intervening with financially strapped clubs like the current Dodgers or the late Expos de Montréal (pouring out some liquor for my boy, Youppi yo!) but meanwhile sits back and says nothing as the Pirates organization embarrasses itself year after year after year, alienating the five or so fans left in western Pennsylvania in doing so?
That’s easy, Dan. One word:
The Pirates may have more issues than Lindsay Lohan on $5 Jaegerbomb night, but, when all is done, the Pirates still MAKE MONEY.
Haven’t you noticed? To the suits picking each other’s noses up in the luxury boxes, it’s not about winning. It’s not about getting better. It’s not about keeping score or the waft of freshly roasted peanuts or the soothing effects of finely cut green grass on the old eyeballs.
It’s about making bank.
And as long as they line their pockets with plenty of paper, MLB ain’t gonna say jack.
Like my loquacious and oft contorted colleague, Mr. Krause recently pointed out, sometimes MLB gets it right. King Bud could not sit back and let one of the league’s most storied franchises fail because of atrocious financial mismanagement. And other times, MLB gets it way wrong… like they did in intervening with the Florida Marlins (a very successful organization in regards to winning) and the way they chose to spend profit sharing funds trickling down from the top*.
But one thing is certain: MLB is a business. MLB is about being a profitable business. As much as romanticized baseball super-nerd-dorks like Mr. Krause and I would like to believe that a certain utopian joy for the game and its purity is at the core of Major League Baseball’s business philosophy, the truth is: it ain’t.
If it were, the Expos would still be alive. The Dodgers would have never left Brooklyn. And someone would have intervened in the gargantuan atrocity also known as the Pirates’ front office.
Hate me. Fine. Just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
*For an excellent read on just how wrong MLB was in their handling of the Marlins, check out this article from the Prince of New York.
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