Yeah, it’s Talk Like A Pirate Day. And fans of the team have reasons to go arrrrgh!
Here’s a list of players (with links) who played most or all of their careers with the Pittsburgh Pirates and who are now in the Baseball Hall of Fame:
Lloyd Waner, pictured right
Paul Waner, pictured left
The Pittsburgh Pirates, a team with a long and storied history, has had 18 losing seasons – in a row. During that stretch, the Pittsburgh Penguins won the Stanley Cup and the Pittsburgh Steelers won the Super Bowl -twice.
The team has long used the excuse that it is a “small market” team that needs to keep its payroll down, and indeed, the Pirates do have the lowest payroll in Major League Baseball. But look at the next lowest team, San Diego Padres, who spent only $4 million more and are fielding a competitive team.
This article explains it all: Joe Sheehan: Don’t blame the Pirates, blame MLB’s revenue-sharing system (08.25.2010)
There’s nothing wrong with a baseball team turning a profit. What is wrong is a baseball team that cries poor while posting 18 consecutive losing seasons turning a profit. This difference is why the Pittsburgh Pirates, whose financial data from 2007 and 2008, the 15th and 16th of those seasons, was made public on Monday, are the target of such recrimination. While positioning themselves as the victim of “the system” and trading away an entire starting lineup, the Pirates have been one of the most profitable teams in MLB, pocketing $29.3 million in 2007 and ’08 combined, years in which they cashed revenue-sharing checks for a whopping $69.3 million.
The fans have rightly charged ownership with malfeasance for failing year after year to field a competitive team. If I were in Pittsburgh, I’m not sure I would continue to support such an organization. Those Hall of Fame Pirates must be rolling over in their graves; well, except Kiner and Maz who ae still alive.