Even the mascots start criticizing the Pirates. Now I normally wouldn’t comment on this but I think that it is indicative of how things are going with the Pirates organization and how their fans feel about the team. Christina Boyle of the New York Daily News reports in her article named Pittsburgh Pirate pierogi mascot fired for bashing team on Facebook page that Pittsburgh Pirates pierogi mascot Andrew Kurtz was dismissed for making disparaging comments against the team. Here are the comments that were attributed to Kurtz:
"Coonelly extended the contracts of Russell and Huntington through the 2011 season. That means a 19-straight losing streak. Way to go Pirates."
Frank Coonelly is the team President for the Pirates while Neal Huntington is the team’s General Manager and John Miller is Manager. This is a hierarchy that recently designated second baseman Akinori Iwamura for assignment after signing him to a $4.8 Million dollar deal in the offseason without subjecting him to a physical even though he came off of a major knee injury while with the Tampa Bay Rays. Not to mention, that the Pirates have an unenviable streak of 18 straight losing seasons.
I see how Kurtz and many Pirates fans feel. It seems as if the team wanted to get themselves a brand new stadium (which they did) and they just pocket the revenues instead of putting it back where it belongs: The Team. Look at last season, the Pirates started the fire sale around the same time of the year that we are in now even though the team was within striking distance of the N.L. Wild Card. The trades of Nate McLouth, Nyjer Morgan, Adam LaRoche (and later Jack Wilson, Ian Snell and Freddy Sanchez) to the chagrin of both players and fans. I think the comments made by fan Brian Korval on June 4, 2009 hits the nail on the head:
"It's disappointing," Pirates fan Brian Koval told WTAE Channel 4's Aaron Saykin outside the ballpark Thursday. "It's just another case of the Pirates dealing someone really, really good for what looks like an unknown quantity. It's just another case of them putting the dollar in front of the fan, in front of a winning team."
Maybe MLB should step in with the union in the same way they did with the Florida Marlins and “nudge” the Pirates to spend some more money (The Marlins signed starter Josh Johnson to a 4-year $39 Million dollar deal this past offseason). Their intervention would be pivotal since it is believed that the Pirates are not utilizing the Luxury Tax money to its proper usage. For more information on the Pirates and the Luxury Tax, click on this article named Pittsburgh Pirates: Luxury Tax lies and broken promises.
So what do you guys and gals think. Let me know.
For Further Reading:
- Click Here for Christina Boyle's article in the NYDailyNews.com
- Click Here for the article from the Pittsburgh Channel describing the trades made by the Pirates in 2009
- Click here for the article from the Pittsburgh Channel highlighting fan views on the trades made by the Pirates in 2009
- Click Here to access the Forbes Magazine article on the value of the Pirates