The story of Pittsburgh Pirates ownership profiting from a losing baseball team is not going away any time soon. Fans and critics of the team have been making these claims for years, and now there are actual reports that can be used to support them.
Here is an interesting article from SI.com, that blames MLB as a whole for letting the Pirates ownership get away with making money at the expense of putting together a winning baseball team.
One issue I have with the column, though, is the author makes a statement as if it were fact, yet he does support it with statistics. Joe Sheehan writes in the first paragraph, 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."
Deadspin.com released financial information from just a handful of teams including the Pirates. How can he say that the Pirates are one of the most profitable teams in MLB when he doesn't provide any numbers from other teams to compare the Pirates' profits to? It could be true that the Pirates were near the top in profits, but no proof was provided in the article.
The Pirates are the punch line of many baseball jokes, and they deserve to be so. The problem I have is when members of the national media make statements like this and act like they know more than they do. It reminds me of a "ESPN First Take" anchor making fun of the Buccos last summer when they were trading away all their veterans. The anchor recited a list of names that included Jason Bay, Xavier Nady, Nate McLouth, Jack Wilson, Freddy Sanchez and Adam LaRoche, and finished it by saying "That's a great team". Obviously he never watched a Pirates game in his life or he would have realized the team had all those guys on one roster and they were still well below .500 baseball.
We're all guilty of making such statements. I recall telling a friend I thought the Nationals gave Ryan Zimmerman way too much money considering he was injury prone. For some reason, I thought I heard or read that he got injured a lot. In reality, Zimmerman has played in at least 157 games in every season he's been a regular except for 2008 when he only played 106. But that doesn't excuse individuals, myself included, for making these uneducated proclamations. Sometimes we are so wrapped up in thinking we know everything about sports, we get carried away, rather than admitting we are not familiar with every player and organization in sports.
Sorry, I kinda digressed.
The Police - Walking on the Moon