July 24, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates president Frank Coonelly gestures at the batting cage before the Pirates play the Chicago Cubs at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE
Somebody -- one of those posters who shows up at Bucs Dugout for the first or second time and posts a fanpost hyping some link to a site I'm sure they're in no way associated with -- posted a link to Pirates Fan Advisor the other day. I recognized the fanpost as spam, warned the poster, deleted the fanpost, took a cursory little look at the site, got confused, and moved on with my life.
I wish I'd drawn attention to it at the time, because it's the sort of ridiculous nonsense only a crazy blogger could dream up, but the Pirates apparently have something to do with it. But Dejan Kovacevic called it out today on Twitter, and I agree with him. (That's right. I agree with Dejan.)
Let's take a look at this thing. Right off the top, it looks shoddy. There's a diagram on the front page of x's and o's, as if baseball is a sport you diagram with x's and o's. There's a video of Frank Coonelly (!!!!!) stammering all over the place, in a performance that's only a couple notches better than those of Dr. Steve Brule. Um, okay. Of course, good luck seeing those things right now, because once Dejan linked to the site, it slowed way down, probably because it isn't on a server that can handle a few hundred people being on there at once.
Then there's a link that says, "Rise above the noise of sports radio and individual blogs." There's another that seemingly goes to the same place that says, "Be part of a community of sophisticated and smart Pirates fans." So what's this all about?
Pirate Fan Advisors are the most knowledgeable, passionate and sophisticated fans and have affirmed their commitment to being Pirates Fan Advisors by signing the "Fan Pledge." Typically, these fans are frustrated by the banality of traditional "fan forums" as the majority on those sites are simply not as knowledgeable.
Sports radio provides a forum for the "loudest" individuals regardless of knowledge base and traditional media "polling" is fraught with meaningless "results." Those are merely forms of entertainment and make no effort to capture and amplify the true voice of the fan. The Fan Advisor Network does just that in a meaningful, valid and objective manner creating a system by which fans are advisors and teams receive invaluable advice.
First, let's take a second and consider just how remarkably stupid it is for the Pirates to associate themselves with some website that takes shots at a lot of the most hardcore Pirates fans -- the ones who call into talk radio and post about the team on the internet -- before ever doing anything of value. (Never mind that blogs, in particular, have been way more supportive of the Pirates in recent years than the fanbase as a whole.)
Now let's ask the next question: How, exactly, does the Fan Advisor Network "capture the voice of the fan" in a manner that is "meaningful, valid and objective"? Let's go back to the top of the page and look at the link marked "Subscription Plans."
Well, lookee there. It seems there are three plans, ranging from the bronze level ($9.95 a month), which gives you a lapel pin and allows you to provide weekly feedback to the Pirates, to the gold level ($600 a year!), which provides "opportunities to be 'fan representatives' at team events" and gets you a fleece jacket.
So this, apparently, is how the Pirates plan to get "meaningful, valid and objective" data about what the fans want -- by getting people to pay to give their opinions on the internet, as if anyone with an inkling of intelligence or pride would do that. A Nigerian prince couldn't have dreamed this up better.
People. This is ridiculous. Laugh at this.
UPDATE: Oh man, Pirates Fan Advisor has a commercial. Check it out after the jump.