The Post-Gazette takes more shots at the Pirates' ownership in this open letter to Bob Nutting:
Still, your family has had an ownership stake in the Pirates for 14 years and you've been the controlling owner since January 2007. Not once during the Nuttings' involvement has the team had a winning season. The Pirates' streak of 17 losing campaigns exceeds any run of futility in the history of professional sports. It is, no doubt, as frustrating for you as it is for the fans.
The difference between you and the other Pirates faithful, though, is you can do something about it.
Yeah! Yeah man yeah! 'Course, the Post-Gazette itself also used to have an ownership stake in the Pirates, so by their logic, they could have done something about it too. But instead, they wrote ridiculous puff pieces like this one about "exciting prospects" like never-was Victor Mercedes. And this one, an absurd Dave Littlefield hero piece that literally ends, "What if Littlefield hadn't done a good job?" And nearly every Q+A, which sought to convince the masses that whatever inane thing Littlefield had done that week was actually pure genius. Littlefield had the Pirates circling the drain then, but you never would have known it from the Post-Gazette. And yet now that the Pirates are actually trying to deal with the problems that Littlefield created for the Bucs when they were partially owned by the Post-Gazette, the P-G editorial board just can't bash them enough. More from today's editorial:
That change could come sooner if you were open to the reported offer by Penguins co-owners Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle to buy the baseball team. Your insistence that the Pirates are not for sale would seem to put an end to the whole idea. Let's hope not.
As a sports owner powerhouse, Lemieux-Burkle has been able to put the necessary money into the hockey team to keep top talent on the ice. To no one's surprise, the Pirates and Penguins are poles apart in terms of image, success and symbols of Pittsburgh.
I don't know anything about hockey, and even I know that's misleading. Lemieux and Burkle fielded a number of inexpensive and very bad teams before the NHL instituted a salary cap. But they built with young talent (just as the Pirates are currently doing), won the Sidney Crosby lottery, and got to compete on a level playing field once a salary cap was established.
Just to be clear, I would have no problem with Lemieux and Burkle buying the Pirates. I couldn't care less if Bob Nutting is in charge. But I also think it's pretty likely that Lemieux and Burkle would look around, assess the situation and allow their GM to keep doing what Neal Huntington is now doing, which is to rebuild the team from the ground up. Plowing a bunch of money into payroll right now, which is what so many fans seem to want Nutting to do, isn't Lemieux and Burkle's style, and it wouldn't be too likely to significantly help right now either. As owners, Lemieux and Burkle would probably be fine. But neither they nor Nutting deserve the breathless idiocy and sanctimony that have been coming from the Post-Gazette since the paper broke the news about Lemieux's interest in buying the team.
(Thanks to Novelist for jogging my memory about the Post-Gazette's former ownership role.)
UPDATE: This is pretty funny.