Anyone who knows me probably knows that I hate the Pirates despite having lived in Pittsburgh my whole life. I hate them A LOT. I hate the Pirates as much as Vlad Guerrero hates condoms. I was once a huge fan, though. I remember coming home from little league games and being psyched to watch them. I remember being devastated by Cabrera’s hit in the 1992 NLCS. I even remember being pissed at Andy Van Slyke when he criticized management for being cheap after leaving in 1994. That was a long time ago, though. Now I not only don’t give a shit about the Pirates, I fucking HATE them. It started gradually around the late 90’s when I finally realized that they couldn’t and wouldn’t compete anymore.
The fact that I was once a huge fan and am now quite the opposite is very telling of their organization. They did such a poor job of running their team and catering to the fans. I am a huge Steelers and Penguins fan. I follow them both religiously. But not the Pirates. Even now, with the success they are having and with other fans jumping on their bandwagon, I hate them more than ever. Here’s why:
1. MLB sucks. One of the main reasons I hate the Pirates is because I hate MLB in general. They have so many issues. There are 16 teams in the NL and only 14 in the AL and each league plays by different DH rules. The All Star Game determines home field advantage in the World Series—which is insane. Even crazier is that this year’s NL Manager was retired so he had to get his ass off the couch to coach it. They claim that they can’t expand replay review because it will make the games longer. This is asinine because even though the games are dreadfully long, there are already enough breaks in the action to fit in plenty of reviews. Maybe if they had replay review they could ban managers from running onto the field in their ridiculous uniforms and throwing tantrums? They also play way too many games and overlap hockey and football seasons. I hate turning on ESPN on any given day during the summer and seeing 40 consecutive minutes of baseball highlights. The stupidest thing about baseball, though, is the economic disparity. The Pirates have to compete with teams with much higher payrolls but they haven’t bothered to try to change it—willingly signing off on the last collective bargaining agreements.
2. Ownership only cares about profits. The Pirates began dumping player salaries when they couldn’t re-sign Bobby Bonilla after the 1991 season. Eventually they would also cut ties with Barry Bonds, Doug Drabek, Andy Van Slyke, Jay Bell, Tim Wakefield, Brian Giles, Jason Bay, Aramis Ramirez, Kenny Lofton, Jason Schmidt, Tony Womack, Jason Kendall, Jose Bautista, Jack Wilson, Freddie Sanchez and many others. They passed up on opportunities to acquire Ryan Howard and Matt Wieters. They were also very frugal in their free agent acquisitions, acquiring many players who were cheap and often well past their prime. They never put much money into scouting. Had they been willing to spend the money, they could have (and should have) made the playoffs at some point in the last 19 years. They didn’t care to, though. They were making a profit—and that’s all that matters. They even often use the excuse of being a small-market team that doesn’t have the money to compete—but they still don’t bother to stand up to the other owners to force change. People often point out that Bob Nutting has only been principal owner of the Pirates since 2007, so he shouldn’t take any of the blame for prior failures. That is bullshit. The Nutting family has held ownership in the team since Kevin McClatchy bought it in 1996. Bob Nutting himself was board chairman in 2003. So, yes, I hold them fucking responsible. They are greedy bitches who have no business owning a sports team.
3. PNC Park is a waste of my money. Heinz Field and Consol Energy Center were both publicly funded too. The difference is that neither the Steelers nor the Penguins lied to the public telling them that the new ballpark would enable them to spend more money on players and become more competitive. Since PNC Park opened in 2001 the Pirates proceeded to have 10 more losing seasons. They aren’t keeping pace with other payrolls in MLB. They have the 5th lowest. They flat out lied. Nothing in baseball’s economic climate has changed and we are the suckers who paid for the Nutting’s new money maker. Go to hell, greedy assholes. Heinz field also serves as home of the Pitt Panthers and has hosted soccer games, high school games and concerts. The Consol Energy Center is a multi-purpose facility that has many uses. PNC Park is primarily just the home of your shitty Pirates. Sure it is beautiful and they can sell seats when the team is doing well—but as history has shown the place is mostly empty most of the time and we foot the bill.
4. Greg Brown. I fucking hate him. I want to pummel his giant face. He overreacts to every play and whines when calls don’t go their way. Every time he says “RAISE THE JOLLY ROGER” I want to stab him in the neck 50 times. I hope he dies. Seriously. If he dies tomorrow, I will happily root for the Pirates again. FUCK YOU GREG BROWN PLEASE HANG YOURSELF.
5. Vinnie Richichi. Vinnie Richichi is a fat bag of shit who won’t stop talking about the Pirates.
6. The Overzealous Fans. I get so annoyed by their irrational and unfounded optimism. These last 19 years have been more of the same hopeless losing and they still amazingly predict each and every year that it will get turned around. They may finally be right—I guess it was bound to happen. It always amazes me that Pirate fans would whore themselves for a free bobblehead doll or a stupid fireworks show or concert. I also hate it when fans criticize others for not going to the games. “I was at the game last night and there were a lot of empty seats. People need to get out here and support this team!” Fuck you! Don’t tell me what to do. If I want to stay home and watch “Pants Off Dance Off”, I fucking will. If you want to waste your money at the game, don’t bring me into it. I don’t mind the casual fans jumping on the bandwagon and going to games to have fun, though. They deserve that. They paid for the stadium.
7. The Players. Over the last 19 years there have been many Pirates who have given up on the team. Derek Bell refused to compete for a job in spring training of 2002, famously announcing that he was going into Operation Shutdown. Raul Mondesi was cited for breach of contract when he basically left the team in 2004. Brian Giles and Jason Kendall reportedly chastised a young Jack Wilson for playing too hard. In 2006 Chris Duffy was suspended by the Pirates after leaving the team when he was sent down to the minors. Even this year, in the midst of a successful season, Jose Tabata was demoted to the minors essentially for not giving his all. These are only some of the incidents that went public. There had to be many more. If the players don’t give a shit then why should I?
8. The Perogie Race. Going to a Pirates game is like a fucking Wiggles concert. Loud shitty music and videos and people in costumes running around throwing T-Shirts and hotdogs at you. The game is secondary to all of these other theatrics. It’s stupid and annoying. I don’t care if other stadiums do the same thing. This has to bother serious fans who just want to watch the game. I know it bothers me and I don’t give a shit about the game.
9. The Marketing. Remember the hilarious “Let’s go to work!” slogan from 1997? Who would sign off on that? What’s even funnier is that two years later it was changed to “It’s all fun and games!” Make up your fucking mind! In 2003 they just finally gave up with the slogan “Come see us play.” WE’RE FUCKING DESPARATE. The Pirates are a poorly run organization from top to bottom. Everything they do is senseless. They don’t know how to attract fans nor how to treat them. When PNC Park first opened they wouldn’t allow fans to bring their own bottled water—forcing them to pay ridiculous stadium prices to stay hydrated during 90 degree summer days. City Council had to step in to force the Pirates to lift the ban. When the WPIAL first asked if they could play games in PNC Park, the Pirates initially refused then finally relented under pressure but allowed only one annual game. The WPIAL now plays at the home of the Washington Wild Things instead. I admit that the Pirates came up with some good schemes to attract fans with bobbleheads, fireworks and concerts. Hooray for them! They found a way to market this other bullshit because they can’t sell their shitty team. I can’t imagine the clusterfuck the Playoffs will be if they do finally make it this year (doubtful). They will have no idea how to handle any of it because it will be so foreign to them. They are bound to piss off a lot of new fans.
10. Sports Karma. I am really superstitious when it comes to sports. If I thought it would help the Steelers, I would get a life sized Gary Anderson tattoo on my back. In these last 19 years that the Pirates have sucked, both the Steelers and Penguins have enjoyed much success. In my fucked up way of thinking, some of their success can be attributed to the Sports Karma gods feeling sorry for us because of the Pirates. I’m more than willing to sacrifice the shitty Pirates to appease these gods. Now if they ever do make the playoffs, the resulting blow to our other more important teams will be devastating. Roethlisberger will probably get into a fatal crash while raping someone on his motorcycle. Malkin’s knee will probably collide with Crosby’s head in training camp ending their careers. We already don’t have Staal to try to carry the team in their absences. SEE WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU FUCK WITH KARMA, PIRATES! FUCKING SUCK AGAIN SO EVERYTHING CAN BE RIGHT WITH THE WORLD!
There you have it. The last 19 years have taken their toll on me. Just because they’re winning now, I’m not going to pretend everything is fucking hunky dory. I hate the Pirates. I hope they lose every game. I even bought a custom-made Andrew McCutchen Yankees shirt to fuck with my younger cousins who are inexplicably huge fans. There will undoubtedly come a time when the Pirates can’t afford McCutchen anymore. Maybe someday the Nuttings will sell the team and I will start to like them again? I just can’t root for them right now, though. Any success that the team has just means more money in their pockets. For years they have had no regard for the fans of this city and have happily and greedily taken our money. They just happened to have finally cobbled together a cheap young team that is having some short term success. They’ve managed to do it without spending much money, though. Will they pour more money into it? I doubt it. Even more unlikely is that MLB will change its economic structure. SPOILER ALERT—The Yankees will be in the World Series again this year!
Go Steelers! Go Pens! Fuck the Pirates.
Please know that the opinions expressed in this post are only those of Dr. Spaceman. We have other contributors to SmorgasBurgh.com who don’t hate the Pirates and don’t wish any harm upon Greg Brown’s giant face.