Pirates' money remarks require math for clarity
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A sampling of the week's entries on the DK on Pittsburgh Sports blog, available on PG+, the Post-Gazette's premium site:
Let me express anew my mystification that Frank Coonelly's remarks from last week continue to be a hot topic, but let me try a different angle: Simple math.
What the Pirates' president said -- and had said many times before -- was that the plan was to build a good, young team, hope for more fans to come out and, when both happen, payroll would go up to help complement those players.
Feel about that as you wish. Some see it as the only viable plan in Major League Baseball's economics. Others see it as completely backward.
But to take issue with the idea that the Pirates cannot currently afford a $70 million payroll ... well, that's ignoring the cold, hard numbers that were leaked and/or released last summer: For the last full year on record, 2009, the Pirates paid out $48 million to the 40-man roster and made a profit of $5.4 million. That adds up to $53.4 million if the team makes zero profit, which is well short of the $70 million-$80 million figure that came up in the question that Coonelly was asked for his initial response.
So, do the Pirates need more revenue to get to $70 million-$80 million?
Well, yeah, obviously.
Do they need to sell more tickets, suites and sponsorships to get there?
Well, yeah, obviously.
Seriously, where is the controversy here?
• I remain skeptical that the NFL will avert a lockout. I just don't see owners coming this far, knowing how much more pressure they still can apply by canceling at least part of training camp, only to shake hands and say everything is swell right now.
• At the time of the Penguins-Islanders fiasco, I wrote that the most important aspect of the NHL's punishment was the $100,000 fine for the Islanders. I'd like to amend that stance: Let's instead see the Islanders fined the full amount of their gate receipts of their next home meeting with the Penguins April 8. That way, the Islanders cannot -- as they already have been doing on their local broadcasts -- make one extra cent off promoting that as a sequel by using terms like "rivarly" and "rematch."
Then again, the way the Islanders draw, that might be less than $100,000.
• Are you worried about Pitt's offense?
Watching pretty much everyone but Brad Wanamaker struggle for answers against Louisville yesterday, it's easy to get that way. If Ashton Gibbs goes cold -- and he was frozen solid in the first half -- the answers for this offense are sparse. None of Gilbert Brown, Nasir Robinson or Gary McGhee made much of anything happen.
I love the way this team plays. I really do. And I respect that the Panthers went into a tough place to play and took a tough opponent to overtime. That's impossible to ignore.
But so is the inconsistent offense.
• The Pirates' pitchers are working this spring on improving their baserunner control.
That's just a little overdue.
As I wrote last year from a series in Philadelphia, the previous coaching staff, pushed by pitching coach Joe Kerrigan, had reached the point where they were afraid to stress pickoff moves, slide steps and the like to some pitchers for the stark reason that the pitching itself was so awful, they felt everything else would be a distraction. Specifically, Charlie Morton was basically given carte blanche to concede bases.
This, my friends, is how you lose 105 games.
• Can Alexei Kovalev come out to play today?
First Published March 5, 2011 12:59 am