August 19, 2008

PR Machine Backlash

I have received some heat, and some agreement, for my Pedro The PR Machine post.  Thanks to Dejan at the PG and Pat at WHYGAVS for the links.  Thanks to anyone else who felt the need to drop a link to the post at their sites as well.

Rather than make comment after comment in the comment section, I wanted to address each comment received so far in a single post.  Some people don't venture into the comment area and there were some very good comments that I want to be seen.  I love the interaction part of blogging, it keeps things interesting and it is always nice to hear what others think.  I really appreciate so many people read what a "Village Idiot" like myself has to say.

Now on to my replies:

matt in dc said...

    What would you have had them do? Not sign him to prove a point?

That would be ironic if he was not signed. 

Nowhere in my heart do I believe Nutting had nothing to do with Alvarez being chosen in the draft.  I do believe Frank Coonelly and Neil Huntington have done a fantastic job in a short time of restocking the barren farm system.  They also did a great job in being creative in their draft strategy and aggressiveness in spending the cash allowed them, especially on the unsignable players. 

However, the post was about Nutting and the rest of the ownership group.  They do deserve some praise for bringing in Coonelly, one right move in over a decade does not make up for the sins of the past.

By not signing him, Nutting would not have proved a point, but lost even more respect from the Pirates fans.  Alvarez was going to be signed no matter what.  The team, more directly the ownership, would not have been able to survive the backlash from the fans if he was not signed.  The fear of pitchforks and torches could be felt all the way here in Iowa.

Anonymous said...

    Not that a big Nutting fan, but give him the benefit of the doubt for now. FWIW, the Nutting era shouldn't start until the McClatchey era ended a couple off-seasons ago. And don't forget: the Galbreath era started off with what until the last 16 seasons was the worst era for the PBC (1946 - 1957), but then they put up 3 NL/World Series champs and 6 NL titles in 20 years.


From where I stand, the Nuttings have been part of the ownership group for many years.  They collectively had as much say as anyone in making financial decisions and the selection of general managers.  This era should still be considered one and the same from an ownership standpoint.  The same group owns the Pirates only the figurehead has changed.

I won't pretend to know much about 1946-1957 ( My parents were barely a twinkle in their parents eye's when that era started) , so I will not comment on that until I can do appropriate research, maybe an off-season post?


billykidd said...

    While I have to agree with you on the past it has been shown almost 10 Millon times in the past few weeks with the signings with the new management team of FC and NH that there is a renewed commitment to the PBC. Mistakes were made money wasted and in some cases not spent eg Weiters in the past. While I admit that the Nuttings write the checks they also placed trust in THEIR management team of McClatchy, Littlefield, Tracy to provide the best possible information as to how, when and on whom to spend that money. I would like to think as do many other PBC fans that after 15 years this new management team finally is giving the best information to Mr. Nutting. Will it lead to a WS in 1 or 2 years probably not, but you have to start building a foundation sometime and that management and Mr. Nutting has given the fans nearly TEN MILLION reasons and 32 of 50 picks to give him another chance/benefit of the doubt to belive he is willing to try and place a winning product on the field.


Not much to debate with you here billy, or do you prefer Mr. the kidd? (a bad Bill and Ted reference)

Coonelly makes the baseball decisions, he is also the best move this ownership group has made.  Nutting runs the financial/business side of the club.

While the Pirates spent in the $10M range, so did the Red Sox.   It is difficult to make up ground on the big boys when they spend as much or more in the one place the playing field is level.

billykidd said...

    @Matt in DC---What would you have had them do? Not sign him to prove a point?

    Excellent point. It is unfortunate that there will always and forever be naysayers and uneducated people offering opinions that try to fan the fires of thier own negativity.

    It seems no matter what this management team does or does not do short of digging up the corpses of the past Pirates heroes will the few village idiots be happy.

    FC and NH were took over a machine that operated broken for 15 years. There was a belief when they left Bradenton that the pitching was to be far better than it has proven to be. The hitting proved to be better than expected but in order to have something to build from after it was evident that the machine was not fixed (they broke Bradenton with largely the same team from the previous year)and the minors did not have the quality replacements necessary to field a competitive team decisions were made a la Bay Nady Marte. Then nearly 10M was spent on trying to make LONG TERM improvements.

    I have always said bring the solution not the problem..

    I have followed this team since I was 5 years of age in 1968. Am I depressed/upset about the losing? You damn right I am. They are working with what they have been handed. Village idiots like Dave would still find something to cry about if the Nuttings spent like the Yanks or RSox.

    Yo DAVE What is your solution???!!!
    Other than crying about the past. You big sissy.

    Hey Matt--thanks for gettingme fired up. NOT!


Village idiot and sissy.  Wow.  Thanks for the compliments.  Apparently I have somehow struck a nerve.

I will take an assumption here and say you do not regularly read the site.  I have praised Huntington and Coonelly on many occasions, most notably the trade deadline moves.  I think their vision is the right one for this team, I am not into a short term fix.  This post was about ownership, not management.

Would I be happy if the team was run like the BoSox?  Actually yes.  They have a franchise that has built itself from the bottom up over an extended period of time.  They have made the free agent signings when it was the right time to make that signing.  They have traded to fill needs.

Would I want to have a team like the Yankees?  Honestly no.  They spend with no regard to the game.  They have an unfair advantage on the rest of the league by having the financial means to have whatever they want whenever they want it.  I really enjoyed seeing them not being able to sign their first round draft choice.  Even more, I enjoy seeing their payroll struggle and not get the title they and their fans feel it is their right to win.

I would not want my team to carry that burden of hate.

I understand you don't build Rome in a day.  I understand the rebuilding of a barren farm system will take time.  This ownership group has played a huge part in taking 16 years to finally lay a foundation for Rome to be built on.

My solution...Nutting and the ownership must either stay the course they have started backing Huntington and Coonelly and saint both Huntington and Coonelly or sell the team to someone who wants to have a successful sports franchise in Pittsburgh.  I have no faith in this ownership group to do what is right.  I do have all the faith in the world that Coonelly and Huntington will make what they believe is the correct baseball moves, unlike Littlefield and Bonifay who had absolutely no plan nor direction.


Jer said...

    You're right. This is one draft. We need about two or three more just like this, then we'll know that Nutting is really as committed to wining as he said he is. I'm willing to compliment Nutting and them for getting Pedro, but it's not over, as far as I'm concerned. It's a good beginning, but they still have a lot of work to do.


One for 16 is a bad slump or a pitiful football team, see Dolphins.  The question remains, is this one a slumpbuster or gork?  If we can get to 4 for 20, then we are at least at the Mendoza line.  Huntington and Coonelly have made a good start and are making a nice tandem.


Anonymous said...

    Wasn't just one big investment. Alvarez was only 2/3 of the total in bonuses. And, look at the DR academy.
    Owner of the year? No. Changed man? Yes.

    Will this assure us a winner? No. But, it's a huge step in the right direction.


Ten million plus the four million for the Dominican Academy are easily covered by the revenue sharing baseball has instituted.  I should have been clearer in saying Alvarez is the face of the PR move.  The DR Academy was a step in the right direction, but there is no reason it has taken this long to take that step.

The improvement in Latin America is a nice step forward also.  Although that did start before Coonelly arrived with Gato being assigned by the previous regime.

I don't buy the changed man.  He is a business man that knows he must invest a little if he wants to at least maintain interest in his product.  What Nutting has authorized is nothing out of the profit Forbes magazine claims the Pirates have made in recent years.  Building the DR facility, investing in talent with other people's money (revenue sharing) are quick ways to get the fans to believe they are willing to sink money into improving the product without having to prove it in the short term.

When this team is legitimately on the brink of something big and the team goes out after that one key piece to finish the puzzle.  That is when I will believe this ownership group wants to win.  Coonelly and Huntington can get them to the point ownership will need to make an investment in Major League talent.  That is the litmus stick to see if Nutting and clan want to win or just want to stay the course as owners.

Scott said...

    This is a silly post. In fact, you defeat your own argument: Why would someone who is a penny pincher pay $6 million just so people would like him? How does that make sense?

    The fact is things have changed bigtime since Bob Nutting put himself forward last year as the principal owner and guy in charge. He's brought in new front office leadership, and the entire way they do business has changed.

    If you're still cynical about that, why would you even bother to follow the Pirates anymore?


Why does a politician make promises he will never or could never keep?  To get elected.

Why does a business owner invest in his company?  To make a profit.

Why would a penny pincher pay $6M?  PR.  If he wants to maintain any interest in this team there needs to be a future to look to.  Alvarez, Miller etc. represents that future.

Littlefield had to go.  McClatchy could take no more of being the scapegoat.  Coonelly was the best option available.  I will give credit to ownership for bringing in a baseball mind in Coonelly.  As I said earlier, this is the one correct move this ownership group has ever made.  Since this group has owned the Pirates, I feared their only right decision would be to sell.

Why am I still a fan?  I love baseball.  I have loved the Pirates since I was 5 in the mid 70's. 

I loved the feeling of going to the World Series in 79. 

I loved the day Tony Pena was called to the major league roster refusing to sign autographs for anyone until a 10 year old geek with glasses yelled his name correctly and he walked over and gave the autograph.  All of the sudden everyone along that railing on the first base line at Three Rivers Stadium said Pena correctly and all received an autograph.


Bonds, Van Slyke, Bonilla, Spanky and the rest of the early 90's.

The Freak Show.

Green Weenies.

The Gunner.

No Doubt About It.

Someday, hopefully soon, the Pirates will no longer be a joke on Sports Center.  Someday Dejan will not have to count haps.  Someday the Pirates will be the scourge of the diamond again.  I would not miss that day for anything.



One point I did not get to make in reply to any of the comments.  Most of the scouting staff is still in place from the previous reign of terror known as the Dave Littlefield Era.  I doubt they have got better at scouting overnight.  I still have a hard time to believe DL was so ignorant that he thought Moskos was a better pick the Wieters.  DL had to have someone breathing down his neck at that point.  Then again, DL made a deal for Morris so he could be a complete moron. 

Regardless, when it was said Moskos was a baseball decision not a monetary decision, I just can't buy that in any shape or form.  No one drafts a reliever in the first 5 picks of any draft except in a roto league that gives bonus points for most saves.  Someone had to whisper save some money and get a signable pick.  If not, he should have been fired before the second round.


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