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Old 12-01-2009, 01:14 AM   #1
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Default Open your books, Mr. Nutting!

http://community.post-gazette.com/bl...r-nutting.aspx

Open your books, Mr. Nutting!

By Bob Smizik | Wednesday, 1 a.m.



In a startling bit of reporting, the widely respected Jason Stark of ESPN.com wrote last week that many small-market MLB teams are far wealthier than anyone ever expected.

According to Stark, teams like the Pirates receive about $80 million in revenue before they sell a ticket.

Thatís a figure that had not previously been reported and it's one that has to make any Pirates fan wonder where all the money is going because itís certainly not going toward payroll.

Are the long-held suspicions that principal owner Bob Nutting is pocketing a handsome profit while foisting a third-rate team on the Pittsburgh fans true? Is Nutting the villain many fans and former fans portray him to be?

Based on Starkís reporting, there is reason to be at least suspicious.

Stark reported that all MLB teams receive $30 million from the Central Fund, which includes revenue from Bob Nuttingnational television, radio, Internet, licensing, merchandising, marketing and MLB International.

Additionally, every team but one (not believed to be the Pirates) makes at least $15 million from local radio and television revenue.

Finally, the teams that have the lowest revenue (the Pirates are in that group) receive about $35 million in revenue sharing.

Thatís $30 million from the Central Fund, $15 million from local media and $35 million for revenue sharing. That comes to $80 million.

What about it, Mr. Nutting?

Nutting wasnít talking but team president Frank Coonelly spoke to Ken Rosenthal of Fox. Rosenthal, working with a different figure, wrote: ``He [Coonelly] said his club received substantially less than $40 million in revenue sharing last year, but declined to say what the specific numbers were.íí

Maybe that number was the $35 million, as reported by Stark, which is substantially less than the $40 million Coonelly was asked about. In effect, Coonelly could have been confirming Starkís figure.

Rob Manfred, MLBís chief of labor relations, told Rosenthal, ``There is no one club getting $80 or $90 million in combination from revenue sharing and Central Baseball. Not one.íí

Thatís not what Stark wrote. He said teams were getting that much money from revenue sharing, the Central Fund and local radio and TV.

Manfred was denying nothing.

So what is the real story?

No one is saying and Pirates fans, who never trusted Nutting, now have less reason to do so.

Is he financing Seven Springs with Pirates money? Is he bailing out his small-town newspaper empire with baseball profits? Or is he just putting it in his pocket?

People are suggesting as much and as long as Nutting remains quiet, he only stokes the speculation.

Thereís one way to end the talk.

Open your books, Mr. Nutting.

Let the public know how much profit youíre making and where that profit is going.

Of course, you donít have to do that. The Pirates are a private company. But they are public institution playing in a beautiful baseball stadium that was largely financed by tax dollars.

Your team relies heavily on public goodwill and through your actions you are destroying that goodwill. I have followed the Pirates as a fan for more than 60 years and as a journalist for more than 40 and Iíve never seen the team and the organization held in such a low regard.

Itís not just the losing. Itís the way you go about your business. You arouse suspicion by your actions and the actions of your subordinates.

If a public opening of the books isnít to your liking, at least allow a government-appointed commission study your finances and report back.

If you have nothing to hide, this should not be a problem. If you do, of course, youíll reject any attempt to let the public know how you run your business.

To use a term from another sport, the ball is in your court, Mr. Nutting.

You can surprise us all by being open and honest about your financial situation. Or you can continue to arouse suspicion and drive away customers by conducting business as usual.
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Old 12-01-2009, 01:50 AM   #2
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Default Re: Open your books, Mr. Nutting!

I'm curious as to how much the payroll is for the team? And I'm also curious as to what the average attendance is for a Pirates game? I don't know that much about either statistic but the ownership of the Pirates confuses me.

The Steelers and Pens are huge to the city and heavily supported within Pittsburgh and also heavily supported throughout the states as well. Why not field a competitive team? To me it seems like they would bring in more money with the examples that the other two major sports franchises set and also get the respect from the city and the fanbase, which would translate to more ticket and merchandise sales.

When you win, or when you lose yet show that you've put an effort into winning, doesn't that equate to more dollars??

What am I missing here???
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Old 12-01-2009, 02:26 AM   #3
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Default Re: Open your books, Mr. Nutting!

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Originally Posted by Shea View Post
I'm curious as to how much the payroll is for the team? And I'm also curious as to what the average attendance is for a Pirates game? I don't know that much about either statistic but the ownership of the Pirates confuses me.

The Steelers and Pens are huge to the city and heavily supported within Pittsburgh and also heavily supported throughout the states as well. Why not field a competitive team? To me it seems like they would bring in more money with the examples that the other two major sports franchises set and also get the respect from the city and the fanbase, which would translate to more ticket and merchandise sales.

When you win, or when you lose yet show that you've put an effort into winning, doesn't that equate to more dollars??

What am I missing here???
They drew 1.58 million fans last season, which was the lowest since PNC Park opened in 2001. That's roughly 18,000 fans per game, way more than even I expected. Their payroll when the season ended was around $25 million, down from $48 million when the season started.

It has never occurred to Bob Nutting that he'd make a shitload more money if he put a competitive team on the field, because that would require him do the one thing he has never done and obviously has no intention of doing - spend money. He'd much rather put garbage on the field year after year and make millions of dollars with little to no risk. OK, so he's expanded the international budget, draft budget and opened a brand new baseball facility in the Dominican Republic in order to tap into the deep talent base there. But what is the point of bringing in quality young talent if all he's going to do is ship them off to the Yankees or Red Sox for their leftovers, rather than spend the money to keep them? You'd also think at some point the league would step in, but let's remember who's in charge. Bud Selig is more inept at his job than Roger Goodell and Gary Bettman, so that is never going to happen.

Bottom line is that Nutting gets no more of my money until he either has an epiphany and starts spending more money on players, or he sells the team. I've just had enough.
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Old 12-01-2009, 08:22 AM   #4
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Default Re: Open your books, Mr. Nutting!

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It has never occurred to Bob Nutting that he'd make a shitload more money if he put a competitive team on the field,
WAIT A MINUTE, are you saying that winning brings more fans to the ballpark?

NNNNnnnnoooooooooo! Say it isn't so!




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Old 12-01-2009, 03:13 PM   #5
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Default Re: Open your books, Mr. Nutting!

Pirates wont ever have a winning season until Nutting spends more money on his team, and if they dont trade there best players for below average talent.
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Old 12-08-2009, 12:13 PM   #6
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Default Re: Open your books, Mr. Nutting!

Nutting is, and always shall be a cheap owner. What's the point in spending money in creating a project worth watching when you can still make money fielding crap by abusing the league revenue system? When we do aquire good players, we ship them off to New York for their trash. Instead of opening pocketbooks to keep them. The result is a constant hodge podge of marketing gimmicks, rebuilding, bobbleheads, fireworks, and midseason fire sales.

Nutting won't change his brilliant business tactics that make him easy cash for doing absolutely nothing. Bobby sees the Pirates as just a easy money cow for stuffing his own pockets, and not for the health of the organization. Nothing will change until he gives up ownership to someone who is willing to put effort into a product. That's not happening anytime soon.

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Old 02-10-2010, 12:48 AM   #7
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Default Re: Open your books, Mr. Nutting!

Why doesn't everyone just run him out of town.
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Old 02-10-2010, 01:31 AM   #8
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Default Re: Open your books, Mr. Nutting!

I just hate watching that beautiful, best in the league ball park go to waste and watch us Pirates fans suffer as the seasons get harder to bare. I wish the MLB would step in and at least threaten Mr. Nutting or just get rid of him so we can have a new owner come in and take control.
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Old 02-10-2010, 08:49 PM   #9
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Default Re: Open your books, Mr. Nutting!

is nutting cheap? yes, would pirates be better with another owner? probably....however the pirates have a plan in place and neal huntington and frank coonley are doing an excellent job, they have restocked the farm system basically with exciting high upside prospects.....there is no need to sign a free agent who wants a lot of money that will block these prospects, im glad there not spending right now
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Old 02-10-2010, 11:47 PM   #10
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Default Re: Open your books, Mr. Nutting!

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Originally Posted by steelpride12 View Post
I just hate watching that beautiful, best in the league ball park go to waste and watch us Pirates fans suffer as the seasons get harder to bare. I wish the MLB would step in and at least threaten Mr. Nutting or just get rid of him so we can have a new owner come in and take control.
You have to remember who is running the league. Bud "Steroid Boy" Selig is more inept at his job than either Roger Goodell or Gary Bettman. There is no way in hell he will ever step in and force Nutting to open his books or sell the team, because he cares even less about the integrity of his sport than Goodell does. So long as people keep coming to the ballparks and the owners keep making money...and keep being a wallflower for the MLBPA...nothing is ever going to change.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dylan View Post
is nutting cheap? yes, would pirates be better with another owner? probably....however the pirates have a plan in place and neal huntington and frank coonley are doing an excellent job, they have restocked the farm system basically with exciting high upside prospects.....there is no need to sign a free agent who wants a lot of money that will block these prospects, im glad there not spending right now
Yeah, we'll see in 5 years when those "prospects" are traded to the Yankees, Mets, Dodgers and Red Sox.

Face it, even if these guys pan out and become good players/stars, Nutting is NOT going to spend the money to keep them here, no matter how many times he says it. He simply cannot be trusted. The only way the Pirates will ever be competitive again is when he is no longer the owner.
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