Take it from a lifelong Pirates fan, you learn to never trust a word the Pirates organization says when it comes to making player personnel decisions. I was 4 when the Pirates lost the 1992 NLCS and entered a near quarter century of sub-.500 darkness. And when they had their recent renaissance, people knew in the back of their minds it would just be temporary.
So when Pirates owner Bob Nutting and GM Neal Huntington traded away Gerrit Cole and Andrew McCutchen for, you may as well say next to nothing, fans were upset but figured that would inevitably happen. One local company is taking a stand and is taking money from Nutting’s wallet as a result.
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Weirton Medical Center out of West Virginia announced that they are pulling advertising from three local Ogden Newspapers publications. Nutting is the CEO of the company and Weirton Medical Center made no secret as to why they were doing that.
“We are doing this not to hurt our friends and colleagues working at these newspapers, but to send a message to the Nutting family that we believe in community,” the company said in a news release. “We hope this gesture reminds you of the importance of community. Legions of Pirates fans may not own the ball club, but we certainly feel a sense of ownership too.”
This is a rare time where pulling advertising is getting more publicity. Weirton claims that by running full page ads in three newspapers on Sunday’s as well as more advertising midweek, they are one of Ogden’s largest advertisers. And at this point, Pirates fans will go for anything that hurts Nutting.
Nutting has been criticized for being cheap when it comes to player acquisitions. In fact, the MLB Players Association has even wanted an investigation on the Pirates and Marlins for not using money given to them from other teams via revenue sharing on signing players, something the Pirates have denied.
The Pirates have claimed that they are going to be in the free agent market this season but given my experience as a Pirates fan, I’ll believe it when I see it. Nutting can claim being a “small-market” team and poor until the cows come home but we all know he’s been making a profit on this team for years so there isn’t really any motivation to actually try to win or even sell the team.
They got lucky in obtaining McCutchen and Cole and that bought a few years of fun but it was just a placebo effect as the Pirates only got out of the Wild Card game once. We all know the Pirates are just stuck in another quarter century of winless purgatory where the only silver lining Pirates fans receive is buying tickets on StubHub for pennies on the dollar and seeing classic bands perform postgame concerts along with fireworks.
One can only appreciate a beautiful skyline for so long before they want to see a half decent product out on the field who doesn’t rely on minor league promotions to attract fans because the team isn’t good enough. So when a company does something like this, even if it ultimately won’t do anything, is a small victory. And for Weirton Medical Center, becomes the unofficial medical facility for dissatisfied fans of the Pittsburgh Pirates.