Turns out it really IS all about the money, stupid.
Leaked documents today showed that in the 2007 and 2008 seasons combined, the cellar-dwelling, epically futile, top-picks gathering, NL Central whipping boy Pittsburgh Pirates made a profit of $30m.
In its own right that is merely dumb – after all, if the owners wish to betray their city by putting financial profit ahead of on-field success, that’s their prerogative. What makes it particularly egregious however is that during the same period, the franchise accepted $70m in revenue-sharing money from major league baseball and distributed $20m in profits to…themselves.
So it’s not merely that the big league payroll doesn’t max out, it’s that potential investments in high draft picks or international scouting are being neglected. In fact, part of the Pirates’ story of abject failure over the last 17 years is of eschewing top level talent in the draft for fear they’ll want to be paid the going rate for their services.
Still, failing miserably every year and raking in millions of dollars at the same time is a pretty good gig if you can get it.
I’m just glad I don’t live in Pittsburgh.