Pirates prove that the current structure in baseball doesn’t work for fans

July 18, 2010 - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States of America - 18 July 2010: The view from behind the plate at PNC Park prior to the National League game between the Houston Astros and the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pirates Paul Maholm.

The Associated Press released information this morning that should make Pirate and general baseball fans sick and Yankee fans even more appreciative of what they had in George Steinbrenner.

The AP reports that the Pittsburgh Pirates have been able to turn a profit over the last three years – the same Pittsburgh Pirates that haven’t had a winning season in over 18 years.

According to the financial documents that were obtained by the AP, the Pirates took home $15,008,032 in 2007, $14,408,249 in 2008 and $5.4 million 2009. That’s chump change compared to what a team like the Yankees have been able to take home, but they also win.

The Pirates claim that principal owner Bob Nutting doesn’t take a salary and that may be the case, but it’s also clear that they’re not using all of their resources to win on the field. How could they be? If they were, former All-Stars like Jason Bay, Freddy Sanchez, Nate McLouth and Jack Wilson wouldn’t be suiting up for other teams tonight. Nor would arbitration eligible or players close to becoming free agents like Tom Gorzelanny, Ian Snell, John Grabow, Xavier Nady, Adam LaRoche, Damaso Marte, Nyjer Morgan, Ronny Paulino and Sean Burnett be playing for other clubs right now either. (Let’s not forget that the Bucs also dealt Jose Bautista – the current home run leader in the AL – to the Blue Jays for 20 shake weights and an instructional shake weight at-home video.)

The Bucos say that they’re trying to win through the draft and with players like Andrew McCutcheon, Pedro Alvarez, Jose Tabata, Jameson Taillon and Stetson Allie either on the big league roster or in the minors that may be case. They say that they’ve paid nearly $12 million for amateur draft picks and have raised their draft expenditures to $31 million over the last three years.

Read the rest of this entry »

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Mikey’s MLB power rankings

The all-star game is behind us now, which means pennant races are about to heat up for real. And there are so many teams in contention this season, it really promises to be a wild rest of the summer. Here is a look at our post-all-star-game power rankings…..

1. New York Yankees (57-32)—Playing with heavy hearts this week after the passing of George Steinbrenner, but nothing else has changed. They just keep winning, and for the Yankees, that’s just what they do.

2. Tampa Bay Rays (54-35)—David Price is the real deal, and one of many reasons this young Rays team is battling the Yankees for AL East supremacy. They’re one of a handful of teams that can compete with the boys from Gotham, but they’d better not get swept this weekend.

3. Atlanta Braves (53-37)—They suddenly have a 5-game lead over the slumping Mets (and 5.5 over the Phils), and have the look of a team that wants to send Bobby Cox out on top.

4. Texas Rangers (52-38)—Cliff Lee and that lineup? The Rangers can start printing playoff tickets now.

5. San Diego Padres (52-37)—At this point, you can’t call it smoke and mirrors. Just like the Rays, this young team plays hard, manufactures runs and keeps games close with solid pitching.

6. Boston Red Sox (51-39)—Someone has awoken the beast that is David Ortiz. Home run derby was just a tease of what’s to come at Fenway this summer.

7. Chicago White Sox (50-39)—A 9-game winning streak was snapped yesterday, but the south side of Chicago is beaming. Too bad Jake Peavy is out for the year, but that doesn’t seem to matter much right now.

8. Cincinnati Reds (50-41)—See Padres, San Diego. Dusty Baker is one heck of a manager, and that is showing again now. Of course, when you have Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips and Scott Rolen in the middle of your lineup, all is right with the world.

9. Colorado Rockies (49-40)—This year, the Rockies won’t wait to make their move until September. They have already started making it, and the Padres had better watch their collective back

10. Detroit Tigers (48-39)—They have quietly kept right up with the White Sox, just one game back and now 2.5 ahead of the Twins. And Jim Leyland is still one of the best managers in the game.

The softer side of George Steinbrenner

July 12, 2010 - Bronx, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - epa02247395 A sign commemorating the death of Yankees owner George Steinbrenner is seen outside of Yankees Stadium in the Bronx, New York, USA, on 13 July 2010. Steinbrenner died of a heart attack this morning in Tampa, Florida at the age of 80.

Whether you love or hate the Yankees, or whether you came to respect or loathe George Steinbrenner, it’s hard not to appreciate the kind of man he was after you read the story below from the New York Daily News.

According to the paper, Steinbrenner once donated $13,000 to the family of a second-grader named Lorraine Blakely (now 40), who almost died after a freak accident in 1977. Steinbrenner only had one condition if he were to help: That the family could not discuss what he had gave them.

“It just shows what a good man he was,” Blakely said Wednesday at her Lake Ronkonkoma, L.I., home. “He didn’t want any notoriety for it. He was just doing it out of the goodness of his heart.”

Steinbrenner, despite a deserved reputation for bluster and bullying, often hid his softer side and philanthropic works: helping the kids of slain cops, funding hospitals, aiding terminally ill children.

And rescuing 7-year-old Lorraine after her skull was fractured by a flying chunk of wood in a botched Fire Department demonstration on Oct. 12, 1977.

Three hours of emergency surgery saved her life, but a chunk of the bone protecting her brain was gone – forcing her to don a hockey helmet around the clock.

A delicate four-hour operation was needed to implant a plastic plate across her skull.

That’s when Steinbrenner stepped to the plate, sending a limousine to bring the little girl and her parents to a meeting, where he handed over the check.

“It was a bit of an intimidating situation for me,” she recalled. “But when I got there he was so kind – one of the nicest people you could ever meet.”

The May 1978 surgery was a success, the Steinbrenner money helped pay the bills and the little girl grew up with her secret – a promise held so tightly that she never even called The Boss to say thank you.

But she never forgot his generosity or gentle demeanor.

“It gave me a chance in life,” she said. “It means a lot. Especially now, as a mother with children, to know what that must mean.”

Some people often say that wealthy athletes or people in sports don’t do enough for the underprivileged. But here’s a perfect example that there are a lot of good people in this world who are willing and able to do something out of the kindness of their hearts. Steinbrenner clearly didn’t want any notoriety for this and he couldn’t have known that after he died, Blakely was going to share her secret.

He may have pissed you off when the Yankees signed a free agent that your team was going after, or you may always root against the Bombers because they “buy all of their players.” But sports mean nothing in the grand scheme of things and when you push baseball and the Yankees to the side for a moment, George Steinbrenner was a good person.

And stories like the one above are what he should be remembered for.

Looking back on George Steinbrenner’s legacy

2 May 1997: New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner watches pensively at the 123rd Kentucky Derky at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.

You may have hated his brash attitude, the way he ran his team or the way he conducted his business. You may even feel that he ruined baseball.

But regardless of how you may have felt about him, there’s little denying that George Steinbrenner will forever be one of Major League Baseball’s icons.

Steinbrenner passed away this morning at the age of 80 after suffering a massive heart attack. He died just two days after longtime Yankee Stadium public address announcer Bob Sheppard passed away at the age of 99.

From 1973 to his death this morning, Steinbrenner oversaw 11 American League Pennants and seven World Series championships. His tenure as owner was the longest in club history.

But it wasn’t only what Steinbrenner was able to accomplish on the field that made his legacy so profound. He also helped revolutionize the business side of baseball by being the first owner to sell TV cable rights to the MSG Network. When things eventually went south with MSG, he created the YES Network, which is currently the Yankees’ very own TV station that generates millions in revenue.

During his tenure, he took the Yankees from a $10 million franchise to a $1.2 billion juggernaut. In 2005, the Yankees became the first professional sports franchise to be worth an estimated one billion dollars.

Read the rest of this entry »

It’s official: Baby Hank takes over Yankees

Hal Steinbrenner has officially taken control of one of the most loved and hated franchises in all of sports: The New York Yankees. Hal will replace his papa bear, George Steinbrenner.

Whether you liked George or you hated him, The New York Post notes that he was one of a kind:

George SteinbrennerAnd was a hell of a thing to be George Steinbrenner, too. There were times he was a model of how not to run a sports franchise (or a 7-Eleven franchise, for that matter), and there is an army of ex-employees who’ll tell you he was a model of how not to be a boss, too. And yet, players who spent years raging at him would invariably be welcomed back as coaches and instructors after their playing days were over. There are a thousand tales of quiet kindnesses Steinbrenner administered through the years.

And perhaps the most staggering thing of all is to know that in the short course of his stewardship, public opinion about him managed to do the impossible: it did a complete 180. This was a man whose banishment from baseball in July 1990 was greeted with a standing ovation and a vulgar chant at Yankee Stadium. And yet less than a decade later, those same fans would serenade him with a chant of “Thank you, George!”

New York has long been the place where men come to find their destinies, and Steinbrenner found his here. It has long been a city that welcomes men to re-invent themselves, and Steinbrenner did that, too. We will never see another like him, and who ever would have thought, back in the day, that this would be a sad thing?

So the name of the boss, lower case, changes. Even as everyone knows that the Boss, upper case, will be forever.

Chances are if you live outside of the Bronx, you probably hate George Steinbrenner and his freewheeling approach. But you have to give the guy one thing – he went after it every year. He wanted to win and it didn’t matter how much money it took to do it. He never broke any rules (MLB should have always had a cap if they wanted to regulate the Yankees’ spending) and he always put the money he earned back into the organization. Not every owner in baseball can say that.

So again, love him or hate him – “Big Stein” is a legend.

Related Posts