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A 2017 Pirates Festivus For The Rest Of Us

Who has grievances to be aired? Festivus pole photo by Matthew Keefe.

Warning: this is going to be stupid.

Last year, I retold Twas the Night Before Christmas ? as my holiday post. This year, it ?s themed after a Festivus for the rest of us. Why? I don’t know. Maybe it’ll be funny or something.

For those of you who don ?t know what Festivus is, the mainstream winter holiday alternative rose to popularity 20 years ago as the ?B ? story of a single episode on a TV show that you can ?t stream on Netflix. Let ?s take a moment to see how the nomenclature came to be or just re-watch highlights of one of the best episodes of Seinfeld.

So after a year on the Pirates beat and writing about the club for half a dozen outlets, let me tell you all the ways (well, some of the ways) I ?ve been disappointed over the last year. It ?s time for the airing of grievances! (Starting with Kevin for making me post this on Festivus Eve instead of the 23rd. Party pooper.) Editor’s note — If you want to discuss with my wife why I’m editing a post and doing TPOP stuff instead of wrapping gifts and preparing for a dinner party, good luck. KC.

Neal Huntington:

What the heck happened? You went from a consensus pick as one of the best GMs in the league just two years ago to a guy who has trouble committing to a team direction. I wrote that you were in no man ?s land after the 2016 Winter Meetings, and you proceeded to spend the next 12 months staying put? Another Winter Meeting has come and gone, and you still haven ?t taken any action on if you want to win now or in a year or two.

Now ?s the time to rebuild. Francisco Cervelli, Josh Harrison and Andrew McCutchen ?s best days are behind them. If you want to roll the dice with them again, fine, but you need to cash out on at least one player with value. Gerrit Cole is the best candidate, and let ?s face it, he ?s had a bag packed since he was almost screwed out of a pre-arb raise back in 2016. We don ?t want to hear about how you explored all the options and couldn ?t get a deal done while going back to Cole with your tail between your legs this spring. If the reports out of New York are true, this bridge is burned. Go for it!

And what was that quip at PirateFest about the Pirates paying a higher percentage of their payroll to McCutchen than the Penguins do to Crosby? That isn ?t something to brag about. So you have more money allocated to your highest paid player than they do theirs in a salary cap league? Nobody cares.

Pizza Penny:

I can deal with Bacon Burt. I can even forgive the unjust exile of Potato Pete and making him the heel to babyface Cheese Chester. What I can ?t stand is you!

Let ?s start with the most egregious sin: the pierogi is Polish and pizza is Italian. What ?s next, p czki and spaghetti? Hulupki and lasagna? Kutia and risotto? Mixing the two is an assault on my tastebuds, globalization and everything in between, you geographically confused dumpling.

You bring nothing new to the pierogi race. Jalapeno Hannah was already the Smurfette in the male chauvinistic world of anthropomorphic frozen cuisine racing. You are just Hannah with an extra layer of lipstick and a mole. If anything, you look more French than Italian or Polish! What are you?

You have Hannah ?s purse, Sauerkraut Saul ?s red color and Potato Pete ?s name alliteration (P.P.). Burt at least has a mustache. You offer…a checkered hat. I ?m not clever enough to come up with a final punchline for this tangent, so here ?s a clip of a 23 year old Simpsons episode that seems applicable.

Furthermore, Penny, you ruined the perfect symmetry of a four or five pierogi field. Dear Reader, I ?m going to let you in on a secret: the race is usually rigged. In the good ol ? days, no one pierogi would get more than a couple games ahead, and home game no. 81 was the winner take all race, with all the contestants tied at either 20 or 16 matches. That 81st race was a beautiful crapshoot. You ?re taking that away from us since 80 is not divisible by six. Last year it was two pierogies duking it out during the final game. Because of you, two-thirds of the field had to sit back and watch!

Actually, let ?s fix the Great Pittsburgh Pierogi Race and start from scratch. Bring back the animated segments on the jumbotron. Have the Parrot sabotage whomever is in first place. Let Pete have another winner take all race with Chester. Penny, you can be the heel from now on.

Bob Nutting:

On a slightly more serious note…

The Pirate fanbase is convinced there is a mutual acrimony between them and ownership. It ?s in your best interest to try to appease the masses and show that you do give a damn. After all, you want butts in seats and eyeballs on TVs before negotiating a new deal.

I believe you when you say you want to win. But you can ?t run a ballclub like a regular business and be consistently successful on the field and profitable. Fans only care about the former, so be prepared for every money related question you get. Every fan, columnist, blogger and disc jockey is looking for a chance to strike.

So let ?s say you happen to stumble upon $50 million dollars thanks to a transaction you barely had a hand in facilitating. And let ?s say one of the longest tenured Pirate beat writers asks you a softball question about it during a one-on-one interview. Could you please give a better answer on what the plan for this windfall is than *shrug*?

Ok, the cash isn ?t in hand quite yet, but surely you knew this question was coming. A $50 million bonus is conversation worthy. You have known about this sale for months. We’ve been writing about it for months, back when 4/5th’s of the writers in this town thought BAMTech was related to the next Marvel superhero movie coming out. Couldn ?t you have given a slightly better answer than patting yourself on the back for the few times you did shell out more than the average team?

There is no reason you couldn ?t have talked to some of your partners and Huntington before this interview and said ?we don ?t know what we ?ll do with all of it, but we are planning on spending a portion on BLANK. ? BLANK could be almost anything. Helping to expand your franchise ?s reach in Latin America or untapped baseball markets. Funding an extension for a player or two Huntington wants to build around. Signing a marketable name during the 2018 free agency smorgasbord. Facility renovations. Improving the fan experience at PNC Park in some way. Just…something!

So I ?m cutting off my grievances there. Three seems like a good, round number. I ?ll be on the lookout for any Festivus miracles. Coincidently, ?Festivus miracle ? is my new nickname for the Yankees farm system.

I ?ll consider powering through this post as a feat of strength, so this brings Pirates Festivus to an end. Don’t worry. You don’t have to pin me.

Alex is a Pirates and Duquesne basketball contributor to The Point of Pittsburgh. He graduated from Point Park University with a degree in Journalism and Mass Comm. and a minor in English in 2014. Everything can be explained with numbers. If you want to keep up to date on both teams or have a story idea, you can follow or reach him @AlexJStumpf.

9 Comments on A 2017 Pirates Festivus For The Rest Of Us

  1. Bob Stover // December 22, 2017 at 8:48 AM //

    Love the Festivus analogy. Participating in a sports blog is a never ending airing of grievances.

  2. Charles Vine // December 22, 2017 at 8:54 AM //

    With Nutting, Huntington and Hurdle I can find something to moan about 365 days a year…maybe more.

  3. Jack Schroeffel, CPA // December 23, 2017 at 1:15 PM //

    Disney acquisition of Bamtech was for $86 mil in 2 parts to all MLB owners/family partnerships.. See Disney f/s reports. not $50mil. MLB/Pirates lie. MLB still owns 25% and now have Disney film library. same value before/after sale. The problem is that all $86 mil went to Nutting’s
    Daughters not pirate baseball.

  4. And here I thought the Yankees farm system was bereft of top end talent after the acquisition of Sonny Gray last season. A Festivus Miracle indeed.

    • The Yankees have the deepest minor league talent stream in baseball, much of it coming from international talent. The Yankees for years overspent their allotted pool money because the penalties for doing so are really quite small and you can trade for other teams pool money if you really need it. So yeah, if the Yankees want Cole or Jay-Hay, and the Pirates are willing to make a deal, the Yankees have the talent to be buyers.

  5. You are forgetting the enormous capital costs that MLB put out to create BAMTech. They didn’t share any of the money from the initial 25% Disney purchase because they saw it as a recovery of their start-up capital. The owners will now share the $1.58 billion for the additional 50% that Disney bought in 2017. That money will be paid by end of this calendar year and MLB will distribute it to the owners beginning in 2019. So there is no BAMTech money to spend this year. Of course some organizations are probably already spending it from their own revenues or credit lines knowing that the money is coming next year and is a sure thing. The Pirates could do the same, but I’m guessing they won’t.

    Next year will have the richest crop of under age 30 superstar free agents in the entire history of free agency. My guess is that the Pirates will surely spend some of that money to replace Cutch and Cervelli for the 2019 season and beyond.

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