Slate covers The Pirates

New York, D.C. and New Haven-based Slate magazine is covering The Pirates this morning.  Some favorite quotes:

The Pirates’ operating income in 2008 was $22 million. If they had spent that entire amount on free-agent players in 2009, they’d have added about four wins for the season—ending up 66-95 instead of 62-99. That is, they still would have been terrible—not exactly what the fans have in mind when they ask the owner to empty his wallet.

So, which is it? If we assume that Pirates ownership is at least somewhat rational in trying to maximize its profits, we have to conclude that each extra win brings in less than the $5 million it costs—otherwise, it would have already spent the extra money. But how much less?

It would be nice for the fans if the Pirates were willing to lose millions of dollars in order to bring a competitive team to their loyal supporters. But even superrich owners are looking for some kind of return on their investment. In the end, the Pirates can spend a lot of money on player salaries, or they can turn a profit. They can’t do both.

The article mainly looks at the detailed finanical documents obtained by Deadspin, and compares Pittsburgh with Tampa Bay.  The article is a great read, and even better when paired with That’s Church’s demise of the Pirate’s Bandwagon.

1 Comment so far

  1. tv fool (unregistered) on September 6th, 2010 @ 1:01 am

    TL;DR; but you have great pictures.

    Sent via Blackberry

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