The Pirates announced a crowd of 26,959 on Saturday. But more than 27,000 fans had a keen eye on this game—a protest of Pirate management and ownership by the “Fans for Change,” led by Andy Chomos, drew local and national attention.
I wasn’t in attendance, but I’ll do my best to point you in the direction of solid coverage:
- Yahoo! Sports, Associated Press and the Biz of Baseball all posted relevant articles.
- WTAE, KDKA and the Post-Gazette covered the story in Pittsburgh
- The Unofficial Pittsburgh Pirates Message Board had a live thread, and there were a few posts on the Only Bucs board, too.
From the AP:
PITTSBURGH – Despite a much-publicized effort to display fan discontent during the Pittsburgh Pirates 15th consecutive losing season, only a few thousand fans at most left their seats in protest following the third inning of Saturday nights game against Washington.
Only about 100 fans were seen leaving the ballpark immediately following the third, and it appeared that many of the fans who vacated their seats returned not long after leaving.
From the WTAE story, a photo of the shirts the Fans for Change were wearing:
From KDKA, the protesters’ theme song:
Contrary to statements released earlier in the week, FSN Pittsburgh did not ignore the protest. Marshall Harris interviewed Bob Nutting on air, Greg Brown and Bob Walk discussed the protest, and cameras panned the stands during the early innings to show the fluorescent green shirts. When the fourth inning started, a video shot during the inning break from the center field camera was played. Both Nutting and Kevin McClatchy were seated behind home plate throughout the game.
In the comments section of the game thread, Tony Ferrante of The Confluence of the Three Rivers and The Steel Tradition pointed out that the MASN2 and ESPN broadcasts reported that the walkout was a bit more successful than other outlets did.
I’ll try to capture a few audio clips from MLB.TV and post the results here as soon as possible.
EDIT, 10:15 p.m.
I captured an mp3 recording of the audio from the second inning of the Fox Sports Net Pittsburgh Broadcast. Harris interviews Nutting, and Brown and Walk discuss the number of green shirts in the crowd. The clip is about three minutes long; to open it, follow the link and click the “download file” button directly above the ads. You’ll be prompted to open the mp3 in your favorite media player:
At the end of the day, the Fans for Change made some noise—and that’s all they hoped to do, I think. I’m still of the belief that for anything to come of their efforts, more needs to be done. From the reports I’ve read, it seems that a few fans booed those who walked out. Show me a fan that supports the Pirates’ ownership, and I’ll show you an individual that doesn’t fully understand how this franchise has been run into the ground.
EDIT, 10:40 p.m.
The blogosphere’s reaction: