Open Letter to Bob Nutting: PPG Editorial Board Style

Dear Mr. Nutting,

Recently there has been a lot of pressure placed on you to sell the Pittsburgh Pirates to the ownership group headed by Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle.  However, you’ve insisted on cock blocking that attempt to send the Pirates to a glorious run of .500 or better baseball for years to come under the Lemieux group, using your lame “I don’t have to sell because I’m a private business owner” excuse.  Since you have no intention on selling, I am pleading with you on behalf of Pirates fans to do something to improve the team.

To date, the Pirates have done nothing in the month of February to improve the team, outside of the additions of Doug Bernier, Billy Killian, Kevin Melillo, and Anthony Norman.  All this time I’ve been hearing that the Pirates are going to be building from within, but here we are a few weeks from Spring Training, and the only major addition we’ve made in the last week is adding Doug Bernier to our middle infield depth charts.  Just crown us champions right now!

There is something you can still do to give the Pirates a chance at a .500 record in 2010.  There is a free agent out there who can lead the Pirates to greatness if you would only shell out the money for once to sign him.  That free agent is Ben Roethlisberger.

To date, no Major League Baseball team has expressed interest in Ben Roethlisberger.  The Pirates would also have an inside edge, since Roethlisberger has ties to the city of Pittsburgh.  It’s also not uncommon for a football player to also play baseball.  Deion Sanders played for the Atlanta Braves from 1991 to 1994, and look how great that worked out for Atlanta.  They had a .607 winning percentage in that time, and made the World Series twice.  The Pirates haven’t made the World Series since 1979, a 30 year span that you are partially responsible for.  It’s time to right the ship.

Roethlisberger would be a great addition because he’s a proven winner.  In just six years in the NFL he’s already managed to win two championships.  There’s no reason why he wouldn’t be able to lead the Pirates to a championship or two, since he’s got a track record of success.  Meanwhile the Pirates are clinging to the hopes of Pedro Alvarez, despite the fact that the Lynchburg Hillcats didn’t win a championship in 2009 until Alvarez left the team.

Roethlisberger brings more than that to the table.  No one saw more hits last year in the NFL than Ben Roethlisberger.  That’s something that is desperately needed in the Pirates’ lineup, unless you’re comfortable with Jeff Clement and his career .237 average.  Even if you insist on your usual routine of stuffing your pockets with profits, the move will be rewarding, as Roethlisberger had the fifth highest jersey sales in the NFL in 2009.

This move probably won’t happen, as you will probably give the “small market” excuse, since it will cost a lot of money to sign Roethlisberger.  I say that excuse is tired and overused.  The Pittsburgh Steelers had no problems giving Roethlisberger an eight year, $102 M contract.  There’s no reason why the Pittsburgh Pirates can’t do the same thing.  They both play in the city of Pittsburgh, which is the exact same market.  Market size is no issue here.  If the Steelers can do it, there’s no excuse for why the Pirates can’t also spend this money on a player who is fully capable of leading his team to championships.

By signing Ben Roethlisberger you can finally deliver on your promise of producing a winner, and probably years ahead of schedule. You would become an overnight sensation, Pittsburgh’s newest baseball hero. It’s worth thinking about.

More than a few Pirates fans strung out on meth
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Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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