Comments on: No Bad Analogies Needed for Baseball Economics Your best source for news on the Pittsburgh Pirates and their minor league system. Sat, 24 Jan 2015 06:43:00 +0000 hourly 1 By: Anonymous Fri, 25 Feb 2011 08:01:00 +0000 You might be misunderstanding me. I’m not saying you can’t win with mostly young cheap talent.

By: Chaz Fri, 25 Feb 2011 00:09:00 +0000 I could be wrong with this, but didn’t the Marlins win they’re second world series with MOSTLY young cheap talent? Dontrelle, AJ, Beckett, Cabrera, Penny were all young guys that were just out of the minors. Not trying to put a hole in your argument, just saying.

By: Anonymous Thu, 24 Feb 2011 21:40:00 +0000 I would just love for somebody who thinks “the Pirates need to spend money to make money” give just ONE example where that worked for a team in the Pirates’ situation.

There’s not a single example I can think of. Both the Marlins and the Diamondbacks won World Series titles by doing that, but both had to dismantle the teams shortly thereafter, and in fact, the Diamondbacks’ owner lost the team because he put them in such a financial hole in doing so.

We keep hearing from these sports geniuses that the Pirates’ business plan is “backwards”. Yet, we don’t hear them pointing out any team that has done it “the right way” (according to them) successfully.

By: Anonymous Thu, 24 Feb 2011 18:32:00 +0000 The analogy that I like to use is restoring an abandoned old house. The old house is in horrible shape ,the interior walls have holes in them and the whole house needs painted the floors are terrible and needs carpeting and tile ,the plumbing needs work as does the electrical system and the roof. What do you do first? Fix the walls and paint them and then put in new flooring and a new kitchen and baths and all new furniture? Well the house would certainly look great but how long would it last when the roof leaked and the pipes burst and the bad wiring caught fire.

That is what the Pirates were when the new administration took over. They have been doing all the work that doesn’t show up right now in PNC, but when the new furniture goes in there it won’t be there until the first rain.
Signing an expensive free agent would look great and make everybody feel good but until there is a support team around him it is just fresh paint on the walls of an old house that was abandoned for 15 years.

By: Anonymous Thu, 24 Feb 2011 17:21:00 +0000 Why wouldn’t the impetus be on increased attendance? If the team raises payroll and attendance doesn’t increase, the Pirates could be forced to take drastic measures to get back in line. That’s exactly what happened in 2003 when they traded Aramis Ramirez.

By: Tim Williams Thu, 24 Feb 2011 15:00:00 +0000 “Your anti-analogy was your analogy of your friends who don’t actually exist. Just bizarre writing.”

Those aren’t my analogies. Those were some of the analogies that were going around. The point was to show that they were bad analogies.

As for the softball comment, I was actually amused by it, mostly because it followed a statement about how the Pirates ducked the same question previously.

And to the general point, you and I agree on the state the Pirates are in with baseball’s economics. The problem is, people are so focused on payroll that they’re ignoring the key point here. Why shouldn’t a spending increase be contingent on the fans showing up?

We asked the question because that’s the question people want an answer to. However, the real question goes to the fans. Would you show up more often if the Pirates started winning? I can’t imagine the answer would be “no”. From that question, the follow up would go to the Pirates: “if the Pirates started winning, and attendance increased, would you increase payroll”. And I think they’ve answered that already.

By: Jeff Thu, 24 Feb 2011 14:50:00 +0000 Your anti-analogy was your analogy of your friends who don’t actually exist. Just bizarre writing.

When did I claim the Pirates were “doing nothing”? My comment was — and this is what Coonley said — that increased investment in the team is contingent on how many fans show up.

Look, I agree that we need to build from within. I agree that signing 30-year-old FAs to huge contracts isn’t going to create a winner. But I also know that the likelihood of the Pirates winning a WS and/or sustaining a winner for more than 2 years cannot happen without spending more than a <$50mm payroll. It is disconcerting to me that, after 18 years of losing and endless promises, that the contingencies for the FO to open up their purse strings isn't simply based on fielding a winner, but it's also contingent on fans showing up.

But, regardless of that argument, what a stupid and un-fan-friendly comment Frank made! For a guy in his position, surely you can agree he needs to be smoother than that!

As for the softball, I didn't mean to offend you by that. But, honestly, the question you asked has been asked 1,000 times by the reporters in Pittsburgh. That qualifies as a softball because Frank's PR people probably have that exact question written for him in his briefing book. It's shocking to me that he would get tripped up on a question like that.

But, you're right, he answered the question for and did so … well, provocatively … so perhaps I was wrong for referring to it as a softball.

By: Tim Williams Thu, 24 Feb 2011 14:38:00 +0000 Three points here:

1. What was my “anti-analogy”? Are you talking about the Brewers and Rays?

2. People are making this in to something it’s not. It’s not the Pirates saying “we’re doing nothing until the fans show up”. That’s just something you say to get people fired up. It also ignores the last line of the quote: “I am convinced that the attendance will move quickly once we convince our fans that we are on the right track.”

3. I think the softball talk is funny. I know Smizik called the question a softball, which is probably why you’re calling it a softball. Smizik called it a softball after mentioning that every Pirates fan was asking the same thing, and stating that the Pirates have ducked the question before. That doesn’t seem like a softball to me.

By: Jeff Thu, 24 Feb 2011 14:03:00 +0000 BTW, your “anti-analogy” was worse than the original analogy.

I don’t think this is about “HEY, THE BUCCOS NEED TO SPEND MORE TO WIN!” Personally, I understand that strategy doesn’t work. But it is disconcerting to hear from the president of the team that increased investment in the franchise is not based on fielding a winning team, but rather by the extent to which fans show up.

Let’s keep something in mind: it’s been 18 years since the Pirates had an opening day with a reasonable chance of winning. What if the fan base’s elasticity (it’s ability to spring back to being active fans) has been damaged? In that narrow window that can be created with a small payroll in which a low-payroll team can win with young, inexpensive players, if fans do not IMMEDIATELY respond and flood PNC, Coonley is essentially saying “Tough ****.” We aren’t going to spend more.

And the cycle will begin again.

You asked Coonley a softball. Why couldn’t he have stayed on message and said “When the team is in position to win, we’ll make the resources available to bring a championship to Pittsburgh”? I think that’s all we want.

Maybe he was being truthful. If so, I’ll give him credit for doing something new.

By: Jeff Thu, 24 Feb 2011 13:57:00 +0000 Tim, you’re missing the point. Coonley’s reply clearly states that the impetus for increased spending isn’t the competitiveness of the team (which is what you asked) but instead attendence.

That is not what the FO has said before, and — assuming Coonley didn’t “misspeak” — it’s akin to blackmail.

As fans, we should not have a RESPONSIBILITY to add revenue to this club. If the club is a viable business run by viable businessmen, then certain actions such as … you know … winning will invariably RESULT in increased attendance and other revenue drivers.

But for Coonley to suggest the fans need to take the first action is either malcious or stupid.