Pirates fans: Take a break from worrying about Bob Nutting, okay?
By Joe Smeltzer
Bob Nutting is the boogeyman of Pittsburgh sports.
People don’t like the guy. Bucco optimists see him as no more frugal than most of his billionaire brethren, but more people than not find him cheap more often than not. For the pessimists out there, well, Nutting makes it hard to get excited about the Pittsburgh Baseball club. For the pessimists’ pessimists, Nutting is a mix of Rachel Phelps (The Cleveland Indians’ owner in the 1989 motion picture Major League, and a cheapskate), Eugene Krabs (owner of the Krusty Krab, and a cheapskate) and Darth Vader (a bad guy).
The degrees of contempt for Nutting in this town vary, but the bottom line is that people from South Park to Natrona Heights agree that the world would be a better place if the West Virginia Richman spent more money.
I understand why people don’t like Nutting, and this article isn’t meant to endorse the man. What I don’t understand is why we are worried about #NuttingsWallet now?
#NuttingsWallet should be a big topic of discussion if the Pirates were a good team who could reach the top of the proverbial mountain with a free agent signing or two. But the Pirates are rotten record-wise and thus wouldn’t turn themselves into a championship contender with the snap of a finger.
Pittsburgh will never be one of baseball’s big spenders, and that’s enough to keep the Debbie downers frowning until this team wins a World Series, if ever.
I feel bad for those people because, although the Bucs are 38-58 and recently swept by the stinky Arizona Diamondbacks, many exciting things are happening.
Alas, for more than a few yinzers, Mean Mr. Nutting keeps them from enjoying good things, such as the Pirates’ recent draft that beefed up an already thriving farm system. Jacob Stallings’s climatic walk-off grand slam last Saturday probably wasn’t as enjoyable for the Nutting haters of the Northside (or the South, East and West sides).
The Pirates’ minor league system soon maybe baseball’s Creme de la Creme, which means General Manager Ben Cherington knows what he’s doing. The big league team doesn’t win much but has a winning attitude. That means Manager Derek Shelton knows how to inspire, although Shelton’s on-field decision-making still has us wanting to assault our television sets.
With Bryan Reynolds and Ke’Bryan Hayes already in the majors and the farm, as mentioned above, only getting better, there’s no reason to believe the Pirates can’t be a good baseball team in two years.
That is unless Bob Nutting lives rent-free in your skull.
I can’t say I get why Pirates’ fans choose to make themselves more miserable than they have to be.
These people enjoy nothing until Nutting sells the Pirates, a day that probably won’t ever come (he’s only 59, so he’s not going anywhere).
For them, the dream of Nutting selling is as glorious in Pittsburgh as the Wicked Witch of the East’s death was in Munchkin Land. They don’t understand that whoever would buy the Pirates in this dream scenario would likely become the proverbial “Wicked Witch of the West” before long. That’s how owners are.
When the Pirates are in a position where Nutting’s spending can push this team to a championship, we can talk about #NuttingsWallet. Until then, enjoy these growing pains as much as possible. It will make the fruit taste sweeter when the Bucs are ready to win.