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The City Of Pittsburgh Deserves A Winner

It shouldn't be this way. The city of Pittsburgh is a renewed, revitalized city based more on technology than the old smelly steel mills that kept its skies gray for a century. Today, the skyline is sleek and modern, creating a 21st century city out of what once was the most archaic and mundane of America's eastern cities.

Forbes Field was replaced in the name of modernism, and for 40 years, Three Rivers Stadium became yet another symbol of Pittsburgh's inability to "get it right." Over the past decade, Pittsburgh has become a city of new hope and new dreams. The keystone to Pittsburgh's rebirth lays along the banks of the Ohio River: PNC Park. Pirates owner Kevin McLatchy, who when he purchased the club said "If the city builds me a new park, I will be able to infuse the necessary resources to make this team a winner for decades to come." Uh-huh. The city of Pittsburgh kept its part of the bargain, but McLatchy has not kept his.

The Pirates should have returned to the promised land by now. Gone should have been the pain of Pittsburgh fans as they have watched their stars depart for greener pastures since the early 1990s. But no. The names have changed, but the result remains the same. A team with a small payroll continues to try balance the budget without concern to wins and losses. There is no hope for the future. Unless the Pirates start to win, team ownership can't expect more than 20,000 fans per night, and unless the Pirates begin to draw more than 20,000 fans per night, ownership has no intention to increase the payroll.

The Pirates fans have continuously suffered since the day that Barry Bonds left many years ago. Within a few seasons, the entire core of that championship team were helping other teams win championships. We should feel so lucky. Our first year back in the "bigs," with a $47 million payroll, we're in first place, have the second best record in the National League, and trades have already been made to better the team. And that's the difference. Nationals management wants to win, while Pirates management doesn't want to lose money.

How sad. The Pirates fans deserve so much more.

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