What the Pirates’ Finances Really Mean

What the Pirates’ Finances Really Mean

Today, I’m going to be talking about Alan Robinson’s AP Article.

As an MBA who’s been working with private companies the last few years, I can tell you, you can make the numbers say whatever you want.  I wouldn’t read too much in to the fact that the Pirates showed a profit.  And so what if they did?  They show a profit of almost $30M over 2007 and 2008.  The Pirates are valued at $289M so that’s about a 5% return, or just barely keeping with inflation on two good (financially speaking) years.

Let’s look at what Robinson’s report really means for baseball in Pittsburgh.  What it appears we know for sure, is that since 2007 the team hasn’t needed outside financing, has very low cash reserves and is in the black.  Nutting haters, what would you prefer?  Would you prefer that the team was losing money and that Nutting was forced to consider selling or moving the team?  Need I remind you how close we were to losing the Penguins?

The finances that Robinson “expose” mean we have a chance of winning here in Pittsburgh (though admittedly, the chances seem bleak).  We’ve been able to make a little money while we built up our farm system, and it appears that if the Pirates became competitive and ticket sales rose (again I point you to the Pittsburgh Penguins) then we could use some of that money to invest in players without running in to the red.  So there’s the good news, we do have a SLIM chance of success.

What are our options for improving those chances?  While a deep pocketed, free spending owner would help, Nutting doesn’t appear interested in selling.  So, why don’t we stop bickering about a guy who is barely keeping up with inflation and start focusing on the real problem, revenue disparity.  In order to keep up with the Yankees, Nutting would have had to lose hundreds of millions of dollars each year.  It’s unreasonable to ask him to do that.  What we need is a system that allows the Pirates and the Yankees a similar resource pool to field a team.