The Thursday Show Prep

posted by Steve Bortstein -

Todd Haley and Ben Roethlisberger 670

Carry That Weight

The sports fans in Pittsburgh are frustrated, angry & perturbed.

Whether you're a fan of the Steelers or the Pirates living in the city of Pittsburgh, people are either voicing their opinions this week about the disappointing and perhaps premature exit from the NFL Playoffs, or they're getting even more chaffed about the recent firesale happening with their beloved baseball team. 

I suppose now would be a fine time to mention to people living in the Steel City that they do boast a 2-time, back-to-back Stanley Cup champion hockey team.

But I digress.

Update: Steelers fans who were chomping at the bit for fresh meat after the loss to Jacksonville this past weekend were rewarded with the just-barely warm carcass of Todd Haley's tenure with the team. The 6-year offensive coordinator was relieved of his duties yesterday afternoon.

I adore hearing from fans. Nothing says complete and total disillusion like a weary and beleaguered group of individuals who feel they possess some intricate knowledge of business acumen as well as coaching prowess and how to make decisions on matters of player personnel and management changes.

All while grilling brats, drinking copious amounts of alcohol and getting their faces painted hours before the start of a game. 

Fans don't know more than the media about the business side of things. Chances are unless 90 percent of the fan base of whatever team you choose to be a fan of has an advanced degree in business or has several tens of millions of dollars to piss away, you're not as smart or as savvy as the person who does.

Fans take to Twitter and latch on to the social media accounts of writers and correspondents to simply disparage the content of media coverage.

But there is a dangerous pattern developing with the way national sports media types cover sports. Layoffs to big outfits like ESPN and FOX Sports have made it so that people with little to no expertise in one sport are often given platforms in which you're led to believe they're smarter than you.

Pittsburgh sports fans this week were given a full-throated endorsement of the firing of coaches on the Steelers by people assuming to know more about the NFL than you do.

Granted, some do. But I'll repeat what I've said before about watching a game on TV and complaining about the announce team. Turn the volume on the game down and impress your friends, or even yourself, with what you can see with your own eyes and without the benefit of a play-by-play telling you how excited you should or shouldn't be after a great play.

By no means though, does this represent an accurate or clear vision into the inner workings of a franchise. I understand the frustrations of fans who complain about how a team conducts business, but until the majority of the fans opt to stay away completely, there is no incentive for the management to change.

A disgruntled fan of the Pittsburgh Pirates, who goes by the extremely original and no doubt meaningful acronym JK, posted a petition on a website asking officials of Major League Baseball to force team owner Bob Nutting to sell the team.

Many fans of the Pirates (well, 20,000 of them who signed the petition) are frustrated that the team is apparently in full-rebuild mode. Recent trades of all-star outfielder Andrew McCutchen and pitcher Gerrit Cole seem to indicate the team is about to reposition itself for a later date. 

Pirates fans are angry, they're disappointed, they're downright apoplectic. "JK" has taken it a step further, writing the following missive on his petition:

"Pittsburgh is a baseball town that is being destroyed by a greedy owner. There are so many loyal fans who truly care and support this team through thick and thin. We deserve better. I, like many others, endured so much pain watching a losing franchise from 1993 until 2013 when we saw playoff baseball return to Pittsburgh. You could see and hear the pain we kept inside all those years being released that October night. If you have had a chance to witness that glorious night, you know Pittsburgh is a baseball town. We've had enough! There needs to be change from the top of the organization down. Bob Nutting needs to sell this team, so that we can see a competitive baseball team year in and year out. It is obvious that he doesn't want to spend the money to make that happen. We need an owner who has a competitive spirit and loves the game of baseball!"

The word "we" was used four times in that passionate statement. The use of the word "we" indicates that JK believes he speaks for all the fans, which is delusional enough were it not for the grossly overstated notion that his opinion matters at all.

Change isn't going to occur by writing a letter or filling out a form for an online petition. Could you possibly do less?

And your friends and fellow fans were more than happy to let you shill some of your precious time for this effort. Because it's not costing them a dime to let you get all bent out of shape.

I'm willing to bet that JK will be sitting right where he normally does on opening day on April 2nd. If that happens to be at PNC Park when the Pirates host the Minnesota Twins, then JK is no better than the average fan who wants to stomp his foot and grind his fist and then whine about it later when no one listens to his complaints.

Godspeed JK, whoever you are. I hope the petition gets a lot more signatures that management of the team will more than likely ignore while they continue to do business as usual.

But no doubt you'll be on Twitter or whatever social media platform seems to cater to your desperate plea for attention virtually letting everyone know of your anger and disappointment. 

Hope springs eternal. Pitchers and catchers report in less than 30 days.

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