Bob Costas just called the Pirates a Farm team.

LafayetteBear

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Oakland A's to Pittsburgh Pirates on the issue of being a "farm team:" "Hold my beer."
 

indynittany

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Feb 21, 2005
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Yep, just said it during the Yankees Astros game. "The Pittsburgh Pirates have become a Farm team for major league baseball, sad...".
I came to the same conclusion back when the Bucs traded Bonilla, Bonds and Drabek, and sold their manager. I went from not going to bed each night before learning if the Pirates had won, to not knowing a single player on the roster.
 

Duff52

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Full disclosure I am not a Pirates fan (not a Cubs fan) but I was at the game on Wednesday with my wife and kids. My son (7) asks my wife if there are any famous players on the Pirates and she responds with “none I can think of but let’s ask your dad”. My response was “if you ave me a list of 10 names, 5 players on the Pirates roster and 5 made up names, I don’t know if I could differentiate the two”.
 

The Spin Meister

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An altered state
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The city proper is about 15,000 people larger than Lincoln, but the metro area is about 2 million larger.
True. Still hard to compare cities by population because the ones in the south and Midwest cover huge land areas. As the population grows they just annex the suburbs and grow the city. Much better to compare the metropolitan statistical area.
 

Obliviax

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It is such a struggle for midwestern, small-market teams in baseball to compete. Year in and year out the power teams are NY, LA, SFO, Chicago, and Houston. Not so coincidentally, those are the the five largest cities in the USA.

Having said that, if you compare the Pirates to other small-market teams like Cleveland, St. Louis and KC they clearly underperform. CLE is rebuilding with several rookies in the starting lineup and statistically lead the AL Central right now. "The G's" actually have a smaller payroll than the Pirates.

The largest payroll of any small market team is Minnesota. And they are actually below average in comparison to the entire league. Who has the largest Payroll? You know without looking:


  1. NYM
  2. LAD
  3. NYY
  4. Philly
  5. San Diego
  6. Boston
  7. Chicago WS
  8. LAA
  9. ATL
  10. Houston
Population rank of above cities in the USA?

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 1
  4. 7
  5. 8
  6. 21
  7. 3
  8. 2
  9. 36
  10. 4
(and you can make a sound argument that the metro areas of Boston and ATL actually qualify them for top ten status, just not population inside the city limits).
 

Obliviax

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The city proper is about 15,000 people larger than Lincoln, but the metro area is about 2 million larger.
Agreed. And there is also a notion about the area served. Teams like ATL and St.L traditionally served very large markets for a long time as there was very little MLB south of the Mason Dixon line or between Cincy and the West Coast.
 

bcspsu

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It is such a struggle for midwestern, small-market teams in baseball to compete. Year in and year out the power teams are NY, LA, SFO, Chicago, and Houston. Not so coincidentally, those are the the five largest cities in the USA.

Having said that, if you compare the Pirates to other small-market teams like Cleveland, St. Louis and KC they clearly underperform. CLE is rebuilding with several rookies in the starting lineup and statistically lead the AL Central right now. "The G's" actually have a smaller payroll than the Pirates.

The largest payroll of any small market team is Minnesota. And they are actually below average in comparison to the entire league. Who has the largest Payroll? You know without looking:


  1. NYM
  2. LAD
  3. NYY
  4. Philly
  5. San Diego
  6. Boston
  7. Chicago WS
  8. LAA
  9. ATL
  10. Houston
Population rank of above cities in the USA?

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 1
  4. 7
  5. 8
  6. 21
  7. 3
  8. 2
  9. 36
  10. 4
(and you can make a sound argument that the metro areas of Boston and ATL actually qualify them for top ten status, just not population inside the city limits).
I don't want to make excuses for the Pirates, because their current owner either can't or won't spend the money that is necessary to compete. With that said, they now have a tremendous farm system and also have given upwards of 13 players their MLB debuts this season. Moreover, they just called up O'Neill Cruz this past week, who looks like a player whom you normally would see come from the Cardinals' or Dodgers' farm systems. They also recently signed Hayes and Reynolds to contract extensions. The future actually is very bright for this organization.

Also, despite all of the Pirates' shortcomings, they don't have the worst record in MLB; they're are several other teams that have much worse records, including the Cubs.
 

Still in State College

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And yet when organizations like Boston complain about the size of minor league systems or bonuses paid to draft picks MLB just agrees and changes things.

The small markets have to financially think a little more outside the box to try to build a roster whereas a New York Yankees have prospects wash out they just open the check book for a Garrett Cole or a Jamison Taillon. Money keeps you from having to be perfect in your talent assessment.
 
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Obliviax

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I don't want to make excuses for the Pirates, because their current owner either can't or won't spend the money that is necessary to compete. With that said, they now have a tremendous farm system and also have given upwards of 13 players their MLB debuts this season. Moreover, they just called up O'Neill Cruz this past week, who looks like a player whom you normally would see come from the Cardinals' or Dodgers' farm systems. They also recently signed Hayes and Reynolds to contract extensions. The future actually is very bright for this organization.

Also, despite all of the Pirates' shortcomings, they don't have the worst record in MLB; they're are several other teams that have much worse records, including the Cubs.
I tend to agree but now the pirates have to develop and RETAIN those guys. This has been an ongoing cycle where the pirates develop a player and when they realize they can't sign them beyond their rookie deals, trade them for more minor leagues....rinse and repeat. At some point, they have to put a stake in the ground.
 

bcspsu

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I tend to agree but now the pirates have to develop and RETAIN those guys. This has been an ongoing cycle where the pirates develop a player and when they realize they can't sign them beyond their rookie deals, trade them for more minor leagues....rinse and repeat. At some point, they have to put a stake in the ground.
Yes, if they continue down that path, then they just should fold the organization.

Three Rivers Stadium basically was the second home for my brother and me in the 1970s when our uncle would take us to the vast majority of the home games; we would sit in the general admission outfield seats for very little cost. Back then, the Pirates had a great team and organization, and had a legitimate chance to win something every year. I really miss those days.
 

Obliviax

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Yes, if they continue down that path, then they just should fold the organization.

Three Rivers Stadium basically was the second home for my brother and me in the 1970s when our uncle would take us to the vast majority of the home games; we would sit in the general admission outfield seats for very little cost. Back then, the Pirates had a great team and organization, and had a legitimate chance to win something every year. I really miss those days.
Sadly, in those days, Pittsburgh was a football town and even good Pirate teams had low attendance.

My uncle took me to a game and we bought at the window. The guy in front of us asked for "press seats". So my uncle did too. As it turns out, in those days, they had seats reserved for the media. And when the media didn't need them, they were released to be available to the general public an hour before the first pitch. They were in the ring above general admission in Right Field. you could see the scoreboard. But what was cool was you got a desk, a chair with wheels and people to take your order for food. They were also general admission price. We never sat anyplace else other than those seats ever again.

I don't think they still do that anymore.

My brother and I took my mom, who was getting on in years, to a game. We asked for handicapped seats. They gave us seats in row AA (first row) behind third base. The seats actually face home plate. The Pirate Parrot ate my mom's head, which was shown on the scoreboard, and I got two foul balls. We had a complete blast.
 

bcspsu

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Sadly, in those days, Pittsburgh was a football town and even good Pirate teams had low attendance.

My uncle took me to a game and we bought at the window. The guy in front of us asked for "press seats". So my uncle did too. As it turns out, in those days, they had seats reserved for the media. And when the media didn't need them, they were released to be available to the general public an hour before the first pitch. They were in the ring above general admission in Right Field. you could see the scoreboard. But what was cool was you got a desk, a chair with wheels and people to take your order for food. They were also general admission price. We never sat anyplace else other than those seats ever again.

I don't think they still do that anymore.

My brother and I took my mom, who was getting on in years, to a game. We asked for handicapped seats. They gave us seats in row AA (first row) behind third base. The seats actually face home plate. The Pirate Parrot ate my mom's head, which was shown on the scoreboard, and I got two foul balls. We had a complete blast.
I can't tell you how many baseballs were thrown do us during batting practice by the pitchers while they were shagging balls or doing their sprints when we sat in the outfield general admission seats. Charlie Hough threw me several balls, as well as Bob Knepper and many others.

Back then, Pirates games against teams like the Reds and Phillies were grudge matches that were played almost like hockey games. I'm so happy I grew up watching players like Stargell, Parker, Garner, Matlock, Robinson, Oliver, Sanguillen, etc.
 

Obliviax

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Compare Beane to Nutting last 15 years.
Agreed. A's are in a down year where they've typically been competitive, unlike the Pirates. But the Pirates are spending enough that they shouldn't flat out suck. A lot has to do with their GM and staff. Player payroll is just one aspect. Teams have to invest in their scouting, minor leagues, player development, and roster management (GM). Guardians have a rookie who is doing GREAT but was left unprotected in Rule 5 last year. Nobody picked him up and he's like a new player this year. Really blind luck on the kid.
 

bison13

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The Pirates should be a 65 to 70 win team this year. I would expect another one or two prospects to make the jump within the next year. If Cruz is the player that he appears to be that would definitely solve the problem at shortstop and then They should actually be active in the free agent market finding starting pitching and a catcher until their top pick from a couple years ago is ready.
 
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bcspsu

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Agreed. A's are in a down year where they've typically been competitive, unlike the Pirates. But the Pirates are spending enough that they shouldn't flat out suck. A lot has to do with their GM and staff. Player payroll is just one aspect. Teams have to invest in their scouting, minor leagues, player development, and roster management (GM). Guardians have a rookie who is doing GREAT but was left unprotected in Rule 5 last year. Nobody picked him up and he's like a new player this year. Really blind luck on the kid.
It's ironic that the A's have come up, because today I'm wearing a throwback A's t-shirt that has the Swingin' A's logo on it.
 
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Chickenman Testa

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True. Still hard to compare cities by population because the ones in the south and Midwest cover huge land areas. As the population grows they just annex the suburbs and grow the city. Much better to compare the metropolitan statistical area.
Exactly. San Antonio is just about to pass Philadelphia, but that’s because it has just annexed everything. The actual downtown area is kind of a joke
 

Mufasa94

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I tend to agree but now the pirates have to develop and RETAIN those guys. This has been an ongoing cycle where the pirates develop a player and when they realize they can't sign them beyond their rookie deals, trade them for more minor leagues....rinse and repeat. At some point, they have to put a stake in the ground.
I think the cycling is just the nature of the beast for smaller market teams. The key is to take advantage when there is a window.

The Pirates problem has been too few windows and limited success during those windows. I think the reasons are well known.

Thought the year they traded for Morneau was a good move, it didn’t work out that way. Thought the year they traded for a washed up Ramirez was a bad move, unfortunately that turned out to be true. Add in a couple questionable pitching decisions for do or die games.

Didn’t mind them letting that core group break up as McCutcheon, Walker, etc. were at the end of their prime.
 
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LafayetteBear

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BS. They have an owner who wants to win, not steal money.
Delco: The A's have one of the very richest owners in MLB in Don Fisher. He has been collecting luxury tax money for YEARS, while trying to win with a collection of rookies and players who are not arbitration eligible (i.e., less than 5 years of MLB service). Once A's players approach arbitration eligibility, they are traded to other teams for younger prospects. If the A's have been competitive, it is only because Billy Beane has done a terrific job as a GM, getting the most out of young, previously unproven prospects.

Don Fisher wants to move the A's to a new stadium on the water, in the Port of Oakland. (The area is called "Howard Terminal.") He makes little or no effort to promote the team or retain talent. The departure of quality A's players to other teams was particularly pronounced this last offseason, and the A's are struggling both on the field and at the turnstile. Rarely do they draw 10,000 for games, and they recently had a 10+ game losing streak. They have the worst record in MLB, with a .319 winning percentage. The Pirates have a .414 winning percentage.

Fisher wants to build a large mixed use development in connection with the A's proposed move to Howard Terminal, and he wants the City of Oakland and Alameda County to impose a raft of new taxes in order to pay for a big portion of the cost. He has his team President, Dave Kaval, running around threatening to move the team to Las Vegas (where else?), but the A's have a much lower chance of succeeding in Las Vegas than the Raiders. They would have 81 home dates, rather then 9, and most of them in stifling summer heat. The population of metro Las Vegas is MUCH smaller than the population of the metro Bay Area.
 

Roar More

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If Cruz is the player that he appears to be that would definitely solve the problem at shortstop and then They should actually be active in the free agent market finding starting pitching and a catcher until their top pick from a couple years ago is ready.
No, if Cruz is the player he appears to be, he will be traded away in a year or two.
 

Delcolion915

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Mar 19, 2022
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Delco: The A's have one of the very richest owners in MLB in Don Fisher. He has been collecting luxury tax money for YEARS, while trying to win with a collection of rookies and players who are not arbitration eligible (i.e., less than 5 years of MLB service). Once A's players approach arbitration eligibility, they are traded to other teams for younger prospects. If the A's have been competitive, it is only because Billy Beane has done a terrific job as a GM, getting the most out of young, previously unproven prospects.

Don Fisher wants to move the A's to a new stadium on the water, in the Port of Oakland. (The area is called "Howard Terminal.") He makes little or no effort to promote the team or retain talent. The departure of quality A's players to other teams was particularly pronounced this last offseason, and the A's are struggling both on the field and at the turnstile. Rarely do they draw 10,000 for games, and they recently had a 10+ game losing streak. They have the worst record in MLB, with a .319 winning percentage. The Pirates have a .414 winning percentage.

Fisher wants to build a large mixed use development in connection with the A's proposed move to Howard Terminal, and he wants the City of Oakland and Alameda County to impose a raft of new taxes in order to pay for a big portion of the cost. He has his team President, Dave Kaval, running around threatening to move the team to Las Vegas (where else?), but the A's have a much lower chance of succeeding in Las Vegas than the Raiders. They would have 81 home dates, rather then 9, and most of them in stifling summer heat. The population of metro Las Vegas is MUCH smaller than the population of the metro Bay Area.
Sounds horrible. Still better than Bob Nutting. Bob Nutting is the worst owner in all of professional sport.
 

tlbakernc

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MLB’s greatest failure was to come up with an NFL type players agreement. Parity makes a great sport. It’s nice to know that even the small market teams can win it all. If Green Bay were a baseball team they’d be the equivalent to Pittsburgh, Oakland, or KC.
 
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LongJakk

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The mlb players union F'd us fans of small market teams this spring. One of the things the caved on was forcing owners like Nutting to spend more money instead of using the team like an ATM for luxury tax money.
 

Waste Management Consultant

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I think the cycling is just the nature of the beast for smaller market teams. The key is to take advantage when there is a window.

The Pirates problem has been too few windows and limited success during those windows. I think the reasons are well known.

Thought the year they traded for Morneau was a good move, it didn’t work out that way. Thought the year they traded for a washed up Ramirez was a bad move, unfortunately that turned out to be true. Add in a couple questionable pitching decisions for do or die games.

Didn’t mind them letting that core group break up as McCutcheon, Walker, etc. were at the end of their prime.
The last window was looking pretty good. The MLB one game wildcard where the Bucs got Arrieta and Bumgardner in back to back years ended that real quick. Both were having MVP/Cy young type seasons.
 
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Nittany Ziggy

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True. Still hard to compare cities by population because the ones in the south and Midwest cover huge land areas. As the population grows they just annex the suburbs and grow the city. Much better to compare the metropolitan statistical area.
This article provides a good explanation of Pittsburgh’s land area and population statistics...
http://worldpopulationreview.com/us-cities/pittsburgh-population/
Here are some key points:
While many people consider Pittsburgh to be one of the largest cities in the United States, it's only the 62nd most populous, down from a high of 8th in 1910. Pittsburgh has lost half of its population from that height, and its 2013 population is now estimated at 306,500. Interestingly, Pittsburgh is still more densely populated than 5 of the top 10 cities.

This may seem at odds until you consider that Pittsburgh's city limits are virtually unchanged from a century ago, while other cities like Houston, Phoenix, and San Diego keep annexing their suburbs and gaining land area. The last time Pittsburgh expanded its city boundaries was in 1907.

If Pittsburgh expanded its city limits to around the same area as any other city in the top 10, its population would grow from around 300,000 to over one million, and it would become the 9th most populous city in the US, a massive jump from 56.
 

Mufasa94

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The last window was looking pretty good. The MLB one game wildcard where the Bucs got Arrieta and Bumgardner in back to back years ended that real quick. Both were having MVP/Cy young type seasons.
The SF/Bumgarner WC game was a likely lost cause no matter what they did, heck, even if they would have drawn them in a longer series.

Starting Happ instead of Cole would have provided a better chance of success in the Cubs/Arrieta WC game. That shouldn’t have been a lost cause. Arrieta struggled in his other two playoff starts.