Thursday, April 29, 2010

Losing is Winning. Failure is Success.

No this isn't a post about the dark Orwellian future Obama has planned for us.  It's about baseball, specifically the Pittsburgh Pirates, whose ongoing on the field futility was recently brought back in the national sports consciousness due to their historic 20-0 defeat at the hands of the Brewers.  For those of you who may have forgotten Pittsburgh has a baseball team...we do...kind of.  The Pirates streak of 17 consecutive losing seasons (a "best" in all of sports) is still going strong.  Come next year, a Pittsburgh kid old enough to vote will not have seen his local team break .500 in his lifetime.

Why?

Because the team isn't trying to win.  That's not their goal, making money is.

Oh sure, I'd say most of the players are trying their best.  The problem is most of the players over the past 17 seasons haven't been very good, and THAT is not an accident.

Striving for success is risking.  Only one team wins it all each year.  Lots of GOOD teams fail.  It's easy to be a bad team though.

Here's the Pirate's business model:
1. Soak up revenue sharing dollars from all the other teams in the league.
2. Keep a fair amount of fans coming to the tax payer funded stadium by having bobbleheads, fireworks, and concerts (all cheap and risk free, barring any freak fireworks accidents of course)
3. Pay the minimum possible for a poor team of players.  If by some mistake on your part you end up with a player who is actually good, trade him away.  People with talent will expect to be paid accordingly and we can't have that.
4. Keep the fans happy (or at least short of violent revolt) by a continual propaganda campaign promising the future will be better and success is just a year or two away.

And guess what.  That business model works for the Pirates.  The owners make a profit by fielding a horrible team.  The wonders of socialism.

2 comments:

Mike&Kristy said...

Yea, Andrew - two new posts! Both throughly enjoyable. I do find the Pirates' business model despicable; and that's why I attend no more than one (1) MLB game a year. Mostly I go to have stadium Nachos 'n Cheese. They don't taste the same anywhere else. - Kristy

Mike Tomashewski said...

Wow, that is a scary thought (the voting age kid thing).

My dad doesn't believe that they can make tons of money based on revenue sharing, but he's in la la land.

This would suck so much more if I actually liked baseball. Actually, maybe they are why I don't