Dunlap: You Don't Have To Pick One Side Or Other With Pirates

Fans should feel just fine about going to games

Colin Dunlap
February 21, 2019 - 1:15 pm

Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

Apparently you have to pick a side here in Pittsburgh. You have to be firmly entrenched in one camp or another. You must have a deep, deep, deep meaning for deciding to (or deciding not to) got to a Major League Baseball game in our wonderful city. 

At least that's how some in our city feel. 

At least that's how far too many in our city feel. 

Believe me, I have heard from just about all of them it seems.

Related: Pirates Owner Bob Nutting Refuses To Let Fans' Criticism Get Him Down

We started talking about the Pirates and attending Pirates games on The Fan Morning Show early this morning. At precisely 6:09 a.m. I let people know, on the air as is my normal stance, that whatever gripes I or others might have with the ownership group, it won't preclude me from going to games this season. This has been my customary stance for the past few seasons. I'm quite steadfast in my belief that the ownership group should dump more money into payroll, but I'm also quite steadfast in my belief that I really, really enjoy baseball and I like spending part of my expendable income on seeing the game live at the highest level. Plus, again, my kids like it. And it is a very affordable and enjoyable night out. 

I'm not in the business of explaining to my 8 year old twins the business of baseball. I'm not in the business of being angry. I'm not in the business of making some point or politicizing things. 

I just want to go to games and watch my hometown team. And I will. 

I said that and explained all this at 6:09 a.m. on Thursday as we discussed things on The Fan Morning Show.  

This is the first text that came into the text line at The Fan, at 6:12 a.m. 

"No, you're an enabler. Anybody that gives money to him is a complete moron."

"Him" is Bob Nutting.

And I think this notion --- the one the texter advanced --- is one of the silliest and most tired things going in Pittsburgh sports right now. Actually, it is one of the silliest and most tired notions that has been going in Pittsburgh for quite some time. 

Going to see games doesn't make me, or anyone else, an "enabler." Going to games doesn't make me feel the least bit like I'm coming off my position that the ownership should throw some more dollars at payroll. Going to games is, well, just what it is --- using one of our wonderful civic entities (and a place my tax dollars helped build) as a venue for entertainment and also to cheer on people who represent us. You see, I don't know about the people who consistently shout at me that I'm less of a Pittsburgher because I elect to go to games, but I don't have all that hard of a time separating the players from the ownership group. 

I go.

And I will continue to go.

I go because I want to see Jameson Taillon pitch and Josh Bell hit. I go because I want to see a dominant closer. I go because I want to see Chris Archer and what he's all about. I go because I'm intrigued by the youngsters who might some day man the middle of the diamond. I go because I am interested in seeing if Gregory Polanco ever delivers on that promise that he seems to have bottled up since he made it to the show. I go because of those flashes Starling Marte sometimes shows. I go because you won't find a better guy and someone easier to root for than Trevor Williams. 

I go for a lot of reasons. And, again, I will continue to go. Pittsburgh is my town, Pittsburghers are my people and the Pirates are (along with the Penguins and Steelers) my teams. 

You see, I've never once told people they need to go to games. Let's look at it from the other side for a moment. I respect their decision not to go to games if, in fact, that's their decision. Funny thing is, for the people who aren't going, I probably agree with their reasoning much more than they would imagine. In short, it all comes down to spending and, like them, I would love the owner to spend more. I'll go a step further -- he should spend more. The fans deserve it. 

But does all that mean I need to make a decision that ultimately would make me unhappy and really not yield much? Uh, no. And I won't. I also won't begrudge them or hold it against them if they do. But, unlike so many of them, I don't yell and scream at them that they are making the wrong decision. I don't tell them they need to join my side and get their butts into PNC Park. Here's a novel concept: I respect their decision and let them make it. 

The crazy part in all of this is that people who all want ultimately the same thing --- the Pirates to succeed --- have now been torn apart into two factions: Those who go to games and those who won't step foot inside PNC Park in an effort to prove some point.  

I'm here to tell you it isn't that simple with everyone. There can be nuances to this. It's not all black and white, not all good and bad and, certainly, not everyone who goes to games does so as a symbol of unyielding support of the way the organization is run. Just ask me: I'm proof. 

But you won't. You'll be too busy shouting that all the people who step inside PNC Park are bad people instead of taking time to listen to them.  



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