Bob Pompeani traveled to Ligonier to speak with one-time Pittsburgh Pirates owner Kevin McClatchy. The interview focuses on McClatchy making it public that he is gay. The interview is pure McClatchy. Look, we applaud the fact that McClatchy has officially let everyone know about his sexuality.
It’s great to hear that he has the confidence to speak about it, but we find it disturbing to hear him speak about the concerns he had that if his secret was discovered, it might derail four years of work to get PNC Park financed. It must have been a terrible way to live his life.
McClatchy receives a considerable amount of credit for keeping the Pirates in Pittsburgh, most of it unwarranted, but that’s our opinion. There are numerous people who absolutely adore McClatchy and tell me that there is so much more to the story of his ownership tenure. We think they are wrong, but even Bob Nutting had a typical owner-like comment glorifying McLatchy’s role in ‘saving baseball in Pittsburgh.’
“It is important that we all recognize and respect the positive impact that Kevin has had on the ball club and the city of Pittsburgh,” Mr. Nutting said. “Simply put, without his leadership, the Pirates would not be playing in Pittsburgh.”
All owners think so damn highly of themselves. Without McClatchy baseball would not be played in Pittsburgh, huh? Wow. That’s a pretty big statement all built around one common prinicple that sports owners hold over the head of it’s fanbase. Fear.
But back to what matters for a sports franchise. Winning. McClatchy said he would deliver a winner in Pittsburgh. It never happened. The record of the Pirates team he loyally watched from behind home plate for those awful, hideous years of baseball was horrid. The bottom line is McClatchy sucked as an owner. That’s something that we feel is much more important than his ‘secret’ he tried to hide for years.
McClatchy was the face of the group that bought the Bucs in 1996 and he remained as the the prinicpal owner until January of 2007. At that time Bob Nutting supplanted him and McLatchy held the title of CEO. The losing hasn’t stopped with Nutting in control either. Excuse after excuse is made, but the losing…never…stopped.
We hate to break the news, but it was rather well known that McLatchy was gay. And you know what? Nobody gave much thought to it then, and few people will now either.
You know what I value more than most anything? People that say they are going to do something and then those people go out and back it up. McClatchy stated the Pirates would be a winner when PNC Park opened.
It never happened.
Call it a ridiculous comment by him, you can say that he was underfunded, drafted poorly, ignored the talents in Latin America, whatever the excuse, McClatchy didn’t make it happen. The Bucs had 89 losses or more, nine times in the 12 seasons of McClatchy’s reign. The best season under McClatchy was not surprisingly, the leftover year of 1997.
Year after year, loss after loss, McClatchy piled on the mistakes and the death spiral of Pirates baseball began. Even Dock Ellis spoke out about the painful era of Pirates baseball in 2007 before the ‘walkout’ game.
Call McClatchy the savior of Pirates baseball if you want to, that’s your choice. We call him a man that just couldn’t put a winner on the field. McClatchy seemed too damn arrogant to surround himself with people that could help him keep his promise.
And that’s the real sad part of the McClatchy era that we will remember.