Pirates, Cardinals First Pitch, Kevin McClatchy, Wait…What?


When we read the tweet, we couldn’t help but chuckle.  Why would a connection to past losing…what??   Wonder if he gets a cascade of boos too?  A couple of months ago, Bob Pompeani traveled to Ligonier to speak with the man who will toss that first pitch tomorrow.  One-time Pittsburgh Pirates owner Kevin McClatchy.

The interview focused 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.

But who gives a fuck?

So now that the interview didn’t garner enough buzz, he gets to toss the first pitch tomorrow, because…let me think about this.  Sorry that the flow of the post just got derailed there, but we can’t connect the dots.

It’s great to hear read that McClatchy is now confident.  Really it is.  Good for him.  The confidence came, well apparently a few months ago.  Still though, 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.

But don’t forget who owns the team now.  When the article came out this summer, Mr. Bob Nutting, majority owner of the Bucs, had a typical owner-like comment that glorified 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.” Link"

All owners think so damn highly of themselves.  Without McClatchy baseball would not be played in Pittsburgh, huh?  Wow.

That’s a ludicrious statement all built around one common principle that sports owners hold over the head of it’s fanbase.  Fear.

We aren’t afraid anymore Bob.  We aren’t afraid anymore Kev.  Perhaps you can just stay out of the way of good men like Frank Coonelly and Neil Huntington.  Seriously, how the hell am I supposed to explain to my son who the hell Kevin McClatchy is in ten words or less today?

Well son, the Bucs have had two playoff games in the past forever.  And Doug Drabek–yeh, you know he is of course, well Drabek threw out the first pitch in the Wild Card Game and now… umm….Kevin McClatchy is throwing out the first pitch today.

What did he do you ask buddy?  Well, he ummm…. he couldn’t do…well I tell you what he had a really good quote about getting shown the door.  He quoted some inspirational words from John Madden.

"“Somebody asked why, and I keep referring to what John Madden said … John Madden said, ‘You get about 10 years in the frying pan and then burnout can take place.’ It was the right time for me to make that change.”"

Winning was ever elusive for McClatchy after he said he would deliver a winner in Pittsburgh.  It just 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 finally stopped with Nutting in control.

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 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.

But by all means, Mr Nutting, let him throw out the first pitch–and let’s be realistic here—you made this call–because you think…. he saved baseball in Pittsburgh.

No.  That’s not true.  The fans that are attired in black from head to toe…. the ones you often forget that will once again today fill up the most beautiful park in MLB– those are the saviors of baseball in Pittsburgh.

Let one of them throw our the first pitch.