The Pittsburgh Pirates have a $90 million payroll…now what?


For as long as I can remember, fans of the Pittsburgh Pirates, myself included, would feverishly bang the drum of increasing payroll every off season.  Speaking from personal experience, I envied teams like the Kansas City Royals and the San Diego Padres – teams that actually spent money while not engaging in arms races with the big boys.  The number that kept popping out to me was $90 million.  “If the Pirates can just find a way to up their payroll to 90 million, they would be in a much better position” I used to tell myself.  I looked towards the opening day payroll for 2014  and wondered why the Pirates would linger towards the bottom of MLB in payroll with the likes of the Miami Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays.  Didn’t this team just reverse history and re-engage the fan base?  Will I ever see the Bucs move into that second tier?  It’s not that I didn’t like what the front office was doing.  I just wondered what it would take for ownership to truly buy-in to this amazing window that Neal Huntington and his staff have helped put together.

Yes, Virginia, the Pittsburgh Pirates are spending money.

As per multiple sources, the 2015 Pittsburgh Pirates payroll is going to be at least $90 million.

Awesome!  …Ok now what?

The front office has done its job.  Gone are the days where we as fans could simply blame everything on the brass.  Yes, Virginia, the Pittsburgh Pirates are spending money.  If the team gets off to a bad start, where will the venom and hatred go now?  To me, the steady build of the Pirates since Neal Huntington took over has been fascinating to watch, but not just by watching the team on the field, but watching the fan group-think change in the streets of Pittsburgh, in local and national media, and through the numerous Facebook groups, subreddits, and all other types of fan forums.  I like to believe that the average Pittsburgh Pirate fan is not only passionate, but intelligent.  I would hope that now that the organization has committed to this window and to this group of players, that the fan will in kind commit to recognizing that and not immediately blaming any hardships on the front office.  It’s a tough pill to swallow, I know.  Our instincts as Pirate fans is to immediately start spewing out “no salary cap” this or “Nutting is cheap!” that when things don’t go our way.   And listen, they won’t.  Not always.  The reason baseball is so near and dear to my heart is that it reflects life right back to me.  My mama always said life is like Aroldis Chapman…it comes at you at 100+ MPH and brushes you back all the time.  Ok my mama never said that but I totally plan on using that when I become a dad.  The point is, in baseball and in life, there will be good times, and there will be bad times.  All you can do is put your best foot forward every day and compete.  Neal and Bob have done that for our baseball team by putting their money where their mouth is, quite literally.

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Let’s enjoy this era in Pirates baseball for what it is.  It’s not a rebirth.  Calling it that would just imply that the cycle is going to continue.  No, let’s call it an evolution.  The Pirates as an organization are evolving right before our eyes.  I’m imploring all fans to join me in this evolution and in leaving the bitterness behind.  Let’s savor each time we get to see Andrew McCutchen do something special.  Let’s get fired up right there with Gerrit Cole and A.J. Burnett when they sit yet another high-priced batter down.  Let’s throw up our Zs when Josh Harrison does Josh Harrison things.  Instead of going to the tried-and-true scapegoat when things are rough, let’s keep the focus on the field.

Where it belongs.  Where it has always belonged.