The one thing that is for certain about the Pirates and other small revenue teams: they have been and always will be at a financial disadvantage. Or maybe not.
The owners, including Pirates owner Bob Nutting, are meeting this morning where Commissioner Rob Manfred will discuss revenue-sharing for the next collective bargaining agreement. Bob Nightengale of USA Today writes that this could be a critical time for small-market teams.
Call me a pessimist, but I have a tough time thinking the owners will do anything for the ‘good of the game’ that might cost them money.
The Dodgers, Yankees, Red Sox and Cubs have ridiculous local television contracts that teams like the Pirates can’t even dream of. The worst part is Pirates don’t see a nickel of those billion dollar deals even though they are big part of the equation. Let’s face it. The big revenue owners are the minority and they need the smaller revenue teams to even have a game to put on television.
Critics will say it doesn’t matter. Look at what the Royals did. And there is no doubt good management can put a team in a position to be successful on the field and win a World Series, but the window is usually short.
In the Pirates case, they might be able to sign Andrew McCutchen to an extension, but that means letting Gerrit Cole go. If it was the Dodgers, both players could be given large, long-term contracts and there is still money left over for free agents or anyone else they want to sign.
Baseball is definitely behind the other professional sports leagues when it comes to a level playing field. It’s time for the sport, for the sake of the game, to find a way to do that.