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Input from out-of-towners

A lot of the e-mail I received regarding my story from the other day about the Pirates’ attendance this season came from people living out of state. Not sure what to make of that.

By the way, Lou DePaoli, the Pirates’ marketing guru, said attendance from outside Allegheny County was solid this season, and perhaps even a smidge better than last year. Lower gas prices might have something to do with that. In a way, the bad economy could help the Pirates pull in out-of-towners, as folks are more apt to do “driving vacations” to low-budget, family-friendly destinations.

As we were chatting, Lou pulled up a listing of places were people had bought Pirates tickets — a couple in South Dakota, a half-dozen in Virgina and one from someone in Ireland. One? That’s a long way to travel for one person to see a game.

Anyway, here are a few of the responses I got to my story — there’s a lot of anger out there, folks:

• As a transplanted ‘Burgher, I still love my Pirates. My last memory of the Pirates was sitting in the left field bleachers at Forbes Field, the last game of the 1960 World Series! You can tell Mr. DePaoli that if he had a winning team this year, he wouldn’t have his attendance problems, no matter what the economy was doing! Pirates fans are hungry for a winning team. Has Pirates management ever made a (first-half) season deal which brought them an actual top-notch player in return? To me, it’s dumping payroll to keep their profit and not trying to win! The Pirates need new ownership committed to wining, not talk! Thanks for letting me vent. — Ed Frederick, Wapiti, Wyoming

• You totally missed the mark on this one. (The Pirates) are currently 28th out of 30 teams in attendance. They will likely drop to 30th by season’s end, as they continue to sell off players. They never draw well in September, as football season begins. The article also states that fans are buying the lower-priced tickets (instead of) the more expensive ones. This indicates that the Pirates ticket sales generate the least revenue out of the 30 teams. The only reason the Pirates are so profitable is because of the Yankees’ luxury tax paid annually to the Pirates, combined with their low payroll. A more appropriate headline for your (story) is, “Pirates ticket sales among worst despite lowest prices” or “Low ticket prices fail to woo Pirates fans.” — John Consiglio, Forest Hills

• The people going to these games are not baseball fans! The Pirates don’t even market to baseball fans. What’s their slogan, “Come hungry?” PNC has become another amusement park — fireworks, bobbleheads, food bargains are why people go. As long as that continues, ownership will never feel the pressure to spend money and put a winner on the field. It is a shame. They could have what the Steelers and Pens have, but ownership is in this purely for the money and won’t even discuss selling. Why would they? — David Foster, South Hills

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