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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Pirates’ Coonelly charged with DUI

Check the Trib’s main site for my breaking news of Frank Coonelly’s DUI charges.

Feel free to use this space to discuss, but please remember we also have the chat coming up at noon.


  1. Ryan(Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    My first thought was, why did it take so long to come out?

    Second thought, glad nobody got hurt.

    Third thought, people make mistakes. From his words and his boss’s words, this is unusual behavior for FC. I hope he turns this negative into a positive. Show that this can happen to anyone and use his influence in the community to try and deter others from making the same mistakes.

    My last thought; if I were the Pirates Pres. I would be drunk ALL THE TIME!!!!!

  2. sarcastic sword says:

    Its one thing to test at .08…

    to have a .16 is just sad – if he cant make a right decision like calling a cab or a friend or spouse, do you really want him running your team?

  3. Milo Hamilton says:

    I am not a fan of Frank Coonelly, although I do not know him personally. I think he is miscast in his current position. I think the Pirates organization would be better served with a career baseball man as President. I wish he were gone yesterday. However, I am not going to use this incident to call for his removal. My motives are purely baseball driven.

  4. Lee says:

    My first thought was “It can only help”, but then, I thought “Wow!”.

    I remember leaving a Christmas Party a little tipsy back when I was 32. I drove home (about 1.5 miles), but it scared the he** out of me. I NEVER did that again.

    Maybe this was Frank’s ‘first’ time?

    But at THAT age? With 4 kids???? And, his postion??? I don’t want to judge, but WOW, simply WOW.

    Sober Foo

  5. CWalton_67 says:

    A spectacular lapse in judgement.

  6. CWalton_67 says:

    Also, I have heard it said among some friends in law enforcement that a DUI is rarely a one time occurrence. That most caught have driven drunk upwards of 80 times prior to being caught.

  7. Naje says:

    Let those of us who have never done this cast the first stone. You can register a .16 with 3 beers in an hour… how many of us have never done that?

  8. Jandy says:

    This is definitely bad publicity. Poor judgement. Hopefully FC does and says all the right things to keep it in the background.

  9. TJA says:

    It’s a sad deal…no question….particulary since he is in a high profile role. That said…let’s let the police and Coonelly’s employer and his family handle this. We have all had items we are embarrased about. It’s a personal issue.

  10. Lee says:

    Nage….agree with the ‘casting stones’, but one has to wonder if the negative publicity will force Bob’s hand and Frankie will get fired.

    I certainly won’t miss him.

    I also agree with CWalton….your first DUI is usually not your ‘first’. If you get away with it once, why not try try try again?


  11. Arriba Wilver says:

    Naje–I think I agree with your overall sentiment, but you science is just wrong.

  12. aglebagel says:


    Alright, looks like I get the first stone then!

  13. John Lease says:

    The water polo team at Penn State were a bunch of party animals when I was there. I must admit though, I was right there with them.

  14. Grant says:

    I post this with hopes it helps put some perspective to the situation…

    I had two DUI’s while in college several years ago. It was the darkest part of my life and I am thankfull EVERYDAY that no one was hurt by my irresponsibility. Those two incidents led me to seek out help, therapy, and rehab, the results of which are things I still have to deal with and be conscious of today, several years down the road. Those who make light of these situations really have no idea what a dent they make in your life…

    I can promise you this, Coonelly will be dealing with this for the rest of his life. The guilt, pain, and anger from putting yourself in a situation to harm yourself and others is not something that you EVER recover from. The people out there predicting that he will “get off” are wrong…there is no license suspension long enough to compare to the weight of this mistake on a person’s conscience…

    I ask all of you, before you go off on self-righteous rants, to take a minute and find compassion. The man will most certainly face up to his consequences and will move on with his life…we should too.

  15. sarcastic sword says:

    @Naje…..Im not saying he shouldnt drink…..But call someone..get a ride…..a cab…a friend……colleague….whomever…… register a .16 indicates he was very intoxicated and he would have known as much…

  16. Arriba Wilver says:

    One of the weird things about alcohol is that the drunker someone gets the more it interferes with their judgment. Which is one of the reasons it’s illegal to drink and drive. So sure, FC knew he was very intoxicated, but his judgment about not driving home was impaired.

  17. pghboyinca says:

    Frank Coonelly is an executive and the most prominent member of the front office, as such his behavior is pathetic. When you factor in the train wreck this team is and the mountain of mis-steps and ridiculous statements that have come out of his mouth he needs to be dismissed. Will he? Of course not, it isn’t about anything but the bottom line and things will never change. He is an embarrassment both as an executive and a person.

  18. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Being in the ministry, I’m all about forgiveness, etc., but calling a DUI a “mistake” is a bit of a misnomer isn’t it? I think a mistake is not putting a comma in a sentence or mispelling a word. A DUI is a serious breakdown in judgment. I’m all for not casting the first stone and I won’t judge anyone, but endangering yourself and anyone else on the highway 3 days before Christmas is plenty more than a mistake. He seemed repentant in DK’s story. Hopefully, he’s not just “sorry” like someone who makes a racial slur or something else and is required to apologize. Hopefully it’s from his heart.

  19. albatross says:

    “sarcastic sword

    if he cant make a right decision like calling a cab or a friend or spouse, do you really want him running your team?”

    Come, on, don’t you think you should keep things in perspective? He’s the president of the Pirates, not the President of the United States. If someone had gotten injured or killed, things would be different.

    He screwed up and what matters is how he atones for it.

  20. SeanAY says:


    “If someone had gotten injured or killed, things would be different. ”

    I disagree. An unethical decision is unethical not because of the results but because of the intentions and the actions. At least, according to some philosophers.

    The point is he COULD have injured or killed someone. That he didn’t shouldn’t be cause to say what he did was “not that bad.”

    And I know there’s the issue of not throwing stones from my glass house. Lord knows I’ve made questionable decisions, and yes, I’ve gotten behind the wheel when I’ve probably had too many.

    But that doesn’t make me any less at fault, and it doesn’t make Frank Coonelly any less culpable for what he did.

  21. albatross says:


    My point was simply that this has nothing to do with his competency in running the team. If someone had been injured or killed, then the team would have no choice but to fire him.

    I also don’t think that drunk driving (at least in this context) is unethical. Stupid, reckless and irresponsible, yes and he deserves whatever the law dictates, but not unethical.

  22. JMB says:

    I’m guessing Frankie “far gone” will be awfully quiet this season. On the bright side, we will not have to hear as much of his usual spiel and BS.

    Your move Nutting.

  23. Drew71 says:

    Those who have in the past wondered if Coonelly has MLB Executive or Global Conquest objectives, well, Frank better be comfortable with Pittsburgh because this will haunt him in any interview for any quasi-public position.

    And he better not get too comfortable in Pittsburgh unless they, you know, win.

    Whatever we each may believe SHOULD happen because of this incident (or because of performance, but let’s separate those two), it looks like in the short term, he is going nowhere as long as damaging new information does not surface.

    And over the long term, because of his now diminished future opportunities, he is not going to be ABLE to go anywhere, in a different sort of sense.

    (And a shout out to Milo, for post #3, for not using a non-baseball issue to make a baseball point. Seriously. Well said.)

  24. NMR says:


    That’s just too logical to assume.

    Just last night he was describing his trade for AJ Burnett as a move that happens when players no longer are performing to their salary.

    Sure, its true, but ouch…

    Welcome to Pittsburgh, AJ!

  25. Andy says:

    The Pirates don’t need any more punchlines, and the roads don’t need anymore drunk drivers, so this is unfortunate on the former and horrendous on the latter.

    I will say, though, that I appreciate Coonelly going beyond a two-lined canned response and not doing a “I’m sorry if I did something wrong,” instead saying he made a huge mistake. He didn’t dance around it, so there’s something to be said. Sure, the response is out now and not at the time of the incident, but who would make a public statement about such an embarrassing incident that at the time wasn’t public?

  26. MrB says:

    I lost a good friend one year post high-school when a drunk driver in the wrong lanes of the interstate (separated by a 20′ median) decapitated him head-on.

    I understand one of the other charges is driving with a suspended license. What prior offense led to that result?

    This clown is a 51 year old freaking loser driving the wrong way at twice the legal limit. He deserves to be terminated and some jail time wouldn’t hurt.

    I hope I never meet him and I certainly won’t seek him out. I’d be too tempted to put my size 12 foot up his fat ass.

  27. MrB says:

    Edit – Interstate isn’t quite accurate…4-lane major highway is more appropriate.

  28. SeanAY says:


    Fair point.

  29. Milo Hamilton says:

    Ryan Braun has won his appeal. I give up.

  30. PetroSteel says:

    My thoughts are that Frank made a terrible mistake in judgment. A very bad mistake. Thank God no one was hurt or worse.

    Now, he might not be everyone’s choice to be the President of the Pirates. However, the guy is not a bad person as far as I know.

    Thanks God no one got hurt. Hopefully, he can learn from his terrible mistake. And I think we should all move on.

  31. JohninOshkosh says:

    I hope that arbitrator realizes he just blew the litigation doors wide open for every future suspension. News reports say Braun won the day on a chain of custody argument. Those are the kind of arguments people make when they can’t win on the merits. Ridiculous.

  32. Milo Hamilton says:

    Kept checking in with The Fan this afternoon to see what “The Great Unwashed” had to say on the Coonelly matter. Other than “news” updates – crickets. This is talk show gold. But 4 or 5 straight hours of Mike Wallace “the sky is falling” talk must be much more compelling radio. How do they expect to be taken seriously ? Oh, I guess they don’t. And if you don’t your new flagship station talking about the team president’s DUI ? Don’t drive twice the legal limit.

  33. Eric Bowser says:

    1. Frank Coonelly should be fired.
    2. Why was this kept secret by the police?
    3. If a Pirates player is arrested and charged, do you think he has a job, isn’t fined by MLB, and isn’t being horribly roasted (justifiably so) by the team, media, fans, and MLB.

    This franchise is a joke and will continue to be a joke with its Mickey Mouse ownership.

    Frank should resign, he’s been a failure for this franchise in CBA talks and our GM can do a bad job with or without him.

  34. EvilSam says:

    Wow…Braun suspension lifted. What a joke. Selig at it again ;-)

  35. Karen22 says:

    Wow, what a great day for MLB. First Coonelly and now Ryan Braun. RIDICULOUS!

  36. SeanE says:

    Braun got off on a legal technicality involving a flaw in the chain of custody. This is why MLB officials are “livid” about his suspension being overturned. Braun is still going to be stuck with the stigma of using PED’s.

  37. Drew71 says:

    New chant at PNC Park when Technicality Braun comes to the plate…

    P – E – D
    P – E – D
    P – E – D
    P – E – D
    P – E – D

    (or would you prefer (“Tes-Tos-Te-Rone” x 4?)

  38. Drew71 says:

    It’s a bad day to say this considering, you know, but I need a drink

  39. Eric Bowser says:

    I’m having a drink now, but you see, I’m at home where I can’t kill anyone by my actions.

  40. JAL says:

    Selig did not lift the suspension, a 3 person arbitration panel did on a 2-1 vote.

  41. Cajun Thunder says:

    Let’s see if accountability actually means anything to the Pirates front office.

  42. Milo Hamilton says:

    The Fan makes Deadspin. As I suspected, hosts have been forbidden from talking about Coonelly.

  43. Milo Hamilton says:

    I almost forgot. The Deadspin story links a tweet from Dejan.

  44. TheSaltyRogue says:

    Right now, the Chris Mueller is talking about the Heat/Knicks game. Something tells me that’s not “Story #1″ in Pittsburgh this evening.

    Shame on “The Fan”.

  45. PetroSteel says:

    I’m glad they aren’t talking about it.

    It happened. Move on.

    Lets break down the Bucs and how the season will go. Let’s get player interviews.

  46. TheSaltyRogue says:

    But it shouldn’t be a mandate from above… let the conversation happen if it happens – but don’t send out a memo saying “don’t talk about it or take calls about it”.

    Right or wrong, it’s a story in Pittsburgh sports right now and to refuse to talk about it shows no credibility on anything going forward.

    I’m as “pro-FO” as they come with this team, but FC screwed the pooch big time and it cleary is an item for discussion.

  47. JohninOshkosh says:

    132 posts on Dejan’s two threads today. Per DK, 385 live on his chat. Nice work ladies and gentlemen. Now, tomorrow-get back to work!

  48. JohninOshkosh says:

    Apologies to Mr. Rogue who posted while I was typing-135 including this one.

  49. TheSaltyRogue says:

    Well, Mueller is discussing it now. Either he’s got brass one’s or the station management realized they were in the wrong.

  50. Eric Bowser says:

    Damage control by 93.7 FM – 100% damage control

  51. Eric Bowser says:

    So Mueller says they had to get approval and clearance to talk about this?

    I’ve lost respect for 93.7 FM

  52. Eric Bowser says:

    I like many at 93.7 FM but waiting for approval/clearance tells you there’s a rule about criticizing the Pirates. No credibility now

  53. Milo Hamilton says:


    This is a simple case of CBS bowing to public pressure.

  54. Milo Hamilton says:

    “Let’s weigh in now, Pittsburgh.” Yeah, at 11:00 at night. And people wonder why I view everything the Pirates through the PR prism.

  55. Eric Bowser says:

    @Milo – pretty much, after Dejan, Madden, Smizik, Deadspin, and other places were commenting about it and discussions were intensifying about the credibility of the station and now for Mueller to admit they had to wait for approval and clearance, tells me the station’s talent has to wait for management approval to criticize the Pirates management and ownership.

  56. JohninOshkosh says:

    This is a pretty big story. A news division admitting that prior corporate approval is required to merely discuss a story involving one of its customers.

  57. Eric Bowser says:

    @JohninOshkosh – Well, that’s one of the big stories, more importantly, why did this take 2 months to become public knowledge? Why did the police not report this?

    We’re talking about the Pirates and we all know how they liked to lie/avoid about anything from a negative perspective, remember when they had extended Russell and Huntington took months to make public.

  58. JohninOshkosh says:

    I’m interested in the timeline too. However, there is often a lag between a police report and a decision to charge. It could be as simple as that. However, the Pirates certainly knew about the police contact back in Dec. and could have, as they say, got out in front of the story and publicly disclosed of it prior to a formal charge.

  59. Eric Bowser says:

    @John – There’s almost never a lag in a police report when it involves an athlete and I highly doubt Bob Nutting would be so accepting if this was Pedro Alvarez driving drunk.

  60. Eric Bowser says:

    Great point by caller on Mueller’s show just now, the timing of this news is curious with Coonelly unavailable in Florida.

    DK: Coonelly was eminently available.

  61. JohninOshkosh says:

    @Eric-points well taken. I was trying to at least explain the police silence. Not up to the police to charge-only arrest. Not sure what the department’s protocol would be in high profile cases that have been referred to the prosecuting attorney’s office. None of this explains the Pirate’s silence.

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