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Podcast: A franchise, its fans and essential trust

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Today’s TribLIVE Radio podcast began with a rant about franchises, their fans and the essential trust that exists between them. Or doesn’t.

Here’s video of that segment …

I got into some Super Bowl and Steelers fare with Trib beat writer Alan Robinson. And right after that, the latest installment from @SuckMeter. There’s also plenty of Penguins and Pirates talk.

Thanks to all who listened, called and emailed. In all candor, I enjoyed doing this show as much as any since it began, in large part because of the calls. Love the connection.

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

Dejan Kovacevic, a lifelong Pittsburgher, is an award-winning sports columnist for Trib Total Media covering the Steelers, Penguins, Pirates, Pitt and more, including his fourth Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He also appears on WPXI-TV's 'Subway Final Word’ and hosts a weekly show on TribLIVE Radio. For 2011, he was named one of the top four columnists in the country -- highest circulation category -- by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the top three columnists in the country by the National Headliners Awards. For 2013, he was named top columnist in the state by the Keystone Awards and second-place by the Pennsylvania AP Managing Editors.

10 Comments

  1. This was a very interesting rant about a very interesting topic.

    I think some of the mistrust flows from baseball’s economic structure itself. In football and hockey, management is limited in what can be done in terms of payroll. The fans understand this. In baseball, nothing prevents a team from spending as much as they want on any player they want. If a team chooses not to spend, it is going to be perceived as the team favoring profit over product. Especially when different teams every year jump on the deficit spending bus. This year it is Seattle, a few years ago Miami, etc. This is a PR reality in MLB. Fans cry out if Seattle can afford Cano, then why can’t we sign so and so.

    It requires a deft front office to navigate such waters. For instance, The Brewers in my state hear grumblings about payroll, etc. , but I think there is still a trust with the fan base that they are trying to bring a winner to Milwaukee. I think Melvin and Attanasio have been upfront with the fans. They will still hear their share from the cheap critics but that is because of the economic system in place. But criticism is muted, somewhat, by their honesty. The Pirate front office has not exactly fostered a transparent environment with fans and that is added on top of the natural tension between fans and ownership over spending on the club.

    Anyway, don’t know if I made my point clear, but interesting topic for radio nonetheless.

  2. I feel the opposite on Burnett. I’m not sure how you can say losing Burnett wouldn’t be devastating from the baseball sense. His 3.0 and 4.0 WAR’s the last two years were the best consecutive numbers from a Pittsburgh pitcher since Kris Benson’s 3.5 and 3.8 in 1999 and 2000. The sight test says he’s probably been the best Pirates starting pitcher since Doug Drabek. I think his intangibles would be more in question with the way 2013 ended. His silence since then has spoken volumes. Losing Burnett would really hurt rotation. Who replaces his 190 innings? Jeff Locke? Brandon Cumpton? A mix won’t come close to giving the reliability factor Burnett provides (outside of Busch Stadium). Have a save trip to Sochi!

    • Compare the 2013 rotation to begin the season with 2014.
      2013:
      1) Burnett
      2) Rodriguez
      3) McDonald
      4) Sanchez
      5) Locke

      2014:
      1) Liriano
      2) Cole
      3) Morton
      4) Rodiguez
      5) Locke

      And coming soon, Taillon, with Cumpton, Pimental and others to help.
      To start the season, I contend this year’s rotation is better than last years.

      • Well, you could say Gerrit Cole, Liriano and Morton were all coming soon to help in 2013. Which they did. Wandy’s hurt (or at least is a big question mark), Morton has never pitched a strong, full season, Liriano has never had back-to-back good years and he’s 30 years old, Cole will need to make adjustments this year. The quality of innings Burnett offers are tough to replace. You can never have enough pitching and there hasn’t been a better starting pitcher than Burnett since Doug Drabek IMO.

  3. DK….Another superb rant!
    I only wish I could’ve called in.
    I was a Pirate fan before I could even walk, and I don’t trust the FO (and haven’t for many years now).
    It’s not even in the same universe when it comes to trusting the Pens (who I don’t even follow as much) or the Steelers.

    I was thrilled that the Pirate team over-achieved last year.
    But…..My good feelings had nothing to do with Nutting, Coonelly, Huntington and Stark.
    That is basically un-changeable.

    You ask why the Pirate FO persists in this attitude of disrespect towards the fans?
    I think it’s quite clear….They simply don’t give a damn.
    There really can be no other possibility.

    • How dare you question TBMTIB…INAOS !!!

      The Pirates are quieter than a church mouse in a room full of cats with their activity this offseason.

  4. Dejan, this is simply brilliant.

    DK: Thanks, Milo. As you can see, I painstakingly scripted out every syllable. (Either that or just completely made it up while glancing arbitrarily around the room.)

  5. Last season’s Pirates team was the first winning team and the first contender in 21 years, and, hopefully, it won’t be the last. It’s just that there’s no guarantee that this season’s Pirates’ team will repeat as a contender since it seems as if the ownership wants contenders and champions all right, but on the cheap, and that is definitely not possible in this day and age, and protests that the Pirates are a small market team that will never be able to compete with the bigs will not wash whether or not that’s true as far as it goes.

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