This week’s Moio’s Musings comes to you from lovely Hilton Head Island in South Carolina where the sun shines as often as it rains in Pittsburgh.
Not that I am moving any time soon, but man is the weather gorgeous.
Some simple musings from the beach. Watching the local news (Savannah, Georgia), the Atlanta Braves are all the rage right now, and while the Pirates remain within shouting distance, there are stark contrasts between the state of each team, noticeably attendance.
The Pirates remain mired at the bottom of Major League Baseball, 26th overall, in average attendance while Atlanta ranks 12th overall at more than 31,000 fans per game.
I know Atlanta is a bigger market, but Pittsburgh’s baseball history is so much longer than Atlanta’s, one might think the franchise is more embedded with a core group of fans.
Even when Atlanta was downright awful in 2015 and 2016, the Braves drew more than 25,000 fans to a bad ballpark.
The Bucs have PNC – the crown jewel of ballparks – and fireworks, bobbleheads, pierogies, that amazing view, and free-shirt-Fridays, but lag significantly behind Atlanta in attendance.
The ball clubs have similar records, are in similar situations with trying to build a winning organization, but the Braves are slightly ahead of the Pirates in revenues – some from the gate, and some from a slightly more lucrative local television deal (though not nearly as much as one who remembers the days of the Braves on TBS everyday).
Payroll must be the difference, right? The Pirates, sorry, (yinzer accent, please,) “Bob Nutting is so cheap, man, that jagoff don’t want to pay nobody. That’s why the Pirates suck, man.”
The Pirates current 25-man Major League payroll is higher than Atlanta’s.
Now that will change when pitchers Brandon McCarthy and Aroyds Vizcaino come off of the disabled list, but not radically, especially if the Pirates decide to activate Sean Rodriguez from the DL which would push them just about even with Atlanta on what each team spends on its active Major League payroll.
The Braves are among four teams (Atlanta, Philadelphia, Milwaukee and Oakland) in line to make the playoffs despite spending less than the league average on payroll, so it can be done, and I have argued before, in this space, that it is not always how much a team is spending, but the talent it spends it on that matters.
The Pirates’ recent run of mediocre baseball is probably what fans can expect for the rest of the season. They are, after all, a mediocre team.
- Want to know who Steelers’ coaches like and who they do not? Pay attention to playing time in preseason games 2 and 3 as the Steelers get closer to trimming rosters. My guess is that these two games will be very important for Michael Ridley and Fitzgerald Toussaint, and for a handful of receivers looking to make the team.
- TV ratings were up 69% for this year’s PGA championship over the 2017 tournament. The difference? Tiger Woods was in contention. While I maintain that Tiger will never win another major, he certainly is good for the game’s financial health and, apparently, golf fans are pulling for him to win again.