On Thursday night, the Pittsburgh baseball club's mascot, the Pirate Parrot, and its president, Frank Coonelly, appeared at a Republican function that also included Kellyanne Conway and the Republican candidate for the hotly-contested special election in Pennsylvania's 18th Congressional District, Rick Saccone. From KDKA Pittsburgh:
The team's president, Frank Coonelly, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that their presence was not political:
Coonelly said he agreed to speak at the event, held at the DoubleTree in Green Tree, two months ago. He said he welcomed the opportunity to discuss the team and address hundreds of locals leading up to Opening Day.
But the dinner received added attention due to a last-minute planned appearance by Kellyanne Conway, President Donald Trump’s counselor. Rick Saccone, the Republican candidate in the contested election for Pennsylvania’s 18th congressional district, also spoke at the event.
And here's the statement from the Pirates:
"Last night's presentation and the Parrot appearance was wholly focused on promoting the Pittsburgh Pirates and the game of baseball, not a political candidate nor politics in general," team spokesman Brian Warecki said in a statement.
"It was in no way, shape or form a political endorsement of any kind, as Frank (Coonelly) would be happy to give the same speech at a Democratic Committee event as well should he be asked," Warecki said.
Let's see. The Pirates' president and its popular mascot show up at a Republican rally that also featured a local candidate running for a highly contested congressional seat and a Trump aide. The team is owned by Bob Nutting, whose Ogden Newspapers frequently inject their right-wing Republican politics into the front, as well as the editorial, pages of their newspapers. It's all innocent, the Pirate president tells us. Sure it is. The readers of Nutting's papers know better.