Baseball on the cheap
Last night, Pittsburgh Pirates owner Robert Nutting traded one of the team's best and most popular players, Jacob Stallings, to the Miami Marlins for prospects. As it currently stands, the Pirates do not have a replacement catcher with any significant major league experience.* From reactions online, the Stallings trade did not surprise most Pirate fans who have grown cynical about the team due to Nutting’s ownership.
ESPN’s baseball reporter, Buster Olney, put Bob Nutting’s cheapness into perspective:
(For non-baseball fans, 37-year-old Max Scherzer recently signed a new contract to pitch for the New York Mets. The Mets probably overpaid for Scherzer but even so, shouldn’t a whole team be worth more? Unless. . . .)
Newspapers on the cheap
Earlier today, Robert Nutting’s Ogden Newspapers bought Swift Communications, which owns print media throughout the western United States. As America’s Newspapers explained:
Swift Communications publishes local daily and weekly newspapers, magazines and other media in a dozen markets in Colorado, Utah and California, along with a number of national niche and agricultural magazine products. Swift also operates two press facilities in Carson City, Nevada, and Gypsum, Colorado, all of which will be included in the sale. . . .
Swift Communications is a well-known and respected leader in the community news industry. The company has established a reputation for excellence in their products and customer focus, particularly in mountain resort markets, including Aspen, Colorado, Vail, Colorado, Steamboat Springs, Colorado, Summit County, Colorado, Park City, Utah, and Lake Tahoe, California. . .
With the acquisition, Ogden Newspapers will publish 54 daily newspapers and a number of weekly newspapers and magazines in 18 states.
This is a major purchase for Ogden at a time when the future of daily newspapers is uncertain, at best. I plan to follow this story, but I am not optimistic for the readers of these newspapers. If past practices are any predictor of the future, I would look for cuts in staff, less local reporting with economies of scale becoming the rule rather than the exception.
Neither announcement surprised me. I have chronicled both – see any post in baseball on the cheap or newspapers on the cheap for more examples. Given the size of the newspaper acquisition and since it will probably not get any coverage locally, I will try to follow developments in this story.
*Correction: the Pirates just signed a one-year contract with catcher Roberto Perez who batted .149 with Cleveland last year.