Yes, “disdain” may be the best word
Updating the similar business models that guide Robert Nutting’s professional baseball team and newspaper chain
I originally wrote about these business models in January of 2018 and I’ve periodically updated.
Baseball on the cheap: Do actual fans matter?
Pittsburgh Pirate owner Bob Nutting has struck again: it’s another season and another terrible team.
Last Wednesday night was beautiful: sunny and warm with low humidity – a perfect night for a baseball game. Here was columnist Dejan Kovacevic’s picture and take on the crowd at the baseball game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Detroit Tigers:
Can’t be even 500 people here right now. No chance. And this is why I keep writing that there can’t be a sequel to this. Real progress has to come in 2022. This is Pittsburgh, not Altoona or Greensboro or Bradenton. pic.twitter.com/TeTW7L1YQ4— Dejan Kovacevic (@Dejan_Kovacevic) September 8, 2021
The attendance was later listed at 2,741. (Did they include the ushers and beer vendors?)
As I write this, the Pirates have won 53 and lost 91 for the third worst record in baseball and they need to win a majority of their remaining games to keep from losing 100 games.
Why should fans support Nutting’s team when he has consistently traded/given away his good players for “prospects” or cash? The current team, with a couple of exceptions, consists of AA players and other team’s rejects. The sad part for Pirate fans is that there appears to be little hope for the future. (Contrast that with the Chicago White Sox which, in 2018, lost three more games than the Pirates. This year, the White Sox have already won 30 more games than the Pirates and will undoubtably make the playoffs.)
As I’ve written previously (see any entry under “baseball on the cheap” below), the owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates has learned how to make money without risking much of his own. For example, Nutting uses baseball’s effort to compensate for market size to his advantage. Baseball attempts to level the playing field between the larger markets (which have a revenue edge and can thus afford better players) and the smaller markets by transferring money from the large to the small with the hope that the small will then spend it to field competitive teams.
Baseball’s revenue sharing efforts can produce winners: another small-market team with even less attendance than the Pirates, the Tampa Bay Rays, may reach the 100-win mark and are a lock for the playoffs. Unfortunately, instead of using the money to keep or add good players, Nutting keeps the money.
Newspapers on the cheap: If you don’t care about relevance for your readership, economies of scale can save you lots of money
Reading the editorials: here are the four editorials that have been published this week in both the morning Intelligencer and afternoon News-Register. (It wasn’t that long ago that the two papers carried different editorials.) Note that three of the four are about Ohio; the fourth is about veterans including those from West Virginia.
Today’s hard-hitting Ohio editorials
It takes a lot of guts to come out against litter, but today’s lead editorial does! I counted at least a half dozen Ogden papers in Ohio that have previously run this editorial. The Marietta Times looks to have been the first on September 2. (Note, the number is probably larger than six -- not all Ogden editorials get posted to the internet.) Additionally, the Intelligencer’s version differs by including a sentence that mentions West Virginia. Otherwise, the editorial is the same.
This August 23 editorial from the Marietta Times makes a number of Ohio references but none to West Virginia. Yes, it really is about invasive insects.
Needless to say, the redistricting is in Ohio. Have we (those of us who live in West Virginia, and subscribe to a West Virginia paper) read very much about West Virginia's redistricting possibilities?
This editorial references a letter by a bipartisan group of senators (including West Virginia’s Capito) to the Secretary of Veteran’s Affairs concerning benefits for veterans returning from Afghanistan:
A group of 35 U.S. senators, both Republican and Democrat, was concerned enough to send a letter saying just that, earlier this week.
Here is the letter and it was not “earlier this week” – it was August 31. The Parkersburg News and Sentinel ran this same editorial on September 2 and the Intelligencer didn’t change a word from the original. How difficult would it have been to change this editorial to accurately reflect when the senators wrote their letter? So, not only did Ogden republish a two-week-old editorial, it, more importantly, was unwilling to spend a few moments to make the editorial accurate. While it might be attributed to laziness, I think it clearly demonstrates Ogden’s total disdain for its readership. (“Hey, why bother? It’s all filler.”)
Disdain? Yeah, and it’s not unlike Bob Nutting’s attitude toward Pirate fans.
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