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Pirates Fans to Protest Ownership

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As Redhawk mentioned in the Rockpile, Pirates fans will protest the state of the franchise during the June 30th game by walking out of their seats and heading to the concourse or leaving the stadium entirely. FSN won't televise it because of their close partnership with the Pirates, but the local networks are willing to cover it (to the extent that they can). Here's how FSN explained their decision:

"In a number of ways, what we do is different than local news," McClintock said. "It's a fine line and it has softened over the years, and we had to come to grips with that.

"It's a tough call. One side of you says, 'It's a story.' The other side says that 'we're in this for the long haul and our livelihood can be affected.' The bottom line is we want them to do well. We also understand the average fan's frustration. We're frustrated, too, as fans and business partners."

I'm not sure that the people at FSN "understand the average fan's frustration." The average fan is not making money off the Pirates. Not making millions or however much the number is. If FSN did understand the plight of the average fan, then the cameras would be right there with the fans as they leave their seats tomorrow. But the almighty dollar forces the company's hand to go with the Pirates on this one. FSN's bottom line is not just "we want them to do well." It's "We want them to do well . . . but we sure do have a lucrative deal with the club even when they're bad. Let's not rock the boat."

In his column today, Bob Raissman wonders whether or not YES ratings will go south as the Yankees continue to fall. Kay did torch the Yankees on Sunday, but could you imagine him saying anything if Yankees fans held a protest (not a very likely happening)? He and the other announcers would be under orders not to say anything. In fact, I'd place a large bet on the brass still having Kay tell his non-existent viewers that the Stadium was filled to capacity.

Charlie at Bucs Dugout has a defense of the protest, and there's an interesting point made that we can connect to the Rockies:

First, this ownership group is not this franchise. The Pirates franchise goes back over a hundred years, with a history that includes five World Series wins and Hall of Famers like Roberto Clemente, Honus Wagner, Willie Stargell, Ralph Kiner and many others.

Several years ago, I consciously attempted to become a fan of a baseball team more worthy of my time and money - the A's, the Red Sox, the Padres, whomever. All these attempts failed, and at some point I stopped trying and started writing a blog instead.

The reason why these attempts failed is that there are certain kinds of fandom that cannot be confined to a particular season or decade. I'm a fan of the Pirates because I got to watch games in Three Rivers Stadium with my dad when I was a kid, and because I got to read about Clemente and watch tape of his throws from the outfield, and because I grew attached to Bonilla and Bonds and Van Slyke and Drabek.

We're not average fans. There's something that keeps us coming back to this team, no matter how bad it gets. There are those of us who will argue that the Monforts are this franchise, and there are those of us who will argue that the Monforts are not this franchise. But that's secondary to the players with the interlocking CR on the cap and "Rockies" or "Colorado" displayed across the jersey. They made us fans, not the owners. Sure, the names change, but there are still guys to put on those caps and jerseys.