UPDATE: Nutting declined two bids on Pirates

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Update: According to the Associated Press, Nutting declined to listen to separate proposals to buy the team last season, including one by Lemieux. Minor league team owner Chuck Greenberg also submitted a proposal, but later joined Nolan Ryan in a successful bid to buy the Rangers.

11:06 am: Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Mario Lemieux and Penguins co-owner Ron Burkle recently made an unsolicited offer to Pirates owner Bob Nutting, but did not hear a response. The offer was reportedly “very serious,” but Nutting downplayed the possibility when asked by Kovacevic:

“Honestly, I’m not sure there’s a situation to describe,” Mr. Nutting
said last night when asked about the meeting. “I like Ron. He’s an
extremely competent businessman and deal-maker, and we’ve talked about
a wide range of topics. But I think the simplest way to say this is
that there never has been a substantive or formal offer for the team.
The team is not for sale.”

There will likely be two schools of thought on this:

1) Hopes that Lemieux — a Pittsburgh hero — and Burkle could bring the same sort of success they brought to the Penguins after the lockout.

2) That Nutting and co. deserve more time to implement their plan for the franchise.

It may lead somewhere. Or, as Nutting suggests, it’s not even a consideration. It’s an interesting thought at the very least.
 

Kirk Gibson home run happened 30 years ago

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With the Dodgers trying to make it back to the World Series for the second year in a row — and trying to win it for the first time in 30 years — it’s worth looking back at the last time they won it. More specifically, it’s worth looking back at the signature moment from the last time they won it. Which, really, was one of baseball’s all-time signature moments.

Yep, I’m talking about Kirk Gibson’s famous game-winning home run off of Dennis Eckersley of the Oakland Athletics in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series, which happened 30 years ago tonight.

All playoff magic for anyone too young to remember Bill Mazeroski’s homer in 1960 is measured against Gibson taking Dennis Eckersley downtown to turn a 4-3 deficit into a 5-4 win. Heck, even if you were around in 1960, it’s far less likely that you saw Mazeroski’s homer than it was for you to have seen Gibson’s. Nationally broadcast in prime time to a nation of millions who had not yet fragmented into viewers of hundreds of obscure cable channels and various forms of streaming entertainments, it was a moment that sent shockwaves through the world of sports.

For my part, I was fifteen years-old, sitting in my living room in Beckley, West Virginia watching it as it happened. Like most of the rest of the country, I was convinced that the Dodgers had no chance to beat the mighty Bash Brothers and the 104-win Oakland A’s. Especially given that the Dodgers’ leader, MVP-to-be Gibson, was hobbled and not starting. Even when he was called on to pinch hit, I had no faith that he’d be able to touch Eckersley, the best relief pitcher on the planet, let alone hit the ball with any kind of authority.

But, as Vin said when he called it, the Dodgers’ year was so improbable that, in hindsight, it made perfect sense for Gibson to have done the impossible: