The Pittsburgh Pirates lack a sense of humor; oppose cheap beer

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Great moments in public relations.

There’s a bar in Pittsburgh called The Stroll Inn, and the other day they launched a promotion that said “If the Pirates lose, you win” and offered a discount of a nickel on a pitcher of beer after every Pirates loss. Funny!

But not to the Pirates. Apparently a couple of Pirates employees sent emails around after hearing of this, suggesting that Pirates employees, friends and family boycott the Stroll Inn, saying “an occasional joke and jab is expected here and there, but to create business by ripping on the home team is ridiculous and in my opinion distasteful.”

The email thing made its way to a local news station, who did a story on it, and that prompted Pirates President Frank Coonelly to contact the owner of the bar and, according to her anyway, scolded her for taking this to the local news.  She said that Coonelly was “very cold and not very nice.”  Which, I will say, is a description that a couple of people I know who know Coonelly may not be shocked to hear.  Smart guy, I’m told. Very competent in his areas of expertise. But not a master of interpersonal relationships.

All of this is blowing up bigger now than it ever would have, of course.  Over at Yahoo! Jeff Passan has an extended take of the lunacy of it all.

The biggest takeaway: dudes, if you’re selling a product and it’s being linked to inexpensive beer, just go with it, because the goodwill will flow in your direction eventually.

Tom Ricketts says the Cubs don’t have any more money

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Cubs owner Tom Ricketts met the media in Mesa, Arizona today and said a couple of things that were fun.

First, he addressed the controversy that arose earlier this month when emails of his father’s — family patriarch Joe Ricketts — were leaked, showing him forwarding and approvingly commenting on racist jokes. Ricketts apologized for those serving as a “distraction” for the Cubs which, OK. He also said “Those aren’t the values our family was raised with… I never heard my father say anything remotely racist.” If you choose to believe that a 77-year-old conservative guy who loves racist emails — who once spearheaded an anti-Obama ad campaign that required a “literate African-American” as its spokesman — hasn’t said racist stuff a-plenty, that’s between you and your credulity.

More relevant to the 2019 Cubs is this:

The Cubs aren’t in the same position as some other contenders in that (a) they don’t have a cheap payroll; and (b) are not obvious candidates for the big free agents like Harper or Machado, but I still find that comment pretty rich for an owner of one of baseball’s marquee franchises in a non-salary cap league. If nothing else, it’s an admission by Ricketts that he, like the other owners, consider the Luxury Tax to be a defacto salary cap.