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.

RHP Fairbanks, Rays agree to 3-year, $12 million contract

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Dave Nelson/USA TODAY Sports
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Reliever Pete Fairbanks and the Tampa Bay Rays avoided arbitration when they agreed Friday to a three-year, $12 million contract that could be worth up to $24.6 million over four seasons.

The deal includes salaries of $3,666,666 this year and $3,666,667 in each of the next two seasons. The Rays have a $7 million option for 2026 with a $1 million buyout.

His 2024 and 2025 salaries could increase by $300,000 each based on games finished in the previous season: $150,000 each for 35 and 40.

Tampa Bay’s option price could increase by up to $6 million, including $4 million for appearances: $1 million each for 60 and 70 in 2025; $500,000 for 125 from 2023-25 and $1 million each for 135, 150 and 165 from 2023-25. The option price could increase by $2 million for games finished in 2025: $500,000 each for 25, 30, 35 and 40.

Fairbanks also has a $500,000 award bonus for winning the Hoffman/Rivera reliever of the year award and $200,000 for finishing second or third.

The 29-year-old right-hander is 11-10 with a 2.98 ERA and 15 saves in 111 appearances, with all but two of the outings coming out of the bullpen since being acquired by the Rays from the Texas Rangers in July 2019.

Fairbanks was 0-0 with a 1.13 ERA in 24 appearances last year after beginning the season on the 60-day injured list with a right lat strain.

Fairbanks made his 2022 debut on July 17 and tied for the team lead with eight saves despite being sidelined more than three months. In addition, he is 0-0 with a 3.60 ERA in 12 career postseason appearances, all with Tampa Bay.

He had asked for a raise from $714,400 to $1.9 million when proposed arbitration salaries were exchanged Jan. 13, and the Rays had offered for $1.5 million.

Fairbanks’ agreement was announced two days after left-hander Jeffrey Springs agreed to a $31 million, four-year contract with Tampa Bay that could be worth $65.75 million over five seasons.

Tampa Bay remains scheduled for hearings with right-handers Jason Adam and Ryan Thompson, left-hander Colin Poche, third baseman Yandy Diaz and outfielder Harold Ramirez.