All Pirate fans agree Bob Nutting is an awful owner, and they are right. Where they are wrong is why. Many fans believe that Nutting is an evil, greedy genius. They believe Nutting has perfected a formula that allows the Pirates to be terrible yet allows him to make a tidy profit each year. Oh, if only that were true, a greedy genius can have a change of heart. Perhaps a visit from ghosts of Pirates past will make his heart grow three sizes, and all of us in Pirateville will be happy again. Bob bless us, everyone. Oh, if only that were the case.
Nutting is not an evil genius. He is an incompetent businessman. He was born on third base and thought he hit a triple. Bob Nutting wants to win. He wants to build a legacy to pass down to his daughters. He has no idea how. If you look at his tenure as principal owner, his actions are not those of a greedy man. Yes, he is cheap. Other teams with cheap owners manage to win. His stewardship is a series of bad mistakes. He hires the wrong people and gives them complete autonomy. He does not intervene when necessary. He fired his first management team because “He was tired of watching players leave the Pirates and get better elsewhere.” He replaced that management team with one that didn’t develop its most talented players and created a culture of losing unlike any I had seen before. If Nutting were an evil genius, don’t you think he would hire a good PR department? Under Nutting’s ownership, it has been one PR disaster after another.
Remember the only thing team president Travis Williams has said on public record? “I want Pirates fans to think, even if we lose, I enjoyed that pretzel.” That is not exactly a savvy statement. An evil, greedy genius would be concerned with selling tickets. No one involved with the Pirates is concerned with selling tickets. Think back to early in the 2022 season when manager Derek Shelton rested both Reynolds and Hayes for a Sunday home game. He was stunned when asked after the game if it occurred to him that the fans were probably disappointed that both were out. He said he didn’t think of that. We know the General Manager and the analytics department contributed to the making of the lineup, all of those geniuses, and it did not occur to one of them that their ticket-buying public would want to see one of the only two marketable players on the team. The Pirates are a terrible organization, not because Nutting doesn’t spend money. Although that is a problem, they don’t do anything else well.
If Nutting were to spend money, I have no confidence that it would be well-spent. Or that our young players will develop. Or that we have the right coaches in place. Or that when it is time to make changes, they will be made and made better.
Bob Nutting is a terrible owner, and nothing in his tenure gives hope for the future. This team is a poorly run business at every level, and Nutting thinks he, his team president, and his General Manager are doing a great job. We all know the first step to solving a problem is recognizing there is one. Nutting is oblivious to the many issues. If only it were as simple as spending more money.