Sunday, June 24, 2018

Getting money from sports gambling won't make Nutting spend

Maybe you’ve heard that gambling on sports is about to become legal in Pennsylvania. Last week, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board asked for comment on the wagering regulations that are in place now, and Pirates President Frank Coonelly, most likely at the request of the owner, Bob Nutting, response included this: “Without professional sports there can be no professional sports betting. Providing a professional sports product is a costly endeavor.”
Maybe we should interrupt this letter here to reflect on the profits that the Nuttings have made with the Pirates and the massive increase in the value of the franchise since they took over ownership of the franchise.
But, back to the letter: “While our landlord is responsible for capital repairs and improvements at PNC Park, the Pirates are responsible for maintenance and operational expenses at PNC Park, which has been named the premier ball park in the country since its opening in 2001.”
Sorry for another interruption, but it should probably be pointed out that the taxpayers paid for almost the entire cost of PNC Park.
Coonelly went on: “The capital needs at PNC Park are significant and, unfortunately, are much higher than the current funds allocated to them by our landlord. (Sports and Exhibition Authority).”
But the best part was the kicker: “It stands to reason that a portion of the revenue collected from sports wagering should be allocated to the maintenance and upkeep of PNC Park and other sports based facilities in Pennsylvania which provides (sic) for sports wagering in the first place. We are concerned that no such provision is included in the current law or regulation.”
Are you, as a Pennsylvania taxpayer, concerned?
Do you think getting a piece of the gambling revenue pie will keep the Pirates competitive the same way that PNC Park has?
Remember that laughable claim that came nine years into a string of 20 consecutive losing seasons?
If the Pirates are entitled to a slice of the state’s revenue from the gambling tax, shouldn’t car manufacturers and dealers be lining up to have the state kick in a portion of the second highest gas tax in the United States to pay for their costs?
What would be the point of gasoline if there were no cars?
Don’t blame the Nuttings for asking. Good for them if they can get it. Just wait to see if the state politicians are dumb enough to give it to them. Don’t bet against the Nuttings.
  • As you watch Nutting’s team struggle to stay out of last place in the NL Central while making huge profits under Major League Baseball’s revenue sharing system that allows small market teams to be profitable without winning a lot, it should warm your heart to know that your favorite baseball family just got a million dollars for their ski resorts at Seven Springs and Hidden Valley.
The state Redevelopment and Assistance Capital Program is actually giving the money to Seven Springs Borough, but it will be used to build two multi-purpose event centers.
The Republican state senator responsible for stealing your money and giving it to the Nuttings is Pat Stefano of Bullskin who said, “This funding is crucial to jobs, economic development and promoting tourism expansion in the Laurel Highlands.”
Sure it is.
It’s good to be the Nuttings. Do you think they care that you don’t like them because the Pirates stink? Fortunately, fewer and fewer fans are using their money to make them a little richer. At last look, the Pirates’ attendance was down 29%.
  • I’ve been spending the last few days trying to conjure up a scintilla of interest in how Iceland is doing in the World Cup. Not there yet. I’ll keep you posted.
  • Former Celtics and Timberwolves coach Kevin McHale was spotted at a Trump rally in Minnesota. Not speaking. Not on stage with the President. Just another guy in the crowd. That brought him a lot of criticism from some in the sports media. Many of the same people who have been supporting Colin Kaepernick’s right to protest on company time were calling for McHale to be fired from his job as an analyst at TNT and to be barred from ever working in the NBA again.
Just for showing up.
  • Coming into the weekend, the Pirates are 25-35 since their 11-4 start. That really stinks. You think maybe that start that had so many people so excited might have been a fluke?
  • As I have been doing for several years now, I will be watching Canadian Football League games instead of the Pirates. Thank you, ESPN.
  • Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated pointed out recently that there will be more strikeouts in the first half of this Major League Baseball season than their were in the entire 1980 season. But, if you dare suggest that baseball was better back then, it will be because you’re old.
John Steigerwald writes a Sunday column for the Observer-Reporter.

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