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Pirates Blow It


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Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is interested in buying his hometown Pittsburgh Pirates, but the ownership told him the team isn't for sale despite its ongoing streak of 13 consecutive losing seasons.

In an e-mail response to The Associated Press, Cuban said Monday he looked into buying the team recently but, "they told me they have no interest in selling."

Cuban's interest in the team he grew up rooting for is well known, but this is the first time he has acknowledged wanting to buy the Pirates. Previously, he said he would look into acquiring a stake only if the Pirates were put up for sale or if acquiring a lesser share of the team would help keep it in Pittsburgh.

"The Pirates are not for sale," club vice president Patty Paytas said, responding to Cuban's comment.

The Pirates were bought 10 years ago by a group assembled by newspaper heir Kevin McClatchy, the managing general partner. The largest investor is Wheeling, W.Va., newspaper publisher G. Ogden Nutting and his two sons, who were initially brought into the group by McClatchy in 1996 and have since acquired at least a 25 percent stake of the 119-year-old franchise.

While McClatchy's group probably prevented the franchise from moving elsewhere and was successful in persuading lawmakers to build PNC Park, the team has had 10 consecutive losing seasons since the purchase and only once has finished within five games of .500.

The Pirates had the third-lowest payroll in the majors last season and have declined to actively pursue upper-tier free agents, attempting instead to build with lower-priced prospects.

That probably wouldn't be the case under Cuban, a billionaire who has spent millions building the Mavericks into one of the NBA's top franchises, though they have yet to win an NBA title since he acquired them in 2000.

Cuban also attempted to buy into a Pittsburgh sports team before purchasing the Mavericks, talking with Mario Lemieux's ownership group as it was buying the NHL's then-bankrupt Pittsburgh Penguins in 1999. But the group wanted Lemieux to be the face and voice of the organization, and was unwilling to allow Cuban to play an active role in the team's day-to-day operations.

Before Mark Cuban, the Dallas Mavericks weren't worth a damn. Since Cuban bought the team, they haven't missed the playoffs and they've become one of the most popular teams in the NBA. For the sake of baseball in Pittsburgh, they should've sold the team to him.

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I read that yesterday. I'm not worried though. Surely there will be plenty of other billionaires who come along and be willing to save a once-proud, now-laughingstock franchise.

:cry:

(loads gun, shoots self)

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Can't spell Cuban without Cub

or Cuba!

or ban!

If nothing else, Cuban would make a team interesting. And he'd have to be an improvement from Monty and the Teflonics in Philadelphia. But I'd fear the metallic silver road jerseys. :therock:

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Can't spell Cuban without Cub

or Cuba!

or ban!

If nothing else, Cuban would make a team interesting. And he'd have to be an improvement from Monty and the Teflonics in Philadelphia. But I'd fear the metallic silver road jerseys. :therock:

I would be okay with the Pirates wearing teal tie-dye uniforms if it meant a winning season.

Actually, let me think about that one a little longer...

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Generally, you can turn NBA teams around faster than MLB teams. Look at Miami....they were nothing before Wade came along, and turned into a more dominant team with Shaq. The Suns were nothing before Steve Nash came along.

In baseball, it takes more than just one dominant player to make the team better. Dominant players in basketball are involved in almost every single play. That doesn't happen in baseball.

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