The Post-Gazette sounds sincerely disappointed to discover that the Pirates ownership feels no obligation to pay back the public that bankrolled, through their taxes, the ballpark that was supposed to produce a winning team:
While the public dug deep to build America's finest ballpark, the Pirate's owners have failed to match the people's investment. Compared to the rest of Major League Baseball, they spend little and pretend it will produce a lot. The fantasy of that is laid bare, woeful season after woeful season.
Yes, the fans should send a message -- and send it however they choose. Heaven knows they've done their part. Bob Nutting & Co. have not. (link)
The editorial is in reference to the planned walk-out by fans at tonight's game. Mind you, these fans will have already paid for their tickets. Sure, it may give the Nuttings some embarrassing public relations, but given all the bad press they've endured lately, I wonder how much they truly care. (Their effort to impose a media blackout on the protest not withstanding.)
And yet, I'm guessing that many of the people at tonight's game, like the Post-Gazette editorial board, not only favored public funding for PNC Park, but for the new hockey arena as well. Sure, Mario Lemieux may be more commited to winning than the Nuttings, but the principle is the same: Professionals sports teams are businesses. They have no more obligation to the public than any other business. And the public, including the government, has no special obligation to them, either.