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Brewers > Pirates

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is on the case!

Each is based in one of Major League Baseball's six smallest markets, with the Pittsburgh metropolitan area home to 2.2 million and Milwaukee's home to 1.5 million. Each has played in a new, taxpayer-built stadium since 2001. Each receives a comparable revenue-sharing check from MLB, the Pirates getting $25 million last year and the Brewers $23 million. Each has a local broadcasting deal in the range of $10 million.

Even on the field, their stories are the same, with each having failed to produce a winning season since 1992.

So, why, then, would the Pirates' payroll be so much lower?

I'm going to save you some time and spoil the ending: the Pirates are operating purely to stay in the black, something that has been obvious to anyone even casually interested in baseball for awhile now.

The article doesn't actually reach that conclusion (or any conclusion, really), but it does quote Attanasio as saying the Brewers will "lose a little bit of money" this year, which illustrates perfectly the difference between the teams: the Brewers, under the current regime, are willing to spend money to (hopefully) make more money in the future, while the Pirates are content to bide their time with the Joe Randas and Reggie Sanders of the world, 70 wins, and a modest profit.

Of course, Attanasio's gambit may fail, and the Brewers might end up costing him a bunch of money; that's the risk the Pirates are unwilling to take. However, as any Pirates fan will tell you, money isn't the only cost at play here. The Pirates seem to be so myopically focused on not losing money that they're losing just about everything else. I have to think there's a breaking point where the fan apathy becomes impossible to ignore, but I don't know--the Pirates' ownership seems pretty cold-blooded. I do know that it can't be very much fun to root for what is essentially a dry cleaner at this point. Makes you thankful to be a Brewers fan, doesn't it?