Results tagged ‘ Bob Nutting ’
A quick note on coverage for tonight’s game. I am at PETCO Park, but I will not be taking care of game coverage (pre or post). Don’t worry — you’ll have plenty to read. It just won’t be with my byline.
As you may or may not have noticed, I have also been doubling as a part-time columnist for MLB.com, writing columns on various teams, players and topics since late in the 2010 season. While I very much enjoy getting to cover unique stories from other clubhouses, I have to make time for the reporting and writing involved. As a result, from time to time I will take a day to devote to column and feature writing.
Tonight, actually, I’ll be finishing up a column for tomorrow (you should remember the subject, as he has ties to the Pirates) and writing a Pirates feature for Thursday. I was also able to spend some time in the Padres clubhouse this afternoon to collect material for an upcoming Pirates story. That’s your tease…
I can still give you a few new and notes for the day even though I did not sit in on manager Clint Hurdle’s media session:
- Ross Ohlendorf threw live batting practice on Tuesday to a handful of hitters. He seemed to have no issue during the session, though check back at pirates.com later tonight for full details on his own assessment.
- Outfielder Jose Tabata is not in the lineup again tonight. Hurdle had said that Tabata would be re-evaluated today, so there should be some news on that later.
- Brandon Wood was out taking grounders at second base this afternoon. The Pirates said they wanted the infielder to get some work at the position so that the club can evaluate whether Wood could be a future option there.
- Let me direct your attention to a new MLB.com prospect feature. It’ll be very handy for those of you who like to keep up with the organization’s best Minor Leaguers. The link is here, and you can sort based on MLB.com’s top 50 overall prospects, top 10 prospects by position, or top 10 lists by team.
- Owner Bob Nutting will be in attendance tonight with some family members.
- Lefty Rudy Owens was ejected from his start for Triple-A Indianapolis this afternoon. He allowed a three-run homer and hit the next batter, Chris Carter. Carter had already homered earlier in the game. Owens was ejected by the home plate umpire, ending his day after 2 1/3 innings.
PIRATES: A. McCutchen (CF), X. Paul (LF), G. Jones (RF), N. Walker (2B), L. Overbay (1B), C. Snyder (C), P. Alvarez (3B), R. Cedeno (SS), J. Karstens (RHP)
PADRES: J. Bartlett (SS), O. Hudson (2B), R. Ludwick (LF), J. Cantu (3B), C. Maybin (CF), B. Hawpe (1B), R. Johnson (C), W. Venable (RF), M. Latos (RHP)
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There was at least one new spectator roaming around the Pirate City fields on Sunday — that being owner Bob Nutting. Nutting arrived in Bradenton on Saturday night and will be in town for about two weeks. He is scheduled to address the team on Monday morning, prior to workouts. He will speak to the media afterward.
This is an annual event in Pirates camp, though I was told that president Frank Coonelly will not bejoining Nutting as a speaker as he has in the past.
The rest of your news…
- The morning started with photo day, which is a Spring Training tradition. There’s always one morning set aside for baseball card companies and media outlets to come out and snap shots of the players to be used all year. This routine didn’t stop many of the players from getting early work in, though. There is extra hitting, fielding and baserunning work going on each day before workouts begin at 10 am.
- One of the first fundamentals the players practiced as a group on Sunday were rundown plays. The outfielders stood in as baserunners and pitchers joined infielders to mimic pickoffs and rundowns. This was going on on two fields, and it’s pretty evident that the infielders were split up based on where they fall on the depth chart. On the one field you had Lyle Overbay and Garrett Atkins at first, Neil Walker at second, Ronny Cedeno and Pedro Ciriaco at short and Pedro Alvarez at third.
- There was also work on baserunning — with the runners determining when to advance on a grounder and when to stay still. Baserunning has been (and will continue to be) a huge emphasis in camp. Manager Clint Hurdle wants these guys to test out their leads and to advance first to third, second to home with regularity. I would expect to see much aggressive baserunning during Grapefruit League play as players test their limits.
- Pitchers worked more on bunting and slug bunting — another facet of the game that is being heavily emphasized so far.
- There were 16 pitchers who threw live batting practice to hitters. Those pitchers were Charlie Morton, Tony Watson, Jeff Karstens, Chris Resop, Brad Lincoln, Chris Leroux, Brian Burres, Daniel McCutchen, Sean Gallagher, Cesar Valdez, Daniel Moskos, Tyler Yates, Justin Thomas, Ramon Aguero, Fernando Nieve and Bryan Morris.
- Jose Ascanio also threw on Sunday, though his session was a 35-pitch bullpen session (not to hitters). Ascanio is a few days behind after being held up in Venezuela with visa issues.
- In addition to taking some swings off pitchers, hitters took additional batting practice off throws from coaches. After those rounds finished, all position players went through some short baserunning work.
- Hurdle spent a good amount of time talking about Corey Wimberly after practice today. Wimberly, who is most known for his speed, is fighting for a bench spot this spring. When asked about Wimberly’s inability to breakthrough to the Majors in the past, Hurdle said: “This could be Corey’s time. That’s why we went out and got him. We had talked him in a couple different avenues over the winter and then we were able to make a trade for him. To his credit, delay doesn’t mean denial. He has persevered. He hasn’t taken feeling being passed over on the field with him. He’s continued to go out and do what he needs to do to make himself attractive to whatever organization has him.”
- As expected, the Pirates will get Jeff Karstens plenty of multi-inning appearances during Spring Training games. While it’s unlikely that Karstens breaks camp in the Pirates’ rotation, the club will want him to be ready to spot start or come in as a long reliever, if needed.
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Three coaches from the Pirates’ 2010 staff said on Monday that they would consider returning to the organization next season under a new manager.
Shortly after the Pirates announced that John Russell had been removed as the team’s manager, hitting coach Don Long, third base coach Tony Beasley and interim bench coach Jeff Banister told MLB.com that they would welcome the opportunity to return to the Major League coaching staff and see the organization’s rebuilding process through.
General manager Neal Huntington left that door open, too, saying that the coaches would each be evaluated individually, with the possibility that they could be brought back. But since the Pirates’ next manager will have a significant say in hiring his coaching staff, no coaching decisions will be made until after that hire.
In the meantime, Huntington has told each coach that he is welcome to pursue other opportunities.
Reached at his home in Virginia, Beasley expressed a strong desire to return for a 19th season in the Pirates’ organization. He has spent the last three serving as the team’s third base coach and baserunning instructor.
Beasley is also under contract through the 2011 season, so that could be a factor as the organization assembles its next staff.
“I would definitely love to be back, especially with where we are with the young kids,” Beasley said. “I’d definitely love to be a part of that and a part of the growth. The process that we talked about is kind of coming to an end. I see that in the near future, and hopefully I can be a part of that. I know it’s out of my hands, but until I’m told otherwise, I hope to stay.”
Beasley said that Huntington spoke with members of the coaching staff during the team’s most recent road trip and informed them that the immediate future was uncertain for everyone.
“I’m willing to be patience and see how it works out,” Beasley said.
Like Beasley, Long was hired shortly after Russell was named manager in November 2007. Though the team finished last in the National League in batting average (.242) this season, Long has been credited by numerous players for the work he’s done with them over the past three seasons.
Most recently, he oversaw the rookie success of Jose Tabata, Neil Walker and Pedro Alvarez. Two years ago, he helped Jason Bay, Xavier Nady and Nate McLouth take significant strides forward in their approaches and swings.
“The competitive side of me says we started that process and we’ve been through major overhaul on the roster,” Long said. “We’ve gotten to the point that guys who you thought would have the chance to come up here did, and they showed big signs of what they’re capable of doing. I would want to see through.
“For the people on the outside looking in, the most dominant stat is the record,” he added. “But to watch a group of players – where there is a lot of youth and not a lot of experience – go from where they started to where they finished, it’s definitely a step in the right direction. People on the outside looking in can scoff at that. But for me, as a coach, the most important thing is you take care of the things you can take care of and one of those is how you prepare and how you show up.”
Long said a decision on his future will come after he spends some time with his family. He also said he realizes that returning might not even be an option in the end.
“I’m going to take some time to absorb it a little bit and then take some time to look at the options and what I want to do,” he said. “You never know, there is always the opportunity to stay. Or there is the potential that whoever they hire will want someone they are more familiar with. And I understand that.”
Banister joined the Major League staff as the club’s interim bench coach in early August, following the dismissal of Gary Varsho. He has been with the organization for the last 25 years and began his eighth season as the Pirates’ Minor League Field Coordinator earlier this year.
Though Banister may not retain his Major League coaching job, his rapport with players and coaches in the Minor League levels would seem to suggest that the Pirates would welcome having him return in some capacity. The Pirates, however, have not announced such a decision.
Asked if he would like to continue working with the organization, Banister said: “That’s an obvious yes. There’s a lot of guys I know very well who’ve come up through our system that are there. They’ve developed, they continue to develop. They’re not finished by any stretch of the imagination. I’d love to continue that if Neal, [president] Frank [Coonelly] and [owner] Bob [Nutting] allow that to happen.
“My passion is for this organization and where I think we can go and where I think we are going. It’s unfinished for me. Until somebody tells me they don’t need my services anymore, I’ll always feel that way. I grew up in this uniform and there are a lot of things I think we can and will do. I’m sure some people think we are a ways away. I see it every day, and I know we’re not that far away. There’s a really strong nucleus of talented athletes that take the field every day. There is some finishing that needs to go along with their Major League experience before they truly know what it takes to win on an every-day basis. Hopefully, I’m part of that, in whatever capacity that is.
The rest of Russell’s former staff included Luis Dorante (bullpen coach), Carlos Garcia (first base/infield coach) and Ray Searage (interim pitching coach).
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So yesterday turned out to be a much more eventful day than expected. Apologies for not writing the most insightful game recap on Sunday, but I spent the first half of the game talking finance with president Frank Coonelly and owner Bob Nutting. The session was called in advance of an AP story, which did come out late that evening.
In case you somehow missed yesterday’s big story, here is the recap piece to fill you in on all the details. I can tell you that we discussed a lot of accounting jargon in the session, and being that my dad is the accountant in the family, it took me a while to digest. My goal in the above story was to whittle the confusing wording down to simplistic ideas and explanations so that everything could be understood by the common person. I hope I succeeded in that attempt.
I have found the public reaction to the numbers/story to be interesting. I think some fans are glad to see actual figures (and a minimal profit), while others have an inability to believe anything the organization says. If you’re in the latter category, then I’ll never be able to report anything that appeases you. You might as well realize that now.
All I can say is that the organization had no reason to lie about the information given to us yesterday. Neither Coonelly, nor Nutting, ever wanted such figures to be made public — this is a private company, you know — and seemed somewhat uncomfortable doing so. However with the public backlash both receive almost daily, they hoped it would be beneficial. They also feared how the AP story could construe what they believed to be logical explanations of a 2008 payment to ownership.
In terms of the $5.4 million profit that the team made in 2009… some look at that and say it all should have been added to the Major League payroll. No questions asked. However, step back and think about your own personal finances.
Look at that $5.4 million as almost a savings account of sorts. I like to keep some additional money in my savings account at all times because I never know when something might come up where I have to dip into the fund. Unexpected costs arrise all the time, and if you are working with a savings account of $0, you’re going to be in trouble at some point.
That $5.4 million is around for that purpose. It’s not going to anyone in the ownership group. It’s a fund that is keeping the Pirates out of the red and ensures that they have the money when new costs arise. And really.. in the land of Major League baseball, $5.4 million isn’t all that much. Putting that into the payroll would not have sent this team over the top.
OK, enough finances 101 for the day. Now on to baseball, where the Pirates have the ability to affect St. Louis’ task of catching the division-leading Reds.
Lohse vs. PIT: 4-0 in 7 games, 46.1 IP, 37 H, 11 ER, 3 HR, 7 BB, 29 K
Ohlendorf vs. STL: 1-2 in 4 starts, 26 IP, 20 H, 8 ER, 2 HR, 3 BB, 22 K
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It was the first day of full squad workouts here at Pirate City and the sun certainly came out to greet the masses. As you’ll read on the main site, the day started with a 9 a.m. meeting in which all 66 players listened to president Frank Coonelly and owner Bob Nutting speak.
This will fill you in the rest of the day’s activities:
- Right-hander Octavio Dotel sat out of workouts on Tuesday because of a sore left side. The injury isn’t expected to keep him out of action for more than a few days. Let’s hope.
- On a related note, we (a handful of writers) got a taste of what to expect from Dotel this season. Seeing that he wasn’t out on the field, we went to go track him down in the clubhouse. When Dotel was asked about a potential injury, he told one writer that it was a right knee issue that would keep him out for a few days. Writer No. 2 was told a minute later that it was a left knee injury, and that he would be back tomorrow. Huh? Minutes later, Dotel came back into the room laughing, telling us that he had pulled a fast one over us. He had no knee injury. It was an issue with his side. Good thing none of us had pulled out our phone to tweet. I’ll remember that for the future…
- Hall of Famer Bill Mazeroski has arrived in Bradenton and spent the day working with the team’s infielders. Former Pirates manager Chuck Tanner also made his first Spring Training appearance and spent much of the day sitting on a golf cart signing autographs for fans.
- Infielders, outfielders and catchers spent about 30 minutes on defensive drills on Tuesday. And you can tell what the depth chart looks like by how they were divided. On the first field of infielders were Jeff Clement and Garrett Jones (1B); Akinori Iwamura and Ramon Vazquez (2B); Ronny Cedeno and Bobby Crosby (SS); Andy LaRoche and Pedro Alvarez (3B). On the second field, you had Steve Pearce and Brian Myrow (1B); Argenis Diaz and Delwyn Young (2B); Brian Friday (SS); Doug Bernier and Neil Walker (3B).
- Vazquez (right knee) continued to take grounders right at him but did not participate in fielding drills that required side-to-side movement. He was cleared to take BP for the first time, though.
- At this time last year, all of us were enthralled with “Camp Perry.” Infield instructor Perry Hill was an extremely vocal presence on the field and could be heard yards away. It’s a little quieter this year, and manager John Russell apparently noticed. “It’s OK to talk,” he quipped as he came to observe infield drills. “Let’s act like we’re having some fun.”
- A total of 15 pitchers threw side sessions on Tuesday. One person who looked remarkedly more comfortable was Brendan Donnelly, who talked afterward about feeling out of sync during his first two times on the mound.
- Pitchers will begin throwing live BP on Wednesday. They will throw two innings (one inning consists of 17 pitches). Half of the pitches will be from the windup and half from the stretch. The only exception to the two-inning deal is for Donnelly, who will throw one inning of 25 pitches.
- Players have all sorts of to-do items this week as things get going. The people who take all the photos and film the clips for the video board at PNC Park are here to get all of that done before games start next week. Each player goes up into a makeshift studio one-by-one to be filmed. There’s also media awareness training going on this week. The 20-minute session will introduce players to who we are and hopefully they’re told to be nice.
- Excuse the shameless plug here, but Pirates PR guy Dan Hart has been busy with the flip cam all spring and has all sorts of great footage and interviews that he’s putting on the site. You can find Dan’s videos on the top right-hand side of pirates.com. I would really recommend checking them out. There was a nice one on Ryan Doumit yesterday and a piece on Brad Lincoln that was posted today. I just wanted to make sure that Dan’s work wasn’t going unnoticed.
- MLB Network is doing its “30 Clubs in 30 Days” series again this spring. The Pirates will be featured on March 7 at 5 p.m.
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Pirates president Frank Coonelly and owner Bob Nutting were in Bradenton on Tuesday to address players prior to Tuesday’s workout. You’ll find a story on the main site about what that message was specifically.
However, on an aside, both were asked afterward if there had been given any thought to extending the contracts of either general manager Neal Huntington or manager John Russell. The two are each in the final years of their contracts. Russell has a club option remaining (you’ll remember that he had the first of those two club options exercised about this time last year). Huntington’s contract is not believed to have an option attached.
Neither Coonelly, nor Nutting, would discuss the possibility of Russell or Huntington being extended, though Coonelly did reiterate a “vote of confidence” in both. Here are those comments:
Coonelly: “I have a strong vote of confidence for both Neal and JR, but we’re not going to discuss contractual situations. I don’t believe those are productive.”
Nutting: “I really believe that any organization is built on stability. They’re not built on speculation. They’re built on people who are performing effectively. I have a lot of faith in the leadership team that’s put in place – both on the field and in the front office. That’s something that’s not a great topic for Spring Training. What you have is a solid leadership group with full support of the organization moving forward. Again, I believe that stability is much more important that second-guessing or speculation.”
What these responses do not provide are answers to whether or not the results (specifically a won-loss record) in 2010 will dictate the job security of Russell or Huntington next season. It’s something to keep an eye on as the year progresses.
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Today marks the beginning of the international signing period as well, something that didn’t really get much press until the last few years. Now you’d get the impression that it’s covered as deeply as the First-Year Player Draft. For those who may have missed it last night, here are all the ins and outs of this signing period as it concerns the Pirates.
One point to reemphasize — the Pirates will again have a signing bonus budget of $2 million. However, if they make offers to players commanding bonuses in the high six-figure or seven-figure amounts (i.e. Miguel Sano), that won’t come out of that $2 million. It would come with the approval of owner Bob Nutting, who would make extra money available as necessary. As players sign — and yes, many of them have already come to handshake agreements — I’ll pass along that information.
UPDATE 12 pm: The Pirates have announced that they have signed three Taiwanese players: outfielder Ping-Hung Chi, 18; RHP Sheng-Cin Hong, 18; and 1B Chih–Wei Hsu, 17.
Also, don’t expect many other names to come out today. As GM Neal Huntington just emphasized to me again, July 2 is way over-hyped. It’s not like the amateur Draft here where there is the day. It likely won’t be for a few days, and in some cases weeks, before other signings are made official and announced.
UPDATE 12:10 pm: The Pirates have not made an offer to Miguel Sano, a source has confirmed. Sano is sure to demand a significant seven-figure bonus, though it’s unclear how high a bonus other teams will be willing to offer. The 16-year-old infielder from the Dominican Republic is considered by many to be the top talent available in this year’s international pool.
UPDATE 2 pm: The latest word is that the Pirates are currently “working through things” with Sano, a source says, which very well could mean an offer has been made to Sano. It’s unclear still, though, what the Pirates’ initial offer would be. Remember, too, that this is not a signing that is expected to happen on Thursday, regardless of what teams are involved.
What became a 10-game homestand because of a makeup game, finally concludes today with a mid-day contest against the Mets. Thursday’s game is a makeup from June 3, also the day that Nate McLouth was dealt away. Interestingly enough, since that McLouth trade, the Pirates are 12-14, not starkly different than the 24-28 they were before the deal. Take that for what it’s worth.
As for your news and notes for the morning…
- Triple-A Indianapolis will be represented by right-handed reliever Chris Bootcheck and catcher Eric Kratz in the Triple-A All-Star game on July 15.
- Oddly enough, this is the second of just nine home games the Pirates play this month, and they won’t be home again for 15 days.
- The Pirates will be looking to win their fifth straight game against the Mets at PNC Park. Pittsburgh has averaged 6.75 runs a game in those last four wins.
- There’s no one the Pirates would rather have on the mound here than lefty Paul Maholm, who is 3-1 with a 1.96 ERA at home this season. That’s the fourth-lowest home ERA among all National League starters. Going back even further, Maholm has a 2.98 home ERA since the start of 2007.
- The Mets enter Thursday’s game having won just one of their last six games.
- Nyjer Morgan will make his debut for the Nationals on Friday after not playing in Washington’s day game against the Marlins on Wednesday. Burnett, though, has already made his first appearance. He was charged with a blown save on Wednesday after allowing a game-tying home run in the seventh. It was the only hit Burnett allowed in 1 1/3 innings.
- Just a day off for Freddy Sanchez today. Manager John Russell had planned to sit Sanchez on Sunday until Ramon Vazquez came down with a stomach flu.
- The fact that Sanchez is out prompted Russell to bump Wilson up into the No. 2 hole. It’s the third time the season that Wilson will hit second.
- Andrew McCutchen (CF)
- Jack Wilson (SS)
- Delwyn Young (RF)
- Adam LaRoche (1B)
- Garrett Jones (LF)
- Andy LaRoche (3B)
- Robinzon Diaz (C)
- Ramon Vazquez (2B)
- Paul Maholm (LHP)
- Luis Castillo (2B)
- Alex Cora (SS)
- David Wright (3B)
- Gary Sheffield (RF)
- Fernando Tatis (LF)
- Ryan Church (CF)
- Nick Evans (1B)
- Omir Santos (C)
- Tim Redding (RHP)
OK, we’re back to video again. I have a few clips to share after Thursday’s grand opening of the Pirates’ new Latin American facility. The first is a tour through the complex. The final three are all snippets of interviews with members of the Pirates’ brass.
- Video 1: Touring the facility
So, I tried to get fancy with this new camcorder of mine and make a little movie. I apologize ahead of time for the quality and periodic shakiness, but this little montage will give you a quick tour of the facility by bringing you through the different rooms and out onto the fields.
- Video 2: Talking to Rene Gayo
Gayo, the Pirates’ director of Latin American scouting, shares his thoughts about what this new facility will mean for the Pirates’ presence in Latin America.
- Video 3: Talking to Bob Nutting
Nutting, the Pirates’ owner who spearheaded the construction of the facility, is proud to share some of the specifics of the complex, as well as his views on how this facility will put the Pirates back on the Latin American map.
Coonelly, the team president, and Huntington, the Pirates’ general manager, speak on a variety of topics related to this facility and Latin American development. Among the issues discussed are scouting, continuity between this facility and others in the organization’s Minor League system and the necessity of this facility for the Pirates to build a winning ballclub.
Pirates owner Bob Nutting flew down with the organization’s corporate sponsors on Thursday and has spent the last two days in meetings with field/management staffs and watching games both at McKechnie Field and Pirate City (Minor League games).
Before Saturday’s game, Nutting took some time to talk with reporters about a variety of different topics. For those interested in the owner’s words, here are some of the topics we covered:
- Beginning at 7 am on Friday, Nutting met with farm director Kyle Stark and some of his staff to discuss the progress made at the Minor League levels in the past year.
“I think we’re just beginning to see the impact of some of the people that we brought in. Everything that you all are seeing over here at the Major League camp has really been the focus and emphasized over there [at Minor League camp] combined with the better talent level. The work that was done last year both with the impact of the draft and the impact of the trades that we had… it’s had an incredible impact in the development system.”
- Nutting had similar meetings with the Major League coaching staff on Saturday morning and spent some time listening to feedback from each of the members of John Russell’s staff.
“Again, it really started to show and demonstrate that energy that everyone has talked about. This year is different. This year is exciting, and they are excited this year.
“I hope you all as excited as I am. I think we are headed into the beginning of what’s going to be the championship organization we talked about for a year. I think they’ve begun to really execute. We did what we said we were going to do. And that was as important to the coaches as it is to me.”
- Nutting on his short-term expectations:
“There really is an expectation that we are going to have a team that performs on a higher level on the field this year. We talked a lot this morning about finding their responsibility in getting this Pirates team in 2009 focused on winning baseball games and at the same time, also keep the perspective of also building a long-term championship organization.
“Most important is to remember that this is just the beginning of what we’re going to do on a consistent basis. We’ve done what we said we were going to do. And we’re going to continue to do that. That’s a big piece of what the fans need to understand that it’s not a short-term direction. We have the perseverance to move forward in a disciplined way, and it is absolutely what is going to bring winning baseball back to Pittsburgh.”
- Nutting was asked a very appropriate follow-up question after his previous response, and that’s why fans should believe that things are improving when that’s the same mantra they’ve heard for much of the past 16 years.
“There are some fans who when we win on the field is when they’re going to believe it. When that occurs is when they are going to suspend disbelief. The important thing is that you know enough about baseball that when you see a [Jose] Tabata, when you see a [Pedro] Alvarez, when you see an [Andrew] McCutchen, when you see the depth that we have, you see some of the tough decisions that are being made this year as we’re sending down very good Major League players because we have alternative options.
“That’s the depth and the additional talent that we have a bit of this year. We are going to have more of it next year and more the year after. I think the real baseball fans are looking at that and will understand that the organization is moving in the right direction.
“We’re much better than where we were at this time last year, infinitely better than where we were two years ago at the same time.”
- The topic of the economy was brought up in our discussions, and Nutting seemed to be optimistic that the organization would be able to sustain financial stability through the economic downturn. Nutting reported that season ticket renewals are higher this year than last. He also said that though the Pirates lost a significant sponsor in Chevy this offseason, the belief is that the organization can avoid a blow by being able to make up that sponsorship money by having a number of smaller sponsors step up