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PIRATE OWNERS TAKEN TO TASK BY LOCAL COLUMNIST
Published March 29, 1995
The Pirates ownership, which bought the team in 1985, has "gone from the men who saved baseball for Pittsburgh to the men who might ruin it," writes Bob Smizik in this morning's PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE. The team has recently begun to entertain offers from out-of-state buyers, and Smizik writes that the owners' "intentions, once seemingly so noble, look significantly darker today." He criticizes the group for taking on too much debt and for their slow sale of the team -- "no one is even certain they still want to sell," as they have become "excessively slow to come to agreement" with prospective buyer, Adelphia Communications Chair John Rigas. Smizik: "These men have outlived their usefulness with the Pirates. They should have gone quietly long ago" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 3/29). TICKETS, WHO NEEDS TICKETS? The Pirates have sold 27,000 tickets for Monday's opener against the Expos, close to 60% of capacity at Three Rivers Stadium. Because of the strike, the team has "all but eliminated most off-season advertising," and did not run TV and radio ads describing their reduced ticket policy -- half price for their first 20 games -- until ten days ago (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 3/29). Pittsburgh City Council President Jim Ferlo is calling on fans to boycott Pirates games as a protest to ownership's delay in selling to local buyer Rigas (AP, 3/29).