Dan PearsonJD’s MONDAY MORNING MUSINGS:   Fall Football practice begins today for our county high schools and count St. Cloud veteran head coach Bryan Smart among those that are excited about a return to normalcy.

“Because of Covid, last year was the strangest circumstances I believe any coach has had to deal with,” Smart said.  “I know this pandemic may not be totally over, but it will be nice to try to get back to a somewhat normal schedule.”

I was thinking, wouldn’t it be cool if health clubs and gyms had memberships where your fee goes down based on how often you go? The Pittsburgh Pirates trading Adam Frazier and $1.4 million last week to the Padres for Tucupita Marcano, outfielder Jack Suwinski, and right-hander Michell Miliano is just the latest example of how certain teams care more about making huge profits that trying to put a winner on the field.

This once-proud franchise is now nothing more than a minor league development system for real Major League teams.  Frazier, just 29 and a first-time All-Star, was leading the National League in hits at the time of his departure and was under contract for another season at a very modest $4 million a year.  In return, the Pirates received a couple of unproven minor league prospects and a pitcher with a career ERA of 6.21 in the major leagues.  As a guy who grew up watching Pirate teams with stars like Clemente, Stargell, Madlock, Parker, Bonds and Bonilla it has been more than heartbreaking to watch this franchise flounder for most of the last three decades — all while operating under the guise of “Rebuilding” which is always followed with “We need to trade them now because we can’t afford to resign them” Here’s a thought, why not try?  Over the last 10 years, the Pirates have parted ways via trade or free agency with talented players like Gerrit Cole, Tyler Glasnow, Josh Bell, Josh Harrison, Charlie Morton, Mark Melancon, Andrew McCuthcheon, Austin Meadows, Starling Marte, Shane Baez and others.  I would take my chances with those players in my lineup any day, compared to the alleged “major league roster” they are putting on the field now.  

The truth of the matter is that teams like Kansas City, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Oakland, Minnesota and Tampa Bay have more than proven that small-market teams can put competitive teams on the field without breaking the bank.  National TV deals pay major league baseball more than $3 billion a year – which equals more than $100 million per team — and that doesn’t include lucrative local media rights, and in-park revenue (ticket sales, concessions, parking).

With a major league payroll of $36 million and a franchise value of more $1 billion, the Pirates could easily afford to sign and keep their young talent, rather than crying “we’re nothing but a poor small market” as they continue to pile 100-loss seasons while the owner pockets millions and the general manager keeps other major league rosters stocked with stars. Well I guess I should be pleased that PNC Park in Pittsburgh is still the most awesome and beautiful “minor league” park in baseball…True story, I am in Home Depot the other day and I stopped to look at some wood flooring.  A woman was kneeling on the floor next to me, intently staring at two samples.  Without looking up she blurts out, which one do you like best honey? While I assume she thought I was her husband who had wondered away I could not resist answering “I don’t know, what do you think?” I guess she didn’t recognize the voice and without looking up, she says “You are such a jerk, why can’t you ever give me a straight answer?  Let’s take them home and look at them in the bedroom.” I replied “Okay but would your husband be okay with that?”  She quickly looked up and the expression of horror on her face was priceless.

Why is anyone shocked the USA Olympic Basketball team lost to France last week and may struggle to even medal in the Olympics?  Two thoughts.  First NBA players making 20, 30 or 40 milllion dollars a season simply no longer care about a glorified exhibition.  Players who have already won Olympic gold are less inclined to want to do it again, especially coming off an NBA season that dragged into July with a pandemic still looming.  But a bigger reason exists.  Basketball is now a global game.  NBA rosters are stocked with players with non-American pedigrees.  League MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo is from Greece, the league’s best defender– Rudy Gobert — is from France and the NBA’s most exciting young player — Luka Donic — is from Slovenia.  The days of the United States winning every game by 40 is over…

Random thought, how come theme parks can get a crystal clear picture of you on a roller coaster going 70 mph, but photos of a guy standing at a counter robbing a bank are always blurred?…Y’all Have A Great Week.

By J. Daniel Pearson
For Positively Osceola

J. Daniel Pearson, a long-time resident of Osceola County, has joined Positively Osceola as a freelance contributor. His JD’s Monday Morning Musings column will be a regular feature and he will be covering events for us throughout the year. Dan is a former Public Relations Specialist for Florida State University, Boardwalk and Baseball, the Florida Sports Hall of Fame, the Orlando Predators and other professional sports teams and has been a freelance reporter to many newspapers in the state.