When Ogden Newspapers, the newspaper conglomerate owned by the Nutting family that also owns the Pirates, re-started The Pirates Report last year after the newsletter had spent a few years in oblivion, it looked like they were really doing a huge service for Pirate fans. They hired John Perrotto to cover the team for all of the Ogden Newspapers after his beat was seriously trimmed back by the Beavery County Times and made PiratesReport.com the home for all of his coverage, plus his own blog. Essentially, the Nuttings and by extension Pirates Report seemed to be giving one of the better beat guys an outlet to keep covering the team, and that's a good thing for the fans.
Things got weird at the end of last season, though, when Perrotto's picture and blog archives disappeared from PiratesReport.com overnight. Thanks to the wonders of the 21st Century, Perrotto quickly took to his Twitter account to let everyone know he'd been fired and though at the time neither he nor anyone really knew exactly why this happened. He got a new full-time gig as Baseball Prospectus's Editor-In-Chief and Ogden Newspapers hired a non-local guy, Paul Ladewski (who covered baseball in Chicago for a long time and has a Hall of Fame vote) to take over his beat and PiratesReport.com, and that seemed like the end of it.
About a week ago, though, Perrotto started tweeting things about a coming "throwdown" in the Pirates pressbox, saying that the new Pirates Report writers were essentially spies for ownership in the press box. These are obviously some serious, serious allegations and given Perrotto's history with the company, it was impossible to digest them without a nice-sized grain of salt.
Then, Ladewski wrote a blog entry yesterday comparing the Penguins unfavorably to the Pirates, arguing that they hadn't accomplished much, comparing Marc-Andre Fleury to Brian Bullington, and perhaps worst of all, arguing that the Penguins failure to win a Stanley Cup every year would make Mario Lemieux a bad owner of the Pirates. The blog post has since been removed, but PSAMP was all over it and has the whole thing reprinted on his blog.
Look, I don't know anything about Paul Ladewski beyond his blank 2007 Hall of Fame ballot that stirred up a bunch of controversy for all the wrong reasons (rabble rabble steroids rabble rabble; you get the picture). I don't know anything about the dynamics of the PNC Park press box, I don't know how much, if any, editorial control Ogden Newspapers has over the Pirates Report (I don't think they ever edited anything Perrotto wrote). But this is, at best, trolling for page views by inciting the huge Penguin fan base and at worst, a piss-poor piece of Voice of Fate style propaganda cluelessly aimed at undermining the group of people who've made an offer to buy the Pirates from it's current ownership.
Even if Ladewski came up with that post on his own with no prompting from ownership, it makes me sick to my stomach. I don't assume that Bob Nutting personally hires every staffer at every Ogden Newspaper around the country, but he must take a personal interest in the guy on the baseball beat given that he owns the baseball team. This is the guy he's hired to publicly write about the team he owns? This is who he fired Perrotto, a guy who's covered the team for decades and is respected as one of the best beat writers in the business, for? I wish he had more respect for the fans than that. And honestly, that's the best case scenario here.