In which I defend the Pirates organization …

… and a succubus hits Satan in the face with a snowball.

The Stroll In bar in Kennedy Township that was discounting their beer each time the Pirates lost became the subject of a boycott by two Pirates employees and their friends and/or families.

The sign said, “When the Pirates lose, you win,” and that didn’t sit right with a Pirate employee Angela Criscella who made the poor decision along with another employee to use her Pirates.com email addy to write an email to suggest a boycott of the place because it wasn’t supporting the home team. Reportedly they sent it to “family and friends.”

The Pirates issued a statement saying they weren’t aware of the employee boycott, but that they couldn’t fault their employees for choosing to not patronize an establishment that they viewed was rooting against the team.

The bar owner says she didn’t mean it as rooting against the team, but more as a consolation prize.

The bar owner contacted the Pirates after hearing about the boycott and asked them to explain their stance on the issue.

Pirates spokesman Brian Warecki said the team was unaware the employees were urging a boycott, but he said they are “free to share with their friends their feelings about an establishment that would root against its home team.”

Frank Coonelly himself called the bar owner and, according to Deadspin, “Of course, the Pirates being the secretly rich pricks that they are, team president Frank Coonelly called the bar’s owner to say he wasn’t calling off the boycott.”

So you’ve got Deadspin frothing at the mouth and that makes fans who only read Deadspin’s take on this frothing at the mouth.  There’s lots of blog posts and twitter posts out there basically all, “FRANK COONELLY ORGANIZED A BOYCOTT!” You’ve got the bar owner initially believing the Pirates are behind the boycott, rather than it just being two employees who took it upon themselves.

The actual statement from the Pirates:

The bar owner Estelle Aversa asked through our customer service email that someone contact her to explain our position on the issue. As the President of the club, Frank wanted to reach out directly to her to make clear to her that the Pirates were in no way, shape or form behind any boycott of her establishment. He explained that your media inquiry was the first the organization heard of the promotional idea or that two of our employees sent personal emails to their friends and family on the topic. While the use of a company email account was regrettable in this case, he also discussed the fact that our employees, like everyone else, are free to decide the establishments to which they wish to give their business and free to share those feelings with their personal contacts.

Again, the most important thing to make clear is that Pirates organization was in no way, shape or form actively behind or supporting the email push to boycott the establishment.

Yuengling is a valued partner with the Pirates and we are well aware that they were not behind the idea of the promotion that would be perceived by some as rooting against the home town team.  I think it is important to also point out that the employees involved were reminded of our policy that the use of company email for personal matters such as this is against company policy. That is in place for situations like this when the actions of an employee can be misrepresented as representing the Pirates organization as whole.

My opinion:

1. I agree the promotion was harmless and all in good fun; I can also see how sensitive Pirates employees could view it as rooting for the team to lose.

2. Those screaming about it being “executives,” please take a look at the Pirates front office staff listing and without using your search function, find Angela on the list. Yeah, she’s a group sales account executive.  One of ten. One of thirty in the entire organization with that title. She’s not an executive meaning CAPITAL E executive. She’s an account executive. Not even a senior one at that.

3. It wasn’t the brightest thing to do and yeah, definitely a bit oversensitive, but this being America the two Pirates’ employees had a right to ask their family and friends to boycott the place, but they never should have done it using their Pirates email addresses because that gets the Pirates organization involved.

The same way that Rashard tweeting very questionable opinions from a verified account ended up getting the Steelers involved. Just because you have the RIGHT to say something, doesn’t mean you SHOULD. I have knowledge of this; I was fired for blogging, remember? I had a right to do it; I lived with the repercussions. I still am living with them, but that’s another blog post.

4. What would Deadspin and those of you who are freaking out at the Pirates like Frank Coonelly to do? Call the owner and say, “I apologize. I will tell my employees and their friends and families that they are not permitted to NOT eat at your establishment?” He can’t do that. All he can say is, “This isn’t coming from the Pirates organization. This is employees doing what they have the right to do and there’s not a whole lot I can do about it except fire them and then get the free speech people all over my ass and I’ll just have to hire them back like I did that pierogie dude who insulted us on his private facebook page. The most I can do is reprimand them for using their professional email account to conduct private matters.”

5. All fault for this becoming news lies with the two employees who apparently are very sensitive to the Pirates being the butt of jokes, not the Pirates organization.

Now, I’m very curious to hear your thoughts because I can’t seem to find anyone who has taken my view on this. I’m asking you to show me the error of my thinking here, because I feel like I’m missing something. Like maybe I should instead be writing a frothing-at-the-mouth rant to Frank Coonelly all “BALLS ON A STICK.”

Discuss.

Either way, [high-five] to the Stroll Inn for all this free publicity!





81 Comments


  1. toni
    May 18, 2011 3:47 pm

    My viewpoint is this:

    I don’t really give a damn about Coonelly or 2 minor employees talking to their friends…if you want to be offended at what you percieve as a diss at the Pirates, remember the fans who YOU HAVE DISSED FOR 19 YEARS!!!! There has been NO season .500 ball SINCE 1992!!!!! Notice I didn’t say World Series, notice I didn’t say play-offs…I said .500 season!!!!!

    Meanwhile we’ve p-aid for overpriced food, had smoking priviledges revoked so that we skulk behind stairwells like hobos and watch the majority of the decent players traded away.

    You’re hypersensative and boycotting???!!!! Boycotting???!!! We all deserve a beer, ESPECIALLY a discounted one for having to watch the trash on the field.



  2. PittCheMBA
    May 18, 2011 4:50 pm

    If Frank Coonelly would spend money for decent players and have a winning team, the Stroll Inn would not have to have a promotion like this. The Pirates are a joke, 18 or 19 years of losing, I lost count.



  3. gunnlino
    May 18, 2011 5:14 pm

    @ #18…Jim,
    You could not be more exactly right .

    The Pirates blew it big .



  4. unsatisfied
    May 18, 2011 5:28 pm

    @bucdaddy — of course, I pay attention. more than you or anyone else on earth or at least this blog would care to know.

    perhaps utilizing those profits EFFECTIVELY would have been a better way for me to phrase it. drafts and free agency included.

    btw, the succos 6-game losing streak must mean that everyone’s strollin’ in……



  5. Sam's Dog
    May 18, 2011 6:52 pm

    I agree with the sentiment that the Pirates could have had a little fun with this and it could have been a win-win. After an eternity of sub .500 baseball, can’t we poke a little fun without everyone getting their panties in a bunch? @ Bucdaddy- if we can get Patrick’s in Moon to offer a discount on pitchers we would be on to something. They have a great selection of micros for a small local joint.By the way, uptight ninnies and lying liars would both be great band names.



  6. YinzerInExile
    May 18, 2011 7:07 pm

    I’m with Ginny.

    This is the most ridiculous conflation of Pirates angst/anger and news in the history of ever. So because some people think–despite MLB’s repeated assertions to the contrary–that the Pirates are thieving ne’erdowells with no greater aspiration than finding that fulcrum of “World’s Shittiest Baseball Team” and “World’s Most Profitable Baseball Club”, that must *also* mean that they twirl their mustaches while directly screwing over The People Who Make This Town Great.

    Two employees used their work emails for something that, in hindsight (I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and not assume that they intentionally used the accounts to make the boycott seem official) they probably shouldn’t have. Because Frank Coonelly did not immediately rush over to the pub with great mail pouches of cash pilfered daily at the ballpark, he–and by extension the entire club–have just proved everyone’s point. That point being that they’re rich as Roosevelt and we aren’t and that sucks.

    Of course, *had* he rushed over with the dinero, he would have been derided for earning so much while fielding such a crappy team.

    Ridiculous.

    The Pirates greatest PR mistake was the entire McClatchy Era. Nothing they do at this point will ever be taken in anything but a (sometimes highly manufactured) negative light, and I think it safe to say that every move they make will cause them suffering, until dozens more pennants are hung at PNC. Because one will be a fluke, two won’t have been “that hard”, anyone could do 3 (just look at the Red Sox!), etc.

    It’s sort of a shame that people can’t just chill out and enjoy the fact that we have a major league club that has been focused on some modicum of improvement over the past couple years.



  7. JP
    May 18, 2011 9:42 pm

    Have you seen the latest from the Yuengling camp? They are saying that their sales rep. was behind this. They’re using him as a fall out boy, as there are other bars in the area that were using the same promotion. Stroll Inn had it on sign, and was identified, though.

    As for Frank. The moment he condoned what his employees did, and refused to condemn the boycott, he took ownership of it. They sent it as representatives of the Pirates organization, and the Pirates organization sided with them, instead of distancing themselves from their comments.

    Who cares if the promo was to diss the Pirates? What if this were a Red Sox bar? Would it be a problem? The entire point of a promo is to generate business. They distorted this without any communication with the owner. They had no right getting involved in telling a bar owner how to run her business.

    Fuck the Bucs. Go Stroll Inn!



  8. JP
    May 18, 2011 9:47 pm

    By the way, the bar loves the Pirates, along with Steelres and Pens. They have photos, jerseys, pictures, decals, etc. all over. They broadcast every game. This promotion was more of a “Cry in your beer” kind of promo. NEVER intended to be anti-Pirates.



  9. balfdog
    May 18, 2011 10:59 pm

    i found it funny and great about the promotion. i also thing she should an email to her friends for them to boycott the pirates. let the battle begin!



  10. bucdaddy
    May 18, 2011 11:43 pm

    unsatisfied,

    Effectively like how?

    Monty,

    It should.

    Also, you don’t have to drink hoity-toity beer. Just don’t drink the Big Three. Drink East End (I do). Drink Penn (I do). Drink Yuengling (I do). Drink for heaven’s sakes Iron City, still made in Pa. at least (I … hey, let’s not get carried away).

    Point being, plenty of good Pa. beers in all styles. Why would anybody want to send your beer jobs to St. Louis? Don’t piss and moan about the economy if you’re not helping the brewer down the street.



  11. MaddMax
    May 19, 2011 1:56 am

    1) The Pirates are NOT our “hometown team,” they are simply the cash cow of the WHEELING, WV thieves, the Nutting family!

    2) FUCK THEM!



  12. AngryMongo
    May 19, 2011 7:37 am

    Why can’t I drink the big three? Why can’t I drink whatever beer I want to? It’s my prerogative to drink whatever the hell I want while I kill pigeons, kick puppies, and get stabby with jagoffs.

    Whatever it is that you’re drinking… I don’t want it.

    And last I checked, Yeungling has a brewery in Tampa, too.

    I don’t drink beer BTW



  13. mmppgh
    May 19, 2011 8:07 am

    I think the Pirates took a responsible, reasonable corporate approach to this situation.

    It was good of the president to call the bar owner personally and explain. It could have been left to the PR person or customer service to pass on the message. It’s also good of them not to fire the employees for using their work account for personal purposes. (And yes the FB parrot incident may have influenced that, but seems they have the capacity to learn from their previous mistake.)

    However, given the second half of the statement this gesture probably had less to do about the bar owner/bad PR and more about the Yuengling relationship. Which, while that feels kind of icky, is fair and truthfully good business practice. You don’t bite the hand that feeds you.



  14. empirechick
    May 19, 2011 10:17 am

    @bucdaddy,

    Yuengling = YUMMMMM. I knew I liked you.

    Have you ventured to Slippery Rock for some North Country Brewing? Highly recommended.

    I’ll be up north this weekend, which means stops at Erie Brewing and Brewerie (and possibly a winery or two) – hooray for local alcohol!



  15. bucdaddy
    May 19, 2011 10:18 am

    AngryMongo,

    Sounds like you could use a beer.

    Pick one:

    http://www.postgazette.com/pg/11139/1147408-389.stm



  16. bucdaddy
    May 19, 2011 10:23 am

    empirechick,

    I haven’t been to NCBC for some time, which is unfortunate, because it’s a tres cool place. I just have so many options now that don’t involve a two-hour drive.

    Yuengling is my go-to “cheap” beer, which is not at all to say there’s anything wrong with it. Lager works in all seasons and with most any food. It’s my default if I’m in a bar that doesn’t have anything better, and now even in West by-God almost every bar has it.

    Erie BC stuff is fine. Couple weeks ago I stumbled across Railbenders for $2 a bottle at a bar near Bridgeville called Bee’z and I was happy happy.

    Here’s to you and Craft Beer Week.



  17. Dan (Not Onorato)
    May 19, 2011 10:48 am

    If the Pirates are up in arms about this then they better start calling up people like Pompeani from KDKA and Ron Cook from theFan and any other radio/tv personality because they have no problem bashing the Pirates on a daily basis.

    Both sides just need to chill the eff out…and have a beer…or two

    I suggest a beer summit….



  18. spoon
    May 19, 2011 11:18 am

    Bocktown has Erie Brewing Bourbon Barrel Aged Ol Red Cease and Desist on tap now. I served it at Big Tap In a couple weeks ago from the barrel and it was… well… lets just say you’re gonna have a beergasm.

    You know what’s ironic of all of this, as bad as the Pirates suck, PNC Park has the best beer selection in Pittsburgh (http://bit.ly/hQC0F1). Cleveland Indians fans are very bitter about this.

    @Sam’s Dog I LOVE Patrick’s in Moon! Everytime i go in i’m amazed at what he has on draft.

    Happy American Craft Beer Week!



  19. The Ginger
    May 19, 2011 11:24 am

    @spoon YOU’RE NUMBER 68! JAGR JAGR JAGR. Sorry. I’m better.



  20. Butcher's Dog
    May 19, 2011 11:46 am

    @empirechick: NCBC, well, Rocks! Good call. Also Yuengling is my beer of choice for take-home while in Myrtle Beach. Couple of craft breweries in the area when dining out. Take-home beer here is, um, Canadian (Labatts). Hope bucdaddy doesn’t excoriate me too much for that.

    BTW, I think Yuengling is only sold in a few states, like maybe 9 or 10. If you’re travelling and find it, better drink it. As usual, just sayin’.



  21. spoon
    May 19, 2011 11:48 am

    @The Ginger i’m stealing your lucky charms



  22. lovesthenorthside
    May 19, 2011 11:51 am

    genius marketing ploy by stroll inn. boneheaded response by pirates. out-of-control posturing by media.

    bad idea to use company email (says i, using company email) to say anything controversial. bad idea to write anything and press the send button while angry. bad idea for a consistently losing local baseball team to also lose its sense of humor consistently.

    ironically, or not, this promotion kind of mirrors an upcoming pirate promo: money off your ticket for every run the pirates score. that’s a pretty safe bet. they should have shown long-suffering fans some love by taking it off for every run scored by bucco opponents.

    note to nutting: if you can’t use your money to improve the team, please use it to hire a top-notch public relations person.



  23. AngryMongo
    May 19, 2011 12:16 pm

    LOL. Actually, I’m in a beer swap at work… more for my F-I-L than me, but I’ll try them.

    It had to be something we’d never tried and NA brewed.

    I brought Dogfish Head 60 min IPA.



  24. unsatisfied
    May 19, 2011 12:24 pm

    @bucdaddy — better evaluation of talent by better evaluators of talent would be a start. you know, like the steelers and penguins do.



  25. bucdaddy
    May 19, 2011 1:01 pm

    Not-so-angry-Mongo,

    Mmmm, the 60. Enjoy! Available at PNC Park, BTW. (spoon is right about the beer selection. I think The Church even has a tap in somewheres … maybe East End too someday).

    B-Dog,

    I think you’re right about that. F’r instance, I don’t think Ohioans can get Yuengling without corssing state lines.

    unsatisfied,

    Agree that their talent evaluation skills are up for debate, they’ve thrown a lot of stuff at the wall and much of it hasn’t worked out, which isn’t entirely their fault. Andy LaRoche was a highly touted prospect by most everybody who didn’t live up to the hype, for instance. But it’s starting to look (emphasis, “starting”) like they stole Charlie Morton, and I’m thinking they heisted Tabata from the Yankees, and flat-out swiped a couple promising guys from the Dodgers, and how IS Jason Bay hitting these days?

    Oh dear, we DO have that Jose Bautista-in-the-room thing, don’t we? Could that be mainly what you’re referring to? I’d address that but I’ve just come off a week of arguing about it at http://www.bucsdugout.com and I’m moving on. Sorry. You’re welcome to read the debate over there.



  26. mfj
    May 19, 2011 1:15 pm

    bucdaddy: You’re right. Dynasty. Total dynasty. Starting next year.
    (repeat 22 times).



  27. Ex-Pat Pittsburgh Girl
    May 19, 2011 2:30 pm

    @bucdaddy: I heart you! Church does have a tap at PNC — at the bar in the HOF Club.



  28. spoon
    May 19, 2011 2:59 pm

    @bucdaddy look at the link I posted. that shows were the beers are located :)

    Don’t ask the Pirates about their beer though because they apparently don’t reply emails or you get put on hold. I even asked about the Beer Passport to get a list of brewers already signed on and got nothing.



  29. Sam's Dog
    May 19, 2011 8:36 pm

    How appropriate to hijack a discussion about a feud between a bar and the Pirates into a beer summit during American Craft Beer Week! Who says this ain’t a great country anymore? ” Pottsville Punch” is great stuff, I have a friend who homebrews some excellent beer and his go to manufactured product is usually Yuengling. @ Spoon, don’t know how to work the logistics, but I’d be happy to buy you a beer at Patrick’s sometime.



  30. bucdaddy
    May 20, 2011 1:10 am

    spoon, Thanks for the link. I usually sit third base side and don’t wander past home plate, so I didn’t know about what’s at Section 119. Yee-haw.

    Also didn’t know about the $2.50 deal at the HOF club. That’s news I can put to use.

    Maybe we’ll meet sometime at Las Velas II.



  31. Ya Jagoff
    May 21, 2011 1:05 pm

    My point is, the Pirates PR/Marketing concepts STINK!! Let’s say the story goes around and Frank picks up the phone, calls the Stroll Inn and says, “I am REALY disappointed to hear about your promotion. In the meantime, I am sure the fans are disappointed in us. How about if I come to the Stroll Inn and have a few beers with the fans and talk baseball while we watch the next game on TV?” Think of it.. = to Pens giving out Pizza to students, = to the class of the steelers, etc, etc. But the Pirates admin just don’t get the idea of building a brand with the customers (off the field)