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Thanks for nothing

May 28, 2009 - John Mehno

Pirates fans have reason to have a beef with the latest Supreme Court nominee.

Judge Sonia Sotomayor made the ruling in 1995 that ended the owners' efforts to open the season with replacement players. Her ruling essentially restored the same system that baseball had. It was a pivotal moment in the Pirates' struggle to compete.

The previous ownership had been privately assured by Bud Selig that the 1994 work stoppage would result in a salary cap. The owners were so committed to the fight that they were willing to cancel the World Series. They did. Then they opened 1995 spring training camps with replacement players.

They were days away from bringing those replacement teams north when Judge Sotomayor handed down her ruling. That ended replacement baseball and sent the Pirates back to square one.

The old ownership stripped the budget to bare bones and stepped up efforts to sell the franchise. That's when the under-capitalized Kevin McClatchy got involved. You know how things went after that.

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