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From "The bigger fish to fry" files...

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by btm, May 17, 2011.

  1. btm

    btm Member


    'Pirates Lose' Beer Special Brings Heat From Team Employees

    KENNEDY TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- Two employees of the Pittsburgh Pirates called for a boycott of a Kennedy Township bar that offered to cut the price of beer every time the Pirates lost.

    "I've never heard of anything so ridiculous," said Estelle Aversa, who owns the Stroll Inn.

    A sign in front of the bar on Fairhaven Road said, "If the Pirates lose, you win." The promotion called for a discount of a nickel off a pitcher of beer after every loss by the Pirates, who haven't had a winning season since 1992.

    An email sent on May 12 by Pirates account executive Angela Criscella said, "An occasional joke and jab is expected here and there, but to create business by ripping on the home team is ridiculous and in my opinion distasteful." She urged bar patrons to "take your business away from the Stroll Inn and to other local restaurants instead."

    "I was sick to my stomach that the Pirate organization would condone that kind of behavior," said Aversa. She told Team 4 investigative reporter Paul Van Osdol that she removed the sign after learning of the boycott campaign.

    "I've always been a supporter of sports teams, and to have my reputation put out there in a chain email is hurtful," Aversa said.

    After Aversa contacted the Pirates and expressed concern about the boycott campaign, Criscella sent a follow-up email saying that she misunderstood the intent of the promotional campaign.

    "It was conveyed to us that it was supposed to be more of a 'Don't feel bad the Pirates lost, have a discounted drink,' but obviously was not the message that many people were getting from that," Criscella said.

    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."

    Aversa said that was never her intent.

    "It was a consolation -- like, hey, you may be sad about the Pirates losing, but we're going to give you a discount," she said.

    "They were just having fun, trying to bring in more people, actually, to come and watch the games," bar customer James Fagan said.

    Another customer, Nate Hoffmeister, said he can't understand why Pirates employees would attack a neighborhood tavern.

    "They got enough problems of their own right now," he said.

    Going into Monday night's game against Washington, the Pirates had a record of 18-22 and were in fourth place in the standings of the National League's Central Division.

    UPDATE: Early Monday evening, Aversa told Team 4 that Pirates President Frank Coonelly called her and said he supports his employees' actions.

    Because of the uproar, the bar dropped its plans for the beer promotion.

    "Win or lose, you love your home team, and I didn't want to come out looking like this bad person who disrespected the team," Aversa said.

    On Tuesday, the Pirates told Team 4 that Coonelly was not available for an interview.

    The local Yuengling distributor has not returned a phone call for comment. A spokesman for Yuengling said the company had nothing to do with the promotion at the bar.

    Pirates spokesman Brian Warecki's email to Team 4:

    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.
  2. Armchair_QB

    Armchair_QB Well-Known Member

    Pittsburgh's PR guy just shot a hobo.
  3. TheSportsPredictor

    TheSportsPredictor Well-Known Member

    Should sell them for $5 off when the Pirates win. Would make more money that way.
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