As I'm watching this terrible Pens game on this snowed-in but beautiful Saturday afternoon (this game is truly terrible; for some reason, when the Pens go down, they go down ugly by taking really dumb penalties), I saw this post from Charlie over at BucsDugout on locking up star players.
I'm not going to go over the whole post, you should read it yourself, but it is something that most passive fans don't realize, throughout the Pirates 17-year drought, the problem has not been money, it's been the players.
I love it when Pittsburgh sports' fans who don't know their ass from their elbows when it comes to the Pirates use the excuse of, "Well, the Pirates just trade their good players before they become expensive." What good players? As I've said before, and the BD post points out, the only players we have traded in recent years who retained their effectiveness or improved after leaving would be Aramis Ramirez and Jason Bay, while the jury is still out on the guys we traded this past year; although I'm not optimistic because most of them are old/injury-prone (in the past 17 years, you could put Jason Schmidt, Esteban Loaiza, Bronson Arroyo -waived, and Jon Lieber onto that list as well).
The Pirates problem has been (and will be, until proven otherwise) their inability to produce their own talent. Even the guys on recent rosters who can be called decent/good came from trades rather than system development; I'd say Duke, Maholm, Doumit and McClouth would be the exceptions.
The Pirates need to draft and develop their own talent (and by talent, I mean good players, not Ronny Paulino) before we can worry about locking them up. And even then, it's very important that they lock up the right players.
And here is another good reaction to the PPG's "Open Letter" from Tim at BUCCOFans. This is by far, the best reaction.
If you're bored, Deadspin has a list of some good Super Bowl related reading, including Dr. Hunter S. Thompson's take on sports writers (spot on). Deadspin has been doing this of late, and it's been quite the breath of fresh air. Here's the previous one (including a great clip about people from Georgia).