WATCH: Pat McAfee Says He 'Might Pursue' Buying Hometown Pirates
By Jason Hall
July 8, 2021
The former NFL All-Pro punter, current Friday Night SmackDown commentator and Plum, Pennsylvania native said he "might pursue" buying the hometown Pittsburgh Pirates during an interview with ESPN MLB insider Jeff Passan on The Pat McAfee Show Thursday (July 8) afternoon.
McAfee, who has been among the vocal critics of current owner Robert Nutting, said his initial goal was to eventually purchase an NFL franchise, but floated the idea of his entire Pat McAfee Show staff owning and operating the Pittsburgh baseball organization, which would include bringing several local favorites back into the fold.
"A show owning a team...now listen, I'm bringing [former Pirates All-Star catcher] Jason Kendall right back in. You need to be a manager. 'Of what?' Everything. We're bringing [former Pirates first baseman] Sean Casey in there as well. Hey, bring 'The Mayor' back in there." McAfee said.
McAfee said he would bring in a knowledgable front office staff, which would include Passan, and returning Barry Bonds, who had a notoriously messy departure from the Pirates during the 1993 offseason, back to the organization.
The Western, Pennsylvania native also mentioned some entertainment changes to PNC Park, excitedly promising, "Zambelli fireworks every night and wait until Bret Michaels is performing," leading to his show staff mimicking the Poison frontman and Butler native's rendition of the "Here We Go Steelers" chant.
While McAfee's proposal may be light-hearted, the rising media star has provided serious criticism of Nutting's ownership.
“The ownership stinks. The team has to stink,” McAfee said in response to the Pirates' historically bad defensive play against the Chicago Cubs earlier this year. This Nutting guy [freaking] has come in and just ruined it all when it comes to baseball. What was once a very prideful and proud baseball organization is now a laughing stock.”
“Sell the team, dude. Fans don’t deserve it. Pittsburgh doesn’t deserve it. Hey, the sport doesn’t deserve it.”
McAfee, who has received rave reviews since joining the SmackDown commentary team in April, retired from the NFL after eight NFL seasons -- which included two Pro Bowl appearances and being named Pro Football Focus '"punter of the decade for the 2010s" -- to launch Barstool Sports' "Heartland" division in Indianapolis, where he spent his entire pro career, in 2016.
McAfee departed from Barstool Sports in 2018 to launch Pat McAfee Inc., which includes several podcasts and streaming shows, including its flagship program, The Pat McAfee Show 2.0, which also airs live on Sirius XM and YouTube.
McAfee has also made numerous appearances broadcasting games for FOX Sports and ESPN, as well as working as a sideline reporter for the relaunched XFL -- then-ran by WWE chairman Vince McMahon -- in 2020.