September 16, 2013

Behind civic center dispute, two tenacious personalities

Pirates managing owner Brian Petrovek and civic center board chairman Neal Pratt say they like and respect each other, but their professional relationship has been contentious.

By Edward D. Murphy
Staff Writer

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Brian Petrovek

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Neal Pratt

His proudest moment, the one he calls his personal definition of success, came at the New England regional tournament, where the winning team goes on to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa. He watched his team rally around the pitcher, who had just walked in the winning run, costing the team a trip to Pennsylvania.

"We may not have had the most talented players, but in terms of playing together as a team, I don't think there was anybody better," he said.


It's not clear what will happen to either man after the court battle is eventually resolved. Both Pratt and Petrovek hinted they each may soon be ready to move on from the civic center and Pirates, respectively.

Pratt said his current term ends in December, weeks before the civic center is scheduled to reopen.

There would be a certain symmetry, he said, to stepping down when the job that confronted him when he first joined the board wraps up.

Pratt said he's devoted to making sure the civic center is used to its fullest and makes enough money to pay off the bond that voters passed.

"I was raised that if you commit to something, you commit to it 100 percent," he said.

Petrovek said his goal is to create a sustainable team that will turn a profit, which it is forecast to do in 2014-15 -- assuming the team is still playing in the civic center.

"I came here to get something done," he said.

Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at:


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