Thursday, September 27, 2012

Are The Pittsburgh Pirates Allergic To Winning?

After today’s loss to the New York Mets, there is absolutely no margin for error if the Pittsburgh Pirates hope to end their 19-year losing streak. If the Pirates truly want to crush their fans hearts in style, they should win four games then lose the last two and finish just below the mark. That seems to be how they do things around here.

Look at the fact they got to 16 games over .500 and most experts, including myself, thought there was no way in hell even the Pirates could blow such a lead. Boy was I wrong. Hey if you’re going to suck, you might as well do it in style.

Do you think I’m being too negative? What about the message being sent by the organization this week? I think the fans and the players, and the rest of major League Baseball have gotten that message loud and clear. Winning is an allergy around here.

Before you say I’m crazy in suggesting this team is allergic to winning, take a look back at 2010. Matt Walbeck was the manager of the Altoona Curve, the Pirates AA affiliate, and led the team to the Eastern League Title. He was fired shortly thereafter when Assistant GM Kyle Stark made some BS comment about how Walbeck didn’t fit in with the organization.

That’s right; a manager had success in the organization and was promptly canned. Here we are two years later and after back to back collapses, no one is getting fired?

Say whaaaaaaaat?

I’m trying to wrap my brain around that, I really am. Of course it probably comes down to money. In spite of the constant reminders this organization would spend money when the time was right, we got to this year’s trade deadline, and the team went cheap. They made trades for reclamation projects with years of control rather than one or two impact bats that may have helped jumpstart a second half offense that, at its most generous description, is anemic.

It’s entirely possible Bob Nutting doesn’t want to spend the money to pay off one GM contract and hire another guy. That could possibly lead to replacing and paying for two managers as well.

Hindsight might tell us maybe Huntington felt this team wasn’t really good enough, but that’s just a copout excuse. The message was sent to players like Andrew McCutchen that this team will not do everything possible to win. Same as it ever was, same as it ever was.

What free agent with any modicum of talent would consider coming here? We saw all of these players at the deadline reject the notion of playing here. I thought perhaps the fun start to this season would change that perception. The players were having fun flashing Zoltan signs. The Fans were rallying around this team. Once again their hopes were dashed.

It’s pretty sad when the fans are willing to go all-in and management isn’t. The city of Pittsburgh deserves better than an ownership group willing to accept this culture.