Pirate Fans Don't Read This

At Rum Bunter, we aim to look for happy, funny stories to ease the pain and suffering on our readership.  Sure the Pirates suck right now, but the future always looks bright in Pittsburgh.  

As we have become used to saying as Pirate fans, just let out a big sigh and repeat after me, “there is always next season.” 

But do you really believe it? 

Most Pirate fans agree, 2010 doesn’t look real special.  Maybe we should change our anthem?  Repeat after me, SIGH…” there is always the season after next!” 

Surely you remember when the Pirates were looking for a GM.  It wasn’t too long ago.  Many names were mentioned including the one I am about to talk about.  You probably remember when the Mariners were looking for a GM too. 

The franchises have taken very different paths over the past few years.  But if you’re a Mariners fan, this post by Seattle’s best blog, SoDo Mojo is pure and utter joy.  The Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik has taken his team by storm since taking the job  on October 22, 2008. 

According to most of what one reads, the man who was instrumental in rebuilding the Brewers has done a tremendous rebuilding job in Seattle.  It is certainly a recurring theme in the countless emails from Mariners fans.  To them Jack Z is the second coming.

The Mariners weren’t exactly making big news at the Winter Meetings.  The same could be said for the Pirates.

Certainly, Geoff Baker looks like a complete genius after writing this article about how much work Jack Z had to do after the meetings concluded.  Hilarious.  Personally, we love Jack Z’s last line in that article as he was leaving the Winter Meetings….”Sometimes it takes a little longer than other times, so we’ll see where we end up at.”    (And of course four days later,  the Mariners are in the middle of the most discussed blockbuster deal of the season.)

Jack Z’s quote is so poetic when compared to a recent quote by the Pirates GM blaming the local paper for destroying trade value for a relief pitcher.  Neal Huntington promised he was going to do a better job with the spoken word.  Oh well, thankfully words don’t go in the win loss column. 

It sure does seem like Jack Z is more savvy with his tongue, especially if you dig into articles surrounding the days before the trade of Jack Wilson and Ian Snell.   Many Seattle fans still are pleased with the deal despite some of the results on the field thus far.  Do you think it will be the same after 2010?

But back to the Pirate GM as we conclude….so Neal Huntington is good at sticking his foot in his mouth.  So what.  We should relish in the fact that when he speaks, he is trying to cover for the pile of ownership madness behind the scenes. (Yeh, I know that is a weak cop out, he needs to grow up, but I actually enjoy the quotes, they are seriously funny in a downtrodden, dark way.)   

Has Neal Huntington done everything he can possibly do with his hands tied?  Could anyone have done a better job at ensuring the Pirates have no significant long term commitments to players?

Neal Huntington has become the Tiger Woods of Pittsburgh.  Mud is slung daily at Huntington.  Tiger has hired Lavely & Singer, a powerful law firm known for stomping out potentially libelous material on behalf of celebrity clients, so soon his misdeeds will be in the rearview of the American public.  Tiger can escape literally or he can simply walk back on the short grass and WIN. 

Huntington doesn’t have that option.  He must play a waiting game.  And if he’s really really lucky, no injuries occur, the area is blessed with a strong winter, and ten or twenty other things go perfectly, the Pirates could win a playoff game.  Most Pirate fans would prefer the team be sold as an easier route.

Unfortunately, that’s not an option for Huntington.  No matter how much he dreads it, he faces the fire daily with no bailouts, no ability to simply win, or any quick fixes with cash infusions.  He must work at it.

Welcome to the life of the average Pittsburgher Neal.  Nice to have you on board.

We have sportswriters getting paid to say they don’t care about the Pirates.  Message boards have overflowed AFTER the Pirates non-tendered Capps.  Editorial boards write letters.  The commissioner of baseball weighs in on the matters at hand.  Successful sports agents, ahh hell, everyone is throwing stones.

What is amazing is Huntington keeps right on going.  He certainly has balls and for that, I admire the man. 

He isn’t running for President of the United States, he is tasked with building a budget first, playoff winning, professional baseball team.  It’s a mission that nobody has done successfully in MLB.   

Moves like the one the Pirates made with Matt Capps aren’t going to help his cause, that is for certain.  But the man is doing something that has proven to be impossible in MLB.  Count me on his side.

The job is much harder in a town like Pittsburgh in 2009.  Some argue the Pirates aren’t relevant, but Pittsburgh supports winners more than any other city. (Remember a few months ago, the number of walk up tickets sold when Andrew McCutchen made his debut in a Pirates uniform?)   Although long ago, and under very different ownership, and economic times the Pirates have several championship trophies of their own. 

Fans would flock to PNC at any resemblance of a winning streak in 2010.  There is no question about that fact.  Did you see the Pitt stands at the end of the season?

Do we believe Neal Huntington is doing a good job?  Seriously, do you?

Does it boil down to this when comparing the two very different franchises known as the Pirates and Mariners?  Would you want all that comes with Ian Snell and Jack Wilson on your 2010 roster?  My vote, no way. 

We all agree that a move which yielded some matter of return for Capps would have made sense, no question.  But prior to that mistake, did you want all that comes with Matt Capps for the 2010 roster?

As Pirate fans we certainly have much to think about as we impatiently await for Pitchers and Catchers to report.  But is Huntington a doomed man with a failed mission because of current Pirate ownership?

The Mariners and Jack Z will be able to make a few mistakes.  The Capps mistake could cost Huntington dearly and that’s a damn shame.

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Tags: Andrew McCutchen Ian Snell Jack Wilson Jack Zduriencik Neal Huntington

  • http://www.sodomojo.com Harrison

    It’s great to get the link to the site. Thanks for the shout out. It’s funny my family is from Pittsburgh and because of that I take a lot of intrest in the Pirates.

    I really wish they had a better situation and I have a lot of hope for Jeff Clement and some of the youngsters they have on that team.

    • http://rumbunter.com Shaftie

      Ah Ha! We knew there was a Pittsburgh tone of voice in your writing! You do great work man and have a lot to be proud of out there. Jeff Clement could make a lot of pain go away that’s for certain

  • BurgherKing

    Read this blog frequently, and enjoy it- commenting for the first time. I am one of the people in the camp that believes non-tendering Capps was a mistake. Like you, however, I admire NH for his ability to have taken all the criticism in his stride, and not alter his plan.

    And while I didn’t like the move, (and even if it turns out to be a mistake) I don’t think it will cost Huntington much. As he’s said, relievers are hard to accurately value. And it makes a big difference only when it’s the last piece to be put in place. This move will not define his legacy; at worst, it might be a wrangling point with some of the sportswriters you mention.

    • http://rumbunter.com Shaftie

      BURGHER KING– Good point, good point, I think you’re right too. The Pirates are easy pickings these days. Congratulations! You are officially in the top five for screen names

  • SalemPirate

    A really great view and expressed very well. Jack Z (except for his questionable deal with the Pirates) has done a terrific job. NH OTOH, has been less than terrific. But NH can take it as well as dish it out. But that’s not helping the team. What the Pirates need are wins. IMO NH has to improve the major league product this coming season or he’ll be out of a job.

    • http://rumbunter.com Shaftie

      Thx SalemPirate. JackZ got Cliff Lee. I believe they are the team to beat in the division if everyone stays healthy. In PGH, I think things will get very interesting at the MLB level this season. I completely agree the product MUST get better, season ticket sales are up and everyone is expecting to see some certain players perform. I can’t wait.

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  • MarkInDallas

    In the grand scheme of things, there’s only one way NH will be badly burned on Capps – that is if Capps regains the movement on his fastball and becomes a dominant closer again.

    When you think about it, this has nothing to do with whether the Pirates would have gotten a couple of low A pitching prospects from Capps. If Capps becomes good, then anything except keeping him would be seen as a failure. If Capps is just average or flames out, then nobody will remember or care that we don’t have the next potential Chris Bootcheck waiting in the wings.

    • http://rumbunter.com Shaftie

      Line of the week ladies and gentlemen!!….If Capps is just average or flames out, then nobody will remember or care that we don’t have the next potential Chris Bootcheck waiting in the wings.