Pirates Management Didn't Have A Backup Plan

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It was going well for the Pittsburgh Pirates. The youngsters had been called up. It was the only thing to do. All else had not gone as planned. But then for a fleeting moment, it came together. The Cubs. The Phillies. A shimmer…..a little glimpse of hope. And then it went black.

A winless week in which the Pirates were swept by the Astros and are on the brink of the same fate against the Brewers, leaves your Pittsburgh Pirates reeling as they head off toward the All-Star sunset for some family time, tee boxes on golf courses throughout the country, and for the young Pirates players a well deserved break from hanging around Bobby Crosby and Ryan Church.  

But I have to feel the Pirates front office better keep the lights burning well into the night. We aren’t interested in hearing that Neal Huntington and his staff will be taking some time away from the game to spend with their families as Huntington mentioned last year. There is too much damn work to do.

Especially with half the season gone and Jeff Karstens is the MVP. Yeh, the right hander that was completely ignored at Bradenton has been the hero. The front office felt so strongly about their starting pitching.  Mistake.  They continually praised the staff during the offseason.  Huntington and his team reiterated the fact repeatedly.  We heard about it up and down the downsized Pirates Caravan, and even amidst the shitty timing of the Lemieux/Burkle ‘offer’ leak during PirateFest. We still heard the optimisim.

But this is the Pirates. The damndest things happen, like when a top prospects wife steals a baby or when one gets crushed by a baseball causing their jaw to be wired shut and 12 pounds in weight lost thus far, or when one of the fleet outfielders jacks up his hand. It never ends. As fans, we are mentally prepared for it.

Too bad this ‘new’ management team wasn’t.

The ‘best management team’ in baseball didn’t see the collapse of the starters coming. An offseason was spent putting the finishing touches on what is by far the best bargain bullpen in the National League.  A bullpen that has been swing and miss heavy.  Starting pitching was covered or so they thought.   The offense would struggle to score runs they thought, but absolutely no one believed it would score at such a meager pace.  A contigency plan must have been just call up the kids.  But one fatal error stands out to me.  The pitching evaluations. 

Thus, left with the fact that the starters were being drilled, Morton and his mechanics looked different almost since the first toss, the rumblings began.  But very little action was taken because it was too late.  Swallow deep.  It all proved evident in the major leagues as the Bucs starters were lit up like Pittsburgh on MNF. 

Hayden Penn was brought in as the emergency backup plan when so much more was needed. 

Then injuries beset the staff both at major league level and in AAA.  One that hit me hard was Donnie Veal.   It was time to swallow hard again.  The team told us it would all work out.   When that didn’t happen, Huntington went MIA in search for some help.  Anything.  Of course he was on a strict budget, like shopping at Saks with food stamps.  Dana Eveland.   Yeh, that didn’t go well, now Sean Gallagher has been given a shot.  Hell, with poor offseason planning because Nutting refuses to put serious cash into the MLB product what else is there really?  It really sucks Pirates fans, but you know that.  Huntington and his team still have a pile of work to do. 

I compare it to a discount dollar store.  In the back, you have some cool stuff, but it might be busted, missing a button, dinged, dented, whatever.   It’s where Huntington has to shop.  He then needs a development team to fix it up. 

It freaking blows.  The  Sports Illustrated type stories are coming fast, be prepared. 

I don’t even want to continue this mess of a post right now.  But one thing keeps my faith strong.  The kids.   Don’t blame this mess on them.  Stick behind them.

I just want to remind everyone of a few things.  Remember the position rankings we conducted pre-season.  We absolutely hated our infield.  How could one not?  Well this commenter didn’t like it:

Now just days away, Spring Training 2010 should be incredible!

This is the year that many of the players assembled by Huntington (and Frank Coonelly) have their first real chance to shine.

A REAL Pirate fan should feel optimistic for the first time in YEARS!

But you?

You’re already ordering flowers for the funeral.

Decide where you stand, man!

Are you a fan, or not?

LET’S GO BUCS!!!

Kevin Stiffler

I am standing in the front row looking at the casket.  That’s where I am Kevin.   The guy in black with the Lucha mask. 

So when Aki Iwamura tanked, continued to tank, and after given a make it or break it conversation, Aki still couldn’t hit. Andy LaRoche never caught his groove. Jeff Clement.  Sigh.  Steve Pearce got a shot after murdering AAA.  He got hurt.  Of course.  So, with no other choice, Huntington gave Neil Walker an opportunity to ”be a utility player.” 

Nobody seemed very happy in the Pirates FO, not that I can blame them.  They take this shit hard.  Nobody likes losing in that organization.

The Youth Gone Wild has been effective, especially lately, but until all of the pieces are closer to being assembled the youth will continue to have to be watched by jokes like Crosby and Church.  Bobby “100 yard stare” Crosby.  I swear Crosby has the look of a young PFC after a fire fight.   Ryan Church bothers me.  Badly.  From when he calls off  Cutch on balls in right center to running over Walker who had the line on the ball in Oakland.  If Church would hit for more than a week, hell a couple days, perhaps he could earn some respect in the clubhouse.  We were warned about Church in a comment from March:

I AM A DIE HARD METS FAN AND I AM TELLING YOU THAT CHURCH IS A NO GOOD BUM. HE IS NOT A HAS BEEN, HE IS A NEVER WAS. WE SUPPORTED RYAN IN NY TILL HE MISSED THIRS BASE IN A EXTRA INNINGS IN LOS ANGELES THAT COST US THE GAME. I HAVE NEVER SEEN A PROFESSIONAL MAKE THAT TYPE OF MISTAKE AND IT IS INEXCUSABLE. THE THING THAT HURT ABOUT RYAN THE MOST IS HE WOULD SHOW SIGNS OF A GOOD PLAYER BUT WOULD ONLY LAST FOR A WEEK AND THEN HE WOULD GO 1-25 THE NEXT WEEK WITH 15 KS. HE DOES HAVE POP IN HIS BAT BUT IS MENTALLY A MARSHMALLOW AND HOPE THE BEST FOR HIM IN PITTSBURGH BECAUSE WITH SUCH A GREAT HISTORY IT IS A DUMP THE LAST 20YEARS BASEBALL WISE. WE ARE HAPPY TO HAVE JASON BAY IN A BLUE AND ORANGE UNIFORM. THANKS FOR READING MY POST.  Robert

It is blatantly obvious to every Pirates fan with a brain that the first half was a disaster.  Most of us knew that it was coming, but just to see it happen in such an ugly way makes it sting.  Some of the forecasts for this team are down right scary.  We knew the punches were coming, but damn some of them caught us low.  So much of the 2010 team was built on hope, prayers and major ‘ifs and buts’ from trading for a Marlboro smoking second baseman without giving him a physical, to believing that the pitching was all ok, and the departure of Perry Hill wouldn’t impact the defense.

The Pirates are a dollar store mess in several aisles.  The starting pitching is dented.  The leadership aisle is filled with faded, wrinkled product.  The defense has puke everywhere.  But one aisle has everything stacked nice and neat. 

The loss aisle.  But Bob Nutting doesn’t mind.  The management team is left with peanuts to operate from because ‘assets’ are built all over this great planet.  Meanwhile the MLB product Pittsburgh so desperately deserves suffers.  Over.  And over again.   So it’s left for Frank Coonelly to answer.  Where the hell is Frank by the way?  Clean up on Federal Street please.   Hell, at least tidy up a few of the aisles so one of these kids doesn’t get hurt for Lord’s sake.

The last Pirates home run with a runner on base. Delwyn Young hit a two-run shot off Nationals pitcher Stephen Stasburg. Photo:RumBunter.com

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