In my dream last night, Pirates GM Neal Huntington pulled on the lapel of his navy blue blazer, glanced at the dashing Frank Coonelly and began to address the season ticket holder that just asked about the lack of moves the Pirates have made this off season.
Huntington: The off season? We’re talking about the off season? It ain’t about that at all. It’s easy to sum it up if you’re just talking about the off season, the hot stove…. We’re sitting here, and I’m supposed to be the General Manager and we’re talking about the off season?
I mean listen, we’re sitting here talking about the off season, not a game, not a game, not a game, but we’re talking about the off season. Not the game that players go out there and die for and play every game like it’s their last but we’re talking about the off season man. How silly is that?
Now I know that I’m supposed to lead by example and all that but I’m not shoving that aside like it don’t mean anything. I know it’s important, I honestly do, but we’re talking about the off season? We’re talking about the off season man.
(laughter from the PirateFest crowd)
We’re talking about the off season. We’re talking about off season. We’re not talking about the game. We’re talking about off season. When you come to the park, and you see the work we’ve done, you’ve seen what we did right? You’ve seen us give everything we’ve got, but we’re talking about the off season right now.
Season Ticket Holder: “Look, I was on the ten game plan, sat in centerfield, and… it’s an issue that fans and reporters continues to raise?”
Huntington: “Hey I hear you, it’s funny to me to, hey it’s strange to me too but we’re talking about the off season man, we’re not even talking about the game, when it actually matters, we’re talking about the off season.”
10-game plan STH: “But is it possible that if you spent millions of dollars on fringy free agents, you would make this team better?”
Huntington: “Hell anything is possible, but with the cash I got how in the hell can I make my team better with the players available to us this off season?
10-game plan STH: “So there wasn’t a player that would have helped fill the holes this team has and quiet some of the criticism from the fans and national media?”
Huntington: “Screw those people, they should be used to what the Pittsburgh Pirates do in the off season.”
10-game plan STH: “You don’t think this team needs help as much as everyone else does?”
Huntington: “What do you mean by I don’t think the team needs help?”
10-game plan STH: “Because you’re the superstar GM of the Year”
Huntington: “What do you mean I’m the superstar?”
10-game plan STH: “Because you’re better than they are. One of the best in Major League Baseball.”
Huntington: “So why are we talking about trade talk or there’s a problem with me? No, I’m not….obviously I’m not. You’re contradicting yourself man. If I’m the superstar GM, then why is all this happening? Why am I supposed to be up on this main stage talking about it.. the off season, having this meeting? Why am I talking to y’all about this?
Throws mic down in anger, exits stage left and immediately jumps to the front of the beer line, grabs two Sam Adams Winter Lager Cans and begins to climb the rigging over the PirateFest stage. Huntington skillfully pulls back the tab on each one and screams, “Can I get a HELL YEH?”
PirateFest crowd: (Begin to cheer slowly, but it dies suddenly as a mass wave of people head to the beer stand.)
The off season really sucks for all of us. Guys like me try to keep your interest with advanced stats and catchy headlines to make sure you don’t forget about stopping to visit. Everyone sort of says the same things in different ways and we all count down the days until hope springs eternal again.
The game is about two things.
Wins. And losses.
The Pirates piled up wins last year. The talk about overpaying Russell Martin vanished quickly. The buzz about Huntington being fired by Memorial Day went up in smoke like a 25 cent corn dog being launched by the Parrots hot dog gun. People who were calling for Huntingtons’ head, everyone from bloggers to beat writers and columnists, suddenly edited those tweets.
Huntington was a genius again.
But instead of saying what we wanted him to say, Huntington calmly replied that teams that typically “win” the offseason don’t always even make it to the playoffs the following season. We all understand that Neal Huntington never really sets out to win an off season. The team he works for, the owner who signs the checks, the market size, none of it can cover the bill of playing in the MLB free agent market.
Each season winners are declared of this difficult time called the off season. Guess what, there aren’t any fucking games played in the offseason in MLB. Whether you think James Loney, or some other millionare would have been a great signing for Pittsburgh doesn’t mean anything. The only people who matter are the decision makers.
Let’s take a quick look back to two of last years so called winners of the offseason.
The Nationals were coming off a franchise record for wins and the media declared them a winner last off season. How did that turn out?
The Blue Jays were declared winners last off season with the addition of R.A. Dickey, Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson, Jose Reyes, Melky Cabrera and skipper John Gibbons. We all know how that turned out.
We’re talking bout the off season?