Pirates Please Explain How With the Most Rookies in the Majors Lastings Milledge Is Sent To AAA?


Tony Milledge, Florida Highway Patrol and his son Lastings. Sarasota Tribune

The Pirates would rather send messages and make players prove themself than win a couple games before The All Star Game.  How else would you explain it?  I thought we weren’t pursuing mediocrity?

The Pirates Monday night lineup against Mike Hampton and the Astros looked nowhere close to mediocre.  It was full of young players with little experience.  Why not improve this lineup in the near term?

The lineup tonight managed three hits before the Astros walked the bases loaded in the seventh inning.  And then the wheels came off,  if Keppinger gets the glove down the Pirates don’t bust the game open.

To say the Pirates offense is struggling is like saying the Michael Jackson coverage is over the top.   We need help offensively.

And we have help on our ballclub.  His name is Lastings Milledge. He will be sent to AAA Indianapolis next weekend.  His timetable for Pittsburgh?  Unknown.

It’s up to him.

His finger which was broken on May 11 is healed.  It is more than healed.   He is in Bradenton, the rookie-level Gulf Coast League under the eyes of Bradenton Manager Tom Prince who said, ”he has been outstanding for us.”

“All Neal said is I control my own destiny,” Milledge said. “So whenever I’m ready, whenever I’m feeling good, whenever I’m putting up good numbers, I’ll be there. I’ve just got to work. I just got my swing back after missing some time and I feel good now.”

At least he is saying the right things.  I am not.  I hate this idea.

 He is the player once called ”Cliff Huxtabel meets Outkast” because of the infamous red sweater vest picture on his website.  Why AAA?  Come on.  Seriously, AAA Indy?  Bring him to Pittsburgh.  He won’t offend me for writing songs.  Seriously, writing songs?  

The Pirates said ‘extensive investigation’ went into his background and character.  Ok.  Great.  And yet, he still must prove himself to the club.  I am really confused.

This kid was so ambitious in his life that he started his own company.  It wasn’t enough to simply be a major league ball player.  In typical American fashion we looked at the details and because baseball is America’s game, judgments were made.  Judgements that are still being discussed.

Obviously, the Milledge ‘history’ is involved in this decision.  Milledge has been labeled a ‘high risk.’  Hmmm…. He sounds like a smart guy that needs to be in Pittsburgh.  We know a thing or two about business in the City of Champions.  We used to know about winning.

So how about winning some games?  How about returning the Pirates to the winning ways of old?   How about putting the best possible players in the system on the field?

Milledge didn’t shoot an illegal substance in his body.  He didn’t kill anyone.  He exercised his right as an American to express himself musically.  We do still have rights in this country correct?  Why was this a big deal?

It’s music.

The Pirates were a bunch of misfits back in the championship days of 1979.  That team competed with the best of them.  Milledge starts a record label and puts up a demo song and gets booted out of New York?  Whatever.

Now, he has worn out his welcome in the Nationals organization.   A ballclub so bad that when I took clients to a Nationals-Phillies game last month that they messed up batting practice.   Several of the clients we do business with drove for five hours to hang out and watch batting practice at Nationals Park.  I reiterate, we were specifically coming to watch batting practice and then go talk business while watching the game.

Simple right?

Well, we were told it was cancelled.  Yes, we were told BP was cancelled …..as the tickets were handed to us at 4pm while standing at the centerfield terminal.  Yes, that’s right.  No BP tonight.  No call.  No email.  We were simply told when we arrived that the grounds crew forgot to cover the field and a storm had hit overnight.  Huh?

Well now what is a person to do?  Seriously.  It’s 4pm.  And now we are at Washington Nationals Ballpark with absolutely nothing to do.  We can’t get into our party suite until 6pm.  ANOTHER brilliant move by the organization. ‘Well, let’s go watch the grass grow,”  was one of my clients response.

The Nationals are a mess.  We stole Milledge from them and that makes me happy.

So why do the Pirates plan to send him to AAA?  What is that going to prove?  Will Ian Snell give him a pep talk about how negative the Pirates locker room is?

Just look at Garrett Jones, he was tearing up AAA Indy, he proved he could play.  He had never played in the majors.  His walk last night in the seventh, followed by a stolen base changed the game.  He was covered in Houston dirt from the Pittsburgh on his chest to the bottom of his pants. 

He has produced at the major league level.  His OPS is over 1.000 and he is hitting near 300 in his seven games.  It’s exciting.  He proved he was ready by producing at AAA and has made the most of his opportunity.

So what does Milledge have to prove?  Does the front office want to make itself look bad?  What if he struggles at AAA?

He has played on the big stage.  He hasn’t produced like a future All-Star yet, but he has proved he can produce.

I agree with many of the moves the front office makes.  But not this one.  Why wouldn’t the Pirates let him get as much work as he needs in Florida and bring him up.  What does hitting homeruns in Indy prove to anyone?  Come on.  This kid has been dogged by some awful blogosphere headlines during his career:

If  Lastings Milledge Has Offended Any of You Hos, He Apologizes  DEADSPIN 2007

Eddie Arroyo, an independent producer who has worked with Milledge’s new record label, Soul-ja Boi records, expressed remorse for the outfielder. “Lastings wants to apologize to the Mets organization, to his teammates and to anyone that was hurt by his lyrics,” said Arroyo. “It wasn’t his intention to hurt anyone….He’s going to make sure he uses better judgment in the future.” The sexually explicit song, “Bend Ya Knees,” has been removed from the Web site souljaboirecords.com, and Arroyo said it was “just a demo” never meant for the public.


Lastings Milledge is Scaring All You White Mets Fans DEADSPIN 2007

"From the New York Daily News:The rappin’ right fielder uses the N-word and bitch and also says “ho” in a song featured on his new record label’s Web site.Milledge, performing on souljaboirecords.com, rapped with one of his artists about “rich (N word),” “wealthy (N word),” a “top-notch ho” and having “a different bitch for every night” on the sexually explicit song “Bend Ya Knees.”Quite a few people took offense to Milledge’s lyrics.“He’s lost his mind,” said City Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-Queens), who sponsored the Council’s resolution that condemned use of the N word. “I don’t understand how he could, in the spirit of Jackie Robinson, put out music that’s so vile, using . . . some of the worst words in music.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leroy_ComrieCould Red Sox Fans Really Vote Lastings Milledge into the 2009 All Star Game?This was disgraceful.  It started as this post and quickly gained steam.  Ohh how funny some bloggers are…the Washington Post explained it very well at this link.  Basically, millions of Red Sox fans cast ballots each year.  And the goal was to get Lastings into the All-Star game despite being in AAA for the majority of the season.  It would send a message to MLB."

Back to Rumbunter reality.  Some of the worst words in music?  Ahh, are you kidding me?

Earning the wrath of Red Sox fans?  They wanted him in St. Louis next week for the All-Star game.  All to prove a point.

Is this guy really that bad?  Surely he made some decisions that not all of us would agree with, but all this?  And now he is sent to AAA before coming to the bigs because he needs to prove himself.  Ok.  I am lost.

In the Land of the Lost.

As you know the Mets moved him to the Nats.  And so with all that baggage, all the alienation in the clubhouse, all the negativity that surrounded him he was welcomed to DC with the nickname  ‘LMillz ‘which was given to him by not a local blogger, but  the Washington Post.

In spite of the shadowing dark clouds, Milledge led the Nats in several catergories.  Yeh, the Nats suck.  But he was on top of the suck heap. 

Considering their lineup, he performed well for the dysfunctional Nats franchise. 

He had five errors in center field.  Hmmm, doesn’t sound especially scary.  We were expecting him to be a butcher from the reports.  Five errors?  Come on, I was thinking he would have had like 18-20….five?

He did strikeout 96 times in 523 at bats.  Free swinging Pirates?  Diaz, Sanchez, JHammer, Jack Wilson come to mind.  He admitted in DK’s article he didn’t focus on nuances. 

He had an OPS of .731.  Ugh, that’s not going to help much Lastings.  That is barely above former Bucco Joey Bats (729)numbers from last year. 

Is this because veterans are about to be moved at the deadline?  Does the front office not want Milledge to become a part of the fiber of the club and then have some veterans sent away?  I mean what logical reason is there to send him to the AAA club?

His Dad was a cop so he is accustomed to being disciplined, but this move by NH is meant as tough love.  Milledge understands it.  He said so in a Bradenton Herald article. 

His parents travel in an RV to see him play.  I trust they know that the Milledge family is welcome in Pittsburgh.  As Pirates fans we are thrilled to watch your son play professional ball for the Pirates.  (Officer Milledge, if you need a place to park it for a night, Nemacolin Woodlands Resort is a great spot with twenty fantastic RV slips.)

DK of the Post Gazette did a fantastic job yesterday with an article welcoming Milledge to Pittsburgh.  Rumbunter  began work on this story about a week ago, but nobody locally had met the youngster or spent time with him. 

We didn’t have much substance on Milledge other than a few friends around MLB.  But leave it to DK to change that fact.  Here is the PG article  You must read this article.  Period. 

We especially enjoyed the part about his father making him play the offensive line.  Good stuff.  And no surprise Billy Wagner wasn’t a fan. 

NH and the front office supposedly made a daring high risk move, now let’s watch the reward.  Let’s watch the reward in Pittsburgh.  In regard to Lastings timeline to the big club, Neil explained that ”he will show us.” 

Well….Neil, show us in Pittsburgh not Indianapolis.  In case you didn’t notice, it’s been a while.  Get Lastings on the field.   

P.S.  I need a drink after all of that.  AAA?  haha, I’m done now.  But check out the video, I hear a humble major league player….”fortunate enough to play” varsity as an eighth grader.  ” I learned how to fail…”  That takes a big man to admit failure.