Kovacevic Report: Pittsburgh Pirates Re-injured the Ankle of Gregory Polanco During ‘Hell Week’


The readers of this blog are some amazing people.  Smart, smart people.  Soldiers.  Executives.  Well-paid sales professionals.  Students.  Teachers. Unemployed blowhards (Hi, Cocktailsfor2!).  People of all professions who simply love the Pittsburgh Pirates.   It still amazes us at the traffic we receive.    Many of you will have very different opinions on this post.

Look.  By now you realize we couldn’t give a fuck less about traffic.   We don’t care about what anyone thinks of us.    You can choose to believe what you want to believe about the Pirates organization.

You’ve probably read the train wreck of an article from Dejan by now.  After we read it, one sentence stood out.   One sentence burned into our brain.  It’s the one that always bothers us when looking at an organization.   It tells us that the Buccos aren’t unified in their mission.

According to Dejan, the Pittsburgh Pirates lied to him.  It’s hard to even imagine.  It’s pathetic.    But with all respect to DK, that doesn’t bother us as much as the one chilling sentence he wrote.

We understand that great organizations do crazy shit.  Southwest Airlines was created by a madman.  Read the book Nuts! before the end of the week.  It will change your life.  The book got a forward from Nolan Ryan.  We read it the day it came out, and to this day we try to use the tactics that Herb began way back when.

The one thing we learned from the book was: it’s all about the people within the organization.   The people behind the strategy are the keys to success.  So, when we read Dejan’s article, the Navy SEAL stuff sounds cool, actually.  We talked about that before.  We get SEALS-led teambuilding.   It sounds like a cutting edge strategy, but it also sounds hokey.  Most team-building shit does.

We have conducted team-building with some of the biggest companies on the planet.  The most difficult part of team-building is measuring the impact.   The long lasting effect.   Once it’s over, the benefit fades.  But we’re sure the Buccos have got that covered.  So let’s throw that to the side.

We think the Buccos put the cart before the horse.   The team had to realize this shit would cause a backlash.  The team had to understand the risks involved.  Broadway and Stark were leading ‘Hell Week?’  Look.  Those cats aren’t qualified to conduct such training.  That’s the bottom line.

We trust the trainers were in the shadows because millions of dollars of talent are on the line, and surely, the Buccos had their asses covered.  We have reason to believe they did.  So toss that to the side for a moment, too.

We want to show you what bothered us the most.  The hardest part of the article for us to read was this chilling sentence written by DK:

"I continue  to hear from prospects worried about injury  ….  even from men who answer to  Stark and GM Neal Huntington."

That, my friends, is death.    The training was questioned by people within the organization.

Team-building, at its’ core, is, and always will be, challenge by choice.  One could say that all of the players involved have the choice to not participate.  Certainly, Gregory Polanco  should not have been challenged by anything that sounds this intense.  It might have been hard for Polanco to opt out since Tony Sanchez tweeted that he speaks all of five words of English (so much for the school that Bob Nutting built with our money.)

It’s a shame the Bucs brass didn’t think about the basic fact that some of their top young talent simply wouldn’t understand what the hell was going on before they woke them up from their “barracks.”  Holy Jumping Jingle Balls, we had to read the article three times to digest it before we thought, “Holy shit, Polanco and others probably didn’t even realize what the hell was happening!”

If everyone  on the Pirates staff wasn’t on board for this unconventional/teambuilding/mental toughness training, they should have been asked to leave the ballclub.  The only way that ‘unconventional’ works is if everyone that is leading it, actually believes in it.

Reporting concerns about injury to Dejan after the fact leads us to believe that the men who report to Stark and Huntington aren’t one hundred percent behind the concept.

Maybe they are just collecting a check?  That scares the shit out of us as a fan of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Maybe they are just scared shitless by the “Hoka Hey”?  That scares the shit out of us as a Pirates fan, too.

Look.  We get it.  Engendering trust is difficult.  But it’s obvious the team is using some very unconventional methods–although other teams are doing this shit already, but whatever—everyone in the organization has to believe in what is happening.   From Suzy the ticket scanner to the best sales guy, the Pirates should have everyone buying into these unconventional methods.

Because, sure as shit, some young sales executive with the Bucs is going to be asked about what the hell is going on.  But that does rank down on the list of concerns at the moment.

People get hurt when they are challenged without it being their choice, or without their acceptance to the activity.  Being awakened like we were back in U.S. Army boot camp wasn’t fun, but that was our choice, we put our hand in the air and cited the oath.  But even the military is insanely committed to safety.  That’s the point the Buccos missed on this.

Not only was Polanco put in a bad situation, but it sounds like some men that report to Stark and Huntington were, too.

‘Hell Week’ should have been something that the Pirates organization conducted among themselves first.  If it’s a right of passage, it should be that way for everyone getting a check from Ogden.

Hell, maybe the Pirates should  have just made it a damn reality show for Root Sports, let it out in the open for fans to watch.  The fact that it comes out as a shocking article isn’t a positive; it’s hard for most people to even understand it, and we don’t want to discount your personal experience, perhaps you’ve been certified in corporate team building or participated in such activities.  It really is a cool experience.

So, look.  We get unconventional –  we love it actually, but it has to be challenge by choice.    If it’s not, you will find one of one of the best prospects limping around having to answer questions about just when the injury happened.  If participants aren’t given the challenge by choice, you will have the men that lead the training voicing their concerns to Dejan after the fact.

In this case, thank God they did.  And thank God Dejan shared it with Pittsburgh.

Read more: http://triblive.com/sports/dejankovacevic/2819385-74/pirates-polanco-baseball-players-team-hell-month-prospects-week-ankle#ixzz2AC3lBs6O