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Mark Madden’s Views on the Pittsburgh Pirates Prove He Should Stick to Hockey


Super Genius Mark Madden.   It’s difficult to put it into words how boring it is to hear about your endless, pre-pubescent rants towards the Pirates.   You continue to sound off in the WXDX studio, saber rattling and beating your chest like a gorilla hoping that someone takes notice so that you can say “duuuhhhh….I told you so!”.  But Mark.  Come here pal.. Listen up.

No one cares.

Your credibility is shot when it comes to the Pirates.  They were five wins away from World Series last year.  You were wrong.  Do yourself a favor, cut your losses and run.

Here’s why you’re the idiot and not me.   Any serious Pirates fan knew when the season ended last year there would be about a 25% chance at best that AJ Burnett would be in Black & Gold again and they accepted it.  You knew they wouldn’t sign him and you didn’t accept it.  That’s the difference.

Is that a good baseball decision by the Pirates?  Nope.  That’s painfully obvious. Did Pirates brass botch this whole scenario and insult one of the most popular pitchers this city has ever had?  Yep.  Is it because they want to make more money? Yep.  Do I care? Nope.   You’ll say that makes me an idiot.  But does it?

You are repeatedly insulting Pirate fans for being ‘idiots’, but really, who’s the idiot?  The team nearly  got to the NL Championship last year Chumly.   And guess what.  The Bucs will be good again this year and will have a great chance to make the playoffs–which is better than most teams in the league.  But I guess that’s not success in your book?   I guess that is a team run by people who don’t want to win?  It’s blatantly obvious that you are incorrect and have been for years but you won’t admit it because you’re too jaded.

The Pirates are cheap.  Everyone knows this.  But because you hate that fact so badly it obscures your (normally sound) judgment.  Every time you criticize Neal Huntington you lose another piece of what little baseball credibility you have left.  And I’ll tell you why. Because Huntington is a genius.

Years from now, Neal Huntington will be known as one of the best GM’s of our generation while fly-by-nighters like Theo Epstein will vanish.  But your hatred for the Pirates won’t let you appreciate that.  His work broke the longest losing streak in the history of professional sports and he only had a pocket full of pennies to do it with.

Huntington did the impossible with one hand tied behind his back and forced to stand on one leg on Federal Street while whistling Dixie.  But you still doubt him.  He took the worst sports job anyone would ever want, leading a team that had decades of incompetence before him and a boss that wants nothing but profit and he almost goes to the NL Championship and nearly wins GM of the year only five years later.  But you don’t care.  All you care about, and have cared about, is slamming him when he makes decisions.  But most of the time, he’s right.  And you’re wrong.  And it has made you look really….really….bad.

Remember when you hammered him for selling the veterans?  Jack Wilson.  Freddy Sanchez.  Jason Bay.  Xavier Nady.  Nate McLouth.  Joel Hanrahan. Paul Maholm. Ian Snell.  Zach Duke. Gone.. Gone, gone, gone.  And you whined… and you moaned… and you crucified him for it.  And you said the same boring crap you’re saying now.  “it’s all about the money…they don’t want to win…blah blah blah”  But you were wrong.

All of those players faded out post-trade without so much of a whimper.  Freddy Sanchez had one and a half good years.  Bay had one good year. Paul Maholm is a serviceable pitcher.  And that’s it.  Want to take a walk down memory lane?  Of course you don’t.  But just try to keep up ok.  You might learn something about Neil Huntington.

He traded Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte for Jose Tabata, Jeff Karstens, and Ross Olendorf.  NH killed the Yankees in that trade.  And then it was Jason Bay for Brandon Moss, Andy Laroche, Bryan Morris, and Craig Hansen.  The only mistake he made there was letting go of Brandon Moss too soon.  He hit 30 bombs last year, he has some good years ahead of him as well, and your boy Jason Bay was worthless three years ago.

Huntington got Jeff Locke and Charlie Morton for Nate McLouth.  Are you kidding me?  He got Joel Hanrahan for Nyjer Morgan and Sean Burnett.  Then he turned around and got Mark Melancon and Stormy Pimental for him two years later.  WHAT?  He should have been arrested for theft after that trade!

Huntington got James McDonald and Andrew Lambo for Octavio Dotel.  He brought in Vin Mazzaro for Luis Santos and Luis Rico.  Jeanmar Gomez for a Washington Wildthings outfielder…ok, we’ll stop there.

In hindsight, the only truly awful trade he made was Freddy Sanchez for Tim Alderson who was an over-projected one, but never panned out.  The others were a wash at worst in terms of talent, but a win in terms of money saved.  But you said he failed. You screamed it from the rooftops of Greentree.

More importantly… and what people like you don’t see… the real purpose behind the much needed purge of disposable talent was to free up cash to sign Pedro Alvarez, Garret Cole, & Jameson Taillon.  The future.  Or should I say, he turned it into the present.  He inherited a farm system that was ranked 19th in the league in 2007 and turned it into a system that harbors six, (or seven depending on what you read) top 100 prospects.  Only three teams have more.  Oh, and not to mention, he just had the best draft in the entire league this year.

But still, Mr. Madden you still scream and yell.

He signed Jason Grilli.  He signed Francisco Liriano.  He got Clint Hurdle.  He signed Russell Martin.  Thanks to Burnett using a no-trade clause to void a deal to the West Coast, Huntington got AJ Burnett for two minor leaguers and the Yankees PAID him to do it!  But still even to this day you say he’s incompetent.

He took the biggest train wreck of an organization in the HISTORY OF PROFESSIONAL SPORTS…and made them winners again.   And he had chump change to do it with.  But you’ll never acknowledge it and it makes you look like a fool.  For crying out loud, they were a few games away from going to the World Series last year!  Did you not see that?  Oh, you did.  You just said it would never happen.  Many….many….times.

Oct 7, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates owner Bob Nutting (left) talks with Pirates president Frank Coonelly (right) before hosting the St. Louis Cardinals in game four of the National League divisional series at PNC Park. The St. Louis Cardinals won 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

So he didn’t sign AJ Burnett for $14 million. Boo hoo.You know why?  I’ll tell you.  (Imagine me standing right next to you with a bull horn aimed directly at your ear)  BECAUSE HE ENJOYS HIS JOB AND HE’D LIKE TO KEEP IT THAT’S WHY!  Nutting would have paid for Burnett if NH pushed him enough.  But he didn’t.  Because God forbid NH goes to bat for AJ, Nutting begrudgingly relents and gives him $14 million, and then AJ under performs or even worse, he throws his 37 year old arm out the first game of year.  Nutting would be all over him.  It’s called self-preservation.  You should look into it, because if you keep insulting Pirate fans you’re going to find yourself in serious need of it.

So who’s the idiot?  The guy who knows hockey inside and out or the Bucs brass that is a year removed from a 90 win season, reversing a 20 year losing streak, and falling a win shy of a trip to the NL Championship?  Or a guy like me who understands what they’re doing and just sits back and enjoys the ride.

Will the Pirates be bad after they sell off Pedro Alvarez and Andrew McCutchen?   Maybe.  Will we be good again a few years later?  Definitely.  Will you still be crying and moaning about it? Yep.   Will anyone care? ……. nope.

You see the situation in Pittsburgh isn’t going to change.  Major League Baseball isn’t going to change.  Bob Nutting isn’t going away.  The Pirates aren’t suddenly going to be blessed with such once-in-a-lifetime ownership like Mario and Burkle.

And what you are saying about Pirates fans crying by the Fourth of July…


We won’t be crying, just waiting for the next few members of Neal Huntingtons’ underpaid cavalry to arrive in Pittsburgh.

Bob Nutting stars in The Wolf of Federal Street