Feb 27, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates right fielder Gregory Polanco (62) at bat against the New York Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Gregory Polanco is being called up to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Rejoice! Sing from the bridges, Gregory Polanco is coming to the Pittsburgh Pirates. The minor league wonder child that has destroyed Triple-A pitching and has earned his way to the big leagues.
Wait! Gregory Polanco is not coming to Pittsburgh. Stop rejoicing! Stop singing!
Wait! Gregory Polanco is coming to Pittsburgh, but only when the powers that be say he is coming to Pittsburgh!
Gregory Polanco should be a celebration about everything the Pirates are doing right as an organization. It should be a time the Pirates can tell the baseball world, we did something none of you could do.
But instead it’s now a mystery. Twitter has created a new sports new cycle that is hilarious to watch unfold and allows rampant speculation. It’s something that the Bucs could have controlled right from the beginning of the season, but instead it’s turned into a wave of indecision, mistrust and makes the Pirates look just plain ridiculous.
Is it money? Is it ticket sales? Is it that Gregory Polanco doesn’t like fireworks? Is it cheaper to buy a plane ticket for Monday rather than Friday?
You know what it is? It’s sad. Sad for fans of the Pirates. And most importantly sad for the game of baseball.
Only the Pittsburgh Pirates could make a mess out of something as special as Polanco’s arrival in the big leagues. Polanco was passed over by every other team in the big leagues. Super scout Rene Gayo saw something others did not see. The Pirates authorized the cash needed to sign him when nobody else thought he was going to be able to make it as a pro ball player.
Now after the ball club has done what they have been ridiculed as not being able to do, develop a uber-talented position player, the club kept him in the minors because of money or because of his own abilities based on who you speak to on the subject. And since it’s not actually money, it’s simply the thought of having to possibly invest more money in the future, it seems even more ridiculous.
But this is the way the Pirates have always done it when players reach the AAA level. The team has come a long, long way over the Frank Coonelly/Neal Huntington regime. Kudos to both of them for what they have done under the tight thumbs of owner Bob Nutting.
But doesn’t the ball club need to work on letting things go? The powers that lead decisions seem to have a fascination with micro-management. If a report comes out about one of their most talented players, a player that has created more buzz while not even playing in the big leagues, why kill the buzz? Of course, they have been killing the buzz all season surrounding Polanco, but maybe that’s the plan? Keeping Polanco in the minors well after Super Two shows everyone that he just wasn’t ready. It covers Polanco when he doesn’t set the National League on fire.
The powers at work right now for the Bucs have such thin skin that the Pirates will never be the big team in Pittsburgh.
And that my beloved readers is a shame. A sin.
Very soon the Pittsburgh Pirates will have the talent on the field and on their bench to demand the city’s attention. But under the current owner and their organizational chart, it will never have the city’s respect.
The Pirates have started to see a return in partnerships with the corporate world in the Pittsburgh region and even nationally. The money and partners that are vital to becoming a powerhouse while operating in a small market are crucial. But the Pirates will never engender the trust of the business world with how they currently operate. That trust is what’s needed to make something truly special happen at PNC Park.
The Pirates have the talent to sell well over 3 million tickets annually. PNC Park should be packed consistently season after season.
But just like Polanco’s arrival, it won’t happen anytime soon.