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A question of perception

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BRADENTON, Fla. — I saw this Associated Press story today in the online sites of two California newspapers, one in Texas and one in Canada. Ouch.

Is that really representative of what folks back home think of the Pirates? It certainly seems to be the image people outside our region have of us and our relationship with the ballclub.

I know more than a few Pirates diehards back home, but I also know quite a few who gave up quite a while ago. Is there a “lost generation” of Pirates fans in Pittsburgh? I think so.

»»» I hate to bear even more bad news, but … according to an email I got from an online betting site, Clint Hurdle has an 18.3 percent chance of becoming the first newly hired manager to be fired this season.

According to BookMaker.com, of the 12 skippers hired this offseason, the Cubs’ Mike Quade (20 percent chance) most likely will be the first to go. Hurdle was second, followed by the Brewers’ Ron Roenicke, the D’backs’ Kirk Gibson and the Blue Jays’ John Farrell (17.5 percent each).

»»» My favorite line about today’s 21-1 drubbing of SCF came from Hurdle: ” We move on to the second round.” In other words, it’s kinda like taking care of a 16th seed in the first game of March Madness.

“Those games are hard to play,” Hurdle said. “You want to do well and get your work in. You hope (the college players) enjoy the experience to some degree.”

SCF certainly didn’t enjoy it as much as in 2009, when the Manatees beat the Bucs, 6-4.

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