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Saturday column: Pirates misfire on priorities

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

The Saturday column uncovers why some of the Pirates’ players were ticked off at the front office this week, amid sharing a couple related views.

I’ll actually be back at work Sunday, but this one wasn’t going to wait.

Comments

  1. Playoffs by 2012 says:

    Wow….just wow. That’s really all I can say. Wow……….

  2. Jason81 says:

    I have rarely posted on here, though I do enjoy the daily back-and-forth between all the regular posters, but this is just mind boggling. 20 games in 20 days, flight back from the west coast getting back in at an ungodly hour and then to schedule this? Is there any profession that would find this acceptable? Salaries, charter flights and private buses be damned, don’t these players deserve 24 hours to themselves? Especially in the heat of a playoff race where they have been struggling to stay afloat? Let the players get away from everything for a day and refocus on the race. Don’t send them to the owner’s other “play thing” for a charity event. Are charity events important? Yes. In the middle of a playoff race? NO! I’ve never really given the Pirates Charities sign much thought, even though it is an eyesore when looking towards the city. Now I want to take a chainsaw to it.

  3. pghboyinca says:

    This is just another example of an ownership group that has no clue. Pathetic and sad.

  4. aglebagel says:

    And now one of our main competitors for the Wild Card gets Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, Carlton Fisk, Ted Williams, and a partridge in a pear tree.

  5. aglebagel says:

    I’m sure that there will be a person or two on here that will have a problem with millionaire athletes complaining about having to do a charity event on a day off. They will cite folks who are forced to work seven days a week for years to scrape by, yada yada yada. And that can be a valid point, but…

    Having just finished up about six months on tour with a Broadway musical, I can actually sort of empathize with the players. We would frequently go a couple weeks without a day off, doing 8-9 shows a week, and it’s amazing how precious those days off become, despite how much you love your job. Days when we had no shows and no travel were literally referred to as “golden.” I remember a couple of occasions when we had last-minute promo engagements come up on those days and how much of a bummer it was for the cast.

    Going through every day knowing that that evening you will have to give 100% of your physical energy to performing a perfect show in front of thousands of people is surprisingly taxing.

    We were all “living the dream,” but at the end of a long stretch of shows, your body starts to break down and your brain switches to autopilot. Especially if you’ve already been on tour for months, as these Pirates have been.

    It was always amazing how much more energy you could feel on stage after a day off, and that’s exactly what the Pirates needed. It’s too bad they couldn’t get it.

  6. Dave says:

    Here is an idea. To the players complaining. Shut up and play. You’re in the middle of a playoff run and are playing like a team that’s 10+ games under .500 instead of 10+ games over .500. You’ve played like total garbage since late July and are on pace for 83 wins since I believe July 23rd or so. So instead of sulking and being angry about going to do a good dead, shut up and play the game and win some games because right now you and your teammates look completely terrible and every bit like the team that many Pirate fans expected to see lose 90+ games again this season.

  7. Chico says:

    @Dave — when’s the last time you worked 20 days straight?

  8. James says:

    Dejan, great work as always!

    You’re right to speak up for the players who (for obvious reasons) would be better off staying off record on this. You did a great job in this piece of delivering the information while at the same time walking that fine line of helping the reader understand the situation and its gravity while maintaining the players’ anonymities.

    Do you know how many of these 10 players that attended the charity event played in tonight’s game? Do you foresee the front office doing anything to try to make it up to these guys, especially since you’ve pushed it into the light with this piece?

    Lastly, I was at Monday’s and Tuesday’s games against the Padres; and the Pirates looked broken. They looked a little better on Tuesday, but were obviously still hurting. I can’t imagine not getting a day off after that. I just finished up a normal workweek and two Bucs games from the stands and I’m wiped. Your description of their plight at this charity event was so effective I started feeling even more exhausted just reading it.

    Your article is every reason why we’ve all missed your columns. Welcome back.

    DK: Thanks, James. Much appreciated.

    One player who participated in the shoot was in the starting lineup Friday. Wouldn’t really see that as relevant either way, even if had been all nine. I made no connection in the column between the trip and the loss last night. In fact, I filed it to our desk during the fourth inning when the score was 2-2.

    Rest over a long baseball season is a much more longer-term, cumulative issue than it is how so-and-so feels the next day.

  9. Inconsiderateness that rises to the level of a personality disorder.

  10. radio wave says:

    Posts 5 and 8 are great.
    When is the next off day?
    I know folks are upset about the possible Dodgers trade. But as a Sox fan, it’s time to get the cancer out of the locker room.

  11. Eric Bowser says:

    I am really glad to be leaving in an hour for Erie and won’t be checking my iPhone for scores of the Pirates game tonight because this organization doesn’t have the slightest clue how to conduct themselves.

    No one, not me, not those players, not DK are saying charity work isn’t important and the responsibility of everyone, not just celebrities, but for the Pirates to have planned this event knowing the 20 in 20, late flight from San Diego was a schedule released last year.

    We’re not talking about some surprising change in schedule, we’re talking a year in advance.

    The players should file a grievance with the player’s union, 20 days in a row after a long flight home. Maybe some of those guys wanted to spend a day to take care of their bills, spend time with family, do something that isn’t baseball.

    This tells me the Pirates Charities sign at PNC Park and the constant puff pieces by Root Sports and other media outlets on their charity effort is because the team and their public relations staff are more than likely forcing this information out there.

    The greatest charity isn’t one that I know about, the best charity is by the heart without pomp and circumstance!

  12. Milo Hamilton says:

    Once again, this coming from a front office that treated the 20 games in 20 days like it was The Bataan Death march. They should have been tired after constantly hearing about it & ridiculously adding a 6th starter etc..Neal Huntington even went so far to say on his show that the schedule makers didn’t do them any favors (by the way, they played 20 straight days leading into the break & you didn’t hear a peep from them then). Maybe as a gift to the community they should have stopped along the turnpike & picked up trash on the way home. “All in” alright.

  13. Eric Bowser says:

    @Milo – “All In” to make more money, not win the pennant.

  14. Eric Bowser says:

    and with that, I’m heading to Erie.

    Enjoy the day everyone.

  15. Milo Hamilton says:

    By the way, front office apologists always cite the fact the free agents just won’t come here in the off season no matter how much they are offered. I’m sure something like this will really help. What a low rent organization.

  16. Milo66 says:

    Wow DK. That was an interesting column. I sure see the same thing. An organization that has no idea how to handle itself in a playoff race. They are clueless at times. I cannot believe they actually had the players do this. Unacceptable on all levels. I’m sure the ball club will come out with some sort of spin to counter your column. I think all of us have a right to be upset on how this team has been run in just the last month. From the inexplicable decision Hurdle made by bringing in McCuthchen last week, to removing Wandy in the 7th to bring in Hughes. I’m a realist and I understand we were playing above our head for a couple months, but we actually have a shot this year. Albeit small, but we do have a shot. I’m 42 years old and I am old enough to have seen us win. I want that again so bad. I’m just afraid the powers to be don’t want it as bad as I do, and that is just wrong.

  17. bdubb says:

    Everyday with this management crew. Everyday something happens where the majority are confused. I just don’t see anyone in the front office who has true management skills.

    This front office got what they want. A summer with capacity crowds. Probably tons of merchandise sales. Huge TV ratings. And yet they don’t act like they are in a pennant race. They make trades for the future not this race. They don’t upgrade the bench. The stick with 3 SS on that pine. They play a C hitting .190 over a catcher who has more HR per atbats than everyone but 2 players. And now they have a charity event an hour away after taking late night flight from SD after 20 games in 20 days – for something that could easily be done in October. Or February. During their Caravans.

    I want to believe these guys when they say they want to win. I just don’t think they have the skills to do it. I know Nutting threw out there “best management team in all of baseball” but I feel they may be the worst in all of sports. Even the Clippers went out and made their team better this year

  18. Karen22 says:

    Just more proof that the world is completely upside-down. Beyond that, I am appalled and utterly speechless. Off to Cleveland to visit friends and family. Have a nice weekend, lunatics.

  19. sidelinespensfan says:

    This front office started losing the players at the trade deadline. While the players and the manager were “All In,” the GM decided to tinker with the line-up instead of going “All In” himself. This just gives the players more ammo to not want to play for this front office. I’m not saying they’re not trying, far from it, but a rift between players and the front office is going to have consequences.

  20. Nancy52 says:

    Why am I not surprised! Great work DK. Goes along with the infamous sign
    and the telecasts taken over by an auction. It’s obviously not about baseball!

  21. Patrick(RI) says:

    In the middle of a disastrous season, there is a bright light shining up here in Red Sox nation: Pedro Ciriaco. This AM headline is “rookie lifts sox to win.” From the article: Ciriaco continued his surprising hot hitting since being called up . . . He went 4 for 6 in a 14-13 loss on Thursday, his third four hit game, and went 2 for 4 on Friday night(with game winning double in the 7th).

    I have been beating this drum since last year when I thought he looked better than the alternatives who got most of bench play. The GM, presumably with the Mgr’s approval dumped him, for nada. If pusing tired players is dumb, this player evaluation is imbecilic, IMHO.

    Not to worry, as we can trot out Clement to join the strikeout parade.

  22. Drew71 says:

    I get the red meat nature of this incident.

    I get that there HAD to be a better way to handle a laudable attention to community service by the organization.

    I get that. It was, in baseball terms, a mental error.

    That said.

    This team had lost, what, 9 of 13 BEFORE PidgeonGate?

    It IS possible to say this was mishandled but that it is not an end-of-the-playoffs, um, Thunderous mistake. (There. I just did.)

    And for clarity. I am not speaking to anyone else’s writings or priorities.

    Just to mine.

  23. Thundercrack says:

    “In fairness, these 10 players were given a choice: They could participate in the shoot as scheduled or have it pushed back to Sept. 6. Because the latter would have been a true day off — with no travel — the players decided to just get it over with.”

    That says it all for me.

    It was a dumb move to have this event on Thursday. But if the players are so concerned about “being all in” and they realize “this is a pennant race”, then push the event back to September 6th,….or don’t complain about it and tell a reporter that you didn’t like what happened.

  24. JohninOshkosh says:

    I can hear the winter golf course banter now when Pirate players play with players from other teams:

    “Dude. Don’t come to Pittsburgh! You know what our (bleeping) owner made us do?”

    I echo Playoffs. Wow.

  25. LuckyNKentucky says:

    This was more than a column. It was the beat reporter in DK coming out. Excellent work.

    DK: Thanks, LNK.

  26. Leefoo says:

    We’ve been talking about this since Thursday on the PG Blog. Someone knew a Pirates’ employee who was talking about this.

    I agree, that this was ridiculous!!!!

    Just when Nutting starts to win you over, THIS happens!

    .

  27. Leefoo says:

    Thanks to DK’s “.500 is a lock”, we have now lost 11 of our last 15.

    Mr K….You JINXED us bigtime. Pls take it back!

    We’re gonna hit!!

    .

  28. Thundercrack says:

    Foo, I thought you left that blog?

  29. Leefoo says:

    We have now lost 11 of our last 15!!!

    Where’s the pills, razors and rope?

    .500 is NOT a lock!! This would be the cruelest or our 20 years.

    Second year in a row Hurdle has presided over a collapse. Coincidence??

    As I said when he was hired…..The man has only ONE frikking winning season. It may remain that way.

    .

  30. pattonbb says:

    Sorry friends, gotta say it –

    The players were given a choice. Nobody twisted their arms. They could do it now, or push it back to Sept. 6. Let’s not act like they were forced to go install a new roof on some houses or pour asphalt on their day off. They went to a charity skeet shoot. They hung out for a while with a bunch of guys that couldn’t stop telling them how great they were and how much they loved them. Holy Crap, the injustice!!

    Look, I’m not trying to get everyone fired up. I am in no way trying to defend the FO or come off as one of those so-called “apologists”. There’s no way these guys should have been asked to do this after a red-eye back. But at the end of it all, that’s what happened; they were asked. Given a choice.

    On the other side, this is a perfect example of the FO forgetting what their objective is. WE ARE IN A PENNANT RACE!!! Why wouldn’t this event be scheduled in the off season (as DK mentioned in his column)? How ridiculous. Neal Huntington continues to show that he has no idea how to prepare for or succeed in a playoff race.

    Dejan, One question about the article. What did the players do once thy arrived at Seven Springs? Sounds like they had several hours to kill before anything actually started.

    On a different note, has anyone taken a peek at that Pirates Fan Advisor site lately? Sounds like Dejan single handedly shut it down with a “flippant tweet”. Who knew twitter was so powerful?

  31. Drew71 says:

    Foo. 27 and 29.

    You’re not calling him Dejan Meals, are you?

    Are you??

  32. Thundercrack says:

    Foo
    #26

    Are you saying DK was scooped by the PG+ ?

  33. Yorker says:

    The rest of the world has to work on less than optimal sleep, and do things for their job that they may not want to do.

    Time to grow up and get over it. Much ado about nothing!

    These guys make much more than you and I ever will to play a game. Man up…

  34. Leefoo says:

    TC…A guy on the blog, Batavia scooped him. He just happened to be talking to a Pirates’ employee.

    ========

    Drew….Bucs seem to collapse after playing 19 inn games!

    =========

    pattonbb….In the article it said the prevailing article was:

    “We might as well GET IT OVER WITH”

    Doesn’t sound like happy campers to me. NUTTING should’ve excused them. And, I am a Nutting fan. He missed it on this one.

    =======

    I have flown home from the West Coast a few times. The LAST thing I want to do would be go to a charity skeet shoot. Sorry….jet lag sucks.

    .

  35. Arriba Wilver says:

    What I wanna know is, where was Kristy in all this?

  36. Thundercrack says:

    AW,
    It seems you have developed a “reflex”.

    Not a bad one….

  37. Thundercrack says:

    Again, it stinks that they had to go to this event.

    But it was 10 players. Not all 25.
    And flying from the West Coast does make you tired. But they had a chartered bus to drive them to Seven Springs. They didn’t have to drive up & back.

  38. Arriba Wilver says:

    There’s only one reason to have it at Seven Springs . . . Only. . .ONE. . .reason.

  39. Drew71 says:

    Jason’s in the woods waiting for them?

  40. bobhasis says:

    Milo, forgive me for the question, but are you involved with Don Rebel in any way? I think his coverage of high school football is great, especially when he has people (broadcasters) at various sites upon whom he calls for a detailed recap and stats immediately after the game and before TV is able to flash the score on a crawl.

    I envy you and I’m certain it is exciting for you.

  41. Leefoo says:

    “In the article it said the prevailing article was:”

    ????????????????????????

    Foo

    .

  42. Leefoo says:

    “But they had a chartered bus to drive them to Seven Springs. They didn’t have to drive up & back.”

    Oh boy….that makes ALL the difference!!!
    :) :)

  43. Milo Hamilton says:

    @bob

    I’m not involved with Don’s operation although we have crossed paths many times. His scoreboard show is invaluable on some long drives home. We’ve had games on local cable here in the Allegheny/Kiski Valley area since the mid 60′s. We show the games on a delayed basis sometime the following week. The coaches love it & the parents use the video to get their kids scholorships. It’s pretty much a community service, but it’s a whole lot of fun for us.

  44. bobhasis says:

    My two cents worth;

    The ego of ownership trying to continue the pomp and pageantry of benevolence, for the sake of charity – and – personal image of wondrous works performed.

    Don’t let a pennant race intrude or intervene.

    And Seven Springs as opposed to say Nemacolin – it had to be!

    And finally, it looks like two years in a row of futility for the Mgr. of the Year – in waiting.

  45. bobhasis says:

    Milo@42

    I see that your knowledge and involvement with high school football is a passion. When it’s in the blood, it’s there for a long time – like forever.

    When TJ would play at Laurel H, Uniontown, McGuffey those long rides home were always accompanied by Rebel’s scoreboard show. There is always a station in the vicinity that can be picked up which carries the show.

    I love it

  46. Thundercrack says:

    I’ll tell you what Foo, someday we’ll fly back from SD. You drive up and back to Seven Springs and I’ll sit in the back –sleeping. We’ll see if it makes a difference.

  47. Thundercrack says:

    I wonder what are reaction to this would be if we were 15 games under .500

  48. DemonDachshund says:

    It’s official… Some people would defend anything the FO does, no matter how ridiculous.

    My job is not nearly as physically demanding as baseball, but my company has a policy that no one is supposed to work more than 6 days in a week. On very rare occasion, that policy gets bent and I’ve been asked to work both days on a weekend to help meet a deadline. By the end of that 13 day stretch, I am always both physically and mentally fried. If someone asked me to go do a charity event on that sole day off instead of relaxing with my family, I might physically hurt them. You certainly would not want to hand me a gun at that event.

    Rest days are precious during crunch times. Being given the option to push the event a few weeks later doesn’t really help… You’re still making them sacrifice a rest day when they get too few.

  49. Drew71 says:

    “freaking losers. Shoulda driven them to Cleveland. And left them there.”

    Or something like that.

  50. DemonDachshund says:

    @TC -

    I’ll join in your experiment and go spend 6 hours relaxing with my family while you two drive up and back.

  51. Gamardo says:

    My heart is bleeding for the 10 millionaires or so who had to go to a resort and shake hands for a few hours after a charter flight, where I’m assuming they were sleeping.Please, just play baseball.

    How does this explain the other three weeks they’ve been sucking!!! Really, Dejan??? There are so many issues with this team right now and none of them are this one…quite the expose’.

  52. RobertoForever says:

    This is almost not worth commenting on.

    I wonder how much this really factored into what happens on the field. My guess, not one iota. But its fun to complain. I wonder if this gets mentioned if the players had actually performed on the field and won 5 straight. I wonder how this spins if the Pirates go on a winning streak and get back to holding a wildcard position.

    How about an article on why the Fort is struggling. Is it possible he has been over-exposed? How about the players who are contributing but are still somehow part of the early season negative meme. How about a full column about what is wrong with the MVP?

    Dejan, how many of the players offered up a check to buy their way out? And do you really think these charity events don’t go on any other team?

    And there are many people who work about 340 days a year or more. For alot less money. They would probably love to take a day off and get pampered for charity.

    History is being made. But let’s complain about a cowbell while the sellout crowd does the wave.

  53. JohninOshkosh says:

    @Arriba (#34):

    Give her a break. She probably had an audition that day.

  54. Arriba Wilver says:

    I rode on some buses in college. The one thing, and I told this to my about to go to college daughter a couple weeks ago, that I remember is that I was always more tired at the end of the trip than at the beginning. Whether I slept all the way or not. JMO

  55. techrat_77 says:

    A little common sense is in order. Giving time for charity is a good thing, but how much more would they raise if it were an opportunity with players from a playoff team after the season?

  56. Drew71 says:

    There’s too much overreaction on both sides of this for my taste.

    I think anyone who overreacts should be taken out back and beaten within an inch of their lives.

  57. Arriba Wilver says:

    OK, this was stupid to schedule after a 20 game stretch, and that stupidity (or if you prefer brain dead)is a little bit (a little bit) reduced by the choice to do it a different date (still within playoff race time for teams in a playoff race). But I was waiting for the “other teams do it too, probably” excuse (#51). An oldy that apparently never gets old, unless we are talking about the 27 MLB teams that have been in the postseason more recently than our Bucs.

  58. Thundercrack says:

    Look, I’ll say it again – I think it was a dumb move.

    I just flew from Vegas to SF on a Friday and then to back to Pgh on Sunday. And I was exhausted. But I also didn’t fly in a chartered plane. I had to run through the airport to change planes in Denver. And that brings me to my next point – I am not an athlete!
    (which will be taken into consideration when me, Foo, and Demon have our experiment :-)

    If you say to the players : “Come back during in the offseason” my guess is that you would hear grumbling about that too.

    DK is right to report this. But as he reported, the players (10!) had the option of changing the day. If you don’t want to change the day, then don’t go belly-aching to the reporter.

    Remember when there was the question as did Correia demand to be traded or say that he would like to be traded. DK’s response to me was that the player has the option of not saying anything.

  59. Thundercrack says:

    Drew,
    You’re right.

    (finally)

  60. JRay3 says:

    As I stated last night on the other thread, there are some management teams focused on winning, improving their teams chances in a pennant race and ours would have 40% of the team right off a cross country flight after 20 consecutive games go shoot clay pigeons.

    The players should be commended for not griping too loudly, but their point is valid, the team knew the schedule and there are far better times to hold an event like this. I don’t think the Yankees, Cardinals, Dodgers are pulling this sort of thing off.

    In any business the tone starts from the top and unfortunately other than a nifty speech each year in Bradenton by Mr. Nutting talking about all the right things, division titles, championships, accountability he fails miserably in backing it up. All talk no walk.

  61. Dave says:

    @ Chico

    Pay me 400k+ a year and I’ll work 30 days straight once a year(while getting a chance to view some of America’s finest cities for free), fly across country twice on my first day off and wrestle CM Punk for the WWE Championship that same day.

  62. JohninOshkosh says:

    Thunder:

    I have worked for several companies in my life and one constant has been employees privately complaining about doing charity work for the employer’s charitable causes. Whether it be payroll deductions or wearing the charity’s shirt on Friday, I have heard my share of complaints. You are spot on that the players had the option to say nothing about it to Dejan, but employee complaining is American as apple pie. Some folks just can’t resist.

  63. Drew71 says:

    Ok. For once I’ll make a serious comment. Just this once.

    It WAS stupid.

    The Pirates are 0-1 since PidgeonGate. So it is not the reason for their annual, well, you know.

    I believe in both those sentiments. If anybody argues with me just over one of them, they would be missing my perspective.

    When I try to add perspective to sports, which is admittedly hard (for me at least) to do when one is a fan(atic) or a column(ist), that is the perspective I come up with on this, and other secondary issues that I have a tendency to overthink and, well, get overwrought about.

    Or in my case, overwrite about.

  64. Thundercrack says:

    John,
    I am not saying the employees can’t complain- to each other. Everywhere I’ve worked I had lunch buddies that we got together and complained about our bosses and coworkers (you know who you are!), or what our company was doing. And there were many other groups of people who did the same thing. I’m not saying you can’t bitch.

    Personally, I always felt that if I was unhappy about something that I would say at the lunch table, I sure better be willing to mention it to my boss if I had the chance.

    The players should have complained to Clint, NH, or BN.

    I type this as I volunteer my time on a Saturday for my company. 2 hours.

  65. JohninOshkosh says:

    Thundercrack:

    Ha! I had to “volunteer” for a function last night. I would complain but who would listen?!

  66. Thundercrack says:

    JohninO
    Thanks for reminding me. I had a work function last night too!

  67. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    Just incredible!
    Whenever I have even an inkling of discontinuing my vendetta on the Nutting Regime…..
    They turn around and confirm it once again.

  68. Arriba Wilver says:

    I forgot the ” they get paid a lot of money” answer for everything.

    I’m glad you mentioned that they should have mentioned it to Clint, NH or BN (or FC),TC (how do we know they didn’t). Because it would be kind of surprising if not one of the Big Four didn’t at least have it cross their minds that maybe this wasn’t real good timing, and if it did, what they did about it. But I’m still trying to figure out how I get that big picture on my TV from that little cable. (I gave up trying to figure out how I got it from that wire thing once they went to cable).

  69. LuckyNKentucky says:

    I do “charity” work every day of the week, as does my wife. Our church doesn’t pay us a salary, but a gift each month. (There are 18 of us and that counts children). My wife spent the whole day yesterday driving an elderly lady around, while I was at work. But that’s a “calling” and not something after we took a “red-eye” flight from SD. We’re not forced to do it. We want to. I sure could use a day off, though and so could my wife.

    I still like the piece and I think it’s timely, especially since DK teased it on a tweet last night asking “Do the Pirates look tired?” Many posters last night said they looked uninterested and listless. Not good timing for that.

  70. Drew71 says:

    i find i enjoy life more when i’m tired and listless.

    But listless ones like me are, um, lucky (truly) to have people around who have that calling.

  71. RobertoForever says:

    I just spoke to the owner of the local pizza shop. He would love to have 1 day off every three weeks were someone pampered him for charity. And he works 12 hour days, not 6 hour days. With 16 hour weekend days.

  72. JoeBucco says:

    I think my initial reaction was anti-ownership on this one. But the more I think about it, you are still playing a game for a living. You are being paid a minimum of $480,000 a year. And you work from mid-February until October 1 (usually).

    So the guys signing your fat paychecks wants you to spend one day during the summer to help out some of his charity initiatives, and lets you decide which day that is among two different options.

    You know what? You do it. And you don’t complain about it one little bit.

    Thanks for not naming names DK. I think those guys would lose a ton of respect in my eyes.

    I don’t want to hear about how exhausted they are. I travel a lot for work. I sometimes have red eye flights that have me roll in only to go straight to the office. And you know what else? I don’t get to sleep in all day and get to work a few hours before game time. If these guys are concerned about rest, they get more of it than most of America. The extra sleep, daily massages, treatment, etc that pretty much no other normal person has access to? How can you ever get by. Suck it up, and do what you’re told.

  73. RobertoForever says:

    Btw, this will blow over, just like Lisa’s twitter war with Cutch. Or maybe this was written to distract from said war. Bread and circuses for everyone.

  74. JRay3 says:

    My mother in law runs a non-profit and both my wife and I volunteer throughout out the course of the year. I am in no way down playing the importance of giving back in whatever capacity a person is able. I think some of the Pirates initiatives are great.

    However that said there is a time and place for everything. This just does not seem to fit either. Did it affect performance I guess one will never “truly” know. But it does send a signal that winning may not be the top priority and for a team that has not done that in 20 years and has FINALLY gotten into this position that is a shame.

    It also is disappointing to read that “in a year that history is being made”, I ask what history? The fact that we may finish above .500 for the first time in decade(s)? That is not the type of history I want to be making. History being made is being remembered for being a champion anything less is falling short.

  75. Arriba Wilver says:

    Ah, just tell Bob the inherited billionaire to donate the $100,000 and leave the pampered hired help alone.

  76. James says:

    I disagree with the sentiment that it was all okay because the players had a choice. Judging from Dejan’s article, this probably wasn’t any more of a “choice” than what Americans are faced with on “Election Day.”

    Seriously, when was the last time your boss “asked” you to do something – especially for charity at his own signature event – and you told him “Nah, I’m just gonna buy my way out of this one and bail!”? When was the last time you were “asked” to do something by your boss and you told him to go scrap the whole thing or even “push it back?” And did you do it right around the time your team needed you most, when scuffles with the leadership were about the last thing they needed in its place, and when total focus with minimal distractions was of the utmost importance?

    Look, guys, the players have enough problems as it is just dealing with us yinzer fans! To ask them to butt heads with the front office or to even put them in the difficult position of being seen as displeased with their decisions is simply not fair. The front office should not have asked. Period. Too many of these guys have way too big of hearts to turn something like this down. And I’m not going to burn those players for failing to organize a mutiny so that we won’t be disappointed during tonight’s game.

    And I see a lot of people commenting that, “Oh, I’ll gladly trade with the millionaires and I’ll work a Stalinist’s five years before I need a day off and….etc. etc.”

    I think you’re missing the point. Whatever it is you do at your own job and however capable you are at doing it over long stretches, it’s not relevant. You don’t play professional baseball. And even if you were willing to trade places with those who do, remember that implies you’re being asked to compete against OTHER professional baseball players. Good luck following through with a bold marathon of a work schedule and then managing to MATCH the performance of those teams whose schedules aren’t this grueling.

    THAT’S what the players are trying to tell you. They’re not complaining that woe-is-them because they had to do this. They’re complaining that (given the circumstances) asking them to do this and expecting them to perform at a major league level the next day is practically a paradox. You can’t have both.

    And Dejan is right to be their voice on a topic like this. The dynamics of team camaraderie and management pressure simply don’t allow for them to speak up without repercussions (and right about now, in this critically-sensitive time in their season, making waves with the FO is probably MORE of a hassle for them than just biting the bullet like they did and attending, sadly). That’s Dejan’s job. That’s where WE all should come in.

    And Dejan’s not TRYING to explain why the guys have been struggling lately. He’s written plenty of columns on such topics (and rest assured there’ll be more, be patient). And the length of that 20-game stretch and the miles travelled should be explanation enough for us fans right about now.

    The bottom line is, whatever happened over those 20-games, it’s over. But the sweep in SD should’ve signified a definite need for a TURNING POINT. You had a home crowd, a day off, and we were all looking for a new resolve. This game was supposed to see our Bucs putting their best foot forward and saying, “this season isn’t over yet.” For the players who were asked to attend this event, that bread was taken right out of their mouths. And as for the argument that “not all the starting lineup was there” and “this wasn’t THAT big of a deal,” I’m sorry, but I believe the Bucs lost this game by a single run. And this particular game’s importance to the psyche of this team and its fans and finishing up strong is obvious. Now, they’re even more mentally/emotionally drained. You don’t have to feel bad for them. But have fun watching them perform on a lower level now.

    Oh, and all the millions of dollars in the world isn’t going to make them play any better.

  77. Dave says:

    Let’s not forget they had the option to either use the date DK listed or a date earlier in the season. With the exception of the new acquisitions the ones who were on the team the entire season have no one to blame but themselves for this charity gig.

  78. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    This article is great DK, as usual.

    This priority, is a joke. I’m all for the major clubs giving back to the community. Its a good touch and I thank the Pirates org. for it.

    However, YOU’RE IN THE MIDDLE OF A PLAYOFF RUN!

    The priority right now, is making the playoffs.

    They obviously don’t understand what that is.

  79. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    So, I have a question for the blog. (I asked DK on twitter, but he might’ve actually been sleeping, who knew?)

    If this team falls like it did last year after the 19 inning debacle, who’s to blame?

    a. Manager and coaches
    b. players
    c. GM
    d. All of the above does not count.

    MY pick, is the a. It is the manager and coaches jobs to prepar the team for these situations. Yes, the players have to perform, but a lot of that comes from the coaches preperation and management of the team.

    I have been an avid CH support/fan since he got here. Lately it seems he’s been asking JR for advice. I don’t get it.

  80. scapper says:

    “The New STFD”

    “Hey A.J.,what did you do on your big day off?”

    “STFD.” (Shot Ten Fake Ducks)

    Un. Freaking. Believable.

  81. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    And on that note……….I’m heading north to poedunk CA for a football game.

    Hope the Bucs actually do something, but its the Brewers, so that means Ryan Braun gets at least 3 hits, one of which will be a homer.

    Let’s Go Bucs!

  82. Frustratedfan says:

    Seems to me that this is less about a charity event and more about a marketing event for Seven Springs.

  83. Thundercrack says:

    I didn’t see the game last night, so I can’t say that it looked like the players were tired or not. And I didn’t follow DK on twitter last night either.

    But the author of “Pirates Misfire on Priorities” tweeted “Do the Pirates look tired?” the night before the article comes out……….

    #conspiracyreflex :-)

    And my guess is that he is sitting back, reading this blog, and laughing his butt off at the reaction.

  84. Gamardo says:

    Bottom line: This is not column worthy and is much ado about absolutely nothing. Dejan must have been short on substantive fodder. No Pulitzer for this investigative “gem.”

  85. bobhasis says:

    Ryan@#78

    I’m going to give you my Jim Mora impression; Playoff run? Playoffs? Are you insane? We have a pigeon shoot to do. Playoff run?
    You need to imagine the quizzical look on Mora’s face to get full impact – such as it is!

  86. Thundercrack says:

    AW
    (#68)
    We don’t know if the players complained/mentioned it to one of The Big 4.

    But it seems like a logical question for the reporter to ask. And I would bet that if DK asked it and got an answer, he would have included it in the story.

    ———————————————————————
    Regarding these sentiments that the players couldn’t say no to the owner’s ‘request’ to attend the charity event….is it written in their contracts that they are required?

    I can’t see the players fearing Bob Nutting.
    The players are in a union. If it really bothered them so much, have the stones to say “I’m tired, I am going home to rest on the off day. I am not attending this event. If you don’t like it contact the head of my union”.

  87. James says:

    @Thundercrack

    You wrote:
    “I can’t see the players fearing Bob Nutting.
    The players are in a union. If it really bothered them so much, have the stones to say “I’m tired, I am going home to rest on the off day. I am not attending this event. If you don’t like it contact the head of my union”.”

    Maybe. It’s a fair assessment and you bring up a very good point. Judging from what Dejan wrote (if it is to be believed), I still think they felt obligated. Maybe he can shed some more light on that, because I think it’s a serious point of contention in discussing this issue. If you are correct, then it might suggest an even wider range of individuals (including players) with mismanaged priorities. I still believe this impacted the players involved because of the incredibly high demands of their physical performance and the need for adequate rest. I hope they put it behind them, though, and turn things around tonight. Cheers.

  88. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Good one, bob! #84. Looks like you got your sense of humor back, not that it was missing or anything after these last few games.

    And James, enjoyed your books (posts). Very well said.

  89. Arriba Wilver says:

    TC–to be honest, if any player did what you suggest, and it was reported, what would be the reaction here, including from you? It actually crossed my mind that they didn’t file a grievance because they were in a playoff race.

    These guys, from what I know, do plenty of charity work on their own, like going to visit kids in the Cancer Ward at Children’s. It’s not like the events forced on them by Nutting are the only things they do. Heck, Ben Rothliesberger does charity work. Sounds a lot more important than shooting pigeons at the boss’s plantation, er, business.

  90. Arriba Wilver says:

    clay pigeons, to be accurate

  91. James says:

    @LuckyNKentucky

    Thanks! And cheers.

  92. Chuck H says:

    It’s no wonder that the Pirates can’t get the players they want, like “fancypants” Beltran,
    and Hunter Pence, to name a couple, Those better players don’t want to play for
    perennial losers such as the Pirates. Even if the Bucs do get a player from the minors that has promise, they will, in time, bring him down to the level of the rest of the Pirates, which is to say, he will strike out a lot or hit into many DPs, as what happened to Alex Pressley. They ruined him and sent him back to the minors, and probably broke his spirit and love for the game. I say, replace the people who are in charge of running this team, and we will see better results from the players.

  93. Drew71 says:

    Nutting Whiplash, the Evil Charity Monger.

    Tying Miss Neal Fenwick to the train tracks, no doubt.

    But here comes Dudley Do-jan to the rescue!

    Alright. Too Weird. Even for me. And really out of date.

    But too bad DD’s horse wasn’t named Thunder.

    That would be PERFECT.

  94. Nancy52 says:

    Wow!! Lots of interesting opinions. My only question:
    Who was the bozo who scheduled this in the first place for that date?
    I guess someone who didn’t think they’d be in a pennant race this late
    in August. I’d want to get it over with too to have a “real” day off.

  95. Arriba Wilver says:

    Just speaking for myself, Drew, my comments about Nutting are not in response to the charity event, but to keep it in perspective when talking about the rich, pampered players.

  96. Thundercrack says:

    AW,
    I am not following you completely (#88)

    My earlier comment was in reply to some that may have suggested that yes the players had the option of changing the date of the event, but they didn’t want to do that because they didn’t want to make the boss mad. If the TEN players were so upset, they should have decided to move the event to the other date.

    If the players were not contractually obligated to attend – I wouldn’t have had a problem with them saying “bring it up with my union” —because it was an off day after such a long flight and road trip.

  97. Drew71 says:

    What. You thought I was making serious commentary?

    I was simply enjoying the image of Dudley Do-jan riding Thunder.

 
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