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Wakeup Call: S. Crosby, 87 Main St., Pittsburgh, PA

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Brief and to the Point …

>> The Wednesday column recounts my visit with Sidney Crosby. Pretty sure I don’t have to say a lot more than that.

>> But if I do, here’s a little extra I set aside for the blog …

Crosby has spoken to me often about his passion for Pittsburgh, but there’s talk and there’s walk: He’s building a house right now in the suburbs and, from the sound of it, it isn’t exactly a tent community.

When I asked what he’s doing with his days during this lockout, Sid replied: “I’ve actually been really busy. I’m building a house here, and that’s been a lot of work. It’s something I’ve never done before. It’s been fun.”

So, I asked, between that and the mega-zillion contract he just signed, does he feel like a true Pittsburgher?

“This city has been awesome to me from the day I set foot inside the airport terminal here,” he said. “It’s been a lot of fun. I think that the pure fact that it’s as big of a sports town as it is, as competitive as I am, I want to play somewhere where people really care and really take the team to heart. That’s something, as an athlete, that every guy wants. If you don’t want that, then I don’t know where you want to play.”

>> Here’s a bit of video from our talk …

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHndxe1D9F8

>> What a refreshing change of pace that was from the other garbage I’ve been covering most of the past few days. I can’t say that strongly enough. And I don’t care in the slightest if that comes across in the column. I’m always going to write with what I hope is a measured emotion, and I hope that can be respected even when our viewpoints differ.

>> The Pirates have now made multiple references on recent radio appearances — the latest from team broadcaster Greg Brown yesterday — suggesting that, if Neal Huntington is fired, the next GM will institute “another five-year plan.”

This is unfounded to the extreme.

There has been no indication from the top of another rebuild, and it’s insanity to think that any new GM would do that given the age group, years of control, two big pitching prospects, and other factors.

If a new GM is brought in, he’d have to be certifiable to do a wholesale rebuild. It’s not going to happen. What that GM would need to do is to not waste tens of millions of dollars in trying to finish the product. Huntington’s greatest shortcoming has been an inability to acquire major-league talent from the outside. Beyond that, it’s a lack of depth resulting from poor drafts and/or development.

All this other stuff is orchestrated distraction. And nonsense.

>> Here’s the radio show podcast from yesterday. My special thanks to Jack Wilson, who announced his retirement on the show, completely unbeknownst to me in advance. (As you can tell from my lack of a follow-up question. Hey, I’m new.)

119 Comments

  1. Good to have some real hockey talk and maybe try to move on from last spring’s playoffs.

    Funny how a “five-year plan” has been brought up by the Pirates, considering they never admitted they were ever aiming for a five-year rebuild in the first place. The terminology they once avoided is now being used as a tool. Ah, PR!

    DK: That’s an excellent point, Matt.

  2. If they are serious about having to implement another five-year plan, then firing him is the only option. Is that not admitting that things are so broken that it would take a complete do-over for someone to come in?

    Only this regime could try and hold a city hostage by using the uncertainty of a new GM as an excuse to retain an incompetent one.

    DK: You might want to read that entry again, PGH.

  3. @pghboyinca

    NH said that the team was only a few pieces away from being a playoff team, which I took as a tacit admission that he screwed the pooch at this year’s trade deadline. Quite frankly, I don’t trust him to acquire those pieces this off-season, either, based on the BMTIB’s past inability to acquire major-league talent and what many have said to be its tendency to overvalue the organization’s own prospects.

    DK: And yet, there’s this endless outcry about Bob Nutting spending more. If I pay $20 for someone to cut my lawn and they end up pouring gasoline and setting it ablaze, I’d at least think twice about paying $30 the next time.

  4. Talk about a straw man. Either Brown was in babble mode or was sent forth to create a bogeyman that would cause whomever to think twice about firing him. It all seems like a lobbying effort by Huntington to preserve his position, going on since Nutting expressed disappointment several weeks ago. Clearly, no assurances have been given, so he is using the airwaves and surrogates to make his case in the hope of staying on.

    DK: Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes and yes.

    Did I miss a yes?

  5. With the elimination number now one, tonight, in all probability, the Pirates will be officially eliminated from playoff contention. In the process, the Pirates will set a franchise record for longest drought between National League Pennants. Old record: 33 years between 1927-1960. New record: 1979-?.

  6. The franchise record of 35 years between World Series Championships (1925-1960) is still intact until 2014 at least.

    Hoka Hey!

  7. Agree on wasting Pirate millions on garbage. Quit signing multiple stop gaps and sign ONE legitimate top of the line bat.

  8. Here’s your link for 2013 Free Agency, in case anyone wants to go shopping for corner outfielders with me.

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2011/04/2013-mlb-free-agents.html

    Oh heeyyyy look there it’s Melky Cabrera…bet he’ll come cheap…

  9. Dejan, I will not argue the point. I’ll reverse it.

    If a GM of a low revenue, undercapitalized team gets both wrong,
    1) an inability to acquire MLB talent despite spending tens of millions, or
    2) an inability to draft and/or develop,

    Well. My Number Two is Number One.

    One addresses short term needs, a stop gap, a final piece thing which might be more easily remedied by hiring better talent evaluators. Easier because it does not also involve development. Easier because it takes a few hundred thou more in salaries for management rather than millions more on players.

    Two addresses more than depth. And with the inherent years of control, so much more important to a low revenue team, it is a much more long term issue. It is the pipeline rather than the stop gap.

    If it is the GM of a team such as the Yankees, or Red Sox, or Phillies, or Angels, or etc, sure, your order is exactly right. Shorter term is everything when you can buy out your mistakes.

    But not the Royals and Pirates. Draft and development is what they HAVE to get right. Or by definition you are ALWAYS in the midst of a Five Year Plan.

    So there. (I can’t say that strongly enough. And I don’t care in the slightest if that comes across in the post. Ok. Maybe a little.)

    - Measured Emotional Drew

  10. For those who want to roast Greg Brown’s chestnuts, I suggest that they go to The Fan’s website and listen to his interview from yesterday. I just did.

    I think he is just stating his opinion. He thinks that when you hire a new GM they USUALLY make wholesale changes.

    Greg Brown my be really good friends with NH. He may not want to see him lose his job. He may even really belief that if they hire a new GM it could take another 3-5 years to be competitive (which he says in the interview). They are his thoughts and he is stating them. I just have a hard time that it is orchestrated. I would need some proof. Maybe an internal email.

    DK: Exact same topic on GM’s show Sunday.

  11. Greg Brown did state that even though he hasn’t researched it , he think a new GM makes changes-because that is what they were hired to do, and it will take that team 3-5 years to be good. He said there probably is a rare occasion where that isn’t the case.

    I would point him to the Baltimore Orioles.

  12. Last season, I supported an extension for the GM. There. I said it.

    But i SCREAMED when he received a Papa Doc DuHuntington GM For Life contract. (too remote?)

    This season, it’s results and turmoil, is exactly why I didn’t want that LONG of an extension.

  13. Ahhhh..hockey talk! Loved the column. Sid DOES look great…and ready to go. Now if only the powers-that-be would get their acts together. Drop the puck already!

  14. JAL’s Ghosts That Haunt Me Now Morning Links

    GENERAL DAILY UPDATED BASEBALL SITES

    1- MLB Transactions

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/pittsburgh_pirates/

    3 Go Buccos- Pirate News (from external sources)

    http://gobuccos.com/pittsburgh-pirate-news/

    BLOGS and such

    4—Pirates Prospects

    Pirates Notebook: Rodriguez Settles; Club Makes History in Homers and Strikeouts

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2012/09/pirates-notebook-rodriguez-settles-club-makes-history-in-homers-and-strikeouts.html

    First Pitch: Some Perspective on Prospect Rankings

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2012/09/first-pitch-some-perspective-on-prospect-rankings.html

    Pirates Place Four in GCL Top 20 Prospects

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2012/09/pirates-place-four-in-gcl-top-20-prospects.html

    5 Bucs Dugout

    Pirates defeat Mets, 10-6

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2012/9/25/3409566/pirates-defeat-mets-10-6

    6 Rumbunter

    Wait, the Pittsburgh Pirates Really Do Have Talented Players?

    http://rumbunter.com/2012/09/25/wait-the-pittsburgh-pirates-really-do-have-talented-players/

    7 McEffect

    The Predictability of Playoff Baseball

    http://www.mceffect.com/2012/09/the-predictability-of-playoff-baseball.html

    8 The Green Weenie

    Bucs Start Fast, End Fast For 10-6 Win

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2012/09/bucs-start-fast-end-fast-for-10-6-win.html

    9 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Bucs Blast Past Mets

    http://raisethejollyroger.com/2012/09/bucs-blast-past-mets/

    WHY GAVS/b>

    Game 154: Pirates 10 Mets 6

    http://www.whygavs.com/pittsburgh-pirates/august-2012/game-154-pirates-10-mets-6.html

  15. NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 CBS Sports

    Pirates-Mets Game Preview

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/gametracker/preview/MLB_20120926_PIT@NYM/piratesmets-preview

    12 NBC Sports

    Jack Wilson is retiring after 12 seasons in the majors

    http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/09/25/jack-wilson-is-retiring-after-12-seasons-in-the-majors/

    13 Chicago Tribune

    Pirates Report

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/sns-rt-bbo-pirates-teamreportmtze89pvmk0tn-20120925,0,3602232.story

    14 Wall Street Journal

    Citi Field: Quieter Than a Toaster

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444180004578018684043578310.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

    15 SportsNet

    Snider Saga Part 1: Clashes with Cito

    http://www.sportsnet.ca/baseball/2012/09/25/travis_snider_saga_clashes_with_cito_gaston/

    16 Sporting News

    MVP races: No shortage of candidates after favorites in each league

    http://aol.sportingnews.com/mlb/story/2012-09-25/mvp-races-mike-trout-miguel-cabrera-ryan-braun-buster-posey-derek-jeter

    17 New York Times

    Despite Second-Half Slump, Wright Equals a Milestone

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/26/sports/baseball/mets-david-wright-enduring-second-half-slump.html?ref=baseball&_r=moc.semityn.www

    SPORTS WEBSITES

    18 PBC Site

    Pirates ride early outburst to victory over Mets

    http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2012_09_25_pitmlb_nynmlb_1&mode=recap&c_id=pit

    Walker’s slump coincides with Pirates’ swoon

    http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20120925&content_id=39007748&notebook_id=39007750&vkey=notebook_pit&c_id=pit

    19 Baseball Prospectus

    What You Need to Know

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=18454

    20 Fangraphs

    The Story of the Only Triple That Was

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/the-story-of-the-only-triple-that-was/

  16. Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Steelers Vs. Raiders Rewind: Notes from the First Half

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2012/9/24/3381648/steelers-raiders-game-week-3-stats-analysis

    Steelers Vs. Raiders Rewind: Notes From Second Half

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2012/9/24/3383232/steelers-vs-raiders-rewind-notes-analysis-stats

    22 Steelers Depot

    - Roethlisberger Clarifies Old Playbook Comments

    http://www.steelersdepot.com/2012/09/roethlisberger-clarifies-old-playbook-comments-made-after-raiders-game/

    23 Steelers Gab

    Mike Tomlin’s Post Game Comments After the Raiders Loss

    http://www.steelersgab.com/2012/09/23/mike-tomlins-post-game-comments-after-the-raiders-loss/

    24 Nice Pick Cower

    Steelers Chalk Talk: West Coast Style Offense Will Add To Struggles

    http://nicepickcowher.com/2012/09/24/steelers-chalk-talk-west-coast-style-offense-will-add-to-struggles/

    Pitt Blogs

    25 Pitt Blather

    Final Gardner-Webb Thoughts

    http://www.pittblather.com/2012/09/25/final-gardner-webb-thoughts/

    26 Cardiac Hill

    Cincinnati’s Mick Cronin Has Interesting Perspective On Pitt & Syracuse Leaving Big East

    http://www.cardiachill.com/2012/9/24/3379920/big-east-expansion-mick-cronin-cincinnati-pitt-syracuse-basketball-orange-pittsburgh-panthers

    WVU Blogs

    27 Metro News

    Eavesdropping on Big 12 Coaches

    http://www.wvmetronews.com/wvu.cfm?func=displayfullstory&storyid=55192

    28 WV Illustrated

    Baylor Game Information

    http://www.wvillustrated.com/story/19634169/baylor-game-information

    Soccer(football)

    29 Sky Sports

    Manchester United captain Nemanja Vidic out for eight weeks due to knee injury

    http://www1.skysports.com/football/news/11667/8108998/Manchester-United-captain-Nemanja-Vidic-is-set-to-be-out-for-eight-weeks-following-knee-surgery

    30 Daily Telegraph

    John Terry’s retirement leaves a void in the England defence that will be difficult for Roy Hodgson to fill

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/england/9564076/John-Terrys-retirement-leaves-a-void-in-the-England-defence-that-will-be-difficult-for-Roy-Hodgson-to-fill.html

    31 World Soccer Daily

    World Soccer Daily: 10 stories you need to read, 25th September, 2012

    http://www.worldsoccer.com/247/world-soccer-daily-10-stories-you-need-to-read-25th-september-2012

    PENGUIN BLOGS

    32 Pensburgh

    Insuring Sid: Why it’s Unlikely (but not Impossible) Sidney Crosby will play during the NHL lockout

    http://www.pensburgh.com/2012/9/24/3383794/where-willsidney-crosby-play-during-nhl-lockout

  17. Ghosts That Haunt Me Now Crash Test Dummies 1991, Canadian Band that had commercial success in the 1990s. Still perform and a new album said to be in the works.

  18. Glad to see Jack coming to the games this weekend. Something to cheer about!

  19. Yesterday, on his podcast, Keith Law talked about how attractive the Pirates GM job would be because the minor league system is not barren and there are no big money contracts to weigh you down at the Major League level. Sounds to me like the antithesis of a five-year plan.

  20. Noel, good info. Thanks for passing that along. I am going to check out that podcast.

    There might not be any big money contracts weighing down the major league level, but the level of investment in the payroll at the big league level really isn’t there yet either.

  21. I’m missing the motive here.

    Why exactly is Greg Brown stumping for Neal Huntington when his boss clearly isn’t happy with Neal?

    I agree that the 5-yr plan talk is bologna, but the same comment has been thrown around on this blog by multiple people. Let’s just say they weren’t exactly huge fans of the current GM.

  22. Or …. early next week, I meant.

  23. Dejan,

    Can you give any word on the handling of Jeff Karstens?

    You questioned it last week, but left it open for interpretation. Have you asked around since then?

  24. Thank you for the hockey talk. As Jandy said, drop the puck already.

  25. From the First Pitch articel, # 4…

    “the Pirates have a lot of talent in their system, which seems to be the growing consensus from national prospect experts.”

    Sure hope our ‘new’ GM that everyone wants can do better than our current one!

    =============

    Not sure if Greg Brown is stumping more for NH or Dejan is stumping more for his dismissal. It appears neck and neck to me!

    Foo

    DK: Ever notice all your reference points are from the same place with the same theme with the same level of embarrassment that all these stories have come out about the one thing they’re supposed to be writing about without any of them being remotely aware?

    Also, Foo, I’m not in a stump position. I don’t work for the Pirates, and my employer couldn’t care less who’s GM of the Pirates.

  26. DK, I read your blog and column ever day. It’s true, although I don’t always agree with you, I respect your opinion and really enjoy your writing.

    Here’s an example, when you first brought up the SEALS training I disagreed that it was a big deal. I thought it might build teamwork and commitment. I didn’t post anything on here because I didn’t want to become a “drive by negative poster” I often see here. When you broke the story with the Hells Angel email from Stark then it all made sense. “Oh.My.God.” is all I could think. Where is the leadership in this organization? The fact that people are leaking emails shows that their people aren’t fully on board with its current direction. Thank you for your passion, it is really appreciated.

    If anything, NH should be fired for lack of leadership. It’s one thing to argue certain trade deadline deals, draft picks, etc. But, if the entire organization isn’t all matching in one direction, then that’s lack of leadership. And how could they march in the direction mentioned in Stark’s email? NH deserves to be fired. DK, please get the other 4 emails.

  27. Excellent info, Noel. And I would have to agree with Law – the job would be a good one for the reasons stated, plus The Streak most likely be broken under the next GM (if there is one).

  28. Foo, my condolences to you and your family.

    HUGZ!

  29. Jandy…thx….how’re you feeling?

    Foo

    .

  30. As a defender of Huntington, I am waiting for DK to come out and predict his dismissal!
    :) :) :)

    Foo

    .

  31. Interested in hearing who the small clique of cheapskate owners are? And more on why you are hearing the lockout won’t last past October?

  32. Wait, Keith Law said the Pirates minor leagues are not barren and would be attractive to a new GM, but NH has done a terrible job?

    Last week NH’s biggest failure is lack of depth, but now its failure to find the finishing pieces.

    I need a dashboard to keep track of the changing complaints.

    If folks really think that Greg Brown’s comments are orchestrated rather than just his thoughts, I have some alien artifacts from Area 51 to sell you.

    Here’s hoping Jeff can get his first career W tonight @Citi. Wonder how many friends/relatives make the trip down from NH?

    DK: The depth could BE the finishing pieces. These aren’t remotely separate arguments. The depth also can be talent from the outside. In the case of the 2012 Pirates, it obviously was neither.

    See below for Area 51 …

  33. From Buster Olney:
    MVP Vote ( he doesn’t have one, but…)
    1. Posey
    2. Braun
    3. Molina
    4. McCutchen

    MV Foo

    .

  34. RF #32…….EXACTLY!!!!

    As I posted yesterday, the LARGEST reason for the collapse is JMac’s inexplicable collapse! There was a swing of 10-14 games!

    Foo

    .

  35. Brown is simply out of things to say…who could blame him?

    Last night there was discussion regarding roster expansion the entire time I was tuned in…it’s almost as if the collapse has been so unreal that it needs to be tied to something in everyone’s mind.

    The real thing that roster expansions do is expose the lack of depth that will define the end of the 2012 season…the potential exists for (3) 30 HR guys on this club…that alone is intriguing. Love your enthusiasm Brownie but please stop with the rebuild talk. Re-eval maybe, but not a rebuild.

    With solid pitching supposedly in development and at least (2) meaningful free agent signings, suddenly Snider and Tabata off the bench don’t seem so bad? Who cares anyhow. it was fun while it lasted.

  36. Uh-oh, Leefoo! You are throwing J-Mac under the bus.

    You must be part of the orchestration! What is your ip address? Is it from Federal St? Did you just start posting here when DK started stumping for firings?

    Hilarious.

  37. One other note about the “orchestration”.

    If the Pirates are so aligned that they are orchestrating Greg Brown’s comments, and NH’s, and Clint’s, then the orchestration is coming from the top.

    And that means Mr. Nutting will not be making changes that are being stumped for here. So folks better hope that this is coincidental and not orchestrated, if they hope for change.

  38. I didn’t see (hear) that their discussion last night regarding roster expansion was tied to the collapse. I thought they were just discussing/debating the merits and history of roster expansion at the end of the season.

  39. Roberto,
    I don’t believe there is an ‘orchestration’, but if there one I don’t think it has to come from the top. NH could have stated his case – and talking points – to people like Clint and Brownie. Those people may like NH and/or don’t want him to get fired so they adopt the same talking points as their own.

  40. Hi everyone, newbie here,

    To suggest that the collapse of the Pirates is McDonald’s fault is pure folly. Sure he is a part of it…along with management’s failure to realize this and not pull him from the rotation. Also a myriad of other things.

  41. Drew in #12–

    If NH is Papa Doc DuHuntington, does that Kyle Stark the equally vicious, tyrannical Baby Doc DuStark? Or does he have to be Baby Doc DuHuntington?

    I can’t keep track of all these dicatators…

  42. “The Pirates have now made multiple references on recent radio appearances — the latest from team broadcaster Greg Brown yesterday — suggesting that, if Neal Huntington is fired, the next GM will institute ‘another five-year plan.’”

    Who are the other guys from the Pirates who have referenced the five year plan? Yesterday it was Greg Brown (which viewpoint I criticized), and before that, as far as I know, it was also Greg Brown (which viewpoint I criticized), on Neal’s Sunday show. Who else said it? Greg counts as one in my book no matter how many times he said it. I know there were references yesterday to blaming JMac for the collapse (which viewpoint I also criticized), but that’s not the same as saying a new GM will institute another five year plan. I’d just like to know who else besides Greg said it?

    There was one Pirate exec who I did hear disagree with the idea that a new GM would have to institute a new five year plan. That was Neal Huntington Sunday.

  43. I don’t think there is a single obscure reference that SeanAY doesn’t nail. Always fun to have you drop in!

  44. I’m looking around the diamond trying to figure where they could improve next season and the only two spots that immediately come to mind are at SS and catcher. I’d keep McKenry because I think he can be a productive part of a platoon at catcher, but I think they’ll look for a replacement for Barajas because he’s been a bit of a disappointment offensively. Same for SS, because I think there’s some young guys sitting on the bench who could do more than Barmes has done with the bat.

  45. AW….IF JMac had pitched CLOSE to his first half self, we’d be over 81 wins by now.

    Foo

    .

  46. Foo, doc has no idea why I am coughing like this. Did an X-ray yesterday, am on my THIRD anti-biotic. Plus on medicine for reflux (!?!?!) as doc days that can cause a cough. If nothing works he is to send me to a lung specialist. So I am jsut going with it for now. And still coughing…UGH!

  47. Pinning the Collapse II on any ONE player is out of line. IF pigs could fly, we’d have a lot of pigchit on our heads, ya know.

  48. #34–keep repeating it, Foo, maybe people will buy it. Like I said yesterday, the 10-14 game swing accounting for the collapse is as big a nonsense as the 5 year plan.

  49. Foo–On July 8, at the All Star break we were 11 games over .500. On August 8, we were 16 games over .500.

  50. Here’s an innovative idea for pitching Wandy Rodriguez…

    Start Joel Hanrahan, let him pitch the first inning only. That’s a fairly certain (normally) 3 outs.

    Bring Wandy in for the second, let him finish the game. Problem solved. Pirates win 1-0.

    If nothing else, the mass confusion should keep the other team at bay for 9 innings.

  51. Jandy/AW…pinning the collapse on NH or Hurdle is JUST as out of line?

    From July 24th on, we lost 9 out of JMac’s last 11 starts….For a couple of weeks we survived his collapse, and then once Karstys got hurt, etc, it became a domino-like effect on our rotation, bullpen, etc.

    If we win just THREE of those 9 games where he was AWFUL, we are 79-75. Also, if we’re not using up the ‘pen in his games, who knows what positive effect it would’ve had elsewhere.

    JMHO….

  52. Jandy….I HATE coughs….get well soon….

    .

  53. AW…btw, did NH ever announce he had a 5 year plan? I rarely listen to podcasts, so he may have said it on the air, but I’ve never seen it in print.

    5 year Foo

    .

  54. Foo, I also heard the NH Show on Sunday and I didn’t hear him mention “another 5 year plan”.

    I agree about JMac being one of the reasons for the Collapse – we expected more wins from him based upon his first half, and that his poos starts blew up the bullpen and there may have been a ripple effect with that.

    But I’m not sure he is largest reason. I am not sure there is a ‘largest’ reason….just a lot of different reasons

  55. Andy Williams has died. I think it only fair that the Osmond brothers be pall bearers since he carried them for so many years.

    R.I.P.

  56. TC…thanks for the support. I KNEW I never shoulda carried Arriba’s pizza for him! He’s a frikkin’ bum!!!!
    :) :) :)

    Delivery Boy Foo

    .

  57. “I would point him to the Baltimore Orioles.”

    And the Diamonbacks. After losing 93 in 2010, Kevin Towers was hire to be the GM in September 2010 and the Diamonbacks went to the playoffs in 2011 winning 94 that year.

    Btw, no starter that year hit higher than .292 and they were 4th in NL in runs per game and right at league average in ERA.

  58. Foo, I think if you ate more chick peas you would have more brain power and be much smarter.

    :-)

  59. Boy, it sure is hard to defend Neal on here when even Foo and TC question it. My point about Neal saying they didn’t need another five year plan was not that he said “we don’t need another five year plan.” He didn’t. But Brownie was saying his nonsense, and Neal said he thought that if he was replaced, he thought a new GM would see the progress they had made and build on it and not tear it down and work from scratch (those are not quotes).

  60. Foo, TC, all….I think TC has it pretty well pegged. JMac isn’t THE LARGEST reason for the Collapse II, but he’s a part of it, as is every other thing that snowballed into the biggest avalanche I ever did see.

    Foo, thanks for the sympathy, man. Coughing sucks green slimy pond scum.

  61. Chick peas??? LMAO!

  62. Not sure if I’m more concerned about Brown’s GM talk or the fact that he wouldn’t stop talking about McHugh’s blog posts and personal background for what felt like an entire half an inning that saw Bucs getting bases loaded and actually scoring some runs. Offense and the game seemed like an aside rather than the focus.

  63. AW,
    I was agreeing with you. And you are correct on what NH said regarding a 5 year plan.
    He did not bring up the notion that if someone new came in they would start a 5 year plan (or need to start one)

  64. @21

    The team that Towers is given credit for “turning around” was largely built by his predecessor.

    Towers only needed minor, but necessary and well executed, moves to turn that team into a winner.

  65. Jandy,

    Better quit smoking soon! Those Chesterfield Kings without filters will kill you. :)

  66. Lucky, lol. My mother smoked Pall Malls for 50 years. Emphysema took her away. I never did smoke, can’t stand the smell.
    That’s why I’m so disgusted over this whole thing. 2 months…the third antibiotic…X-ray yesterday may shed some light on why it won’t go away…I hope so because I’m sore all over :/

  67. Haven’t seen Groat since the Pirates blew that Qualls game against Milwaukee. Seemed upset, as we all were that day. Hope he and Oshkosh John didn’t go the way of Playoffs. This blog is not complete without those guys. Miss their input, all of ‘em.

  68. Just wanted to say thank you to Jack Wilson for representing the Pirates with class and all-out play during his time in Pittsburgh. I always wished he would have had a contending team to play for in Pittsburgh, because it would have been so much fun watching him range deep into the hole to take away a grounder in a seven-game series. I grew up in Altoona and remember watching him play his first game for the Curve and right away you could tell he was a special player defensively. Best of luck to Jack and his wonderful family in his retirement.

  69. Jandy,

    Was just yanking your chain. The biggest cash crop around here and in Tennessee is tobacco. Someone told me that we should raise it. Sure, ministers are all about life and I’m going to grow something that kills people. Maybe I can open a bourbon distillery, too.

    You probably need a longer-term, like 30-day antibiotic to knock it out. We’ll believe it’s not pneumonia.

  70. Agree NMR except that I’d call Saunders and Putz major moves.

  71. From Boise’s link, 8

    Holy crap, HotRod has a 3.5 MM option?! I don’t know how to do emotioncons, but if I did, I don’t think there would be one to express the shock and pain my head just went through. But hey, Josh Hamilton will be available FA. And cue Steven Tyler wailing “Dream On”.

  72. Foo–just to be clear, I’m not disagreeing that JMac’s performance is a factor (I agree with Jandy and TC). What I was disagreeing with was the notion that he was THE major cause, and the support (like the 10-14 game stuff) you were using.

  73. Good point, 21. My memory failed me.

    The irony is that lately I feel like I’m cast as a Huntington defender just because I don’t buy into the world is ending rhetoric, yet I was in favor of a Kevin Towers type move when Neal was all the rage.

    Similar to what Jimmy has been saying for the last week or so, I could easily see this team making a big jump with only a few well orchestrated moves.

    I wonder if Kevin likes perogies?

  74. NMR says: “Similar to what Jimmy has been saying for the last week or so, I could easily see this team making a big jump with only a few well orchestrated moves”

    But…the question is….does anyone in management have the chutzpah or the skill to make these few moves??????

    Lucky, I know, friend, you LOVE to yank my chain lol :p
    Not pneumonia, my lungs sound clear…that is … no fluid or mucous even. Go figure.

    And Lucky, yes, I miss Groat, OshKoshB’Gosh and Playoffs. I wish they’d all come back. No way would I let any assinine posters push me out. Screw that!

  75. Something to remember, if the Pirates offer a President/General Manager position, they can talk to guys already employed as GM’s (with permission, of course) because they would be offering a promotion.

  76. AW…agree…LOTS of factors!

    TC…Chick Peas?? :)

    Chick Magnet Foo

    .

  77. @Jandy

    Like I said, I’ve been saying all year I don’t believe they do.

    I also don’t believe there are a stable of guys available who can.

    Neither Coonelly nor Nutting give off the impression that they are well connected in baseball circles. I don’t have very much confidence that they will do any better finding a replacement.

  78. Haaha Chick Magnet Foo Love it!

  79. Jon Heyman tweeted this last night – The Dodgers are a Fortune 500 team. They spend a fortune and finish .500.

  80. @Milo

    You mean taking on other teams bad contracts and underperforming players didn’t work out so well?

  81. When things go wrong there’s usually enough blame to go around. If it goes on long enough you have to blame the guy who is responsible for hiring and firing.

    Huntington is not without positive accomplishments. AND every club’s minor league organization, major league roster, and front office has flaws and strange personalities.

    On the other hand, when he took over we had a good core of players and a minor league system that was drained of talent; now we have a (smaller) core of good players (better pitchers, worse hitters) and, if reports are accurate, a very expensive top-loaded minor league system (that can’t produce a catcher or a shortstop.)

    And yes, I get the concept of drafting the best player available no matter what his position.

    But if you’re overloaded with pitchers and somebody else has too many shortstops, you have to make some trades.

    I listened to DK’s radio show yesterday and when Wilson was talking about the offense the 2008 team had and how they might have been just a couple of pitchers away from turning it around, I went into a little “what if” reverie.

    But I digress. For Huntington it comes down to “are these collapses flukes” or not. If not, is there a piece or pieces that he can replace and turn it around (and it best be dramatically) next season?

    And then weigh that against changing GMs in the middle of the season.

    Either way I don’t think his long-term prospects look good. But there’s the nagging fact that for a little while they looked golden.

  82. Locked out officials should be back by Sunday. Not sure about tomorrow. ESPN reporting.

    What will everyone talk about now ?

  83. The 2008 Pirates scored 735 runs(19th) and hit for a combined slash line of .258/.320.403.

    The 2012 Pirates, to date, have scored 634(22nd) runs and hit for a combined slash line of .245/.306/.399.

    I love Jack, but that offense some people claim could’ve been a building block wasn’t even average.

  84. Don’t really want to get into this a ton, but just want to caution everyone: it’s easy to say: “You need to get a better player for the ____ position”, but it’s an entirely different thing to do it. I’m not saying your argument is bad, invalid, etc., just that you may not be realizing just how difficult that is. Replacing Barmes, for example – let’s agree to say that we can do without his stellar defense, and the upgrade on offense would be better – who would you replace him with? If it’s a free agent, for how much (assuming the Pirates premium to be paid to get him here)? If it’s a trade, who’s going the other way, how long will he be under control, and will it be a net gain? In both situations, how much of a guarantee do we have that it WILL be an upgrade on offense?

    It’s tough. They need to make upgrades in several areas, but I think it might be a little more difficult than you think – perhaps not. As DK would say, I’m not in your head so I don’t know :)

  85. Jack’s definition of “couple” must have been four starters and four relievers.

  86. “Towers only needed minor, but necessary and well executed, moves to turn that team into a winner.”

    Well, let’s see if the Bucs are THAT far off…

    Position Players:

    The way I see it, I’d like the OF to return (Marte, McCutchen, Snider). In the infield, Alvarez and Walker return. I also think a platoon of Sanchez and Jones at 1st would be pretty good. That leaves SS & C as the holes that need to be filled (I know, HUGE statement right there…). Are there any attractive FA options at those positions that the Pirates have a chance of signing? I haven’t looked at mlbtraderumors.com lately so if someone can supply that info in the mean time (i’m going to look at them in a little bit so stay tuned…). In terms of the bench, I’d like Tabata to return (1 cause he’s under contract & 2 b/c he can play against LHPs in RF to give either Snider or Jones a break), Harrison as a utility infielder, and McKenry as the backup catcher. So as I see it, C, SS, and 1-2 bench players are the priority here.

    Pitchers:

    Starting Pitching-wise, Burnett is back and so is Wandy. JMac gets another shot to put a whole year together. That leaves me to the last 2 spots in the rotation. Karstens? Well, I’d like to see him go back to his long relief/spot start role. I just think that’s where he’s best. Morton? I actually think Charlie may be better served as a middle-late inning reliever, where he can let rip for 1 inning and get those ground balls with that sinker. So, do we go with rookies (Locke, Wilson, Cole, Taillon) or sign a FA (again, not sure of the list, so stay tuned for an update to the post)? Personally, I think those 2 spots should go to 2 of Locke, Wilson and Cole (I think Taillon should start the year at AAA). Bullpen, I keep Hanrahan and Grilli (maybe Hughes comes back for me, but feel like bullpen spots will be won in ST).

    Manager:

    Clint Hurdle is a nice guy, and a good motivator, and was good for this ball club for the past 2 seasons. It’s time for a new manager though. Someone who’ll make better in-game decisions. Not saying he would, but perhaps its time to give Ryne Sandberg a shot. He’s at Philadelphia’s AAA affiliate (Lehigh Valley) and is in behind Charlie Manuel (who I thinks gets at least 1 more season in Philadelphia). If they [Pirates] give him a shot to manage in the bigs, I don’t think he would pass it up.

    Overall:

    I don’t think the Bucs are THAT far off. They have a solid nucleus of position players to build around, and some young arms who could grow that nucleus. It took a HISTORIC (why do our Bucs feel the need to always be on the wrong side of history) collapse this season to ruin everything. So from where I sit, a few tweaks are needed rather than a full scale rebuild.

    I don’t think NH can bring in the SS or C and bench guys that we need b/c they’re most likely coming from outside the org. and his track record in that area is horrific. I like what he’s done in terms of changing the pitching culture of the org., and the past 2 years have been some of the best Bucco baseball in the past 20. But, these past 2 seasons have also seen his teams collapse (both horrific, altho this year, again, HISTORIC).

    It’s time for a new GM to provide the tweaks to put Huntington’s work over the top.
    :-)

  87. NMR — The slash line you quoted was for the end of the season, not what it was at the time of the trades. Also, and pardon me it’s just a recollection, but they were very efficient at producing runs with the amount of hitting they did.

    Anyway it was just a digression & a reverie, not a serious analysis. My main point is that based on evidence Neal’s days are numbered unless Nutting decides that he wants to see if the whether the collapses were just flukes or not. And if they keep him, he really needs to be under the gun to produce — no other standard after this season.

  88. @JHadar

    I hear the line about the 2008 numbers being flawed by the trades a lot.

    The 2007 Pirates (same team, full season) scored 724 runs(23rd) and hit .263/.325/.411.

  89. NMR — And I agree about needing more than two pitchers.

  90. Sorry, JH. Didn’t mean to rain on your reverie. I know the feeling of looking back on something more fondly than what it was. Hope I didn’t come off as rude.

    @Nate

    I’ll save you the search: http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2011/04/2013-mlb-free-agents.html

    Slim pickins, my friend. And I agree with your break down, except for Karstens. Come on, MAN!

  91. Karstens is one of their top 3 starters when he’s healthy. Unfortunately, that’s not been the case.

  92. J Hadar:
    What the hell happened in Iowa City last Saturday?
    had to leave with about 1:30 left in the game, and I thought the Hawks were safe.
    And UNI didn’t come through at youngstown State either. Now they have to play #1 N. Dakota State.
    maybe Iowa AState can handle Texas Tech.

  93. Agree that Karstens is one of their top 3 starters. If he stays healthy, I’d want hiim in my rotation. Barmes is their shortstop this year. A shortstop who’s as consistent as him is too valuable. Plus, he wasn’t completely awful offensively after April & May.

  94. DK: Exact same topic on GM’s show Sunday.

    DK, I am having a hard time following your answer/remark to my post (#10)

    Are you saying that Brown’s comments are orchestrated because it is the same topic that they talked about on the GM show Sunday?

    The reason Brown was talking about it was because Joe Starkey asked him about his comments on Sunday’s show. Brown was responding to a question. He didn’t bring the topic up.

    Do you think Joe Starkey is in on it?!

    DK: I was NOT aware, TC, that it was a response to a question the second time it came up. I do know that the broadcasters work very closely today — including meeting regularly with team executives, even the GM, even in-season — in part to gain background information for the broadcasts but also talking points.

    This isn’t all that uncommon in sports, actually, and it’s hardly some Area 51 reach.

  95. NMR –

    Actually checking into it amazed me. This is an interesting set of stats.

    2008 OPS (As Pirates for Nady, Bay & Bautista)

    Nady .919
    Bay .894
    Doumit .858
    McLouth .853
    Ad. LaRoche .848 / Mienkiewicz .753
    Bautista .729
    Sanchez .669
    Wilson .659

    Sanchez and Wilson had decent BA’s but didn’t walk a lot or hit for power.

    No conclusions other than I wish our fifth best hitting starter this year had an .848 OPS

  96. Radio — I wish I knew.

    I was in Chicago visiting my grandkids and away from TV, internet, and the local papers.

    Had a great time over the weekend, but not thanks to sports.

  97. Whatever happened to that Bautista ?

  98. Milo — They moved him to make way for Andy LaRoche. He just hadn’t shown much potential at the time.

  99. Tom Osborne will retire as Nebraska AD at years end. I just read a nice story telling of the great job he did cleaning up the mess left over by the guy he replaced. :)

  100. Radio — In case you missed the accounts. Central Michigan scored and then tried an onside kick which the Hawks recovered, but there was a penalty on the play … they kicked it over from the 30, but the receiving team lined up at the 45 instead of the 40. They said that they thought that the ball had to go to the original line, instead of just ten yards. CM recovered easily, scored again 32-31.

    So basically what happened was that they fell asleep.

  101. Don’t know if anyone saw Rumbunter’s link on twitter but Sportsnet.ca is writing a 3-part story on how the Jays messed up Travis Snider. The first two parts are out and they’re worth a read if you’ve got time. It definitely makes me like the kid a little more, to see that human side. Really shows the shortfalls in rushing a guy through the minors too fast.

    http://www.sportsnet.ca/baseball/2012/09/25/travis_snider_saga_clashes_with_cito_gaston/

  102. Thanks Boise.

    Now I’ve read parts 1 & 2 on Snider. Here are my conclusions:

    1. There’s always an excuse.
    2. When is this guy not injured ?

  103. Dejan, this phrase in your column didn’t suck:

    “with the Pirates collapsing like stoned hippies”

    One of your best!!

    DK: Thank you, my brother.

  104. @Milo–that’s kinda the impression I got too, but it made me think more about Snider as a human, more than as a ball player. We hear about contract negotiations all the time and think, “gee what a nice problem to have,” but I can see how it would play with a guy’s head, especially a 22-23 year old. Maybe instead of SEAL training the Bucs could try a guidance counselor or something? Someone who could relate with these younger guys like Snider, Morton and JMac, who’ve all been mentioned to having problems focusing and adjusting. You could probably put Pedro in that session as well, and maybe even Cutch.

    Not everyone adjusts the same way, I even see it in the military. You get these guys, 19/20/21 years old, and tell them that they’re “defenders of the free world,” or “heart of the order material,” and expect them to just take it up and do their job. That’s a lot of pressure. Now, I certainly don’t want to go about comparing baseball players to soldiers (or airmen in my situation) but I can still see a few similarities.

  105. Yeesh, I step away from the ‘Burgh for a few daze and lookee at this mess:
    –> NH’s job is on the chopping block (and well it should be)
    –> Steelers pinched a huge loaf in Oakland
    –> Sid’s healthy and rarin’ to go (which is awesome cuz I have the #1 pick in my fantasy hockey league. No pointy-headed barnstorming blueliners for this team (“The Fast and the Fleurious”)
    –> Pitt wallops FSC powerhouse Gardening-Webb
    –> Malkin’s beginning to tear up the KHL
    –> There’s an actual race involving a Pirate (NOT who gets to the golfcourse first)

    Mebbe the Steelers need a skyblast or something.
    Thanks for the hockey-talk Dejan!
    Glad to be home. Phuket is wonderful, but da ‘Burgh is always first in me heart. Speaking of Phuket,… hey hey Jandylicious!

  106. @NMR #84

    The 2008 offense was actually pretty strong until it was gutted.

    In Aug, they only scored 82 runs. They had avg’d 130 runs per month April-July before the trades.

    They were 5th in the NL (9th in MLB) in runs scored at the AS break.

    http://espn.go.com/mlb/stats/team/_/stat/batting/year/2008/split/181/league/nl

  107. @Milo

    I was waiting for your response, and I’m not disappointed.

    I gotta be honest, I don’t get any kind of feeling that Snider is primed to turn it around after reading those first two articles. I keep waiting for the “a-ha” moment, but I’m just not sure it is there.

    It is interesting to see how some of the Toronto fan base still pulls for the guy, though. Completely opposite of how Pedro has been treated here.

  108. Thanks for that, JMB.

    I still think Pittsburgh dodged a huge bullet by not extending that team.

    Think about how long it would take to rebuild the entire pitching staff and where each of those guys would’ve been in there careers.

    Can I take the 2008 offense and time travel with the 2012 pitching?

  109. buggee!!!!! Nice to see you again, friend :)
    Glad I make some kind of impression on you!

    RE: Snider and the links from Boise ~ thanks for the info, Boise, very informative reading.
    What we have is an injury-prone player, who is behind the maturation curve, who wasn’t helped along by the Blue Jays, who is in need of a physical trainer to get into top shape, and who needs strong guidance by his team. Does he have a chance of that with the Buccos?

    Nuff said…. :(

  110. Re – Time needed to turn a franchise around.

    The last quote I remember from NH was it really takes 7 years. That of course is different than the original 3 years, different than the 5 years quote as well.

    I fully expect it to go up to around 10 if NH survives the off season.

  111. Biz,

    When John McKay agreed to coach the expansion Tampa Bay Bucs he instituted a 5 year plan. When asked why a 5 year plan his response, ” Because I have a 5 year contract. If I had a 4 year contract, I’d have a 4 year plan.”

    I loved that guy.

  112. 2008

    The offense was pretty good. Nady was better than most people remember.

    But at the All-star break they were still 6 games under .500, and subsequently opened the 2nd half with a 4 game losing streak, and 7 of their next 11. Maybe had they ripped off a 5 game winning streak and won 10 of 14, they would not have been broken up.

    Wish Freddie and Jack Wilson had not both demanded 50% more than they were worth.

  113. @Bizrow,

    I know I miss alot of interviews because I am not in the Pittsburgh Marke, but do you have any links to these “3-year plan”, “5-year plan” and “7 years”?

    I don’t recall any of those three being his quotes.

  114. Milo,

    Great quote. I especially like the execution one you mentioned last week, too. That guy could think on his feet, similar to DK on the chat.

  115. Lucky,

    After a lopsided loss McKay once said, “The bus leaves in an hour, anyone that needs a shower, take one.”

  116. Milo,

    Is there a book with his quotes or did you Google that? Great stuff. I doubt if there was much water wasted on the PBC in the last couple months, unless it was NH sweating it out.

  117. Game thread is up….
    OO0< OO0< OO0< OO0< OO0< OO0< OO0< OO0< OO0<

  118. Lucky,

    If you just use the google machine, a bunch of lists come up.

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