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Pittsburgh Pirates: 'EMBRACE THE SUCK'

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media columnist

You know … I want to stop writing about the Pirates’ stupidity. I’ve actually made a concerted effort, in all honesty. No columns in five weeks. Occasional rant on $17 million, .211-hitting catchers and non-tenders and the like. Nothing more.

But when somebody takes this pic at Pirate City in Bradenton, Fla., — at some point “very recently,” according to the person who sent it — well, come on …

Good Lord. I can’t even come up with a comment for this.

Enjoy.

Oh, and for those lacking reference, here is Hoka Hey I, Hoka Hey II and Hoka Hey III out of what I genuinely hope is the complete trilogy in that series of columns.

331 Comments

  1. The new “We Will”. Be one with “The Suck”. The Suck abides…

  2. Love it. The poster that begins “The Mind Can Only Focus on One Thing” then displays six more things.

    DK: Hadn’t even noticed that. Outstanding.

  3. Oh please tell me this is official?

    Perfect!

  4. Oh, my.

  5. Its all about “mental conditioning”

  6. What in the mystical world of sports possesses anyone to make such a poster that, when looked upon with outside eyes seems to be a ridiculous parody. A parody of worthless “Keep your head up” witticisms each devolving further down the line of stupidity.

    Although, “Seek out what others avoid” might explain some of the trades and free agent signings from recent years.

  7. Is that a Stark original?

    DK: Can’t say. Here’s as close as I can come to finding context for the phrase …

    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=embrace%20the%20suck

  8. Oh, wait: the Capital P with the no-slip treadmarks isn’t a thing. It’s an overarching superthing. So, only five other things and one superthing. My bad.

  9. Looks like they’ve installed those changes that Bob Nutting talked about last month.

    Like a lot of things….Nothing changes with the Pirates except the roster, when someone’s salary starts getting too high.

    Embrace the Suck!…..Indeed…..

  10. They’ve definitely embraced the suck for the last 20 years. No argument there.

  11. Trust your training. Train your trust. Who comes up with this garbage?

    Hoka hey. Those words should never be associated with the Pirates again. Why would they be put on a poster?

  12. The sad part (actually there are many sad parts; the following is only one of them) is that Pirates management probably spent more time working on this poster (fonts, colors, size, etc.) than they spent on [fill in the blank].

    Laughingstock (the term repeatedly were used to describe Dave Littlefield by insiders in the baseball world) would be an upgrade on this management team.

  13. I agree with you, it is very tough to be a Pirate fan when the owner’s main focus is making an easy buck at the expense of putting up a good product.

    People dare to compare this organization with Tampa. Tampa has a similar payroll and competes with bigger market teams. They both were in the basement for a long time and earned great draft picks. The big difference is, Tampa’s GM knew how to the make the most of those picks. N.H has a poor record of having his picks make it to the majors and be productive. He gets washed-up players at a reduced rate instead of getting quality.

    How many bad contracts have we eaten already and will continue?

    That wasted money could have been to overpay and get a quality FA. Look how many players that left us and are offered reduced contracts. Look how poorly conditioned our players are from a relatively young team. Look how we did so far in FA.

  14. Christmas comes early with this group in charge, eh Dejan? More entertaining than Lewis Black.

    Good grief.

  15. Well to be fair, “affirmatively worded self instruction” and “don’t be negative” (or whatever the “don’t” means) are techniques used by a lot of sports psychologists…

    And I guess “embrace the suck” is just a way of telling the players not to be afraid of mistakes … A cheesy way of saying it to try to be “hip” to relate to young prospects, but still an important concept.

    Not that big of a deal if you ask me.

    DK: My kids are 8 and 11, and they’ve outgrown Thing 1 AND Thing 2.

  16. Oh great Dejan, you had to post that picture. Now the Yankees are going to know all the Pirates’ elite training secrets.

  17. Wonder if CWalton has ever heard that terminology in his career. Ryan didn’t mention it above.

  18. Be a fan of the Suck:

    2011 – Suck Wars
    2012 – The Suck Strikes Back
    And coming soon to ballparks near you in 2013 – Return of The Suck

  19. For anyone interested, this is as close as I can find for an explained context for “Embrace the suck.” http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=embrace%20the%20suck

    Tweeted by the boss.

  20. That can’t be real.

    Can it?

    DK: My wife was just saying that, even if someone tried to make a fake one — like our good friends at the Rumbunter blog often do — it would have fallen far short of this.

  21. No words … really. Tigers games only three hours away.

  22. Amazing, it truly is … and fitting.

  23. Whatever. Not going to indict an entire organization over the actions of a few well-(mis)placed individuals in the wrong roles.

    You’ve chronicled it enough. Really don’t care for the headline, no matter what the picture says. Getting more and more sensational as it goes. Just stop it already. We know.

    DK: You knew that the current management team is continuing a practice that the franchise owner has ordered to stop?

    You’re aware that the few “mis-placed individuals” you’re describing are running baseball operations?

    I know this topic seems to make you squeamish for whatever reason, Paul, but let’s not pretend it doesn’t matter.

    I didn’t compose the poster. I didn’t hang it. I didn’t take a pic of it and send it to me. And I barely even put a comment up there.

    And you think I’m over the top?

    Get a grip, man.

  24. Naje:

    The headline is the focus of the material. Take it up with them if you don’t like it. Considering those in charge selected and endorsed those under them, I’d say they’re all misplaced. I can’t imagine there’s a player in the organization who would take that seriously.

  25. It does matter how this looks to other people. Young players, agents, rival scouts, etc. It DOES matter.

    What a joke …

  26. Embrace the Suck.

    Every year. Every stinking season I come up with sarcastic new advertising slogans for the Pirates.

    It ticks me off to no end that Zippy Stark came up with a better line than I ever have or ever will.

    For that reason alone he should be fired.

  27. And that’s the problem.

    The people that are RUNNING this organization are the ones executing these practices.

  28. “Embrace the Suck” is a quote from the movie “Jarhead” as well.

    But we’ve been embracing the suck for 20 years, so I refuse to embrace the suck that is BN/FC/NH and their band of merry idiots.

  29. JMB:

    I’m a Marine. The Pirates are the furthest thing from one.

    DK: Did not know that. THANK YOU for your service.

  30. Seek out what others avoid? You mean like a ridiculous number of consecutive losing seasons? I would think “Embrace the bunt” would be a more baseball worthy pursuit. Hoka Hey, indeed. Somewhere out there a bunch of Native Americans are rolling in their graves.

  31. First, the headline is really out of line. But I understand the point. And yes, I know that the owner has told them to shut this stuff down.

    Second, where’s suckmeter when you need him?

    It makes me squeamish Dejan, because the institution is a big part of my life…all 46 years of it. I do not care at all for the antics of Stark and his minions. And really don’t like that this is the way of the world in the development side of the organization. But one would think that some reasonably sensible professionals–be it a MENSA guy like Hurdle, or an actual player (wait, how educated ARE these guys?)–would come along and put some kind of sense and/or an end to this.

    You never step to the vulgar, Dejan, and that’s what makes it most squeamish. Is EMBRACE THE SUCK really necessary? Really? So you received a picture that explains nothing except the misguided actions of what could be a raging lunatic (Stark) impersonating as a genius to his bosses. Does it have a date attached? Does it appear in a specific place? If so, where?

    I’m sure you’ve vetted this and answered those questions. I just don’t like it. I do, however, appreciate your work on holding Stark, his minions and Huntington accountable for the extreme stuff. I may not agree with all of your points on the topic, but I definitely agree the Kyle Stark needs Tony Stark to wipe his hoka-hey-nious style right out of this organization. (I’ve been waiting for a Tony Stark reference from you on this subject.)

    DK: I appreciate your passion for the Pirates, Naje. I also appreciate that you’re intelligent enough to grasp that the people running them aren’t very good at their jobs. Moreover, they AREN’T the Pirates.

    The Pirates are an institution. To me, the Pirates are Steve Blass. Manny Sanguillen. The heart-and-soul types who care so deeply about the franchise that they ANGUISH at what it’s become.

    Knocking the people and knocking the institution are two wholly different things. I will NEVER knock the institution that is the Pittsburgh Baseball Club. But neither will I sit quietly while it gets run into the ground.

  32. I think too many fans have been embracing the suck for far too long. Stop attending games and stop buying merchandise. This is so absurd that words don’t do it justice. The poster speaks for itself.

    Anyone ripping the guy blogging about this is misplacing their anger.

  33. Pirate Fantasy Camp is next month.
    Maybe the poster is for the over the hill “athletes” that will be at Pirate City in January!

  34. Ugh.

    I wish this hockey thing was settled already. I need a diversion from this putrid nonsense.

    Embrace the PUCK.

    DK: Here’s something actually encouraging about the lockout. Great detail here from ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun …

    http://espn.go.com/blog/nhl/post/_/id/20654/heres-why-were-still-close-to-a-deal

  35. Embrace Disgrace

    Embrace the Bucs (for Naje)

    Debase the Fans

    Embargo the Weirdos

    (Dis)Embark the Stark

    Erase the Shmuck

    That was fun but his was STILL better than any of mine.

  36. Is it possible that the poster is still hanging because no one took it down and they have stopped the practice that the franchise owner has ordered to stop?

    Has all this crap jumped the shark yet?

    DK: Ask your favorite baseball team. They seem to want to renew for a few more episodes.

  37. I feel that, within the next several days, there will be only one more last ditch push to get a deal done. All or nothing.

    Bettman played his theatrical ace with his livid rant at the podium the other night. His balloon hasn’t popped, but, as far as the ominous rhetoric goes, he has clearly peaked.

    Much negativity has been pinned on Fehr’s countering of the latest proposals, but that’s what union leaders do.

    The solution lies somewhere between both of their proposals, and the next sessions will either solve the differences or it’s endgame on this entire season.

  38. Hey, hey, hey….why every time we try to talk about he Pirates people start to post things about the NHL?! Sure, “embrace the suck” could probably describe the labor negotiations. But check the headline again!! It says Pittsburgh Pirates.
    :-)

  39. TC

    That’s because every time hockey is posted, it drifts over to baseball. ;-)

  40. Oh my god.

    I get home last night, I virtually explode with the NHL mess.

    Tonight, I get home about 20 minutes ago and this is what I’m left to view. Bob Nutting might want to explain why his organization is still spewing military rhetoric for team employees.

    Unbelievable.

  41. At least this proves they’re good at following directions. They definitely “embrace the suck.”

    You can’t make this stuff up. Incredible.

  42. So if this poster said “pain is just weakness leaving the body” instead of “embrace the suck” … none of you would care?

    DK, I don’t think it’s fair to say based on this poster that the management team is still continuing a practice that Nutting banned … I don’t see any pictures of people carrying telephone poles.

    DK: The “practice,” as I’ve defined it a few times now, is the military mentality that’s practiced year-round. I keep saying this again and again, but it isn’t now and never has been solely about three days of drills.

  43. DK – I couldn’t agree more that this IS NOT the Pittsburgh Pirates as we once knew them. I have said that for several years now, and I find it hard to believe that anyone could completely disagree with that statement.

    Nobody (including myself) is trying to ruin the institution of the Pittsburgh Pirates. I want the Pittsburgh Pirates back, and truthfully….It doesn’t boil down to wins and losses. Sure….The losses have been a big part of it. But the bigger picture is the people in charge, and how they work … they don’t belong there. They are in a position that is not correct for them to be in.

    Look at what this regime has done from top to bottom!

    It’s a horrendous disgrace, and there is nothing wrong with those trying to expose it for what it is.

  44. I vowed halfway through Colossal Collapse Part Deux that I would no longer “Embrace the Suck” as long as the current Suckmeisters in charge remained at the helm. Nutting has changed nutting at the top, so I will continue to spurn the Suck.

    Suck on, Buccos. Sucks to be you.

  45. Oh my. Just when I think Pirate management can’t possibly do something dumber.

    Ok, my new standard is Pirate management forfeiting games.

    Surely, they won’t do that?

  46. Using the word “institution” when referring the Pirates is important. It helps explain the irrational level of emotional investment so many of us feel. They are ours. They are our parents’ and grandparents’. They are our children’s and nephews’ and nieces’ Pittsburgh Pirates.

    My grandfather was born in 1894, and the Pirates already existed. My father was born in 1929, and by that time the Pirates had already played in four World Series. They were already an old, storied franchise when I was born. (Um, no year will be shared here.)

    So, DK, your reporting on the failed stewardship of this institution is important, necessary and very much appreciated. It’s the press serving the public. Yes, each new revelation is embarrassing and depressing (I’m long past being angered), but the information you publish must be made public.

  47. Boring topic, it has been beaten to death. It’s just old academic feely stuff that came in the late 60s and seems the norm. Surprised they haven’t done the trust fall or maybe they have.

    As for the picture–how recent is recent? It is something that just hasn’t been removed yet or something new? It is real or Memorex.

    Regardless, just part the same old same old. I know they do a lot of dumb stuff might as well keep complaining about the Bay trade or something else.

  48. Nutting said. “We are not and we should not be a military organization. We should not run a boot-camp environment.”

    I wonder if Stark and his boys thought Nutting was talking about the physical aspect of the boot camp environment: Carrying telephone poles, running in the water, crawling in the sand, whatever they were doing.

    DK: Environment, as I understood it, was all-inclusive. Guess we’ll find out.

  49. JAL – And that’s exactly what the Regime hopes we all do…

  50. JAL,
    I have sent that picture to a friend of mine that works in a FBI/CIA/CSI -type lab.
    The flash of the camera caused a reflection of the person who took the picture.
    My buddy will be able to tell me who it is.

    :-)

  51. Daquido_Bazzini

    I have no idea what you mean, they hope we find the topic boring? There are many things to complain about. I don’t think some silly poster on a wall is a major problem. Team was losing long before Hoka Hey and no evidence Hoka Hey lead to any losses last season. That is why i find it a boring topic.

    I would think the FO would prefer us to focus on Hoka Hey instead of the product they put on the field.

  52. TC

    Can they tell when it was taken?

    DK: Was very recently. That’s actually what’s primarily noteworthy about it, I think, that it would still be there after direct — and public — orders from the owner.

  53. JAL,
    I agree with you (#51). And it is starting to bore me. It is a poster. Big deal.

    But regarding last year, here is where some could argue that it lead to losses.

    Instead of developing & improving minor league players that could have been called up to help the Pirates, they were wasting time with Hoka Hey. Instead of developing the minor leaguers so that they were better …and then could have been traded to help the team last year—they were wasting time with Hoka Hey.

  54. JAL
    My friend and the lab are so good they’ll be able to tell when the person had their last Starbucks before the picture was taken.

  55. Dejan – Your response to Naje in Post #31 is outstanding! Thank you and Amen!

  56. Promised I wasn’t going to comment on this “team” for awhile, and I will stay true to that.

    My official stance is no comment.

    Have a good weekend.

  57. As a followup to what you said in Post #31: You mention Blass and Sangy…I have asked this question for several years…what can Pirates Alumni do (if anything)? Can their voices be heard?

  58. Embrace the Suck.

    Gee, the Pirates have lost for 20 straight years. They cant seem to win.
    Well, just Embrace the Suck and buy your tickets.

    The Pirates’ ownership just wants you to buy trinkets, watch 70′s bands, eat corndogs, have a nice night out. They don’t want you to think about the mess that is a 20-year losing streak.

    DK … where can I buy one of those?

  59. As to those posters who dont want anyone to criticize the Pirates … ever … and imply those who do are bad people/fans … I have been a Pirate fan sine the mid-60s. The 70s were great, 80s mostly sucked, 90s were great, then the bottom fell out. I have the right to praise/criticize whoever, whenever I please.

    I do not criticize the players or the institution. I DO criticize the people running the show. They have failed. They continue to fail. They are way too smug in their everyday dealings, and their record says they should NEVER be smug.

    But I continue to root for the team, hoping things turn around. With the current FO in place, I know they won’t.

    Just amazingly sad.

  60. Twitter is telling me that @Dejan_Kovacevik does not exist. What’s up with that?

  61. Thanks for the response, DK.

    I know you’ve defined the practice as the military mentality that goes on year-round, but at the end of the day I don’t think it matters what they use as a catch phrase for “no pain no gain.”

  62. Change your k to a “c” Officer M.

    Kovacevic

    Like that old kids’ song. “Turn that Frown Upside Down” written by Drew.

  63. Officer Mancuso,

    You must have publicly disagreed with the person who doesn’t exist. So he blocked you. He can be sensitive like that.

    DK: Yes. Well, either that or the good Officer understandably misspelled my last name. One of the two.

  64. Well, at least Stark isn’t afraid to take ownership of this poster since he put his picture right at the top.

  65. what is the big deal? i have low self esteem. When i look at the poster i see things that inspire me, The Pirates draft and sign 18 yr olds. Who may or may not know what they want to achieve in life. They sign pitchers who have never lost a game they pitched their entire life and then they show up in rookie league and lose 5 games in a row. That can make someone question where they are headed i life. We hear players talk about how they talk to someone and what they said changed their life. last season when nate mcclouth was in AAA for baltimore the hitting coach talked to him and resurrected his career, to some its just words. to others it could be life changing

    DK: Here’s guessing Nathan never needed Thing 1 or Thing 2, for that matter, to rediscover his stroke.

  66. What does it matter anymore? This regime is a complete joke and most realize it.

    Problem is, if they finish above .500, which we all want, they are back again.

    I feel like, as a loyal Pirates fan, that I am stuck between a rock and a hard place.

    Hate to see another losing season, but it might be best in the long-term.

  67. Honestly … I don’t even care anymore.

    I get it. The front office is staffed by morons. I’m not going to stop rooting for the Pirates. They’re my team. I’d like them to win.

  68. I don’t know what some of you are talking about. This stuff is never not funny.

  69. Since there seems to be some confusion RE: the origin of “embrace the suck” it’s a trite workout & training mantra. The fine print on the poster immediately below the catchphrase sheds some light on it;

    Seek out what others avoid
    Thrive when others survive
    Take pleasure in pain

    It’s a dumb poster. It’s stunning to me that nobody in the organization* noticed how bad that phrase was going to be taken by the general public and how silly it makes them look. Still, something like this strikes me as pretty insignificant even if it does make you shake your head a bit.

    * I’m not sure how many people in the organization actually saw this poster before it was hung up. It seems unlikely to me that something as trivial as wall art at the spring training headquarters in the middle of winter would get run past the top guys. Instead, this was probably a semester-long project by some graphic design intern and it was hung up after getting approved by a department head waaaay below Nutting, NH or FC.

    DK: False on that last count.

  70. SeanAY – The Pirates are our heart of black and gold but the men who have owned and managed the team for the last 33 years have done a fine job of killing that love. How many of us want to mock and laugh at ourselves but this current regime leave us no choice. Some year…. some year, that has to change… it needs to change.

  71. Ditto Eric, especially that last line.

  72. Eric,

    When I read more and more about this situation – or really, the Pirates in general, because that’s apparently the only topic that 75 percent of the folks on this blog feel like talking about, anyway – I see a lot of buzz words (and their synonyms) that pop up.

    “Disgrace.” “Humiliated.” “Disgusted.” I even remember seeing a lot of points being made about how the Pirates are some sort of bizarre public treasure that transcends enjoyment at ballgames and goes right into full-blown self-esteem building.

    And, to be honest, I ask myself, “Why are we ascribing so much importance to a freaking baseball team?”

    I’ve been a Pirates fan my entire life. I always will be. Just as I’ll always be a Steelers fan, or a Penguins fan. It’s in my blood.

    But nothing – NOTHING – this team does dishonors me, or disgraces me, or humiliates me. Maybe it’s from working with sports teams so long, but you know what? I’m kind of ambivalent to the whole thing.

  73. Embracing The Suck. Wasn’t that the sequel to Romancing The Stone ?

  74. I’m sorry, folks. I’m just a fairly jaded person when it comes to professional sports, in general.

  75. And I’m not saying don’t report the stuff, either. Quite the contrary, in fact. There are days at work where I wish I was on the other side of press row and was a journalist, not the media relations guy. This narrative is fascinating, and we’re lucky to have a great storyteller giving it to us.

  76. Dejan, I don’t mean this to sound snarky or anything but when you said I was wrong with my last assumption (regarding the FO’s involvement in the poster) do you actually know this to be true or are you just taking your best guess like I did. If you have actual info on their role in this, could you elaborate?

    Above, you made it seem like somebody just sent you this random picture and there wasn’t a to of background info available. I’m genuinely curious, not trying to be an a** or anything.

    DK: I know the process involved. It runs up to the GM, and its blessing — passionate, at that — runs up to the team president.

    Your attempt at parsing this into some small-time guy … look at the thing, KP. That didn’t get put together as part of some school project. It says on there that it’s the Pirates’ “CORE CONVICTIONS.”

    Really, the sooner people allow reality to sink in …

  77. I think it was a clever way for the management team to say to the players that they need to tolerate the local media and writers, who are performing worse than the team over the last few years. Funniest thing I’ve seen since the Tabata MVP vote.

    DK: Hey, welcome to the forum!

    A-may-zing how that works, isn’t it?

    Anyone know anyone in Swanzey, New Hampshire?

  78. Isn’t Drew from there?

  79. Free agency was ethically and morally the right thing to do. The downside of players no longer in slavery is that they are really no longer the “team”. Being a Pirate fan meant you were loyal to more than the franchise, but to Clemente, Maz, et al.

    Players are still commodities, just very rich ones. I can get nostalgic about the good old days when players were the team, many of the best for long terms ( try to imagine, for example, Warren Spahn in Yankee pin stripes!). In context, it is hard to care what sort of mind games the inept FO uses these days.

    I am not sure which comedian put it best, recently: we don’t root for teams anymore, just for uniforms.

  80. With you Naje. I feel credibility is being lost, said so in a Tweet, and my first Twitter follow ever ended in a Paul Lynde-like block, sans the cheesy humor. I guess some like to dwell on the negatives, and God knows there are many with the Buccos. But Wilson signing = Morris signing remarks need to be called out for what they are: raging hyperbole. The imbalance in Dejan’s Pirates coverage is palatable, while other sports “sectors” in the local market walk away mostly unscathed. That’s cool and Dejan’s prerogative, and quite frankly, nothing will stop me from following his work closely. But one who is so good at delivering well-written and mostly well-deserved criticism should be able to take a repost in kind, or not-so-kind.

    DK: If you’re referring to a Twitter block — and the Paul Lynde line is exceptional — I only do that for personal attacks. If you don’t feel you made one, please let me know your handle. Would be happy to undo it.

    As for credibility: That gets lost in our business when facts are incorrect, rarely for any other reason. Over 26 years, I’ve made factual errors. But this case is about a stance I’ve taken.

    A stance.

    Any columnist’s job is built on viewpoints, which over time can morph into a stance. I’ve explained time and again — no secret — that I’ve lost faith in this management team and that I feel Bob Nutting can do better. That’s my stance. Just as it’s my stance that Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert absolutely should be running the Steelers. They’re NO different, other than that the negative one might make more people uncomfortable. No different in the slightest.

    Most people do understand a columnist’s role at a paper. It’s opinion, viewpoints. But not everyone does, and that’s the genesis of about 99 percent of the discussions I have about this Pirates stuff.

    This is my opinion. It’s a stance. That’s part of the job.

  81. “Embrace the suck”? With all that’s been revealed in the past 6 months, maybe Huntington and Stark just need a hug.

  82. A columnist is paid to express opinions. The opinions should take account of all the facts a well informed person could know, be straightforward and provocative rather than muddled compromising expressions of conventional wisdom, and should be expressed in lucid, entertaining prose. A columnist doesn’t have the luxury of hemming and hawing and saying “well lets wait and see how it turns out and then say something safe and obvious”, although it’s darn near safe and obvious that the people who run the Pittsburgh Pirates suck at operating a professional baseball franchise.

    DK: I appreciate that. One thing I’ll add, though, is that gray can be the right stance, too. I will write at times that there just isn’t enough info or that we should wait and see.

  83. Your stance on Pirates management does not preclude them from being right on occasion. Even yangs cough up yinballs from time to time. Stances can become full blown entrenchments if one’s shovel becomes too dirt-happy.

    DK: And I’m eminently confident that even a casual search of our site in 2012 will turn up evidence that I’ve acknowledged the Pirates can be right on occasion. But there’s a broader context, too, after five-plus years. Moves can’t be measured in isolation. Nor projected that way. If they’ve blown it with 90 percent of their free agents, they have NOT earned the benefit of the doubt. That’s a fair stance, I think.

    As for dirt, dude, this stuff writes itself. It’s ridiculous, infantile, insulting, you name it. There’s NO benefit of the doubt to be had there, least of all after their own boss told the PUBLICLY to KNOCK IT OFF.

    I didn’t rip Russell Martin’s deal because of Hoka Hey. I did so because it was dumb AND because they’re terrible in free agency AND because it could keep them from having a decent rotation. This isn’t complicated.

    Finally, I checked, and I’ve got zero record of blocking anyone in the past 24 hours. So if you can’t produce a Twitter handle for me to confirm, I’m certain that I can’t help you.

  84. Very seldom I shake my head at BMTIB anymore. Their brazen “everybody is out of step but me” attitude is so consistent it’s frightening. But I am shaking my head in disbelief at them again.

    This means three things:
    1/ Bob Nutting lied to Dejan.
    2/ BMTIB has lied to Bob Nutting about discontinuing previous style——we have seen NO verbal or here in this case physical confirmations of their change
    3/ Bob Nutting is one of those parents/bosses who says, “Now honey, don’t do that or Daddy will be mad” and child/employee goes ahead and does it anyway, because he/she knows Bob Nutting’s words have no teeth.

    I am actually thinking it is #3, for I have no confidence in Nutting’s pansy approach to Pirate ownership . . . . . . . the truth that it’s #2 will come if a head or two finally rolls.

    I think Bob Nutting has found his “one thing”: and it’s consistent profit. His mind can’t focus on 2 things: profit AND winning. Even when the stock market goes down, Nutting’s investment % in the Pirates and his profit margin go up. To quote Butch Cassidy, “Just as long as I come out ahead.”

  85. @steelercrazy – Did you forget about that column last year in which DK supported the decision to extend Huntington and many didn’t agree, including myself… pretty vehemently? No one needs to bury the Pirates with a shovel, they’ve done it well themselves for the last 20 years. When the Pirates do something well, I think Dejan and others will report it and provide opinions that bear validity.

    DK: This past July, I did an entire column praising Huntington’s acquisition of Wandy, laid out reasons why, the whole case. Not many liked that deal. I did. Not many liked the A.J. trade. I did and said so way back on the day it happened.

    Those don’t count, I guess.

  86. @Groat – I’ve written it here and Twitter, I think Bob Nutting is out of touch with the world of sports, sports ownership, and how to manage public performance of his direct reports.

    It is clear, if that picture was taken in the last three weeks, it would explain the responses from Huntington about his opinion of the military embarrassment.

  87. People come on there and say they are tired of constantly talking about Pirates and their mismanagement.

    Well, I am tired of constantly hearing/discussing/accusing/badgering about Dejan’s job description. That’s the kind of off-point distractions presented by folks who have no clue about anything. How many times do I have to hear Dejan defend or people discuss Dejan’s job?!?

    If they haven’t got it after 15 times, Dejan, it’s not worth the effort. Let ‘em eat peaches!

    DK: It’s the argument of last resort, when you’ve got nothing else. If there’s no way to explain/defend/rationalize some of this stupidity, accuse the guy bringing it to you of having some vendetta or whatever.

    It’s boring, it’s trite, and it’s weak.

    Let those same people ask questions as to why the Pirates keep doing/saying stupid things rather than why they’re brought out of they comfort zone when reading about them.

  88. @Groat – I’ll probably tick off people with this comparison but I view the Pirates playbook to be like the Taliban. They’ll hide from the safety of mosques, women and children while taking pot shots at the military. In this case, Pirates send in team employees and friends to question the professional credibility of Dejan and others. I’ve experienced myself when McClatchy was the owner and the owner’s manual didn’t exactly have to go far when Nutting took over. If the Pirates want to change the subject, do something about it on the field.

  89. It’s the Pirates new revenue plan — sell a couple million of these awesome posters for $19.95 each, and Josh Hamilton will be wearing the black and gold. Brilliant!

  90. @Eric Bowser – I did not forget his column, and nowhere did I ever say that Pirates management should be immune to serious criticism. This has become a black & white issue to many. My stance is to take each move they make on its own (de)merits. I’ll leave the Hoka Heysteria to others.

    DK: See below. They’ve lost that right, in my eyes. This isn’t about doing some FanGraphs-style breakdowns and grades for individual moves. It’s about building — or failing to build — a team.

    Martin doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It affects other possible acquisitions (or releases, like Jeff Karstens). It’s absolutely NOT solely about its own merits.

    Still waiting on the Twitter handle.

    Or for you to admit you were never blocked.

  91. Bob Nutting is out of touch with the 21st century.

    He’s always seen with his tweed sports coat and 2 buttons undone, no tie. I met and talked to him and his wife at a play at the O’Reilly Theater, where I was in a suit and tie . . . . and he had his tweed sports coat and 2 buttons undone.

    When was that cool——the 70′s?

    Of course, Dejan cannot be the the one to point out Nutting’s sartorial splendor!

  92. @steelercrazy – When evaluating this ownership and management team, you can’t exclude Hoka Key just as much as I can’t exclude the trades for Rodriguez, Burnett, and McDonald. I can’t ignore the moves to get Jones and McKenry. But when you consider the total picture of the draft, development, free agency, advanced scouting, use of metrics, public relations… then yes, you’ve got to consider Hoka Hey to be the mantle piece of this 20 year calamity of shame.

    DK: Right. It’s all one big thing. If they’re misguided enough to do this goofy, laughable development stuff, why trust their judgment on other matters?

    Unless they prove otherwise. And they haven’t. They’ve been lousy — to varying degrees — at just about every facet.

  93. The “story” of the Pirate’s mismanagement, and particularly the injurious, delusional, self-indulgent dictates of Kyle Stark fail to cease. So the reporting, by all means, must continue. All the poseurs staking out the position that this is a “boring topic, it has been beaten to death” or “you’ve chronicled it enough…stop it already,” speak for yourselves. You don’t speak for me nor most others following this travesty.

    Steelercrazy,
    Your latest “stance” that Dejan should write each piece in a vacuum is particularly absurd and you really should stop using the shovel yourself — your only digging yourself deeper.

  94. “Martin doesn’t happen in a vacuum.”

    Oh, you beat me to it.

    DK: Actually, thought you did far better job of making my case than I did. Should have shown up earlier!

  95. I am starting to believe that soon there will not be a distinction between the Pirates and this group of losers running this team. Sure those of us in our 40′s and 50′s remember Clemente, Stargell etc…but what happens with every passing year? More of us pass away and another group that has never known anything other than disgrace get a year further into maturity and new fans who could become true followers become numb to Pirates baseball,

    My son is 23 and born and bred in Orange County Ca and loves the Steelers and Penguins, we have Sunday ticket and center ice and watches every game with me when he is home. We have been to Super bowls, the Stanley finals and attend 2-3 Steeler games and 5-7 Pens games a year. After he was around 13 and didn’t automatically have to go to Pirate games with me he has never attended one. NEVER. He has never sat and watched a Pirate game with me on T.V. in the last 10 years.

    He left tonight to visit his girlfriend in Santa Barbara and came upstairs before he left to find out what time the Steeler game was so he would be home on Sunday to watch it. There is an entire generation that does not know or equate Clemente, Stargell, class, or success with the Pirates. They have Burnitz, operation shutdown, Andy LaRoche, Aki, and Matt Morris. If this regime is left in place this group grows and our group shrinks.

    If you are a true Pirate fan you don’t give a crap if Jason Grilli signs here, that is like clipping the fingernails on a person in coma dying of cancer. It is a small cosmetic gesture that is to small to measure in any meaningful way. A true fan does not stand for this shitty product. He buys NO tickets, buys no merchandise, and encourages others to do the same. He becomes involved in any type of petition to force sponsors to abandon them and also encourages sports writers and others to quit pretending they are complete fools as well as egomaniacs and incompetents.

  96. If I was voting for the Heisman Trophy, I’m voting for the best player on the best team and as much as I hate that thinking and hate rooting for Notre Dame. I think Manti Te’o has been an outstanding linebacker for the Fighting Irish during their undefeated regular season and considering all that he’s gone through personally with the tragic deaths of his mother and girlfriend, this man deserves to win the Heisman.

    Pirates are a shameful bunch of losers from the top down. If nothing changes, that’s on the owner. If you don’t like the Pirates being completely shutdown at the winter meetings in Nashville, you’ll be sad to hear the team has no money to spend until they can move the estimated $6.9 million salary that will be awarded to Joel Hanrahan via salary arbitration.

    Steelers beat Ravens and this town goes into Super Bowl countdown mode. Let’s see if Roethlisberger is healthy and can stay healthy. Let’s see if Polamalu and Clark can do the same. Let’s see if Harrison continues his improvement rushing the QB. Let’s see if Worilds is making that third year player move and taking advantage with Woodley’s usual injury bug. Let’s see if Dwyer and Redman can hold the ball, rumble for some yards, and stay healthy. Let’s see how Lewis, Brown, and Allen handle the secondary with Taylor injured. Let’s see what happens with Wallace.

    Is anyone excited by PITT’s December schedule? Wake me up in January.

    While the Gary Bettman stood at the Westin Times Square Hotel grandstanding about how Donald Fehr and the union leadership are the cause of this lockout. Let’s not lose sight of the fact the NHL offered the players 43% HRR prior to the lockout. Somehow it was their “save the season” kindness to move the needle to 50% and though owners said back in October their ‘save the season’ offer was the best, it wasn’t. The league increased the ‘make whole’ component from $212 million to $300 million. I’m tired of the politics and rhetoric by the owners and players, time to get down to business. They have three weeks, get it done.

    DK: A few of us agreed upon leaving that New York hotel last night that Winnipeg D-man Ron Hainsey had the most powerful quote of the day, maybe by accident: “We thought we had a deal Wednesday night.”

    Really?

    The players thought that?

    What changed Thursday?

  97. Man, I’ll be glad when we get back to talking about baseball.

    Not thick-headed idiots trying to prove their point that they are smarter than everyone else. How’d that “play the leftfielder in left-center field” work out for ya, Neal?!? Is there anyone in the world who imagines that John Russell “thunk that up” on his own?

    Hey Dejan, we gave so much credit to Ray Searage for the 1st Half pitching accomplishments———doesn’t he bear some blame for JMac’s demise in the 2nd Half? Do you thing Searage can help McDonald turn it back around? He was All-Star caliber until July.

    I’m tired of talking about the unfulfilled, underdeveloped, shallow depth Minor League buffoons. Excepting, of course, that the buffoonery starts at the top!

  98. Fido Eric,

    You are hitting on all cylinders tonight!

  99. I don’t get the impression from (despairing) friends in the organization that anything has changed. What the demented rubbish depicted in that poster demonstrates is that Kyle Stark is still firmly in control, and that Coonelly, Huntington and Stark are determined to demonstrate that they are right, or go down in flames insisting it.

    I don’t think they have a scintilla of respect for anybody who doesn’t buy into this garbage, and if the owner is part of that cohort, then he gets the same treatment, albeit less overtly. Like hanging that idiocy on the wall down there after he told them to run a baseball team, and not a military school for teenagers.

    I guess a few dozen people telling Nutting that these charlatans are making a mockery of the franchise wasn’t sufficiently compelling. Perhaps going 7-23 for April with two serviceable starters will get his attention.

    DK: This entry is as powerfully true as anything I’ve read — or written myself — on this subject. Color me envious. Nicely done.

  100. Is it oversimplifying the NHL Wednesday/Thursday difference as being Wednesday was players and owners talking, Thursday Bettman and Fehr showed up?

  101. Quarter to two in the morning and I just dropped by to say that I’m totally out of words.I’ve got nothing. This thing has become so comical that it’s not just ironic, it’s post-ironic. It’s making ironic comments about its own irony. What the hell is left after that? The blogosphere is invalidated. This franchise can’t be harmed by conventional weapons.

    DK: I can appreciate that. But look two posts up from here. BVB just hit one into the river.

  102. Jeremy Rutherford of stltoday.com has some great, great quotes from Blues forward David Backes about the negotiations and his thoughts about them as he was there in New York.

    “That was very confusing to a lot of the guys,” Backes said. “Don and (assistant director Steve Fehr), they are the people we chose to represent us. We’re not well-educated businessmen; we’re hockey players. We expressed our views, had some phenomenal discussions with the owners. But we’re not billion-dollar businessmen that cut deals in boardrooms all the time. That’s why we’ve hired Don Fehr.”

    “When you only see two of them, you think they’re not taking it very seriously and they don’t want a deal,” Backes said. “The money was agreeable by both sides, the pension was agreeable by both sides. What was keeping this deal from being signed, sealed and delivered was how long an individual player contract could be, what the variance in that contract could be and how long the term of the (agreement) was going to be.

    “You’re telling me that we’re going to blow up the season, blow up everything that we have in front of us, potential sponsorships and (tick) fans off more, for not being able to agree to those certain things. I just have a hard time believing it. Is that not close? You wonder why guys were getting antsy … we thought the deal was done.”

  103. Dejan,

    Like I mentioned on Twitter, this entry is on point.

    I’ve followed the Buccos for all 20 years of my life. The last time they had a winning season, I was three months old. I’ve given every ounce of support I could. This past season, I was sure it was the year the streak ended. I thought when Clint Hurdle was brought in, my prayers would be answered. They’ve been so close for two seasons now. I can feel it.

    As much as I refuse to embrace the suck, it’s hard when the Pirates’ front office fails to commit anything to its fan base. I think Bob Nutting and Neal Huntington have to go in order for the Pirates to make that next step. They need a former player or coach or someone to buy into the potential successes of this young team. Look what Mario did with the Penguins. I still believe that Hurdle is the needed manager to get them over the slide. I’m even daring enough to say Bud Selig and the league should step in and buy out the Pirates.

    What Nutting and Huntington are doing to the Pirates, or lack thereof, is unacceptable. We’ve been saying it for 20 years- there’s always next season.

    #BattlingBuccos

    DK: Selig will not get involved. Ask the fans in Miami.

    Welcome to our place!

  104. 90′s Outfield BVB,

    There will be no 7 – 23 April. There will still be 2 free agent signings: an Erik Bedard-type and a Ryan Church-type. Clint Hurdle (the one true good move by BMTIB) and Ray Searage will pull the ranks together and have them hustling. Walker, McCutch, Jones, a step up by Marte, and more Jekyl and less Hyde from Pedro, will result in 70-76 wins, and same-old same-old will be our constant companion again at PNC Park.

    The BMTIB mantra this season will be, “When Cole and Taillon are ready to come up . . . . . “

  105. @diehard – Yes, I think it is oversimplifying to say the NHL backed away like a 6th grade bully getting punched in the face by the lonely freckled face kid. The NHL doesn’t trust Fehr and Bettman can say trust has nothing to do with it but when he goes off on a rant answering Dejan’s question about his own legacy and reputation, that he takes a shot at the PA for having four executive directors in eight years, yeah right.. trust is an issue.

    But at the same time, players have a hard time seeing themselves signing a 10-year CBA that limits contracting rights without any new benefits coming back to the players.

    If the league would compromise a little bit on the contract length, I think a deal can be done quickly..

    The other issue is, why would owners expect the players to say yes, yes, and yes to those three “must haves” when the full context of the agreement wasn’t completed as the transition rules still needed to be discussed and agreed upon.

    Did the players make a mistake getting Fehr involved or allowing him to be involved, sure I think so but it isn’t like Donald Fehr was without a voice in that room over the last few days because they had side bar meetings with him involved with the players. His owner brother was in the room.

  106. Dejan, why is the Twitter handle so long? It’s clearly unique but typing 15 characters is just too much. Oh wait, mine is 14, nevermind.

    Do you think the Pirates made a bad deal when they signed their 10-year, 200 million television rights deal? I see other deals out there up around and over the billion dollar mark and I question if they didn’t hamstring themselves for a decade.

    Also, do the Pirates face an issue with receiving revenue sharing when it comes to investing into their own team? It seems to me, if they are receiving millions in revenue sharing for having a low payroll, when they go out and sign a big name player, they are not only paying that player his money, but losing revenue dollars from the revenue sharing at the same time. Essentially making big signs twice as expensive?

    162 – 0

    DK: Been over that second issue a ton. To the TV question, yes, the Pirates’ is plummeting down the lists here, even against comparable-sized metro areas. Will be worth watching.

  107. Fair enough – thanks Eric.

  108. Quoting you DK:

    “I also appreciate that you’re intelligent enough to grasp that the people running them aren’t very good at their jobs.”

    Later

    “Any columnist’s job is built on viewpoints, which over time can morph into a stance. I’ve explained time and again — no secret — that I’ve lost faith in this management team and that I feel Bob Nutting can do better. That’s my stance. Just as it’s my stance that Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert absolutely should be running the Steelers. They’re NO different, other than that the negative one might make more people uncomfortable. No different in the slightest.

    Most people do understand a columnist’s role at a paper. It’s opinion, viewpoints. But not everyone does, and that’s the genesis of about 99 percent of the discussions I have about this Pirates stuff.

    This is my opinion. It’s a stance. That’s part of the job.”

    So is it a just a stance, just an opinion? Or are people who disagree with you and support current Pirates management unintelligent, because that’s not an opinion, that’s putting forth a criticism on something objective. Am I an idiot for having the opinion that the current Pirates front office is competent, because that’s what you said above.

    Let’s see how you spin this one, because I’ve yet to see you admit it when you stuck your foot in your mouth. I’m interested to see if that will change.

    DK: Gee, hostile much?

    Can’t make this any clearer: In my view, this management team has done a lousy job, on top of damaging the Pirates’ brand locally and nationally. There’s no foot in the mouth to be had here, no gotcha. I’ve written this who knows how many times beginning, really, with the all-in column at the trading deadline.

    How you feel about it is up to you. If you see yourself as intelligent and think these guys are competent after five years of failure and now embarrassment, go nuts. Intelligent people think and do dumb things, too. Or they get squeamish when topics make them uncomfortable or threaten their fanhood. Or they get too married to the concept of being right even in the face of dramatically changing evidence.

    And hey, welcome!

  109. I’ve got a great idea!!!! Let’s kill the messenger!!

    DK: Nah, let’s just accuse him of goofy, agenda-provoking, personal-vendetta stuff because we can’t actually defend the management team with intelligent, objective, rational arguments!

  110. Ugh…..Will always root for the bucs regardless of the jagoffs running the team. I’m guessing that they know the core will always be there….just like in the NHL.

  111. Where do these people come from?
    And why have I never met one in person?

    I wear my Pirate support on my “sleeve”——why has one never approached me?

    I’ve even run into and talked to Bob Nutting and Frank Coonelly, but never any one of these strident accusers.

    Sometimes I think it’s only 2 guys (in their mother’s basement, or in the basement of Federal Street!) with multiple internet names and personalities!!

    DK: My estimate long has been 25-30.

  112. it seems to me the majority of the phrases on this poster was created by a millitary man who has been hired by the bucs of ideas they thought would drive the players, almost like in the military where you try taking their mind off of dying by having order, the same with the team sucking. you wont care your on a horrible team. the suck is a term used by marines to describe the worst place possible. from what i can see they are a multitude of military phrases that were instated to change the mental state of a soilder.

    these guys are young adults, yea it may work but mental drive should be enough to get to the majors, they need to fine tune the player not strip down his mind state, and increase his physical ability in an organized manner not striping them down and rebuilding. the staff is not doing their job, the scouts are not doing their job, and the GM knows baseball and never acts like it. no-brainer moves arent made and we have never signed a blockbuster free agent. martin is the closest in the past 10 years. we let guys go because they want more money, i feel bad for mcutchen, walker and burnett and a few others because they play their hearts out and dont get the respect from management.

    if management respected this team, these players, this city they would make legitimate moves for players and use the minors system to throw guys into the fire and if they dont workout get rid of them. we sign tabada for 6 years even though he hasnt proven himself but we dont ink guys like walker or jones or hammer, we try trading them, we dont give a more then effective wilson and mcpherson a chance at the rotation and a bullpen job respectively.

    I’ve played ball my whole life and these moves make sense. barmes makes sense to make pitchers happy but cant hit, could make a legit move for dee gordon and get him cheap. right on the age of other key guys and brings speed to the team, in which they lack, could work with barmes on defense. things like that make no sense. we work for the future every year but its every other teams future not our own.

    its frustrating. so close but so far.

  113. I just wish to say that I think the point at which DK has arrived, that “this management team has done a lousy job, on top of damaging the Pirates’ brand locally and nationally” is completely backed up by their record, which is all that matters. I agree with him, and I was long a holdout against that type of thinking. But a second straight historic collapse convinced me that I was wrong to believe in the Huntington/Stark team, and all of the rest of the peripheral evidence supported my change in thinking.

    I always said I’d give these guys 5 years. And they have quite effectively fallen on the sword. There is no reason whatsoever to believe that the key that turns the lock toward legitimate success is held by these men. The evidence is right there in front of us all.

  114. Does the nontender of Karstens mean that the Nady/Marte trade to the Yankees a few years back is less of a win?

    Karstens and McCutchen both brought back zero return from their time with the Pirates as they were nontendered or a minor league free agent. Tabata looks like a 4th OF at best.

    One of the ‘best’ trades by the current management has brought back zero return in terms of the future. I thought rebuilding teams and teams under .500 were supposed to try to get something in return for players who had value to help them in the future.

  115. oh and unless the owners hire a shero type gm who can make legit trades they need to avoid making trades because trades have only caused the team to go downhill. and i can bet any player in the orginization proving himself early in the year doesnt get a chance. especially in spring training.

  116. Thanks for the kind words, Dejan.

    This was case of contempt and disgust bringing forth sharper focus. I’ve followed this game, and professional sports, for almost 50 years. Unless I am missing a few long-forgotten episodes, aside from the Billy Martin-George Steinbrenner 100 Years War, nothing matches the level of insubordinate behavior exhibited by Coonelly, Huntington and Stark. The Yankees get a free pass, because they won, and Steinbrenner always was in charge.

    In this case, there is no clear evidence that anybody is in charge except for Huntington and his pygmy major domo, Kyle Stark. These are immature, half-baked individuals who should not be permitted to manage talent the value of which exceeds $100 million on the open market, if you count the draft choices in the minors. The wastage already experienced would have caused the termination of management in most other places.

    Does Bob Nutting really want these guys administering another draft cycle, or another season of development for the minor league clubs?

    Rhetorical question, of course, but the acid test will be how the gutted pitching staff responds to the tough April schedule. If they don’t, and the bats start slow (as they usually do), it will be “Katie, bar the door!” as the Gunner used to say. That will elicit a response from the owner’s suite.

    Maybe. One never knows anymore.

    He may already have embraced the suck(ing).

  117. Pirates management is like a bad soap opera, just when you think a mess is cleared up, a bigger mess pops up. Management just needs to let the players play, stay out of their way and stop the weirdness! The boys at the top just never learn from their mistakes and even find ways to make even more stupid ones….

  118. “How you feel about it is up to you. If you see yourself as intelligent and think these guys are competent after five years of failure and now embarrassment, go nuts. Intelligent people think and do dumb things, too.”

    If it’s your opinion, I still fail to see how it’s unequivocally and unarguably dumb. My personal take. They are doing a good job. I also understand why people would argue that they aren’t.

    The Jason Bay trade, the non-tender of Matt Capps, the signing of Overbay, Barajas, etc, the trade for Iwamura, the drafting of Tony Sanchez. There are plenty of faults. They are also successes. Weighing them using my judgment and expectations, I come out positive. If you do not, that’s fine, but I prefer rational discussion rather than discounting opinions that grate with my own and dismissing them as objectively wrong.

    Thank you for the welcoming words.

  119. As far as rational arguments.

    2012 – 79 wins
    1997 – 79 wins

    That was the last time the Pirates had as many wins as they did in 2012. 15 years.

    2001 – 62
    2002 – 75
    2003 – 72
    2004 – 67
    2005 – 67
    2006 – 67
    2007 – 68
    Neal Huntington takes over
    2008 – 67
    2009 – 62
    2010 – 57
    2011 – 72
    2012 – 79

    See a trend? I do. Now granted, a similar thing happened in 2002 and 2003 as in 2011 and 2012, so 2013 needs to see at worst consistency and hopefully even more improvement. That’s still up in the air clearly. However..

    Baseball America. Pretty nifty publication. Good, objective analysis of minor league farm systems.

    System rankings

    2005 – 18
    2006 – 19
    2007 – 19
    2008 – 26
    2009 – 18
    2010 – 15
    2011 – 19
    2012 – 11
    2013 – N/A, but I’d bet a ton of money that unless a trade happens, the Pirates system ranks in the top 8 at the minimum.

    Can an argument be made that progress isn’t going to be enough or isn’t happening fast enough? That’s a fair argument. I would disagree. But to say that progress isn’t made seems to me to go against objective assessment.

    DK: Your bar is Littlefield?

    Even though Littlefield left behind one-third of the 2013 lineup — Cutch, Walker and Marte — and arguably the most important one- third?

    Your bar is incremental progress over Littlefield over a span of five years amid recording spending on the draft, Latin America, free agency and yes, payroll?

    It’s Littlefield, who had none of those four things, who was a laughable talent evaluator using antiquated methods and philosophies, who had his All-Star third baseman forced to be sold off for a steaming pile of nothing, and who STILL handed the current management team arguably it’s three most vital — and still young — players?

    That’s your bar?

    Oh, boy. Much is explained.

    Three cheers for incremental progress over an incompetent, under-funded, hamstrung GM, everyone. Party responsibly.

  120. I guess the most desterbing thing about that poster, to me, is the whole “Be Uncommon” thing with the arrow illustration. And I kind of get a since of, once again, as Dejan has pointed out, the whole ‘we know better than you’ stance of the front office. I am really hoping this was something that never got taken down after Bob Nutting made his announcement, but who knows.

    But here is my deal with the Pirates in general: I will be a die hard fan and stick to cheering for them and hope they can turn this around. With all the Hoka Hey garbage, I think it is rediculace, and hope that has stopped.

    While I do agree with Dejan on the whole Russell Martin thing, and sometimes I think he can blow something out of proportion, the poster does kind of speak for itself. It is hard to overblow that.

    But I am going to cheer for the team and hope that they stumble upon, clearly not this, but something right. We’ll see. I’ll tell yah what though, Kyle Stark does not do Bradford PA proud, my hometown and his. I just would love to know what on earth people are thinking. Oh well. Hopefully this changes soon.

  121. CutchTruth

    I respect the research you did. Nevertheless, Baseball America, in 1998, had Kris Benson the #7 prospect in all of baseball and Chad Hermansen the #13. I dont need to tell you they didnt pan out.(great article on the web by Chuck Finder on Hermansen, btw)

    Lists dont mean anything to me any more. If you dont train these players right, both physically and mentally, they are going to fail at the ML level. We’ve seen it over and over again. And even though I am military, I dont agree with that type of training (physically and mentally) for ball players. They should be copying the training that the Cardinals, Rangers and other successful organizations are using. Not blazing their own trail, which so far has yielded little results.

  122. bpn8piitt

    There will be failures – actually there will be failures more often than not – and yes development has something to do with it, but there’s not yet conclusive proof that the current regime can’t develop major league talent.

    They had some input in Cutch, some input in Pedro who’s coming around, a good amount of input in Walker, virtually all of the input in Marte, and a good amount of input in Presley.

    Cole, Taillon, Hanson, and Polanco will be the big indicator, although 2 of 4 of them panning out would be considered a success, remember that. Furthermore, it’s way better to have plenty of minor league talent than to not have plenty of minor league talent.

    I understand skepticism of lists, but history has proven that there is correlation between minor league talent and major league success, especially for small market teams. Ultimate point is, the building blocks and foundation are there, although the finishing touches need to be added. Maybe Neal Huntington isn’t the run person for the job, but he’s done a fairly good job with the building blocks if you ask me and if you ask Baseball America.

    I also think you are over-stating the military training. As far as the info I’ve read – most of it from Dejan – indications are that the amount of time actually spent on the questionable training is a very small percentage compared to actual baseball production. Is it misguided and goofy? Almost definitely. However, is it actually detrimental to player development? Not from what I’ve seen so far.

    DK: The amount of information you ignore to reach your conclusions is staggering. But understandable.

    No mention of utterly failed drafts amid baseball-record spending, utterly failed free-agent players at an astonishing rate, utterly insufficient return on trades (though you’ve at least mentioned a couple). Nothing. You zip through five years, cherry pick McDonald-for-Dotel and applaud, in essence. You never explain why a management whose philosophy clearly is founded on being uncommon (check the poster), can almost never register an uncommon success. Where has it been? Garrett Jones, a six-year minor-league free agent?

    I did the BA rankings for the Pirates for years. I can tell you that they’re reflective mostly of a broader depth, usually meaning there are more players with a chance than not. That was the ultimate no-brainer in a setting of spending $52 million on the draft. Of COURSE there was going to be more actual talent. Guys like Colton Cain and Quinton Miller were being handed huge checks (while other teams giggled), and the rankings went up. I know this. Again, I did some of those rankings.

    Far more relevant question: Where is it now?

    This is where rankings hit the road.

    Where’s five years worth of flooding the system?

    Here’s your answer: More than half of the system’s top seven prospects are from Latin America (good for those scouts), and most of the rest of the top 10 is skewed DRAMATICALLY by the presence of Cole and Taillon. If you think the system is poised to keep moving up those lists once/if those two graduate and once the Mark Appel hole is laid bare, you’d better come up with better names than Kyle McPherson, another Littlefield holdover.

    Finally, for the five billionth time, the military issue is one of a year-round mindset. It’s convenient to pretend it’s about three days. It isn’t. You know that. It’s the very foundation of what they do. Even now, they’ve got two “mental conditioning coordinators” for the minors, and both are from military backgrounds. In all likelihood, the infantile poster is the work of one or both.

    Dude, you’re trying. I respect that. I also respect — assuming you don’t work for the Pirates — your loyalty as a fan.

    But you’re so far off the deep end in BA-land and low expectations it’s genuinely frightening.

  123. In case anyone is interested in things other than a stupid poster

    JAL’s Three Stars Will Shine Tonight and Hill Street Blues 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

    Winter Leagues Recap: Fuesser Strikes Out Seven

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2012/12/winter-leagues-recap-fuesser-strikes-out-seven.html
    5 Rumbunter

    Starling Marte Is Providing Pittsburgh Pirates With Great News

    http://rumbunter.com/2012/12/07/starling-marte-is-providing-pittsburgh-pirates-with-great-news/

    6 Bucs Dugout

    Pirates ‘embrace the suck’

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2012/12/7/3741652/pirates-embrace-the-suck

    7 SB Nation

    Pirates rumors: Bucs await Jason Grilli’s decision

    http://pittsburgh.sbnation.com/pittsburgh-pirates/2012/12/7/3740316/jason-grilli-rumors-pirates-cubs-blue-jays

    8 Baseball Nation

    Me and the Winter Meetings (and I)

    http://mlb.sbnation.com/2012/12/7/3742154/mlb-winter-meetings-personal-experience-bbwaa

    9 Triple Pundit

    Bike Friendly Baseball Stadiums: The Definitive List

    http://www.triplepundit.com/2012/12/biking-to-the-ballpark/

    10 Rant Sports

    1994 MLB Strike More Than Meets The Eye?

    http://www.rantsports.com/mlb/2012/12/07/1994-mlb-strike-more-than-meets-the-eye/

  124. CutchTruth

    To cite a specific example, look at Gerrit Cole. He has one year of pro ball under his belt, 132 IP. Rarely, if ever went beyond six innings. Go back to his IP at UCLA. Never went over 123, his sophmore year. Does he have a live arm? Sure. Great slider, but just started working on changeup. At times hes dominated, other times, not so much.

    My fear is they are going to rush him, again to save jobs. And i dont think he knows how to pitch, when most of his career he just blew gas by people. I really feel he needs another year to get innings up…Anyway, they’ve made these mistakes before.

    And back to the training, they really should be modeling themselves after other successful organizations, like the Giants and how they handle Pitchers. Regardless how we or Dejan feel about it, the industry itself doesnt think very highly of what the Pirates are doing. Thats been quoted, named and unnamed, a variety of places, not just in Pittsburgh.

  125. NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 Philadelphia Inquirer

    Baseball Notes: Salary boost is highest since 2007

    http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/phillies/20121208_Baseball_Notes__Salary_boost_is_highest_since_2007.html

    12 St. Louis Post Dispatch

    Haren, Nationals agree to a one-year contract

    http://www.stltoday.com/sports/baseball/baseball-notebook/article_4026372d-59f5-57ee-b0d7-8644b4f87b12.html

    13 Patriot News

    Randy Whitaker’s Baseball Winter Meetings blog: Watching 3 former Harrisburg Senators drafted in Rule 5

    http://www.pennlive.com/sports/index.ssf/2012/12/post_27.html

    14 Los Angeles Times

    Review: For Bo Jackson, playing was enough

    http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/tv/showtracker/la-et-st-bo-jackson-documentary-review-20121208,0,6666936.story

    15 Chicago Tribune

    Report: Ex-Cub Dempster turns down $25 million offer from Red Sox

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/breaking/chi-ryan-dempster-red-sox-20121207,0,5295886.story

    16 Fayetteville Observer

    Who will be next gold nugget from Rule 5 draft?

    http://blogs.fayobserver.com/calledthirdstrike/December-2012/Who-will-be-next-gold-nugget-from-Rule-5-draft-

    17 Sweetspot

    The money is just getting insane

    http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/31282/the-money-is-just-getting-insane

    18 Daily Dish

    Cincinnati Reds to sign Ryan Ludwick

    http://www.mlbdailydish.com/2012/12/7/3741494/ryan-ludwick-reds-sign-contract-mlb-trade-rumors

  126. Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    NFL Network analyst and former college teammate of Mike Tomlin says Harbaugh’s comments sparked icy handshake

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2012/12/7/3740144/steelers-ravens-mike-tomlin-john-harbaugh-handshake-nfl-network

    Ben Roethlisberger to wear custom-made military-grade protective vest against Chargers in Week 14

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2012/12/7/3738546/ben-roethlisberger-injury-right-shoulder-protective-vest-padding-starting-week-14-san-diego-chargers

    22 Steelers Depot

    - Steelers Offensive Line Breakdown – Baltimore Ravens – Week 13

    http://www.steelersdepot.com/2012/12/steelers-offensive-line-breakdown-baltimore-ravens-week-13/

    23 Steelers Gab

    Ben Roethlisberger Practices in Full; Should be Ready to Start Sunday vs SD

    http://www.steelersgab.com/2012/12/06/ben-roethlisberger-practices-in-full-should-be-ready-to-start-sunday-vs-sd/

    24 Nice Pick Cower

    Roethlisberger Returns For Steelers: How Much Does He Play?

    http://nicepickcowher.com/2012/12/06/roethlisberger-returns-for-steelers-how-much-does-he-play/

    Pitt Blogs

    25 Pitt Blather

    Chryst Staying: Do We Care Why?

    http://www.pittblather.com/2012/12/07/chryst-staying-do-we-care-why/

    26 Cardiac Hill

    Two years ago…

    http://www.cardiachill.com/2012/12/7/3738602/from-the-archives-two-years-ago-dave-wannstedt-pitt-pittsburgh-panthers-fired-coaching-carousel

    WVU Blogs

    27 Metro News

    Big Recruiting Weekend for WVU

    http://www.wvmetronews.com/wvu.cfm?func=displayfullstory&storyid=56790

    28 WV Illustrated

    WVU Men’s Basketball: Virginia Tech Preview

    http://www.wvillustrated.com/story/20289672/wvu-mens-basketball-virginia-tech-preview

    Soccer(football)

    29 Sky Sports

    Premier League preview

    http://www1.skysports.com/football/news/11669/8314696/Brendan-Rodgers-hails-Jordan-Henderson-after-hitting-Liverpool-s-winner

    30 Daily Telegraph

    Manchester City v Manchester United: Roberto Mancini accuses United’s Ashley Young ahead of derby

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/manchester-united/9730992/Manchester-City-v-Manchester-United-Roberto-Mancini-accuses-Uniteds-Ashley-Young-ahead-of-derby.html

    31 World Soccer Daily

    World Soccer Daily: 10 stories you need to read, 7th December, 2012

    http://www.worldsoccer.com/247/world-soccer-daily-10-stories-you-need-to-read-7th-december-2012

    PENGUIN BLOGS and NHL Links

    32 Pensburgh

    As the Numbness Settles in

    http://www.pensburgh.com/2012/12/7/3740870/as-the-numbness-settles-in

    33 Penn Live

    ‘I just want to play hockey’: Pittsburgh Penguins’ Sidney Crosby mulls options as NHL lockout drags on

    http://www.pennlive.com/sports/index.ssf/2012/12/i_just_want_to_play_hockey_pit.html

    34 USA Today

    Allen: Even in NHL blowup, path to deal is visible

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nhl/columnist/allen/2012/12/07/nhl-nhlpa-labor-talks-column/1754971/

    35 Fox Sports

    NHL, Lohan have too much in common

    http://msn.foxsports.com/nhl/story/lockout-labor-talks-halted-nhl-self-destructing-like-lindsay-lohan-scale-120712

  127. The last two themes to reach the top. “Three Stars Will Shine Tonight” by Richard Chamberlain is the them for Dr. Kildare and the Hill Street Blues theme is the 3rd Mike Post theme to reach the top 10.

  128. Going to have an extra hop in my step today. I got to read more prospect rankings. Whoopie !!

    DK: The world champion Kansas City Royals don’t appreciate your attitude, mister.

  129. “Be Uncommon”. Here’s something uncommon – win just one more game than you lose once in 21 years. I know I’m asking a lot …

  130. Post of the day already, Milo, #130.

  131. Good morning Lucky. How are things in your commonwealth this morning ? Ours is wet, but not white. Doesn’t feel like Christmas yet.

  132. Stark and his henchmen have a poor track record of sending MLB-ready players up the big league team. Collectively they cannot bunt, steal, throw to the right base, sacrifice or do some fAirly common baseball things. ANY time not spent on developing the baseball skills is wasted…..

    Oooops, forgot that there aren’t any skilled or knowledgeable baseball involved at the upper levels of Nuttings Losers!

    Want the real Pirates, not these wannabes to come back!

  133. I think calling the poster stupid misses the point JAL.

    It’s who made and hung the poster that is stupid. Paper, even laminated paper is never all that smart.

  134. To those who persist in defending these people and claiming that this doesn’t matter, Dejan and others who post here have said many times that Hoka Hey is not the story but a symptom, with which I agree. A lot of people see it as meaningless. I don’t.

    To me, the sort of sophomorism that lies behind that stupid poster–Stark’s e-mails, his intranet site, his philosophies, Huntington’s criticism of those who don’t understand their brilliance–all of this is inconsistent with the sort of maturity, professionalism, experience and savvy required to run a very public organization and deliver the kind of results needed to compete with the Cardinals, Reds, Nationals, Braves, Phillies, Giants and their other obstacles.

    That problem is real and can’t be wished away by shooting the messenger or lamenting coverage of a mere poster. If you can’t see that the poster and Hoka Hey are the tip of a rather large iceberg, you either aren’t looking hard enough, or are not seeing it because all of this is fine with you.

    We aren’t convincing each other here because the two camps in this debate reject each other’s underlying assumptions and the meaning of the facts as presented. To some, these facts are nothing of consequence, and an attempt to smear forward-thinking visionaries. To others of us, they are the “color” for a much deeper story, of incompetence, mismanagement, waste of money, hubris, contempt for suffering fans, mistreatment of staff who don’t fit Stark’s Hippified Hells Angel model, and generalized organizational dysfunction.

    If you like all of that, Mr. Nutting has rewarded you with more of it, for reasons only he can articulate. So enjoy it while it’s still there. Even he will, finally, lose his patience at some point.

  135. Milo,

    Still warm, even for here. 60 at 6:00. We’ve only had 1 white Christmas since I’ve been here and that was a bit of a fluke storm on Christmas Eve a couple years ago and it melted pretty fast. White month here is January, if at all.

    BTW, it doesn’t look like the Buccos will embrace Ryan Dempster anytime soon after he turned down 2 years and 25 mil from the Red Smocks. He wants 3. That would make him the highest paid FA in the history of the Pirates, right? Even more than the Morris golden parachute.

  136. In Pirate land…

    Find your 1 thing = Russell Martin

    DK: I believe he was Thing 17,000,000.

  137. BVB.

    Enjoy your articulate posts immensely. Keep ‘em comin’.

  138. Excellent, JUCO.

    I may just refer to him as The Thing all season.

  139. I actually bothered to try and read through the endless word dumps with which “CutchTruth” graces this thread. But in truth, Groat and DK’s insightful little exchange at #112 captures all we need to know about CutchTruth, et al.

    Whenever identifying posts such as “Truth’s” (sorry, can’t bring myself to reference his ilk without the qualifying quotation marks), the best policy remains the tried and true “page down” technique. However, also enabling the rest of us to have the negative feedback option of flagging such intellectually dishonest spin as his, à la YouTube’s “thumbs-up/thumbs-down” feature which shows/hides such comments, might be nice.

  140. I think the poster is great. Sucks I can’t buy it.

  141. The Truth is Cutch,

    I don’t know if you are still around, but I want to thank you for not just spitting out venom, but backing up your pro-BMTIB stand with facts: the Baseball America standings. Although subjective, they do tell us a lot.

    However, pretty universally, when the Pirate Minor League system is discussed, it is described as top-heavy, i.e., some very good individuals but not much depth.

    One would expect very good individuals, as Pirates got so low under Huntington that they have drafted #2, #1, #4, #1, #8 as a result of BMTIB’s putting together or dismantling the Major League Pirates. Yet there is no depth——they have struck out on the rest of the past 5 drafts. Hanson and Polanco are the exceptions——signings by Gayo in Latin America. Josh Bell we also hope is an exception.

    Even a higher Baseball America ranking doesn’t assure good development and good future Major Leaguers coming from Bucs’ necessary feeder system. If a team if going to forego signing quality free agents, it must build through trades (whoops!) or consistent strong drafts (whoops, except the top 4 picks).

    How long must we wait?! 5 years, 5 drafts, worst winning % of the last 3 General Managers! Even the paltry Washington Nationals have made the playoffs (with best winning % in National League!) while Buccos still flounder to reach .500.

  142. The King Of Suck Has Spoken.

    And well spoken, i might add.

  143. Here’s a question: Why are there so many Pirate apologists? I mean seriously, there is hope and then there is blind faith. For the past 20 years this organization has shown ZERO capability of knowing how to win. How about asking for some accountability from the franchise? Holding them accountable for what they’ve done in the past two decades? We go through an epic collapse last season and there are people who acted like it never happened. Sure they has a better record than the past few seasons but they ruled up in a ball and barely rolled to the finish to make it happen. We are supposed to give this franchise the benefit of the doubt? Guess what? It’s not going to work.

  144. 66 (Ahh-hh-hh, Mario!) DAYS UNTIL PIRATE SPRING TRAINING

    By the way, when that hipster JAL says “stupid poster” he really means “cool,” “with it,” “outta sight”!!!!!!

    JAL, love the “Hill Street Blues” today. Almost as great as “The Rockford Files” from a day or two ago——both by Mike Post

  145. Dejan. I accuse you of goofy, agenda-provoking, personal-vendetta stuff.

    Just following orders.

  146. Groaty,

    Your next to the last graph on #142 is spot on. I know it’s been said, many times, many ways “our development system must support and establish these drafts, even if top-heavy ones” and it’s failed miserably so far.

    The proof of the puddin’ is in the eatin’ and most of our call-ups have proven they have not “embraced” fundamentals.

    While Washington gets stronger (no pun intended) we get our “Thing” for the off season, and fall back further. Now, time for Neal and the gang to embrace the holidays and come back after the New Year to “focus the mind” on the Cat in the Hat or whoever that guy is. So sad.

  147. To Lucky’s post (138), thanks for that. Although I feel like a broken record at this point. No matter how many credible arguments one presents to describe this mess, there are true believers who are convinced that Frank Coonelly is The Man. Neal Huntington is The Truth, Kyle Stark is The Way and Larry Broadway is The Means. Or something. I’d rather they be four schlubs working in some other city, preferably in the same division.

  148. C’mon now. Admit it.

    Larry Broadway has the BEST name in showbiz.

  149. A sales representative from the Pirates called me again this week about purchasing season ticket plan for the 2013 season. I’ve thought about a 10-game or 20-game purchase but will not commit because I don’t believe the on-field product will match the value of my financial investment.

    Will I go to a few games, no doubt. My six year old son deserves to be exposed to the sight and sounds of the most beautiful baseball park in all the land. He’ll watch Andrew McCutchen to enjoy the game. What we won’t do is buy tickets in advance like the Pirates desperately need.

    If the Pirates want to get a guaranteed 10-game plan from me, they would have gone out this offseason and signed a long-term deal for Hanrahan, resigned Grilli for two years, acquired (free agent/trade) a legitimate third starter, a good bench player for OF/3B, and a good hitter for 1B or RF.

    I am not satisfied with a lineup of Marte, Walker, McCutchen, Jones, Alvarez, Snider, Martin, and Barmes or happy with a starting rotation of Burnett, Rodriguez, McDonald, Locke, and McPherson.

    The bullpen looks like it could be its worst in years with Grilli likely taking a better deal in free agency, Resop dumped for a nothing prospect, and Hanrahan with his plummeting value on the trade block. Does anyone really think Morris, Hughes, Watson, Leroux, and a few others are going to provide the same quality performance as the Pirates top three relievers last year?

    When I look at the projected 25-man roster, it is laughable to think Frank Coonelly would go to Altoona and tell the Pirates fans there, this team will be playing baseball in October 2013.

    Look at that roster and tell me just how is this team going to maintain the 79 wins of 2012? How are they going to live up to the words of Coonelly and expectations of the fans if their commitment is to “Embrace the Suck”.

    You see, when you look at that roster with everything else that has gone on in Pittsburgh over the last year plus, fans and media have every right to question the honesty, integrity, and commitment of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

    When your owner goes on record in a very public manner stating the military way of training their players was told to stop and then this picture is released, you have to wonder how connected to reality is the owner.

    What is the agenda of the men the owner employs and if you believe the owner is somehow aware of what goes on with his baseball club, then he’s quite possibly a worse owner than any of us imagined as he’s selling one thing in the public about stopping the ‘hoka key’ mentality but doing another by allowing it to continue.

    As BarryVanBonilla pointed out above, if you think Nutting’s decree was honest and if you think Nutting is unaware of what is still going on, which is what I think is happening right now, then Coonelly, Huntington and Stark are disobeying direct orders issued in a very public way and that obvious insubordination should be an easy decision soon for the owner to act in a decisive way.

    There’s no way a successful businessman with integrity is going to allow this kind of insubordination go unpunished. Those three men charged with running the organization should be fired yesterday and not tomorrow, they need to be fired today.

    The longer this goes, the less believable Nutting becomes as the team owner has the ultimate power to change these problems. The ball is on the pitcher’s mound, Bob Nutting just needs to pick it up and fire it to the plate.

  150. I didn’t read all the comments, so forgive me if someone else caught this. I love how it says at the top “The mind can only focus on one thing”…on a poster with something like six different messages on it. A relatively skilled comedian would have a field day with that.

  151. It is pretty impressive that they found a guy named Broadway. If you told me they picked him out of a crowd of tourists on Broadway and hired him, I’d believe you.

  152. While attending a Bucco thrashing a few years ago, my young son looked at me and said, “Dad, why do the Pirates have to suck so BAD?”

    After a couple of seconds of mentally editing, I came up with, “they do stupid stuff.”

    Now a little older, with the Pirates and baseball being the only sport that inexplicably interests him, his response to the Russell Martin signing, “No, no, NO!” (face palm)

    Advanced metrics simply cannot paint a rosy picture of .211 for $17 million.

    More stupid stuff. Embrace the suck.

  153. BVB,

    I think we all feel like broken records; old 45′s that are skipping and playing the same thing endlessly with nobody picking up the arm and putting a stop to it. Heck, I still don’t like the DH, so I’ll never get in tune with this mess the FO has perpetrated over the last few years. It’s not baseball.

    Even with all the positives, always mentioned by DK and all of us, the shadow of Neal’s double and triple-sided mouth and actions looms.

    I’ve never considered not rooting for the Pirates. I have considered my own little kiddy pool of sand to stick my head in, though.

  154. Eric nailed it right there above. The only alternative is Nutting isn’t comfortable yet with a succession plan, and doesn’t want to fire them until he has a succession in place or close to ready. He waited far too long to take all of this seriously, and is stuck at least through the first part if the season.

    If he intends to get rid of them, it needs to happen before the amateur draft and the trading deadline, however. He shouldn’t want their imprint on the organization any deeper than it already is, and those two milestones risk producing more albatrosses for new management.

  155. a management whose philosophy clearly is founded on being uncommon

    DK, I have been looking for a phrase or way to describe why I believe NH and the guys who report to him will fail. You just nailed it. I hope you don’t mind that I am going to steal it.

  156. BVB,

    I can only hope Eric is right. I just feel somehow that Nutting still thinks Neal and the gang are the best things since sliced bread. Maybe he isn’t that naive, but he sure is slow off the blocks if he isn’t.

  157. I have just one thing to say

    “You can’t make this stuff up”

    I think I need to copywrite that, sigh…

  158. Highly entertaining blog today. Kyle Stark is one tremendously misguided young man. That upper level management of a professional baseball team supports or allows this nonsense speaks volumes as to their competence or lack thereof. I have “embraced the suck” on many occasions. It is the farthest possible thing from running under a fly ball in the gap at PNC. Trust me.

    DK: Yeah, but at least he’s got close-to-zero baseball instruction background. And amazingly hired someone to fill his old position who has even less.

    Can’t risk being shown up by, you know, actual “baseball people.”

  159. I usually focus on relevant college football conferences, but since i sometimes sorta live in the Tampa Bay region, here are my thoughts on Willie Taggart, 36, replacing Skip Holtz at the University of South Florida.

    Good hire. Especially if USF is willing to show patience with a young coach who has a nice record but may have room to grow.

    Reasons:

    - Has successful head coaching experience. Took over at Western Kentucky when they had just lost 20 in a row. (Who Loses 20 In A Row??? That’s Impossi…oh wait.) 2-10 first season, 7-5 the next two, this year earning the Hill Toppers their first bowl bid EVER, in a year when the Toppers beat the SEC’s Kentucky.

    - Note the turnaround history. This is a turnaround situation. Don’t let the Bulls’ bowl visits and national rankings from a few years ago fool you. Weak recruits, a 1-6 in the powerhouse Big East, and last in that vaunted conference two years running.

    - Jim Harbaugh coaching tree, reportedly with the relentless, hardnose-but-great-youth-communicator thing that his mentor had. Speaking of which, his mentor recruited him into college and then later hired him as a coach. Just saying he didn’t accidentally fall under the Harbaugh tree…he was SELECTED by Harbaugh. Twice.

    - Local connections that MATTER. Too many programs and even NFL teams get lost in that hire-one-of-our-own mantra. Then they end up firing-one-of-their-own-because-they-weren’t-qualified. (I l-o-v-e these things: “-”). Taggart was a star highschool football player from the area who kept his recruiting connections here. The local highschool coaches are buzzing about him. He’s bringing back as an assistant a former USF Bulls QB with a great rep. This guy will be able to recruit locally. And last time I checked (it could have changed), Tampa Bay is in Florida, an absolute foundational area from which to recruit football talent.

    About that room to grow thing. With Taggart’s local ties and family and hometown thing going for them, USF may have a better chance of holding onto this guy if he turns the program around.

    Still comes down to money and opportunity eventually, but USF has a diamond-rough thing going for them. Remember the last-i-checked-Florida thing. If USF turns into a respectable football program, with their good facilities and great location (they ARE in Florida, right?), if they are / he is successful in turning around the program, USF will end up in a conference that is actually relevant. In other words, if THAT happens, Taggart would not have to leave to make it to the big time.

    But first, THAT has to happen. And that’s on him.

  160. “a management whose philosophy clearly is founded on being uncommon

    DK, I have been looking for a phrase or way to describe why I believe NH and the guys who report to him will fail. You just nailed it. I hope you don’t mind that I am going to steal it.”

    Somebody call 9-1-1 for me. I never thought I’d live to see the day.

    And I might not.

  161. I’m wondering

    That poster would make an excellent Christmas Card cover

    Do you think we could ask the BMTIB to sell it?

    All profits would go to Pirates for Charity….

  162. “If you told me they picked him out of a crowd of tourists on Broadway and hired him, I’d believe you.”

    I think you missed the point, Barvanilla.

    They DID.

  163. In fact, maybe they could put that poster on the Pirates for Charity sign at PNC.

    It would most definitely set the tone of the fan as they walk over the Clemente Bridge

  164. How can so much venom be spewed at D.K. for reporting facts? Did he photo shop that poster or is it real? Did the crazy training take place? Look at the record and 2 second half collapses. Most importantly look at the two most critical non pitching positions on any MLB club and also the organizational depth underneath. Shortstop and catcher. After 5 years with these idiots running this organization we have Clint Barmes and Russell Martin and had to overpay both stiffs to be here “sucking”.

    Not only that who is the budding superstar waiting o come up from AAA in July to take the position for the next decade? 5 tears and the cupboard is still empty? The jury is not out, the verdict is in? This regime is a joke, they refuse to acknowledge their mistakes, and they believe they are the ones with the answers.

    Denny Green’s “They are who we thought they were” could not be more appropriate. Except we can’t “crown their ass” because these fools will never win anything other than the number 1 pick in the amateur draft.

  165. it may have been accidental, but 5 tears is right

  166. How bout they hang this poster up in lieu of the players outside PNC Park?

    That way they don’t have to take any signs off when they either trade or release a player, or the player embraces the suck and is cut

    Just sayin, endless opportunities thanks to the foreward thinking BMTIB

  167. Drew,

    On Willie Taggart, I’ve watched him as a player and coach, as 2 of my sons graduated from WKU. He will get the job done at USF. All WKU alum were hoping he would stay here, of course, but he’s making the right move.

    Hopefully, WKU moves to a better conference in the near future. The Sun Belt, although better this season, is arguably the worst 1-A conference for football in the country.

    John Harbaugh, the elder brought a 1-AA national championship here and, I really believe, is a much easier person to stomach than his celebrated, self-centered sons. He’s well thought-of here at any rate.

  168. Steelers offensive line coach Sean Kugler has been hired by UTEP to be their next head coach according to Asher Wildman of ABC affiliate KVIA7 in El Paso.

  169. Drew
    I steal lots of stuff

  170. Not good news for us fans, Eric. I applaud the job he’s done this season with that O-line.

  171. Those of you that have NHL Network, turn it on.

    Lemieux’s 5-goal game at Madison Square Garden in 1993 as he was coming back from the chemotherapy treatments.

    The standing ovation Lemieux gets from NY is worth the time to watch this.

  172. it is so not the “steal” that started my fibrillation. i thought of removing that line and posting the rest.

  173. Good for Kugler.

    LONG term…good for the Steelers.

    I’ve noticed that when a program or organization consistently “loses” its assistants to promotions, other hot up and comers want to work there.

  174. On the next episode of Grilli & Gary:

    Grilli & Gary sit in the lobby of a deserted Opryland Hotel wondering where everyone went. Hilarity ensues when Gary tries to find an app to show Grilli which contract offer will actually pay him the most money. And special guest star Roy Clark joins Grilli for a special Christmas duet.

    All on the next Grilli & Gary.

  175. Love watching these old videos of Lemieux, notice how he’s always on the top 2 or 3 PK rotation. Pens current coach Dan Bylsma would be wise to do the same with Crosby and Malkin when hockey ever returns.

  176. Can someone explain to me what “Embrace the suck” means?

  177. What a Penguins PP…

    Francis – left point
    Murphy – right point
    Lemieux – left wing
    Stevens – center
    Tocchet – right wing

    DK: Legendary in every way.

  178. @Bizrow – Often used by NCO’s in the military. The term would be used when an individual or a group must complete a task that is pointless, tiring, and/or lame.

  179. Hold on Dejan, I could have been wrong on the process but I see nothing in that poorly constructed, cluttered and confusing poster that screams “professional work.” It looks WAY more likely to me that it was done by an intern or low level employee who was just trying to show how many things they knew how to do. Not only that, this isn’t something that would run on TV or as an ad in the paper. It’s not hanging proudly outside PNC. It’s a poster inside the spring training home four months before spring training starts.

    Put it this way, if you took that picture and walked it over to somebody in the Trib’s graphic design department, would that employee say “man, that guy really knows what he’s doing” or “we need to edit the crap out of this before we’d run it anywhere that people will see it.” I’d bet dollars to donuts that it’s the latter. Believe me, I get that it’s a dumb poster. I’m certainly annoyed that they continue to just make stupid decisions that they MUST realize will not make them look good. You could be totally correct in the process. It’s even possible that the GM was “passionate” in his support of the poster instead of just rubber stamping it (which seems much more likely to me personally given how completely and utterly meaningless a good or terrible poster like this actually is). However, there’s nothing in this poster from its quality to its placement to its purpose that would make me think that it couldn’t have been done by a low level employee.

  180. A better title for the show, Milo would be Sygfried and Royd and high Cheese, starring Grilli and Gary.

  181. Biz,

    See post #7 above for link provided by DK.

  182. Thanks for the explanation folks

  183. Lucky,

    I’m open for suggestions.

  184. But KP. It is for 18 year olds. They LIKE cluttered, confusing and unprofessional.

    Just ask Zippy Stark.

  185. Kentuckypirate,
    I am starting to agree with you. All this over a stupid poster.
    And it doesn’t prove to me that this is NH and/or Stark defying Nutting’s orders.
    Maybe they forgot it was there. Maybe it can’t be taken down easily.
    Maybe I’ve already spent too much time thinking about this.

  186. I hope the Pirates don’t have a long losing streak in 2013.

    But if they do, how long before someone brings a banner into to PNC Park that says “Embrace the Suck” ?

  187. I really believe the people who defend this nonsense repeatedly aren’t doing it to because they’re on a payrolll or something. I just think they treat every single incident as if it exists in it’s own vacuum.

    Is “Embrace the Suck” all that bad in a vacuum?

    Of course not. But it doesn’t. There are hundreds of these little scars all on the same body. And every (mis)step of the way, the team keeps LOSING. They keep embarrassing themselves on the field. That’s because there is a correlation between the two. And that is the point that some people just cannot seem to grasp.

    DK: Actually, I think “Embrace the suck” is an excellent trait in a vacuum.

  188. Thundercrack,

    You’re one of the only ones. There seems to be a few people rooting for the Pirates to lose so that the front office will be ousted.

  189. Furthermore, if you attend a game, you’re not a true fan, because a true fan would NEVER spend money to support the Regime.

    God, this place has gotten as bad as the last one.

  190. SeanAy – That’s ridiculous…. No one wants the team to lose, we just expect it to happen.

  191. “There will be failures – actually there will be failures more often than not – and yes development has something to do with it, but there’s not yet conclusive proof that the current regime can’t develop major league talent.”

    This here is one of the major flaws in your thinking. Why is your bar “conclusive proof”? There isn’t time for “conclusive proof” for hardly anything in sports. The New York Jets are waiting for “conclusive proof” that Mark Sanchez ISN’T capable of winning them a Super Bowl. They gave him a giant contract last year because he wasn’t a conclusive failure. The Cincinnati Bengals have employed Marvin Lewis for 10 years waiting for conclusive proof that he isn’t capable of winning a Super Bowl, and his apologists make excuses for him. Meanwhile, they haven’t won a single playoff game during his tenure.

    How’s that waiting around going for those two clubs?

    There are tons of indications, however, that these guys can’t evaluate OR develop talent. Start with the 2008 draft. Seriously, you’re better off firing a GM giving off a bad smell every 3 years and making a mistake once in awhile win the process than sticking with the wrong guy for a decade until he destroyed every last morsel of hope he has.

    Also, there is nothing special about any of these guys’ accomplishments. Have they been ALL bad? No. But no GM is ALL bad. Give me 5 drafts and I’ll put 5 major leaguers on the field by pure accident too.

  192. With all the injuries to O-linemen and them having to protect a couple of backup QBs, I thought I heard that Kugler was getting praised and a lot of the credit for their good play. Seems to be a guy that we don’t want to leave.

    DK: It will be a significant loss for the Steelers.

    Good guy, too. Other day in Baltimore, he politely interrupted balmy interview with Doug Legursky to extend him a warm, personal congratulations. Did it with all his guys, one by one.

  193. I wonder if Nuttin has ever seen this poster.

    Maybe Appel made the right decision?

    Just sayin

  194. As long as Appel doesn’t get injured during his final season at Stanford, he made the right decision for him as he’ll probably be the first overall pick.

  195. And I understand “its only a sign”

    But its also just another example of the work of the BMTIB

  196. JAL:

    Great Saturday links today. I loved the article comparing the NHL to LiLo.

    I was racking my brain while jogging today about what celebrity the PBC could be compared to. Someone who was once creative, entertaining and excellent but later on became a train wreck. I could not come up with anyone really good-especially contemporary.

    Thanks for your work.

    P.S. I really enjoyed seeing the KPill92 post above. I understand why those of us of a certain age love the Pirates, but it always amazes me that anyone born in the last 25 years or so could follow this team with a passion. It puzzles me but I am happy to see it.

  197. Biz
    One way for Appel to determine if he made the right decision could be if he makes more money in his career by signing in 2013 as opposed to 2012.

    Other ways of determining if he was right is by the number of awards and championships he wins.

  198. Good points TC

  199. Eric,

    Not as ridiculous as you might think. Read up the thread a bit. I know it’s up there.

  200. Dempster turns down a 2 yr 25 million deal from the Red Sox

    I’m thinking the PBC won’t be signing much if any starting pitching.

    DK: It’s OK. They’ve got two starters and a .211 catcher.

  201. DK

    Seriously losing respect on how you handle being questioned. You said nobody ever gives rational arguments and simply default to saying you have a vendetta. Catch gives a very rational arguement involving wins and minor league system and you belittle it on the first response. The second response you actually brought up some good arguable counterpoints and then screwed it up at the end with the my view is correct and yours is wrong and you have went off the deep end comment. I can’t think of a more rational arguement then wins and talent on the way, but you made cutch feel like he was being irrational.

    22 win improvement over the last 2 years seems to be a team heading in the right direction but you feel free to feel how you want.

    DK: Who gives credit for digging out of their own hole?

    Give it a try, Nate: Make arguments without accusing the writer of being mean or suggesting you’ll “lose respect” or whatever. Just make the arguments. If you can’t, then chances are really good you don’t have one.

    I went at the guy’s arguments one by one. I didn’t screw up anything at the end by suggesting my view is correct. I actually believe my view is correct. Strongly.

    You’re free to feel as you wish.

  202. Eric,
    I like Jurrjens. But with the injury history of Jurrjens and Pelfrey I am not sure that they are better options than Locke and/or McPherson.

    If they signed Pelfrey who pitched in 3 games (19.2 innings) last year and had Tommy John surgery this past May, would you feel that is a better option than Locke or McPherson?

  203. @Thundercrack – I think if they would sign Francisco Liriano to be the #3/4 starter competing with James McDonald and then take another risk with Jair Jurrjens for 5th starter to compete against Kyle McPherson and Kyle Locke. I’d like to add that I think McPherson should move to the bullpen as I think he has the stuff to be a good 6th/7th inning reliever next year and then maybe 7th/8th in 2014.

    The Pirates need to take a risk or two with the rotation, if it doesn’t work out, they have McPherson, Locke, and Wilson to fall back on.

  204. Eric,
    I agree with your strategy and all of the guys on your list —except Pelfrey.

  205. Nate83 – “22 win improvement” over the last two years is tempered quite a bit by a few things.
    1 – Over the first three years there was a drop of 10 wins, so the improvement during Huntington’s time is only 12 wins. Hurdle can be credited with the 22.
    2 – Our last two Aug/Septs have produced epic collapses and records of 18-38 and 20-39. .330 is a great batting average. As a winning percentage, well, it sucks.
    And as numerous professionals (Keith Law and BB America types, not here) point out, our minor rankings are based entirely on 2-3 guys. If the training methods don’t change, most of the guys who pan out will do so elsewhere when they get some solid baseball instruction.

  206. One name rarely mentioned this offseason so far is second baseman Brock Holt. What are the Pirates going to do with him? I suspect he’ll start the year in Triple-A Indianapolis and for some reason, I have this feeling the team is going to trade second baseman Neil Walker at the deadline if Holt shows he’s still hitting the ball for high average, high on-base percentage.

    It would be the perfect opportunity for Neal Huntington to say he’ll get similar production from Holt and great value to fill other areas of needs with Walker.

    I could see a scenario at the trade deadline in which the Pirates could trade Joel Hanrahan, A.J. Burnett, Wandy Rodriguez, Neil Walker, and Garrett Jones.

  207. Nate83,

    “Tracks” in baseball are overrated. Each team is different and each team has different adversities. Next year’s squad will have the same problem this one did – lack of real depth and a real bench. Now they will also likely have a weaker bullpen and a weaker rotation to go with a lineup that, if it improves at all, it will have to come from the same players it had last year.

    Yes a track of a 22-win improvement over 2 years is positive, but it also means very little toward predicting future success, particularly because of the ridiculous abyss the Pirates were in two years ago record-wise (in the third year of this regime.)

    I ask you, will the 2013 Pirates win more games or fewer games than the 2012 team?

    Looking at the roster and the rest of the NL, I think it’s a near-lock that they see their record creep back down toward 74 wins again. They will then fire the Hoka Heyers and bring in someone else, re-setting the clock, and the people who steadfastly defended Huntington will immediately and totally throw him under the bus like they did with Littlefield and move on toward giving the next guy 6 years to prove he isn’t a total failure too.

    Why not just fire them all over a month ago? Seriously, any positives associated with these guys is a pure numbers game. Throw enough darts over enough years and you’ll eventually hit a few marks. Only a chain-smoking chimp in a suit could have done worse.

  208. So no one thinks it may be possible that ANY other MLB club may engage in these types of antics? I realize the lack of winning makes this a lighting rod, but let it go.

    Also, IMO the military training tactics do not make the organization a joke. What does make it one, is the fact that someone within the organization forwards an internal email (meant for anyone employed by the Pirates) to a writer, then of course that said email published.. I’m sure more pictures/off the record quotes will be going around to throw more gasoline on this fire, but what is the point? To give people in Cleveland or Baltimore a reason to laugh at Pittsburgh?

    It is boring without the NHL; lets find more ways to embarrass the Bucs.

    DK: Man, you guys are GOOD, even if sadly transparent. Exact same code words and terminology I’ve heard directly from inside 115 Federal Street.

    What a franchise.

    Oh, and by the way, the only team in baseball using the former SEALS is — sorry, was — the Pittsburgh Pirates. And the only team in baseball coming up with infantile, embarrassing slogans like this: Pittsburgh Pirates. Only team in baseball flaunting in the franchise owner’s face that they’re right and he’s wrong: Pittsburgh Pirates.

    But hey, don’t let me interrupt your hard work in improving the club this winter. That, of course, being the uncovering of who is sending me stuff.

    If you want the real answer to that question, ask your boss.

    Finally, I appreciate more than anything you offering a real glimpse inside the walls at the disdain that so many in the Pirates’ myopic world have for Pittsburghers’ affinity for its two GOOD teams.

    Oh, and welcome to the forum!

  209. Nate
    Nice selective use of data! Neal and his trained seals have improved 11 games over a 5 year period. 2.2 games a year….great job! They purposely tanked 2010 so that they could cut payroll. 2.2 games per year is nothing more than statistical deviation.

    But nice try at dishing DK…….

  210. The Pirate FO wasn’t brought back because they’ve shown potential in putting together a winning organization from top to bottom.
    Coonelly, Huntington and gang were brought back because they were a part of Bob Nutting’s most successful year financially, since the name Nutting became attached to ownership in late ’96.
    2012 was a bonanza…..And Nutting wasn’t going to fire these henchmen for “baseball” reasons……

  211. Dan1283,

    Should have waited for your post…..much better than mine!

  212. Pirates minor league system has talent, unfortunately to build a winning baseball team, you need great talent and good depth. There’s not much beyond Cole, Taillon, Heredia, Hanson, Polanco, Bell, and Barnes.

    I think Cole should be a no-brainer for 2013 but the key prospect this upcoming season will be Alen Hanson. The Pirates have Jordy Mercer and Chase d’Arnaud to take over in 2014 but neither has shown much and their ceiling doesn’t seem to be all that high.

    Hanson does have that high ceiling type of talent if he can continue to progress in his development and really, Pirates need him in AAA by the end of the 2013 season.

  213. “DK: Actually, I think “Embrace the suck” is an excellent trait in a vacuum.”

    *facepalm*

    I haven’t walked into one like that many, many moons.

    Good show, haha.

    DK: I’ll be here all week.

  214. @Nate83, as Dk has said many times, focusing only on the improvement since 2010 is cherry-picking the numbers to support your argument. Look at the big picture. When Huntington took over, this was a 68-win team. Now, it’s a 79-win team. It took five years to pick up 11 wins. That’s pathetic. No matter how you spin it.

    You don’t get extra credit for dropping all the way to 57 wins in year three and then having the team bounce back towards mediocrity in years four and five.

    Likewise, it’s taken Neal five years to go from #19 to #11 in BA rankings – this for an organization that’s been drafting in the Top 5 nearly every year and spending record amounts of money in the draft.

    A lot of us find CutchTruth’s argument incredibly unconvincing.

    DK: It took five years AND unprecedented spending.

  215. ‘To give people in Cleveland or Baltimore a reason to laugh at Pittsburgh?’

    NOW that is a funny one.

    1) I couldn’t care less what people in those cities think about the Pirates.
    2) Over the past 20 years the records of the baseball teams in those cities haven’t always been great. But they’ve experienced the playoffs. Have you seen the record of the Pittsburgh Pirates during the past 20 years?

    3) And that is not ‘the point’. The point is to field a winning team and develop a successful organization.

  216. I’ve seen lemonade stands run by children better than the Pirates.

    What cowardice by the team to hide behind the internet. Bob Nutting must be so proud to be using that owner’s manual left behind by Kevin McClatchy.

  217. Oshkosh,

    Did you “embrace the suck” during your run this morning ? I did while working out & I think I’m noticing results already. Gotta get me one of them posters.

  218. I ran this morning and didn’t embrace or suck anything. Same with my wife.

  219. So the front office has finally officially recognized what I’ve always thought: being a pirate and by extension a pirate fan = sadomasochism. Embrace the suck! Fandom is pain.

    I’ve been told next years first giveaway is free kicks to the junk to the first 5000 fans.

    In all seriousness though in what way does this poster say “hey 18 year old you need more mental toughness”? Was it the Dr. Seuss reference? The bell curve chart? The part that talks about how working hard sucks?

  220. No, I am not involved in any way whatsoever with the Pirates. Good one. Let me just add I do not like the FO or owner of this team.

    I want to see the team win, is all. Not sure what positives can be yielded by posting this picture and going on and on about this. Why now when the team has been so close to competing recently and try them look lame? Is a blog going to change how the club operates, and contribute to it’s success? It’s not going to persuade Nutting to sell the team, either.

    @ Thundecrack: Thanks, I didn’t know the point playing was to field a winning team. No crap.

    DK: Too late, dude. If you didn’t want to give yourself away, you shouldn’t have used every code word in the book out of 115 Federal, terminology positions I’ve never heard expressed ANYWHERE else. (And you just added two more here.)

    Why not just stand up for yourself?

    Moreover, why not acknowledge that it was Nutting himself — through his own investigation — that stopped the military approach?

    Or why not acknowledge that the blame for the poster actually goes to, you know, the people who made and put it up?

    Speak up. We’re on the edge of our seats.

  221. 21:

    I was waiting for someone to do blue material off this. Thanks.

    Milo:

    Weird there is no snow here but made the run easier.

  222. Manny,

    “I’m sure more pictures/off the record quotes will be going around to throw more gasoline on this fire, but what is the point? To give people in Cleveland or Baltimore a reason to laugh at Pittsburgh?”

    The point is to expose this nonsense and force Nutting, via public embarrassment and pressure, to replace them with people capable of doing the job better. To point out that the losing walks in-step with horse manure like this.

    It’s really not all that complicated.

    DK: My point isn’t that at all, Dan. It’s to bring people viewpoints and information regarding Pittsburgh sports teams. I think the Pirates should change management. I’m on record with that. But getting this pic and posting it are nothing more than the VERY simple process of the job.

  223. “The point is to expose this nonsense and force Nutting, via public embarrassment and pressure, to replace them with people capable of doing the job better. ”

    Doesn’t look like it’s working. In fact, it may be resulting in the opposite.

  224. @Dan 1283: I hear you, but if the public embarrassment route didn’t work yet, when will it? I think during the unveiling of the Maz statue, more people were focused on booing Nutting than the actual ceremony.

    I am all for replacing management/staff, believe me. If it didn’t happen at the end of October, I doubt it will for the time being. For a team that almost turned the corner last year, this shouldn’t be the focus. Call me glass half full.

  225. Wow. What a discussion. We’re forgetting one thing in all of this. The owner has already spoken on this.

    http://triblive.com/sports/dejankovacevic/dejancolumns/2898835-74/nutting-military-baseball-pirates-team-week-aspect-conducted-continue-coonelly#axzz2ET1a6pmr

    DK: Yes. But they’re smart, and Nutting apparently is as dumb as the rest of us.

  226. Dejan,

    I wasn’t speaking to your motives for publishing the material. I was speaking to why the stuff gets leaked in the first place. It’s obvious that some people are very unhappy working for this regime.

    Sorry for the confusion.

    DK: Oh, OK. Yeah, I totally misunderstood that.

  227. Dejan – Have you tried to contact Bob Nutting for his reaction to this poster’s existence?

    DK: Why would I do that?

  228. Am I the only one here waiting to see if Manny Mendoza admits who he is? I realize it’s futile, but bravo to DK for calling him out.

  229. Dejan – The mental conditioning poster, not the internet troll.

  230. Eric, I admit this is Bob Nutting, owner of the Pirates.

    Can’t believe you guys figured it out. Oh well. Worth a try.

  231. @Eric – Manny Mendoza is just one of many who have come and gone with their pot shots. They are the opposite of the military, they are cowards.

  232. I think these internet trolls fail to realize something, Trib Total Media knows the IP addresses. I mean how stupid can you be 115 Federal St?

  233. @Bowser — Agreed.

    @Mendoza — Ha.

  234. Eric Bowser:

    Only certain opinions allowed, I guess. Or else you are a “troll.” Thanks

  235. Difference of opinion is one thing. DK states his opinion, and because of his position, he can back it up with facts.

    Manny, why can’t you do the same?

  236. @Manny – Ok, here’s your shot to prove me wrong.

    1. Why are you in favor of new management?

    2. Why is Dejan wrong for reporting on their wrongs?

  237. It really is amazing. Like Dejan said it’s like Amazon reviews:

    ”My ShamWow is the greatest thing since man discovered fire!!!”

  238. Eric, not sure where this is going. Of course he has facts. What facts are you referring that I should be providing?

    I guess that having an outside opinion makes one a troll.

    DK: Right. Because there are never any “outside opinions” here, whatever that even means.

    Trolling is coming here as a Pirates employee, pretending not to be, even posing (after the fact) that you want to see the front office fired, just to see what kind of giggles you get. Small wonder you didn’t answer my questions above related to Nutting. It’s the one line you don’t dare cross.

    Like I wrote above, what a franchise.

  239. OK, I’m being sucked back in. The fact that representatives of the Pirates organization are chiming in with such force on this..

    I’m back in. This is too damn funny.

    DK: No. Just sad. Imagine this with either of the other two teams in town.

  240. I think the biggest thing that needs to happen is, some of these people that are surreptitiously feeding DK this info need to go ON the record. I’m sure there are people across baseball – prominent agents, front office types, even people high in the organization – that have shared their opinions.

    The catch to that, of course, is that the people in the organization that DON’T like the practices probably DO like having jobs, in general. I can understand why it’s not happening.

    But it has become obvious that any amount of what Dan1283 describes in post #223 isn’t going to work unless someone comes right out and says it, with his name attributed.

    DK: Bob Nutting went on the record about it. What else did anyone need?

  241. @Manny – You said you are in favor of new management. I’m all ears to hear why you think that’s the right move. I happen to agree but I’d like to hear from your perspective on why you think it so.

    I want your opinion, your stance on the topic…. just like Dejan, myself and others write here all the time.

    DK: Going to recommend here soon that we stop feeding. Had a good, lively, multifaceted debate going here today before this guy and his shovel happened by.

  242. DK–

    No, you’re right, the guy who is (presumably) the top dog in this DID go on the record.

    I’m assuming he’s been contacted for comment. Not returning calls?

    DK: Oh, no. That would be overboard. I put it out there, and you saw it. The previously elements to this story had elite prospects getting hurt, people furious, baseball ops lying about it … this is just a stupid poster.

  243. Yeah, enough of the Pirates…. they write their own negative stories. I have no need right now to shovel more dirt on them, they do a good enough job at that.

    * Who is going to win the Heisman Trophy? Te’o, Klein or Manziel

    * NHL and NHLPA were very close to new deal, will owners risk losing millions, lose sponsors, and tick off NBC by cancelling this season?

    * I might have missed this but did Penn State’s Bill O’Brien come out and say he’s staying at PSU?

    * Lubbock must be in a state of shock with Tommy Tubberville leaving Texas Tech to take the job with Cincinnati.

  244. Eric Bowser:

    1. I am in favor of new management for many reasons. Draft busts, bare cupboard farm system, poor talent evaluation, etc. The Pirates have struggled in this area, and it is obvious. It all starts at the top, of course. Not even sure what Coonely does there.

    2. He is not wrong for reporting it. But why keep it going. I don’t think anyone is going anywhere as far as owner/management, for the time being. So it’s a lame poster in their Bradenton facility. Big deal. That was my point from the beginning. Focus on other points, like signing a decent FA.

  245. Fehr – “The most important reason to take PA job is I got to know the players & they wanted to rebuild organization, create an entity they would be proud of, would participate in.”

  246. Seeing as how I have exams to study for, there are probably better ways for me to spend my time. Still, I feel like there is enough questionable content in this response that it should at least be addressed:

    DK: The amount of information you ignore to reach your conclusions is staggering.

    Just as a starting point, this is a pretty incendiary comment. It comes off as arrogant especially since, as CutchTruth points out, his conclusion is nothing more than his opinion about and endlessly debatable point.

    DK: No mention of utterly failed drafts amid baseball-record spending

    Since the current FO took over, there are only two drafts that happened long enough ago that you can even begin to form an opinion about them; 2008 and 2009. To try and formulate an opinion about 2010-12 would be doing nothing than grading them on how closely they stuck to pre-draft rankings and, by that metric, all three drafts were perfectly, 100% acceptable. So let’s look at ’08 and ’09:

    2008: Picking second, the Pirates took the best player in the draft who was represented by Scott Boras. This is what they should have done. It’s really hard to debate that it was a smart move at the time. Pedro moved through the minors quickly, had a strong rookie campaign and hit 30 HRs last year. Pedro will very likely not be the best possible outcome with from that draft (Posey) but he is also a perfectly acceptable outcome from a system that is a crapshoot to begin with. Past Pedro, they took Scheppers and then didn’t sign him after his medicals and his workout didn’t match up with his demands. The next four picks were Mercer, d’Arnaud, Wilson and Grossman. All four are are fair bets to have moderate careers in the Major Leagues (Wilson and Grossman with the best chance, IMO). Beyond the first 6 rounds, it’s just not especially fair to expect players with big-time talent. It’s not a great draft but I don’t think you can fairly categorize it as an “utter failure” unless you really want it to look like an utter failure.

    2009: Yeah, it wasn’t good. Sanchez was a reach. If they were going to reach on a catcher, it would have been really nice if that C was high-schooler Wil Myers who was ranked right beside Sanchez pre-draft. A couple of years ago when Sanchez was a top-50 prospect it looked like they gambled and won. Now that there are questions about his bat, well…not so much. They wanted a safe sign so they could spend on the “projectable pitchers” later. It didn’t work. ZVR, a top 50-60 prospect pre-draft has not added any velocity in the last 3 years and doesn’t locate his FB well. Vic Black, another signability pick as the compensation for not signing Scheppers looks like a potential closer but Pounders was a reach in the 2nd and Chambers did not belong in the top-100 picks. The strategy this year (find steals in the later rounds) was an OK one, the execution was poor.

    Having said that, I don’t think it’s fair or accurate to claim “failed drafts amid record spending” based on only one draft (and the one where they spent the least money, at that).

    DK: utterly failed free-agent players at an astonishing rate

    Sorry, you’ll have to refresh my memory. Who was the last meaningful FA that the Pirates signed under this FO? The Pirates have essentially sat at the Roulette Wheel and bet on black or red for the last 5 years. For the most part, they’ve lost but none of the guys they bet on were really expected to be all that great. With minimal talent already in Pittsburgh, recognizing that one big name FA wasn’t going to put them over the top seems like a smart play, doesn’t it? They bet small and even when betting wrong it didn’t kill them. They were never stuck paying Chone Figgins $36M or giving J-Bay $66M to hit like J-Hay (HA!). I’m not saying that they haven’t missed on a ton of their FA signings, only that when you bet on the underdogs, you’re not going to win that often, are you?

    DK: utterly insufficient return on trades (though you’ve at least mentioned a couple).

    The two he mentioned were J-Bay and Jesse Chavez. Both were bad but for different reasons. The return for Bay was depressing. It did not work out well. This trade has been beaten to death. At the time, there were those (Peter Gammons for one) who felt the Pirates got a fair return for 1 and a third seasons of Bay. Of the guys they got back only Morris is still with the Pirates. If he succeeds, his ceiling is as a closer which is not what you’d hope for for the lone AS. Moss became a busted prospect before dominating for the A’s this year. LaRoche became a busted prospect until he inevitably dominates (probably for Milwaukee) next year.

    As for Chavez, he was traded for Aki who showed up hurt and out of shape (why there was no physical confuses me to this day…isn’t that required for all trades?). Then he was flipped for a season of Rafael Soriano. Soriano led the league in saves while Chavez, who was not that good with the Pirates the year before, got even worse in Atlanta. He simply was not a good player.

    My question, though, is what valuable asset do you think the Pirates traded since ’08 and got a poor return (besides J-Bay)? If I took everything on my desk right now and tried to swap it on E-Bay, I’d get a bunch of crap back because nothing here is worth very much. The Pirates fatal mistake was that their highest profile trade was the one that failed but almost all of the other deals netted a solid return.

    DK: You zip through five years, cherry pick McDonald-for-Dotel and applaud, in essence.

    This kinda goes to the question above but I think you are the one cherry-picking by focusing on the Bay deal. The rest of the trades they made were either dealing junk and getting junk or dealing moderately valuable pieces (Dotel, Nady, McLouth) and getting a good return.

    Outside of that, the two best arguments you could make for bad trading would probably be Freddy Sanchez and Javier Lopez. Sanchez was dealt for one of the Giants top-prospects. He was having a slightly down year, but if he wasn’t you couldn’t get him for Freddy Sanchez. He bombed in Pittsburgh but the deal was at least defensible (this goes back to being able to say that somebody is definitively wrong based on their own “opinion”). Lopez thrived in San Fran and played a huge role in containing Josh Hamilton in the World Series. His ERA in Pittsburgh was also very pretty. He was also a 32 year old LOOGY with a WHIP of 1.5, a K rate of 5.1 and a walk rate of 4.2. He played really well after the deal but I don’t see him having a ton of trade value before the deal. Do you?

    DK: You never explain why a management whose philosophy clearly is founded on being uncommon (check the poster), can almost never register an uncommon success.

    The thing is, while the goofy stuff with the SEALs and the Hoka Hey crap is uncommon, the team’s philosophy in how to acquire talent and build a winning team is not uncommon. In fact it follows pretty closely with what the Rays have done in building a perennial contender in the meat grinder that is the AL East.

    The Rays built their team by building through the minor leagues (the Pirates invested a lot of money in building a top-10 minor league system) not getting themselves handcuffed by massive major league contracts (pretty safe to say that Pirates don’t spend a ton at the ML level) and lock up their home grown superstars before they can really cash in as FA’s (Longoria = Cutch).

    Clearly, the Rays have done a better job EXECUTING their plan but the philosophies used by the two organizations are very similar. The SEALs Training stuff is unusual throughout baseball circles. I think it’s less unusual across all sports in general. The Pirates might (and even probably) adhere to it more closely than other teams. At the same time, I haven’t seen a single thing written or discussed that demonstrably shows this stuff is bad as opposed to odd.

    I’ve heard that players don’t like it…but I’ve also heard Tony Sanchez describe it as fun and say that it helped him. I’ve heard that it’s dangerous…but in (at least) three years of doing this, there have only been two minor injuries. Lots of training methods are far more hazardous and people don’t suggest discontinuing them. I’ve heard it will prevent players from signing here…except it would have no bearing on the ML FA’s since it takes place during minor league instructionals and among those amateur guys, obviously didn’t prevent tough-to-sign Boras client Josh Bell from signing. As the first sentence of Rob’s article on the Appel signing said, the military training had nothing to do with Appel’s decision not to sign.

    This is not to say that this kind of training is the right thing to do. I have no evidence to suggest that it is. I am only saying that the two worst things about it are that 1) it is strange and 2) it came to light in the middle of a second half collapse. If the Pirates won 87 games this year and barely missed the playoffs, then it becomes creative instead of crazy.

    DK: I can tell you that they’re reflective mostly of a broader depth, usually meaning there are more players with a chance than not. That was the ultimate no-brainer in a setting of spending $52 million on the draft. Of COURSE there was going to be more actual talent.

    So what is the mistake that you’re claiming the FO made here? Whether by depth of talent or top end talent, they built, not just a stronger-than-it-was farm system but a genuinely good farm system. Having a good farm system is a good thing. It suggests the team is more likely to be successful at the ML level in the future. They accomplished this with less money than it would have cost them to resign Jason Bay. How is any of this bad? Could they have done better? Sure. Almost every team could have done better on their drafting when viewed in hindsight. They made mistakes just like everybody else. The “projectable pitcher strategy” didn’t really work (at least in ’09. The early results from 11-12 seem very encouraging, IMO). Still, it seems like the only complaint that could be levied here is that the Pirates spent more money than they had to on something that is undeniably good. Doesn’t it seem a little odd to you to criticize the Pirates for spending too much money on a valuable commodity?

    DK: Guys like Colton Cain and Quinton Miller were being handed huge checks (while other teams giggled), and the rankings went up.

    Those guys were handed huge checks to break their commitments to college. They were also talented prospects. Miller was a top-150 prospect pre-draft. He didn’t pan out but they weren’t lighting money on fire. They were spending less than the veteran minimum on guys that many in the industry believed were talented high-school prospects, specifically players with high ceilings. Your suggestion that these were laughable moves appears misleading at best and wrong at worst.

    DK: Far more relevant question: Where is it now? Where’s five years worth of flooding the system?

    It is a Top-10 and possibly Top-5 system throughout baseball. I know that you wrote recently that you disagree with those rankings but industry experts (meaning guys who evaluate minor leaguers for a living, not guys like me who do it as a hobby) say that it’s very good. It might not pan out. The Bucs’ top-rated system from ’96 flopped. Greinke and Hamilton might flop after signing $150M deals. Neither is a sure thing but the Pirates built something that many believe will help them compete in the future. It’s not a fair criticism to say that the ML results haven’t been good enough yet either because guys from the 2010 draft haven’t had enough time to get through the minors yet. That doesn’t mean they won’t succeed. You can’t build a major league winner from two drafts (’08 & ’09) no matter how good they are.

    DK: More than half of the system’s top seven prospects are from Latin America (good for those scouts), and most of the rest of the top 10 is skewed DRAMATICALLY by the presence of Cole and Taillon.

    Demonstrably false. The the only guys you could make a case for in the top-7 who are from LA are Heredia, Hanson and Polanco. Cole, Taillon, Bell and Barnes were all drafted. Arguing for Dilson Herrera or Jose Osuna would be a stretch. Not only that, once you move out of the top-7 (why you picked that number is odd to me) you could argue for Kingham, Mathisen, McPherson, Glasnow, Holmes, Wilson, Morris, Black and Dickerson before getting to Herrera or Osuna. Even if you say Herrera is in there somewhere that still only means that 4 of the top 17 guys are LA signings (after that, guys like Escobar, Ramirez and Garcia have a case but now it’s splitting hairs). Arguing that the system has been built entirely on LA is demonstrably false, especially since the two guys you say dramatically skew the ranking came from the draft.

    DK: If you think the system is poised to keep moving up those lists once/if those two graduate and once the Mark Appel hole is laid bare, you’d better come up with better names than Kyle McPherson, another Littlefield holdover.

    Cole will graduate this season (barring an unforeseen setback). Taillon will not. It’s true that you need players to fill those spots. Off the top of my head, I’d look to the guys they’ll take this summer at #9 and #14. You know who would fill the hole those two would create very nicely? Karsten Whitson and Oscar Mercado. Hey look, I filled the hole!

    DK: I also respect — assuming you don’t work for the Pirates — your loyalty as a fan.

    He doesn’t work for the Pirates.

    DK: But you’re so far off the deep end in BA-land and low expectations it’s genuinely frightening.

    It comes full circle. CutchTruth has his opinion. As you might have guessed, it’s one I share. I’m not sure it’s the right one but it’s certainly one that can be argued. I feel like I’ve done an adequate job of arguing it right here. You don’t have to agree but I also don’t think you can dismiss it as some crackpot idea that has no basis in fact.

    DK: Well done, Lucky. You just illustrated why we are, indeed, lucky to have you here. Good stuff.

  247. Perhaps the Pirate FO would do better if it spent time thinking about ballplayers rather than reading a local blog.

    DK: Yup.

  248. Anybody have a bookmark I can borrow?

  249. DK–

    BUT, if I framed the “this is too damn funny” with the phrase, “It’s all a ****ing joke. God help us all,” would that make it better?

    DK: Double-yup.

  250. This press conference is quite dry for anyone that isn’t into business, sports business, legal talk, etc….. I love it but I can see why many would be bored.

    Fehr is talking about the history of sports and collective bargaining agreements.

    So far, I haven’t gotten much out of this specific to the current situation.

  251. In Fehr’s final comments, he pretty much says players will dictate what they do. If that’s the case, then take the last offer and send it to a vote.

  252. Dejan, just to clarify, are you suggesting that I’m double posting as LuckyNKentucky? If so, I have no problem sending you a separate e-mail to show I’m not. I’ll be as transparent as is necessary.

    DK: No, no, see below. Was reading your post on phone. Just saw Kentucky.

  253. Fehr makes it clear, players support him and NHL stopped talks.

  254. Re – how stupid can you be 115 Federal St?

    They prove it to us, over, and over, and over,

  255. Hey, I miss hockey as much as the next guy. But these stories of the ineptitude of the Pirates front office never get old. I have to laugh at kool-aid drinkers touting the successes of the “new management.” First, Dejan has justifiably eviscerated the “new management” for their bumbling ways in the free-agent market. Second, I have always questioned the legitimacy of the “new” in management. It seems more like every few years Nutting shuffles the chairs on the deck and finds a new scapegoat — McClatchy, then Littlefield — but nothing really changes, and the results speak for themselves. If ever there had been a need for some new faces, it was after “hoka hey.” But nothing changed in the front office, and nothing will change in the results.

  256. Just added 115 Federal Street, I already had two planets listed.

    If you want to sign in, just post your current residence

    Dejan’s Lunatic Nation – at the Trib,
    Arizona – Tucson, Chandler, Phoenix, Sunnyslope
    Arkansas – Rogers
    Austrailia – Mackay
    California – Bakersfield, San Francisco, UNION CITY, Los Angeles, Newport Beach, Hollywood, Huntington Beach, Yuba City, Solana Beach, Yorba Linda, Yuba City*
    Canada – Toronto, Winnipeg
    Colorado – Ft Collins, Estes Park, Denver, Boulder
    Connecticut – Cos Cob, Bridgeport, Wallingford, Norwalk
    Costa Rica
    Czech Republic
    Delaware – Newark
    Denmark – Greenland – Thule*
    District of Columbia
    Florida – Palm Harbor, Orlando, Valrico, Gainesville, Daytona Beach, Oviedo, Tampa, Jacksonville, Sarasota, Palm Beach Gardens, Cape Coral, Coco Beach (Major Nelson and Mary Ann), Niceville (Red Neck Rivera)
    Georgia – Marietta, Atlanta, Sandy Springs
    Germany – Leverkusen/Cologne
    Hawaii – Honolulu
    Idaho – Mountain Home, Coer d’Aline
    Indiana – Indianapolis, Burns Harbor, South Bend, Bicknell
    Iowa – Bettendorf, Humboldt
    Illinois – La Salle, Peru, Payson, Chicago, Palatine (3 inmates there), Lincoln Park, Grayslake, Lincoln Park, Algonquin
    Japan – Tokyo
    Kentucky – Louisville, Bowling Green, Lexington
    Louisiana – Slidell
    Maine – Bangor
    Maryland – Arnold, Odenton, Severn, Baltimore, Waldorf
    Massachusetts – Boston
    Michigan – Kalamazoo, Eaton Rapids, Lansing, Ann Arbor
    Mississippi – Biloxi
    Mountain Home AFB*
    Montana
    Nebraska – Omaha
    New Hampshire – Barrington
    New Jersey – Chesterfield, Princeton, Roxbury, Lebanon, Lincoln Park, Berkeley Heights, Somerville, Hammock, Barrington
    New York – New York, Smithtown, Manhattan
    North Carolina – Asheville, Hickory, Charlotte, Raleigh, Charleston, Wilmington, Chapel Hill
    North Dakota
    Ohio – Cincinnati, Columbiana, Westerville, Green, Hilliard, Toledo, Louisville, Columbus, Perrysburg, Pickerington, Youngstown, Cleveland, Olmsted Township, Liberty Township, Warren, Oregon, Wintersville, Austintown, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base*, New Philadelphia, Powell, Canton
    Pennsylvania – Downtown, Hopewell, Indiana, North Wales, Franklin Park, Forest Hills, Lansdale, Philadelphia, Du Bois, Reading, Crafton, Arnold, Wexford, Mt Lebanon, Canonsburg, Lancaster, Huntington, York, Boiling Springs, Philly suburbs, Morningside, Harrisburg, Lawrenceville, Bradfordwoods, Norristown, Hanover, Clearfield, Sewickley, DuBois, Plum Boro, Slippery Rock, Wilks-Barre, Sharpsville, Bessemer, Greensburg, Washington, Imperial, South Side, Duncansville, Newville, Sheppton, Grove City, Butler, Allentown, Ross Township, Blairsville, Flood City (Johnstown), Overbrook, Danny’s Hoagies, Baldwin, Economy, Sharpsville, Erie, North Huntington, Bellfonte, West Mifflin, Kennywood, Pleasant Hills, Beechview (Mad Turk, No 200), Macgunie, Mechanicsburg, Uptown, Cambria County, Mon Valley, Salisbury, Coraopolis, Emsworth, Cranberry Twp, Garrett, O’Hara Township, McCandless Township, 115 Federal Street
    The Phillipines
    Rhode Island
    Singapore
    South Carolina – Duncan, Longs, Columbia
    South Korea – Seoul, Mike
    Sweden
    Tennessee – Smithville, Nashville
    Texas – Tyler, San Antonio, Belton, Houston
    Utah – Salt Lake City, Provo
    Vermont – North Bennington
    Virginia – JAL, Hampton, Rescue, Richmond, Front Royal, Woodbridge, Suffolk, Warrenton, Springfield, Virginia Beach, Fairfax, Arlington, Yorktown, Henrico, Aldie
    Washington – Seattle, Nine Mile Falls, Spokane, Sammamish
    West Virginia – Martinsburg, Morgantown
    Wisconsin – Madison, Oshkosh, Hortonville

    240 locations represented in the blog,
    Honorary members
    Beano
    Lemonaid Guy
    12 countries
    39 states, plus the District of Columbia
    Two planets, at least confirmed
    Honorable mention, England – London – Lisa
    Asterisks denote confirmed hero’s, military, police officers or firemen/ladies
    12/2/2012 3:04 PM

  257. I’ll verify, Kentuckypirate and I are 2 different people.

    I haven’t written any minor works like #248 above. :)

    My sermon outlines are shorter than that post. I can’t even think that many words, let alone type them. Good stuff, though.

    DK: Oh, sorry about that. Was reading that on the phone and just saw Kentucky. Apologies to both for mixing you two up.

  258. Kentuckypirate

    Can I ask your opinion on something more recent? Trading the comp pick and Gorkyz for Sanchez and Kaminska, with Kaminska being shipped to the Red Sox for Stewart. I think this goes against what the Rays are doing myself. They’ve done a masterful job of stockpiling picks, especially in the top 60…I thought Sanchez was pretty ordinary down the stretch. Stewart absolutely got shelled in outings with the Sox last year. Can you make any sense of this for me? Personally , Ive felt the Pirates could of got a AAA 1B off of someone else for less and kept the pick.

  259. I’ve said this before, so sorry for repeating, to me, the most important thing about the comp pick was the extra $$ that goes with it.

    Gaby is 29? And a typical BMTIB pickup, there was promise, the guy struggled, buy that lottery ticket and hope

  260. Kentuckypirate

    Not to split hairs with you either, but you failed to mention the McLouth and Nady deals. All you got left from those is a rehabbing Charlie Morton and the anti-hustling Jose Tabata. Granted McLouth and Nady are nothing special these days, but at the time they were assets you again, got nothing for years later.

    Its the patterns that bother me, bro. There isnt one trade, or one draft pick, or one free agent signing they whiffed on…There are DOZENS…And again, I point to the W-L of Neal compard to Littlefield and Bonifay. Its worse.

  261. Its the BMTIBs body of work that disturbs me to no end

    Of course, being a life long PBC fan, I am completely disturbed ;-)

  262. So about that “hill” the NHL is willing to die on regarding 5-year contract limits.

    There are 89 players who have contracts of five years or greater.

    There are 42 NHL players with deals seven years or longer… 42 players out of 690.

    All the players had to do was say, bump that up ONE year… just one year and there’s a deal to be had.

  263. Eric Bowser

    I dont know much about the lockout and personally think both sides are to blame. I just hope they get it right this time. Obviously the first lockout/lost season accomplished nothing in the long run. They need to get it right, to make all these lost games and lost revenue worth it.

  264. Its incredible to think that you can sign a contract and then try to get out of it thru collective barganing.

    A pox on the owners, IMHO

  265. I’m thinking of changing my blog name to 115FederalSt

    Right after I change my real name to Thundercrack.

  266. Well, I just talked to my son

    You gotta follow the PBC, if nuttin more than the humor factor

  267. I’d love to see the Freshman, Johnny Football win the Heisman. He certainly seemed to be the best player over the course of the season (in my opinion). Not excited about Klein. Te’o is good at what he does, but no way he wins a Heisman trophy.

    Went to a real hockey game last night. Saw the Greenville Road Warriors (formerly the Johnstown Chiefs) lose in a shootout to the hated Gwinnett Gladiators. Was a really fun game to watch. Was surprised to see on the Greenville roster that they have a guy from Robert Morris playing. Then I looked and saw he was from Apollo, Pa. Sean Berkstresser is his name. I grew up across the river from Apollo back in the 70′s. Left the area in the early 80′s. Just thought it was pretty cool to see “Apollo,Pa” in the program. You know,,,small world and all.

    DK: What happened to the awesomely named Greenville Grrrowl?

  268. Will new “Embrace the Suck” T-shirts be available in the Pirates’ store this spring?

  269. Acouple of blog trivia related questions:

    Hey Biz:

    Help a non-local blogging brother out. Who is Lemonaid Guy on your roll call?

    Thundercrack:

    Is your moniker named after the Springsteen song?

  270. @pattonbb

    A freshman winning the Heisman?

    I think he’s the right choice, but he won’t

    techrat_77

    They will be available at PirateFest

    I got two tickets for the VIP stuff Friday

    Anyone want them?

    AW declined

    DK: This is a good place and time to remind folks that, if you’re new here, please check in with Biz. Nothing more than your current hometown. It’s a just-for-fun list.

    I’ll get today started, Biz: “Manny’s” hometown is 115 Federal Street.

  271. The Pirates discussion has to mind reached a point where the conversation is ideologically polarized to degree that rivals cable news.

    To my mind the Pirates are in an infinitely better place than they were five years ago in terms of talent within the organization. Of course that’s in part because the state of the organization was so awful five years ago. Does that mean I think Huntington, Coonelly, etc are the guys to lead it going forward? In fact it does not. I did an admittedly extemporaneous ranking of GMs/Front Offices recently and Huntington (the Pirates) came in the bottom third, about 20th or so. That’s better than 30th (about where Littlefield, et al would have finished) but certainly not good enough. Particularly when you’re at a monetary disadvantage you need a front office that’s at worst above average to compete consistently. The Pirates front office is not that to my mind. That culture of the Pirates front office, based on the information I’ve read, is also problematic/dysfunctional doesn’t help matters.

    Really my feeling boils down to: Neal Huntington, etc has done some good things in terms of player acquisition during his tenure but certainly not enough good things to be anything approaching the best choice to lead the Pirates going forward.

    DK: Nicely done, Brendan.

    One question: “Infinitely better place?”

    Let’s remember that, although the system was terribly shallow under Littlefield, it still passed along to Huntington an MVP candidate, an everyday second baseman and the highly promising everyday left fielder for your 2013 team. If that’s devastation, then the current Astros would love to have so devastated a system.

  272. Diehard at 206

    I knew that would be brought up because it always is but I do not blame them for the first 3 years. This team was a complete rebuild. It had few useable resources at the major league level and less in the minors.

    DK: Yes, the cupboard was left utterly barren except for an MVP candidate (Cutch), an everyday second baseman (Walker), All-Stars in LF (Bay) and 2B (Sanchez) that should have been parlayed into real pieces but weren’t, two others who became everyday outfielders here and elsewhere (Morgan, McLouth), a young big-league closer (Capps) who would be inexplicably released, a Gold Glove-caliber shortstop (Wilson), several viable arms (Maholm, Gorzelanny, Duke) and … hm, am I missing anyone?

    Oh, yeah, that kid who went on to hit 60-plus bombs every year in Toronto.

    Sheer devastation.

    It’s amazing they even took the field.

  273. A second point. Really a question I suppose. Players who were drafted or signed under Littlefield and have had significant enough to success to be considered prospects are generally referred to as “Littlefield guys” in these discussions (I’m including Marte in this group, although he technically is no longer a prospect). But the majority of their time in the system was during the years Huntington was in charge. Particularly in the case of Marte and McPherson who I believe were in the system for only one year under Littlefield. How much credit for their development goes to the current regime? Marte in particular was an exceptionally raw player (in fact he still is pretty raw). I ask not as rhetorical method of assigning credit to Huntington, etc but because I think it’s a question worth asking/considering. It may well be that they would have had a similar developmental track had Littlefield stayed on the job or if another front office had been brought in. But it’s also possible that under Littlefield Marte would have never sufficiently refined his tools to become a top prospect and has stands currently a potential impact player at the Major League level.

  274. Dejan

    Already added 115 Federal Street a few posts ago

    I already had two planets listed as being represented

    @Brendan

    I love this club, but to me, look at their overall body of work, look at their PR, their statements, their deeds, their overall lack of success from our seats in the peanut gallery

    Brendan, the BMTIB is their own worst enemies

    And they refuse to change

    You can’t make this stuff up

    I get real sad seeing it

  275. @Dejan re: comment in 273

    Infinitely better is perhaps a vague term and on upon reflection more hyperbolic than I wish to me. Let me perhaps be more precise. The nuts and bolts of it as far I’m concerned is that the system top to bottom as it’s currently constituted is likely to deliver a greater number of players who will make a significant impact at the ML level.

    Just to be clear that to my mind is not evidence of substantial baseball or managerial accumen but simply a relative comparison. As I mentioned above I don’t believe the front office’s ‘talents’ are nearly sufficient particularly for a team with access to lesser revenue such as the Pirates.

  276. This blog captures the true meaning of the hot stove league. All the posts are about 2 teams that aren’t even playing. While I do enjoy it all, it just surprises me that there are no Steeler related postings the day before the game. Based on the Ravens and Steelers schedules, I’m optimistic that the Steelers could still win the division.

    DK: Ravens are pretty banged up, too, but I still don’t see the division in reach. Wild card, though, SHOULD happen in this setting.

  277. Question

    Deep inside

    2013 is going to be a breakout year?

    Pitt in BB

    Less cupcakes, more filling

    But they know their stuff

    PBC??

    Anyone?? Anyone??

  278. @Cee

    Burghers have faith in the Steelers and their FO, they have grasped the golden ring

    They are proven quality

    May do it this year, may not

    Come to the Steeler thread tomorrow

    More posts from you, please ;-)

    Sign in

  279. Brendan

    In McCutchen’s case, it may have not mattered who drafted him, or coached him up. He was probably going to be great regardless, he’s that talented. Walker? Wasnt Neal reluctant to call him up, only after Aki and others have failed?

    McPherson? Unknown, but already got a sore shoulder and the year hasnt begun. Marte? I dont share Dejan’s opinion on him. The guy struck out 50 times in 167 Abs, and is miscast if he’s the leadoff hitter again.

    I guess my question to you is, where is the next really great position player in the minors now? Polanco, Hanson, Barnes, Bell? There still two years away at least. And a lot can happen in that time. Thats where all the overslot misses come in to play in my opinion anyway.

  280. Mr Huntington, and I quote, “The system is flooded”

    Ok, where is it?

    Ladies and gentlemen, I rest my case

  281. @bpn8pitt

    First of all, I agree that the Gaby Sanchez deal was (most likely) a bad deal. Hanging on to that pick would have increased the draft budget and could easily have added another very good prospect to the system next summer. That move is probably not something that you’d see Tampa do. IIRC, they had something like 10 of the first 60 picks (or another crazy number) back in 2011 because of compensation picks. If I had to guess their rationale, I’d say that they were-in a very minor way-”going for it” last season. At the deadline, they really needed a platoon counterpart for Jones at 1B and they were still in contention. In evaluating what it would take to get a productive, veteran platoon partner they maybe got it down to including the compensation pick or (I’m totally guessing here) a Jeff Locke-type prospect. They chose to include the pick. In the long run, it probably wasn’t a great decision, especially since they collapsed. At the same time, how often to people say they wish the team would deal prospects for guys who would help them win now. They thought Gaby would help them win now so they dealt (essentially) a prospect. That’d be my best guess.

    As to the Nady/McLouth trades, I did include them but given how enormous that wall of text was, I can understand missing it. While I was writing it, it didn’t seem so long b/c the text window is so small and because I had copy/pasted DK’s earlier response so I only “wrote” half of what’s up there. In any case, I think both of those trades were wins for the Pirates. Here’s why: Nady had value, but not THAT much. He was a 29 year old outfielder in the middle of his career year. Before that, he was essentially a league average hitter and since he’s been borderline worthless. Now because he was doing well, they were able to get decent value for him (and LOOGY Damaso Marte). Tabata was a top-50 prospect before that season and still a top-100 prospect after. He hit .300 (.299) in the major leagues at age 21 in a meaningful sample size. Ohlie was the Pirates best starter for 2 years. Karstens is still being mourned after getting non-tendered (another discussion). D-Cutch was a solid middle reliever. Essentially, they got 4 major leaguers out of the deal. Whether they are still in Pittsburgh shouldn’t mean much because Nady and Marte wouldn’t be here either.

    The return for McLouth was also very good. Gorkys was a top-100 prospect. Locke (who is also still here and I think will be a solid starter for the Bucs before it’s all said and done) was #7 in their system just ahead of Julio Teheran, Kris Medlan and Craig Kimbrell. It also included “Good Stuff” Morton.

    Personally, I think both returns are solid and a lot of the consternation comes from the natural tendency to overrate your own guys. However, even if you don’t like the returns, I think it’s tougher to make the argument that the Pirates CLEARLY got the short end of the stick.

    Finally (sorry if this is getting long again), as far as the W-L records of the GMs is concerned, I think the reason behind that is that when this FO arrived, they assessed what they had in PGH and in the minors and completely tore things apart to start over. It should have been expected that things would get worse before they got better (see 2010). Littlefield never did this. He just shuffled the deck chairs every year and accepted that the team would be bad but they might not be terrible.

    DK: Gaby wasn’t just a bad deal because it was a bad deal. It was primarily bad because it wasn’t a deal that helped the 2012 Pirates stay in contention. It wasn’t bold. It was weak.

    I’ll say this again: You can’t just dissect trades in little FanGraphs-sized bites. There’s a bigger picture in play. In the case of the 2012 Pirates, the picture was staying in contention.

    It’s not about winning trades. It’s about winning games.

  282. Manassas Park, VA Just outside of DC. Lived in Westmoreland County from 1972-89. I’ve tried remining loyal to the Bucs all of these years, but I think the Nats have surpassed them for my support. Now that’s an organization the Pirates should be trying to emulate. But I could still flip if the Bucs front office ever matures. The majors is no place for on the job training.

  283. Kentuckypirate

    Again great points. You have a great knowledge of this team.

    Getting back to the team as its currently constructed, how do feel about Snider and Sanchez moving forward? To me so much of the offense depends on Snider, Sanchez, Marte taking huge steps forward as well as Pedro becoming more consistent and Martin returning to his Dodger days. A lot of ifs for the 21st season in a row, and again I am not holding my breath.

  284. KYpirate,

    I hope you have all essay questions on your exams. You’ll do fine. ;)

  285. Finally watching Army-Navy game, had some quality and important father time with my kids watching Disney movies and cooking Christmas sugar cookies.

    Call me old fashioned but not a big fan of these uniform changes.

  286. Great thing about this Army-Navy game… USA wins!

    Navy 17-13 with a few minutes left in the game.

  287. ‘Oh, yeah, that kid who went on to hit 60-plus bombs every year in Toronto.’

    OK, NOW you’ve gone too far.

  288. Incredible game to watch every year but especially when the nation is at war. Very sobering to know some of these kids will be leading men in Afghanistan within a short period of time…and some will never return.

    A great book is John Feinstien’s A Civil War: Army vs. Navy.

  289. ‘Hanging on to that pick would have increased the draft budget and could easily have added another very good prospect to the system next summer.’

    Agree that it would have added to the budget. So that costs the team money.

    But there is no guarantee that it adds another good prospect to the system. If it does, it is just that: a prospect.

    But I’ve heard NH and others (Law) say that it isn’t a very deep draft next season.

  290. DK, my father was admitted to the hospital early this morning, I couldn’t respond until now, but thanks for insinuating that by me not immediately giving you my Twitter handle meant that you didn’t block me. My Twitter handle is BuccoAficionado, and you blocked me a week ago. As for unblocking me, don’t bother. I’ve already got enough snark, and much more important and immediate worries, to occupy my life right now.

    DK: Best wishes to your father.

    Your account is unblocked.

  291. Yeah. It was only 45-plus bombs.

    Great name changes. Both of them.

    SC, sorry to hear about your dad…best wishes for recovery.

  292. @bpn8pitt

    I wouldn’t necessarily disagree regarding McCutchen. I think he’s the sort of elite talent who also seems to bring an equal work ethic. It seems likely that some like that is probably going to thrive in just about any circumstance. Cutch was always considered a big time prospect but his development has exceeded just about every expectation for him I think.

    The reality I think is that from afar it’s pretty hard to known how much a players progress and success is simply a result of his inherent talent and how much is a result of development practices.

    I would point out with regard to Walker that after he AAA pitching with consistency he was called up pretty quickly. There are lots of legit criticisms of the front office but that’s hardly one of them.

    Marte is really a wild card in my mind. I’d say this in part because he entered the major league system at relatively late age for Latin player (18, I believe?) and lost a significant amount of time to injuries (such as his hamate bone). Thus I think it’s a little bit more difficult to gauge exactly what his developmental curve will be.

    His play in winter ball has been encouraging. Both in terms of selectiveness and extra base hits. There’s not a ton of information available but from what I can tell he’s exceeded his performance in AAA prior to his call up and I think Winter League pitching is roughly equivalent to AAA.

    Marte’s K/BB might not ever be ‘ideal.’ But even if it only improves slightly I think he can be a really valuable player when you factor in defense, speed, extra base potential, etc. Even if you merely extrapolate his performance in 2012 over a full season he’s a pretty valuable player.

    I’d agree that there’s not a position player likely to start the year at AAA or AA who I think will make a big impact at the major league level. I still think Tony Sanchez can be pretty useful but I’d stop well short of asserting he can have a big impact at this point. I think this is reflective of 2008 and 2009 drafts (as the latin players signed in those yeas were obviously much younger and a couple of years behind at least developmentally) that in terms of position players will produce Pedro Alvarez and a few guys who can be bench/utility players. Robbie Grossman might have been a good who could contribute at some point this year but obviously he was traded in the Wandy deal.

    I do think there’s an outside shot Gregory Polanco begins the year at AA. Skipping High A would be aggressive. But he showed a mature enough approach at the plate last year that it doesn’t seem reckless to me. If that were the case it’s possible we see him a bit sooner. We’ll see. My fingers are crossed though as a Marte, Cutch, Polanco outfield would be a lot of fun to watch.

  293. All this back & forth today has almost forced me to become a fan of soccer.

  294. Speaking of civil wars, John, looks like Marquette’s up on the Badgers at almost halftime.

  295. @bpn8pitt

    Also. ‘d agree that Marte isn’t an idea lead off hitter, unless he can improve his on base skills. The Pirates don’t really have an ideal lead off hitter as their major league team is currently constructed. Although 2010 Tabata would fill that role nicely. Whether or not we’ll ever see that guy again I don’t know.

  296. Brendan

    Thanks. You have some good info too, and I enjoy intelligent posts on the Bucs.

    One of my goals for this season is to make it to Altoona for a game or two, maybe even later in the year if certain guys advance from A.

    Just too many ifs in the lineup this year for me, as always…And as you pointed out, it would be nice if some of those guys in A pan out. Not sure if Neal will be around to see it either way. Thanks bro.

  297. “it’s not about winning trades it’s about winning games”

    Are you sure about that because they are somehow winning more games then any other year in the last 20 years. All of this despite the incompetence of the front office. I suppose the winning can be attributed to all that money spent by Nutting. You know that unprecedented money.

    The funny thing is I don’t even like Huntington all that much. I just dont think the level of negativity towards him is warranted. I’ve seen a lot worse and with the same payroll we could easily see something worse going forward by a different front office.

  298. It simply amazes me how people can defend Huntington. 5 years of total control and look at the major league roster heading into opening day………laughable. Outside of a few top 3 first round draft picks where is there any organizational depth? Lose are the facts and they are not in dispute, if you don’t accept hem you are in denial. Please explain how ANYONE 5 years ago when these idiots were hired would have looked at the 2013 opening day roster and liked this group. After 5 years we should see 3-5 draftees already in the bigs and 3-4 more a year from here on out. Look at he organization. No way, No chance. And if you start throwing out guys who were here for a cup of coffee out of default because there was no one else but failed that is a jjoke. I am taking about contributors who belong in the major leagues. And giving these idiots credit for Cutch band Walker? That is laughable, you can’t have it bith ways. So the rest of the guys who were here and didn’t make it were because they were bad acquisitions by Littlefield but the guys from the previous regime who made it were “coached up”. Seriously?

  299. “All this back & forth today has almost forced me to become a fan of soccer.”

    Post of the day (for content and brevity).

  300. AW,

    Brevity is right. There are books of the Bible shorter than this blog today.

  301. And volume, too. 300 posts. That doesn’t suck.

  302. @Biz….
    I saw ur post at 258 and Dejan’s at 272.
    I post here only occasionally (when I think I have something important to add to the conversation), but I’ve been reading Dejan steadily since he took over the Pirates’ Beat from Paul Meyer. So you can add me in State College, PA if you’d like.

  303. I know the following isn’t exactly related to the topic at hand, but I was just thinking of this:

    As Dejan pointed out, the Martin signing looked like a desperate move by a management team that thinks it has to win NOW.

    But the Karstens non-tender looked (to me) like a cost-saving move by a management team that thinks it still has many years left in which to gradually build a contender.

    I just find the inconsistency of the two moves to be confusing.

    DK: Karstens was to pay for Martin.

  304. You and several thousand others, Woomster.

  305. This has been an extraordinary thread over these last couple of days.

    The diversity of opinions that have been expressed here is fascinating.

    DK: Are you implying that we “allow outside opinions?”

    Who’d a thunk?

  306. Johnny Football… a freshman…. wins the Heisman Trophy, pretty surprised by the voters.

  307. Regarding Russell Martin. I’d love the signing. In terms of what was available on the free agent market David Ross struck me as much better option at the time.

    However I thought in the spirit of adding to the conversation I’d point out this conversation between Sam Miller and Ben Lindbergh on the Baseball Prospectus Daily Podcast.

    They actually thought Martin was worth MORE money than what the Pirates paid him. The gist of their point of view is that they thought the $17 million over 2 years represented his market value if you didn’t factor in pitch framing skills, which provide substantial additional value. I’m not sure that I agree but it’s worth listening and considering as they’re smart reasonable guys:

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=19031

    Obviously we will see soon enough.

  308. watching this Bo Jackson documentary on ESPN… if you don’t know Bo.. make sure you watch this.

  309. Pretty clear now that a defensive player will never win the Heisman.

    I gotta admit that when Dejan posted this thread yesterday late afternoon, I never thought it would clear 300 posts in a day.

    You people don’t let me get any work done.

  310. Glad the freshman won it. He deserved it and gave a great speech.

    Dejan, the Greenville Grrrowl did have an awesome name. Unfortunately, the organization was run by a goofball that thought it made better sense to spend his money on really cool give-aways every home game instead of spending money on the team. People eventually went to the games just to get the free stuff. Wait a minute…sounds familiar……

    They folded in 2006 or 2007, by the way. Was really surprised to see another team come to Greenville. They’re already having attendance problems. People around here just don’t dig hockey. Unless they’re transplants.

  311. John: 1997, Charles Woodson, Michigan, took it as the only primarily defensive player to win the award.

    It could happen. It HAS happened. Once.

    Pittsburgh’s own Hugh Green, DE, 1980, second place.

  312. (i need a life)

  313. @Dejan
    In response to your explanation to me at #305 –
    That seems like robbing Peter to pay Paul. And robbing Peter to pay Paul doesn’t seem like sound strategy to me for building a successful team.

  314. Drew – I going through some boxes a couple years ago and came across the SI with Green on the cover. Had a picture of him with a panther in the background and the caption was “Baddest cat in the Land”.

    That issue of SI also mentioned a freshman tight end at Florida to look out for. He had some pretty incredible high school stats as a receiver, and field goal kicker. Obviously, Florida decided he was better suited to play defense instead of offense. The kids name was Wilbur Marshall.

  315. Wonderful player who has a tough go of it since retirement.

  316. I have stated that I thought they should have signed Karstens & Martin. And the problem is that they won’t increase the payroll to do both.

    But I think teams don’t resign one player to use the money to sign another player(s)

  317. Well. Not smart teams.

  318. Teams with money don’t

  319. Drew:

    Thanks. I forgot about that. And I only see about a million of his jerseys each day. lol

  320. The spendathon continues with the dreaded Dodgers.
    Half of their team doubles the total payroll of the Pirates.
    Meanwhile the Nutting Regime continues to add by subtraction.
    Hoka Hey….

  321. @bpn8pitt

    I agree that the team is relying on some question marks but it doesn’t worry me too much if only because I like the odds of those question marks. Everything I’ve seen out of Marte over the last few years suggests the kid is going to be a stud. I think Pedro has gotten to a point where, even if he never truly breaks out, he will be able to avoid 2011 disasters. He’s a 30+ HR masher who will post an OPS between .750-.850. He may not be a star but he’s a useful player a la Neil Walker. I would like to see them add a SP to replace Karstens. Personally, I like Edwin Jackson. I’d go 4/$44M which I think is realistic given the season he’s coming off of, the offers from last offseason and the fact that the market is apparently not to crazy on him right now (Anibal Sanchez appears to be the big post-Greinke target). I question whether the Bucs will do it but I think they could and should.

    @Dejan

    I’m not sure I totally understand your additional criticism RE: Gaby Sanchez. I didn’t mention any stats on him so I don’t get the Fangraphs reference. You say that the move wasn’t bold enough and it didn’t help them win. These are different concepts, though. They could have made a bold move (Hunter Pence?) and still not won because he was terrible. They could have made the exact same move and won because the pitching held up better and Cutch didn’t slump again. They also could have dealt for a player who was outstanding post trade and still lost. Would it still be a bad deal? I agree that it wasn’t a good trade but personally I’m more upset that we gave up too much, not that we didn’t get enough back.

  322. Hoka Hey everyone !

    Haven’t had time to scroll through all 300+ comments…..

    All I can say …..THIS sign coming from an organization that lists its players & a heritage that includes:

    Honus Wagner
    Pie Traynor
    The Waner brothers
    Roberto Clemente
    Bill Mazeroski
    Willie Stargell

    …………………how could a bunch of PUNKS get away with defacing our team with garbage like this — and putting a PIRATES logo next to it????

    Classless.
    :-(

  323. There is a popular saying going around by kids16-22 which fits the Pirates perfectly, “it sucks to suck”. Unfortunately the problem with the Pirates is that they think embracing the suck is the way to go. The first step in fixing a problem is recognizing it . . .

  324. Actually, this poster has really helped me focus on what’s important to me, what I want. Alas, “what I want” no longer has anything to do with the Pirates.

    I first followed the Pirates with Stargell’s Fam-uh-Lee when I was a kid in the late ’70s, but began fandom in earnest in 1986, of all years. I cheered for Tony Pena, Johnny Ray, and Rick Rhoden, welcomed rookies Bobby Bonilla and Barry Bonds, and even watched Hipolita Pena start and lose the last (meaningless) game of the year to the Mets. While Jim Leyland’s Pirates were torn down, rebuilt, and began their ascension to the top of the old NL East, I learned the great history of the PBC from the backs of baseball cards of Clemente, Kiner, Law, and Mazeroski, and then delved further back to the days of Wagner, Traynor, and Big and Little Poison. And like many others, I sat shellshocked after Cabrera scored Bream in 1992. I knew that without Bonds and Drabek, the Pirates probably wouldn’t be competitive in 1993, but had no idea it would be (at least) 21 years before they won again.

    When Neal Huntington took over in 2006, my expectations were admittedly low. He couldn’t do worse than Littlefield, because this time there was a plan and funding for it, right? I kept the faith through all of the trades, cheered the arrival of McCutchen and Alvarez, and managed to excuse away Huntington’s failures (non-tendering Matt Capps, acquiring Aki Iwakuma, Andy Laroche imploding, etc.). The 2011 season ended badly, but offered hope that the top-down rebuilding process was nearing completion, and then the Pirates sailed into the 2012 All-Star break first in the NL Central. I bought that issue of USA Today specifically for the headline, as a keepsake. Using the 2011 collapse as a baseline — even if the 2012 Pirates collapsed, it couldn’t be worse than the 2011 team, right? — I knew that even if the Pirates didn’t make the playoffs, the Pirates’ record for futility would surely end. Right?

    Last month I made a conscious decision to step back from following the Pirates so closely, to the point where Pirates blogs had been my first stop on most days. Since Nutting did not feel compelled to make any changes after an utterly unprecedented collapse (a collapse where each loss literally made me sick to my stomach), I couldn’t justify spending any more of my time/energy/money on the Pirates. This poster only reaffirms that I made the right decision to shift my focus away from the Pirates (to topics such as DAWs, large-diaphragm condensers, and “dogear” p’ups).

    So kudos to the people who designed this poster and put it up — yinz have really helped me trust my core convictions, and “embrace” what I really want. :thumb:

    —————-

    Finally, to JoeyBats: I agree with you 110% in principle, but trust me that actual “punks” would feel slighted by comparisons to the “BMTIB”.

  325. I feel like I’m stuck in the past

  326. Cue the Huey Lewis…

    Gonna go back in time…

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