Today’s SI.com column …

… is on the Pirates hiring Clint Hurdle, and his inevitably bleak future.

11 thoughts on “Today’s SI.com column …”

  1. I grew up in Pittsburgh and have been a Pirate fan for 30+ years, but I’m just about done.

    You look at this organization from top-to-bottom and there is no hope whatsoever. The best upper-level prospects (McCutchen and Alvarez) are in the majors now. They both project to be good (not great) players, but they are surrounded by 23 guys who are total stiffs. There is some talented pitching in the deep minors, but those guys are years away.

    Losing has been quite profitable for ownership. They make money each year, while the value of the franchise continues to climb. They have no incentive at all to change their way of doing business.

    Neither Clint Hurdle nor any other manager is going to make a damn bit of difference.

  2. Don’t people ever get tired of the easy joke? I enjoy your writing, tune out most of the political stuff just ’cause, but for the most part it’s good.

    But as a Pirate fan, I get it, they’ve been bad, very bad. And I get tired of everyone harping on the fact that the business turns a profit…oh no! You mean a privately owned business made money?! What-the-what?

    And I love the “I’ve been a Pirate fan for 30+ year” people…no you aren’t. Those people are just constant complainers who want to keep a foot in the pool on the chance that this management teams clear-cut organizational plan works.

    And yes it is different from the past regimes’ various plans. But hey, let’s be the Mets…they’re a super run organization because I’m sure they’re losing money hand over fist…that’s what makes a good team right?

    These are the same type of Pittsburgh fans that have popped up in the last 5 years saying “I’ve always been a Penguins fan”. Really, Rico Fata, when they were averaging about 5,000 fans a night and couldn’t give tickets away you were a fan?

    While I enjoy being from Southwestern PA and close enough to Pittsburgh to fully enjoy the professional sports teams — there is not one good thing to be said about the fans from which I hold myself apart. They are the largest group of know-it-all know nothings around who spout off opinion as fact without any analysis.

  3. Michael, I attended Pirate games in 1985, when there were 5,000 people in the stands and the team was going 57-104. I remember when their best player was Jim Morrison. I told friends that Jermaine Allensworth was going to be the next Rickey Henderson. So, actually, yes…I have been a fan for 30+ years, and have a deep knowledge of the history of the franchise.

    If you look at the current composition of both the major league and minor league rosters and see any hope of a .500 record, much less the seeds of a team that could actually compete for a championship, then God bless you. I don’t. There are no superstar-caliber talents anywhere until you get to the low single-A level.

    Maybe you are right, but since you are spouting off opinion as fact without any analysis, it’s hard to tell.

  4. While you have a point that yes, it is hard to fault a privately-owned business that is turning a profit, how can you justify putting out a crappy product. While the Mets are another poorly run organization, at least they are making aggressive team decisions with a desire to win and put a quality team/product out on the field. Not since RJ Reynolds has the Pirates had a winning team, nor have they tried to field a winning team. All the top players they have brought up through the farm system have fizzled or been traded away with management citing that they wouldn’t be able to afford them anymore. But it turns out that they’ve been turning a profit all along, pocketing revenues shared from truly profitable teams and not re-invested that money on the team, but just pocketing it as profit. THAT is where the rub is.

    What you are saying, then, is that a restaurant that keeps the bottom line so low it hurts and they still turn some of a profit despite poor reviews and a dying off customer base is in the right because they are privately owned and can do whatever they want. But where is pride? Where is the desire to make MORE money, which they could by investing in their team, making wise player decisions, and then you’d have another winning team. They play in the NL CENTRAL for pete’s sake. The REDS came out of nowhere to win it this year. The Pirates could someday, too. But not until they start making wiser decisions and stop trying to underspend in order to turn a profit.

  5. Good, so you’ll remember the dismantling of the 1985 roster that led to the Pirates obtaining prospects, some good (Bonilla, who they had on their roster once before, but had lost in the Rule 5) some marginal (Jay Bell was horrendous defensively in the minors) and I’m sure some bad as well. Then they also started drafting smarter (Bonds in 85, King in 86, Alou in 86). Kinda similar to the last few years.

    The profit everyone keeps on about is a paltry amount, that is pretty well explained here…

    http://www.piratereport.com/page/content.detail/id/502703/Ownership-Reports-No-Dividends-on-Profits.html

    But then that doesn’t support the folks that just like to scream “The team made money!”

  6. Too bad the Pirates traded away “Prized Medallions” Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte or else they’d be on the verge of competing. Right Jeff?

  7. Michael,

    Yes, those were great trades in the mid ’80s. They brought in Bonilla, Van Slyke, and Drabek, Plus they had Barry Bonds coming up.

    In 2010, a similar strategy has netted Andy LaRoche, Charlie Morton, Jeff Clement, and Ronny Cedeno.

    Same strategy but the results have been a little different, no?

    As for the draft, we’ll see. The best prospects are many years away. If the trades are any reflection on the front office’s ability to identify talent, I’m not optimistic.

  8. 1985 was also a lot different than 2010. The talent pool is incredibly more shallow with furthered expansion. And we didn’t exactly have the world to offer other teams. The only bad trade I see is the Bay deal. And that’s not looking at it in retrospect, at the time it seemed a little underwhelming, but still somewhat promising.

    You have to flood the system with as much talent as you possibly can with the assests given and that’s what they did, and then let player development take over. They weren’t going to get a Hanley Ramirez-type prospect for Jack Wilson or Freddy Sanchez.

    Andy LaRoche was a touted prospect that for whatever reason has fizzled. Clement I’ve looked at as more of a throw-in/project not a crucial piece and Cedeno was to get at least a major league serviceable SS on the team (I think he was focusing more on the young arms he got from Seattle). Alderson is still young enough and hopefully his issue isn’t a totally bum arm or something.

    From the time of those 1985 the Pirates weren’t competitive until 90…it takes time. And again the way I see it, this team wasn’t fully purged of the lesser talent/guys they were going to have to overpay for in free agency until the 2009 season. So, I guess I’m just comfortable giving things time to develop. Because I certainly don’t want things to return to the ways of the Late Bonifay and Littlefield Eras, where good money just seemed to be thrown after bad.

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