As for the recent swoon of the local base-ball club, I think that the players have mailed it in.
They won't admit that to a hot mike, but they've cashed out. And I'm also betting that more than a few of them are hoping that they'll be traded.
Or they're on the phone to their agent trying to figure out how to get the hell out of here. That whole Nicasio thing had to be the last straw for a lot of those guys. That and those four year extensions for Huntington and Hurdle. Though I don't really blame Hurdle. He has to dance with the coyote ugly girl NutJob et al set him up with.
And you know the players talk. And they have friends who play for other teams. Friends who's contracts may be expiring. Friends who'll soon be free agents looking for some place to play next season. Friends who might ask their buddies on the Pirates what the climate and atmosphere and the management's philosophy is like at PNC Park. And I'm pretty sure that current players will tell their free agent buddies to stay away from the Bucs should they come calling.
Who I truly feel sorry for is the franchise player for the Pirates, one Andrew Stefan McCutchen. He is everything the fans love about baseball. A genuinely nice guy, a hard worker, came from a humble background, plays the game the right way. Loves the Bucs, loves the game, loves the fans. He, more than the other 24 guys on that roster deserves a shot at winning a title. But I don't think he'll ever get that shot as long as he's wearing the Pirates' colors. Not as long as Nutting, Coonnelly and Huntington are running this team. I think it's time for 'Cutch' to take his talents elsewhere. This team does not deserve him. This front office does not deserve him. This owner does not deserve him. And he does not deserve them. You can bet that had the Steelers and the Penguins had a player of Cutch's caliber on their roster, they would not waste him like the Pirates had. Oh wait! They do, and they haven't
All of which tells me that the future of the Pittsburgh Baseball Club will be murky as long as the current management team of Nutting, Coonnelly and Huntington, (sounds like a two-bit law firm) are still knocking around Federal St. The problem is, that they won't go away. They're like a rat infestation. You can't get rid of the owner. He's not interested in selling the team. As long as Nutting is making money off the Pirates, he'll bleed the team dry. Other than voting with their wallets and their feet, the fans have no clout. Attendance has dropped significantly since the 98 win season of 2015, a lot of fans have given up on the Buccos, but there are still enough people in town who are willing to put money in Nutting's wallet to enjoy a night out at the 'ol ballgame at America's Best Ballpark. Until those holdouts get disgusted enough with the product on the field to stay away, Nutting has no incentive to sell.
Maybe if the Opening Day crowd next April was 15,000 instead of 38,000, maybe the front office might get the message, but the mystique of baseball always seems to win out. The quaintness and nostalgia of spring training, the crack of the bat, the slap of a fastball hitting a catcher's mitt. The smell of popcorn and new mown grass. All those things conspire to feed in the minds of baseball fans of teams like the Pirates that maybe, just maybe this is the year that the local base-ball club might get it all together.
Fans are starting to lose patience with the decisions this bunch of incompetents make and the constant diversions of PNC Park, bobbleheads, all you can eat sections, free t-shirt Fridays, fireworks, and concerts featuring washed-up bands are wearing thin. While the other two major sports teams in town, the Steelers and Penguins are doing what they can to bring hardware to Pittsburgh, all the Bucs bring are excuses.
It's too bad I don't drive and the Washington Wild Things weren't so far out in the sticks. I'd rather give them my time and money than the Pirates. It's not top of the line baseball. Most of the guys there have as much of a chance at making the big show as my finding a virgin in a frat house, but at least the management of that team is looking to compete and trying to win a title instead of pinching pennies and making lousy draft picks and excuses, and hiding behind the wonders of their ballpark.