Dave Littlefield traded off Rajai Davis and a player to be named later for Matt Morris at the deadline and everyone seems to be puzzled over the deal.
Most of the fans and media think the deal was off the wall.
Here are a few examples:
ESPN’s Keith Law said:
"Another year, another bizarre acquisition by the Pirates. But while last year’s move to get Shawn Chacon was puzzling, acquiring Matt Morris is inexcusable. The last thing the Pirates need is another starter who gives up more than a hit an inning.."
Baseball Musings said:
"What are you trying to do Dave, keep finishing last? .. The sound of Pirates fans pounding their head against the wall can be heard here in Massachusetts."
First let’s consider what we know to be facts about the Pirates current rotation and any potential replacements.
If you read Bucco Blog you know I have had Tom Gorzelanny with a red flag for about three weeks now, I’ve had John Van Benschoten with a red flag for almost two months, Duke is out, and Bryan Bullington and Sean Burnett aren’t close to being ready to help us. That’s all we have besides the possibility of using Chacon as a starter.
That leaves Youman, Gorzelanny, Snell, Maholm, and Armas in the rotation.
Secondly, let’s consider who Morris is replacing – Tony Armas. Here is a breakdown of each pitcher’s ERA as a starting pitcher the last two and four years:
|Last 2 yrs||Last 4 yrs|
For now let’s focus on the last two years ERA – that’s a -0.82 difference and while both players are declining, Armas seems to be declining faster over the four years just based on ERA.
Now let’s consider Keith Law’s issues. It is true Morris gives up 1.05 hits per inning pitched over his last four years, and Armas has allowed 1.00. That’s pretty much a draw.
From the trade deadline to the end of 2008, the Pirates will pay Armas $6MM ($1MM in 2007 and $5MM in 2008). He is 0-3 in 2007 as a starter with an 8.46 ERA, and as a reliever he has a 4.99 ERA. I think it is safe to say Armas has done a better job relieving so far this year.
From the trade deadline to the end of 2008, the Pirates will pay Morris $3.34MM in 2007, $9.5MM in 2008, and be responsible for at least a $1MM buyout in 2009. That’s a total of $13.84MM. Morris is 7-7 this year with a 4.35 ERA while also pitching for a team playing around .430 baseball.
So the Pirates will pay Armas $7.84MM less between the deadline and the end of 2008. That’s clearly an advantage for using Armas. However, as we noted above, Morris has pitched more than three-quarters of an ERA better than Armas. So what value can we put on that?
Considering the slot both would fill has 11 starts left in 2007 and assuming 31 starts in 2008, that is a total of 42 starts and Morris would allow around 34.4 runs less (42 *.082 ERA difference last 2). The industry standard is eight runs saved on defense is worth one win so Morris would be worth somewhere around 4.3 wins over Armas as a starting pitcher based only on ERA.
In today’s game a win costs well over $2MM so we could say Morris is somewhere around $8MM in win value over Armas without being too far off the beaten path.
But let’s take this a few steps further.
First, could we have traded for or signed a starting pitcher who misses bats? There’s no possible way unless we blow up the roster. However, we did give up one in Oliver Perez for a bat in Nady.
And secondly, is paying Morris $13.8MM for 42 starts reasonable in today’s market? Let’s look at similar free agents who were picked up over the winter and see what they are paid per start:
(post edited Aug 2, 12:01 AM to show confirmed amounts being paid to Morris)
|FA||Age||ERA||Cost Per Year|
|cost per 31 starts||$338,710|
Now let’s see what we will be paying Morris per start over his next 42 starts:
|cost per 42 starts||$329,524|
Fairly close. There were more cost efficient starters in the free agent pool like Jason Marquis and Mark Mulder, but at least one of them spurned signing with the Pirates. In other words, we probably couldn’t have signed them at the money other teams did if they would have even signed with us.
But Morris has had better productivity – overall career ERA – than the pitchers listed above so there is a good chance his free agent value would have been even closer to Meche’s or even higher.
So let’s wrap it up..
Morris costs around the same money we would have had to pay a free agent starting pitcher in the free agent market, every Pirate fan knows we need a veteran innings eater, Morris should be more productive than Armas in the starting rotation slot where Armas has done better as a reliever, we know we don’t have a replacement starter in the system capable of stepping up and giving us meaningful innings, and we know we have valuable young arms in Gorzelanny, JvB, and Duke who are running with red flags or out for the count.
Plus, we gave away what we considered a fourth outfielder in Davis, who we have a clone of in Nyjer Morgan, and an unknown prospect to get Morris.
I don’t see how we lose. In fact, I think it was an excellent move by Littlefield. And if Armas can prove some value in a relief role, we might even be able to deal him come winter and unload some of the $5MM he is owed in 2008 making this deal even sweeter.
However all that being said, there is a potential dark side of Littlefield acquiring Morris that nobody is talking about – the dumping of Jack Wilson.
If Nutting allowed Littlefield to add the cost of Morris to make this team a tick better by adding a veteran and saving some innings of wear and tear on our young arms, then kudos to him. That’s the first positive move Nutting has made.
But if he did it to be able to have the media say "Nutting obviously wasn’t doing a salary dump when he authorized Littlefield to trade Wilson for a can of corn in August saving $16.5MM because look, he took on $13.8MM for Morris", then that’s pure BS and just another sign Nutting only wanted to save a buck. (Edited 8/2 to reflect Morris’ true salary).
Time will tell Nutting’s intentions. Actually, if Littlefield is going to turn Wilson with the intention of saving Nutting a buck, he’ll have to do it ASAP.
For now, I welcome Matt Morris as every Pirate fan should and congratulate the Pirates for taking a baby step forward and hope they keep Wilson on the field behind Morris and the rest of the pitchers through 2008.
The Pirates won just 7 of 24 games in July for a .292 win rate.
Considering Dave Littlefield’s Pirates have played less than .400 baseball in 5 of their last 10 months, I’d say it’s pretty safe to say Littlefield is breathing his last breath in Pittsburgh.
The team isn’t focused one bit as their play showed. While the fans lamented Paulino missing a foul pop up behind home plate in the sixth inning, as an ex-catcher I know that’s perhaps the hardest play to make on the diamond by anyone – a ball straight in the air behind the plate, so I don’t blame him for not making it.
But when Jack Wilson’s one hop relay throw beat Rolen trying to score bounced out of his glove, it was a play Paulino should have made.
When Torres took over for Maholm in the 7th with the Cards up by a run, I was shocked he was brought into a close game because the Cards lineup had a career .302 batting average against him. It was a poor move by Tracy who should have gone to Bayliss or Grabow instead as the Cards are the one team they have handled.
Sure enough, Miles punched a line drive single into right, Duncan crushed a line drive double down the right field line taking Miles to third, and Eckstein hit a sac fly to Doumit scoring Miles. The problem was, Doumit’s relay went over cut off man LaRoche’s head allowing Duncan to reach third and Taguchi then hit another sac fly to score him.
The Pirates had numerous opportunities to blow the game open with a timely hit but failed. Doumit had men at 1st and 2cd with one out twice and didn’t produce, McLouth had the same chance twice but hit into a double play and struck out, and so on, and so forth.
Blame Maholm for walking the leadoff man twice that scored, blame Doumit for not hitting a cutoff man, blame Bay for lazy fielding allowing Rolen to take second on a simple single, blame McLouth for backing up and letting a liner drop at his feet instead of catching it, blame Paulino for not gloving the ball, blame everyone for not hitting.
Does it really matter who you blame? No – it was a collective effort as it has been lately with all the indifference.
Nady was removed in the 4th after his hammy appeared to tighten. I assume he is day-to-day but I doubt we’ll see him the rest of this series.
Chacon throwing 95 heat? Wow.
Pirates have to make a roster move Wednesday to allow Bautista back on the 25-man. I have to assume that will be Kata DFA’d. However, if Littlefield is still planning to deal Wilson, then Phelps will be bounced. This move should tell us Littlefield’s future plan with Wilson.
I can’t sleep.
The more I thought about the likelihood of Nutting allowing Littlefield to push Jack Wilson out the door for a can of corn, the more I got pissed off.
I mean, will we getting back an MLB ready player if we trade Wilson?
Are we having to eat a chunk of Wilson’s salary to even dump him?
Most likely, unless Littlefield does another one of his infamous "Perez tag on" deals and hands the Tigers Marte, Chacon, or Torres too.
So what the **** are we doing?
If Robert Nutting allows Dave Littlefield to pull off this deal and doesn’t get something ridiculous like Miller back, I will officially become irate.
And no, Eulogio De La Cruz doesn’t qualify as Miller.
End of story.
Update 5:30 PM:
No Wilson deal as expected. It would be interesting to know if Wilson was ever asked to waive his no-trade. My gut feeling says no.
Davis for Morris? Hey, who cares. At least we don’t have to worry about Davis running those poor routes anymore. Besides, Davis clone Nyjer Morgan is more Littlefield’s pet anyway.
But the Morris deal could signal that Littlefield has another starter getting ready to go down. We’ll have to watch and see.
I’ll keep updating this page as events warrant
Edit — 12:10 AM Tuesday..
The Post-Gazette is attempting to tell us that Wilson might be on the way to Detroit in a salary dump.
Now I understand Littlefield has made some pretty poor deals, but how in the world can he trade off a major league shortstop without having a replacement player in the system?
Or, are we to believe Izturis is his replacement?
God help us.
As bad as I want Wilson gone, I certainly don’t want to see him gift wrapped in a salary dump to a contending team after all the misery he’s caused here. Send him to the Rays for a bag of peanuts and eat the salary. I’ll send in $1 to help cover the costs.
Marte is about the only sure bet to be moving, be my guess. If we see Marte, Torres, Wilson, and Chacon all salary dumped, I might sue the Pirates for pain and suffering for what we will have to go through over the next year or two.
Lord.. we can’t keep going backwards.
Here come the Cardinals who are on a mission. Since the start of the three-game series against the Pirates May 22 they swept us in, the Cardinals have played .525 baseball (31-28) and are just six games out.
When they win, they win big. In their nine wins since the break they have outscored their opponents 64-23. In their eight losses, they have been outscored 74-20.
Tuesday’s game is a rematch of the April 11th starters – Wainwright vs Maholm. The Cards won that game 3-2 in Pittsburgh where Maholm allowed two runs tossing a six hitter over 5 innings. Torres was scored on closing.
But two of the Buccos who mash Wainwright the hardest – Bautista and Duffy – won’t be in the lineup, and Bay, Doumit, and LaRoche haven’t done much with him in their careers. Since Wilson and Sanchez rake him, so don’t be too surprised if you see Wilson leading off or in the two hole Tuesday with Nady in the four hole surrounded by Bay and LaRoche.
If Wilson isn’t batting 1st or 2cd, then Tracy has packed it in, imo.
Wainwright and Maholm are dead even in their last three starts both having an ERA around 3.35 and a WHIP around 1.38. Even the home/away splits this year for these two don’t show an advantage. But the Cards have won two of the three games Wainwright has started against the Pirates and the Bucs have lost two of three Maholm started. Go figure.
I think this game boils down to how well the opposing pitcher handles three players on each team — Duncan, Pujols, and Encarnacion for the Red Birds, and Bay, LaRoche, and Nady for the Pirates. Here the edge clearly goes to Wainwright and I suppose that’s what Vegas is seeing too as the Cards are favorites to win.
The rest of the series is a toss up – which Armas takes the mound, how do they hit Youman, do we finally figure out Looper, and do we rip to shreds Maroth as expected?
One thing for sure – the Cardinals badly need a sweep and will be playing for it, and the Pirates badly need redemption and will be playing for it. Should be a good series IF we show up and Paulino starts the games catching.
Road to the cellar. Ok.. for everyone who emailed wanting to know how the future schedule looks for the #1 draft pick in 2008, here you go.
The Rays, once again, are the clear favorite to take home the #1 pick probably in Alvarez who played with Price. Man they are sure building equitiable value while losing so much.
|# Gms||Median Win %|
Here is the rest of the Pirates schedule broken down by number of games home and away:
In some marriage circles, wearing a wedding band is a sign of commitment.
But as you can see from these photos, some of the married Pirates ownership group don’t always wear their rings.
(Note: McClatchy might have been engaged at the time of his photo, but I believe he was married then.)
Ogden Publications, owned by the Nutting family, explains to us in one of their magazines called Mother Earth News that:
"KEEPING a cow, like marriage, is a confining and responsible relationship not to be entered into lightly."
University of Alberta psychologist Dr. Harrell has stated:
"Past research suggests that the absence of a wedding ring in North American culture is indicative of a lack of emotional commitment to marriage. Our research shows that it may also be an indicator of a lack of a commitment to one’s family."
Aphrodite Women’s Health goes on to say:
"According to Dr Harrell, people who don’t wear wedding rings are more neglectful of children compared to those that wear them. His research goes on to say that attractive people who do not wear wedding rings are the most neglectful parents of all."
I won’t debate here whether Ogden and Robert Nutting meet Harrell’s definition of "attractive" – I’ll leave that to your imagination. And obviously, I haven’t a clue if any of these men are neglectful in their home lives.
But it is food for thought why another child in their family – the Pirates – have lost that "We Are Family" feeling since they have become involved in ownership.
I suppose we could say, as for a winning commitment for the Pittsburgh Pirates:
* Jake tips hat to Ian Snell *
Man, I expected Snell to get hammered worse than Youman, but it never came. I waited patiently inning, after inning, after inning. Nothing. Oh, a stiff wind that knocked down some of the deep fly balls helped, but overall Snell pitched a pretty good game against a white hot lineup.
Considering the Phillies scored their only run on a passed ball by Paulino through the first two innings, I was actually getting excited into the third until Snell walked Ryan Howard after Iguchi had singled. Rollins then crushed a sharp ground ball almost right over the third base bag and into the left field corner to score Iguchi and Howard had to hold at third.
When Snell stranded Howard, I started thinking maybe we had a chance if we could figure out rookie Kendrick, but it really never came. McLouth went yard on a line drive in the 6th, Castillo led off with a double in the 7th and was ultimately stranded at third, and Nady led off the 9th with a double and was stranded.
The Pirates actually looked like a baseball team on the field today defensively. Bay had a nice throw to the plate, Castillo made several highlight reel plays at third (plus went 2-4 to boot), and even Wilson made a nice play.
Paulino’s passed ball in the 1st was a blow and Nate McLouth, for the second day in a row (don’t our coaches inform these players of their errors anymore?), heaved a rainbow throw over the cut off man’s head allowing a batter to take an extra base, but overall we looked pretty good.
But ulitmately, you aren’t going to win many games putting up just six hits and one run against a AA pitcher, so we lost – again – for the 13th time in the last 15 games.
But is that so unusual? I mean, look at this lineup we fielded – what can we expect BUT to lose?
A .256 median.. now that’s brutal.
Speaking of losses, when the Pirates score three runs or less we have won just 26 of the last 127 games. Opps.. wait a minute.. make it 26 of the last 128 games going back to the start of play in 2006.
That’s a .203 winning percentage.
But hold on to your trousers.. in 2007 the Pirates have won just 9 of 50 when scoring three runs or less for a .180 win rate. Sadly, we’ve only scored three or less in 49% of our games.
Morgan Ensberg DFA’d? He sure beats Kata if we can get him for nothing. Oh boy, the things we look forward to as Pirates fans.
Trade rumors – I’m guessing the only players possibly flying off the shelf will be Marte and Torres if Littlefield drops his price some, which is exactly what he typically does hours before the deadline draws to an end.
Who knows this year since Littlefield seems to be fighting the world. Flip a coin.
Matt Capps and Salomon Torres have pitched a total of 16.2 innings since June 15th and allowed just 10 hits and 2 earned runs.
I still like the idea of a tandem rotation scheme in Pittsburgh.
Here’s hoping Shelby Ford gets to feeling better. He’s been out with lower back stiffness the last few games and has been hitting over .300 his last 30+ games.
Pearce? I just don’t know.. he’s wailing the ball in Altoona but I just don’t see him in our future plans. Perhaps if he keeps it up through next year as he was promoted today to AAA.
McCutchen? Hammering the ball last 10 at a .308 clip and hitting near .300 for July. He’s still having some problems against right hand pitchers but considering the age difference between him and the league, I think that’s pretty normal.
I guess it would be easy to say, I told you so.
Youman taking a beating wasn’t so surprising. What was surprising is that he was able to put zeros on the board in the 3rd and 4th. Considering he is another 80 pitch pitcher, he did an excellent job through four.
But Saturday’s game became a blowout when Jim Tracy make out his lineup card and stuck Ryan Doumit behind the plate who wanted Youman to routinely try and get away with 2-0 change ups, 2-1 sliders, and 0-2 fastballs.
By the 5th inning after the batters had seen Youman a time or two, they had seen Doumit’s game calling routine, and Youman was losing velocity, they ripped open their largest inning of the year scoring 8 runs.
An error by Castillo on Helms groundball with the bases loaded and no outs allowed the Phillies to score a run making it a 5-4 game.
Tracy then went to his pen and for some bizarre reason brought in soft tosser Masumi Kuwata and his 14.21 July ERA and .996 OPS instead of Torres who had tossed a perfect inning the night before and has held the Phillies entire roster to just a .217 BA. Essentially, Tracy mailed it in.
Three pitches later Kuwata had given up four runs, and nineteen pitches later he had given up six and the Pirates tucked their heads between their legs and managed just two hits the rest of the way.
JvB was sent packing to Indy as I expected but didn’t want to see. He has absolutely nothing to prove in AAA anymore and the refusal of the Pirates front office to put him in the pen so he can get the best help available in the system from Colborn isn’t rational.
Instead, they said they wanted to give JvB innings in Indy.
He doesn’t need innings – he needs a chance and getting work out of the bullpen while working with Colborn was his ticket. Having him go down and blow away AAA hitters won’t prove or help a thing.
It’s a very poor decision by the Pirates in my book. Very poor.
The Pirates also announced they plan to skip Gorzy in the rotation. Hmm..
Snell starts Sunday with his 9.00 ERA last three. Ouch. Well, I think he’ll be hit hard and it all depends who is playing center field for the Pirates as to how many runs the Phillies will score. If Tracy starts McLouth, expect a lot of runs. If Davis starts, expect even more. But if Nady starts in center, we might actually have a good chance of keeping this game close both offensively and defensively.
But my gut feeling is Snell is going to get rocked, and rocked bad.
There must have been 15 scouts at the game Saturday night and I have to assume most were there to watch Michael Bourn, the Phillies center fielder who was showcased. But you have to wonder if they might be there to watch Snell pitch Sunday too. I sure hope Robert Nutting doesn’t allow Littlefield to blow up the roster in July deals.
The Pirates have now lost 12 of their last 14.
Pirate trade rumors? HAHAHAHAHAHA Who the heck would want any of the garbage we’re willing to let go?
Geezz, just what we needed to see – Wiggy traded to the Astros for Dan Wheeler. Great, now Wiggy can romp the Pirates back but at least we won’t have to see it in Pittsburgh this year. But next year..
On May 13th, Bucco Blog recommended that Dave Littlefield bring John Van Benschoten up from AAA to pitch against the Marlins. Instead, Armas was given the start and bombed, while JvB was pulled in the 4th in his Indy start the same day after throwing 95 pitches probably partially from disappointment.
On June 1st, Bucco Blog again called on Littlefield to bring JvB up and put him in the bullpen thinking he needed time to get adjusted and to develop. That didn’t happen either.
On June 16th when Littlefield did promote JvB, Bucco Blog warned that the move was ill-timed because of the future schedule JvB would have to face.
Sure enough, five of Van Benschoten’s last seven starts have been against teams playing better than .500 ball and in those games he has a 13.50 ERA (27 R, 18 IP) and averaged 23.1 pitches per inning. In the two games against less than .500 teams he has a 2.80 ERA (3 R, 9.2 IP) and averaged 8.1 pitches per inning.
Dave Littlefield has essentially thrown John Van Benschoten to the wolves and JvB is paying for it dearly. If you watch this little clip of JvB on the mound against the Phillies Friday night you’ll see a couple of more red flags as JvB starts hitching his shoulder.
Considering the poor guy was asked to make two hot starts against the Cubs and Rockies and then forced to start Friday night on 12 days rest against the hottest team in baseball – on their turf in the hunt no less, it’s no wonder he’s failed by averaging 31.3 pitches per inning and has a 27.00 ERA over those three games.
Pitching is just as much a mental game as it is a mechanical game. The Pirates suggested JvB had a mechanical flaw and they shut him down for a start to work on his hip movement, but I did a tracer on his previous two games against Friday night’s game and there is no discernible change to his mechanics that I could find.
But if you have been reading Bucco Blog, you know I suggested JvB was probably shut down because he had arm fatigue as we’ve had him pegged with a red flag since he made his July 2cd start.
And he’s gone downhill steadily since we did.
Now Littlefield has a real problem as it looks to me like JvB has developed some inflammation or other irritation issue in his shoulder. Don’t be surprised if you see him hit the DL for a month or more.
The Pirates have done about as poor a job bringing JvB along out of Indy as can be imagined. They knew he was laboring with command problems in AAA, they knew his stuff had potential but touch and feel seemed to be lacking, and they knew he was going to get rocked in the schedule they set him up for.
But I applaud JvB for taking the ball and making his starts even though everyone in the world, including the Pirates front office, seems to have forgotten this is a first round draft pick who has been out of action for well over two years after numerous surgeries and is just months back from rehab.
He had/has no business being in the rotation to begin with, much less being forced to make hot starts.
* Jake tips his brew JvB’s way *
Now, what can Littlefield do to correct the problem? What he should have done to begin with – put JvB in the pen and stick Armas back into the rotation. Everyone seems to think Armas is doing so wonderful because he’s been asked to pitch late when the other team has mailed it in after first blowing us out, let’s see how he does in his five starts against the Cards, D’backs, Giants, Phillies, and Rockies.
Probably just as poor as JvB.
But no matter, right now Littlefield has to save JvB’s arm and I will bet a dollar to a nickle that Littlefield will probably pack JvB back off to AAA declaring him as not ready when, in fact, Littlefield set him up for failure. Think Oliver Perez..
That’s a shame because it will only set JvB back further. We’re not going anywhere this year so he needs to stay in Pittsburgh and take over Vogelsong’s old role Armas had filled. That is, IF his arm is healthy enough now to do that.
JvB has never won on the road.
How about Jose Castillo? Not only has he seemed to be the only player hustling on the field in his last few starts, he’s even getting a few hits here and there. Good for him, considering he has been banished despite being a superior gloveman to Sanchez at second.
LaRoche sat for the second game fueling rumors in New York he could be headed to the Yankees and rumors around the Angels that if Kotchman is dealt to the Rangers, LaRoche could be headed to the Angels.
I’m not so sure I buy any of that unless the Pirates are a third team in any Teixeira deal and we are throwing Snell and LaRoche into the pot. Even then..
But man what I’d give to get Kotchman playing in Pittsburgh. Whew..
Pirates have the third best inter-divison record in baseball having played .500 ball so far against their NLCD rivals. Second best is the Cardinals who we face ten times over the next sixty something games.
Phillies are 9-5 last 14 games and have averaged 7.2 runs per game. Wow. The Pirates send out another rookie to face the Phils in Youman Saturday and he’s sure to get mauled too. But get this, Vegas sees the game significantly closer than they did Friday nights game. I’m not so sure myself.
I just received an unsolicited email from the group called "Fans For Change" where they shared with me a ‘challenge letter’ that was purportedly published in the Post-Gazette, as well as calling for all irate fans to show up at the Pirates August 28th game wearing a green shirt and to sit in Section 140.
In the email they said:
"Members of Fans for Change realize that the best way to get the attention of Mr. Nutting is to actively pursue the support of his current season ticket holders."
I’m not sure I understand how creating the world’s largest Key Lime Pie lookalike in the stands is going to change baseball in Pittsburgh as we know it. And I certainly don’t understand why this group continues to beg fans who are upset at the ownership group to give their money to them.
And their email suggested they will be equipped with paper bags to put over their heads and more signs at the August 28th game.
None of that makes a bit of sense to me.
If this group really has something it wants to share with the season ticket holders, why don’t they go purchase a targeted mailing list and flood the season ticket holders mailboxes with their messages instead of bothering them at a game?
But before they do that, I think they need to get better organized.
I went to their website and hunted for their goals and to be quite honest, I couldn’t find any. Oh, I saw they wanted change, where the demanded ‘the end of the team’s descent’, where they felt betrayed, and saw where they called Littlefield incompetent.
Their letter in the Post-Gazette was a tick more to the point where they asked Robert Nutting "to hire a top quality baseball guy" and to "assemble a roster with a near $60M payroll".
At least those looked like goals, albeit they weren’t very measurable.
I mean, what in the world does "top baseball guy" mean and why should anyone believe a payroll "near" $60MM is going to make any difference at all in winning?
Angry fans protested in St. Petersburg over the Rays for years and they finally got their wish – new ownership. The Rays then hired a top baseball man in Gerry Hunsicker and to the best of my knowledge, they have gone backwards ever since; the Rays haven’t even reached one-million in attendance this year yet so all the walkouts were useless; and when was the last time you saw a fireworks show in the stands at the Trop?
Robert Nutting could hire ‘top baseball guy’ Bill James as CEO but if Nutting won’t fund change to the tune of $100MM or more for three solid years, nothing is going to be any different in Pittsburgh anytime soon.
But maybe I’m looking for their goals too hard. I suppose they must want me to think big picture – you know, just STOP IT Nutting! SHAME on you! Tisk.. tisk.
And more importantly, why would Robert Nutting even worry about this group if they continue to sell tickets, hot dogs, cokes, beer and the like for the owners???? He won’t, especially after the first walkout was a dud showing how unorganized they were.
I just don’t get it.
Oh, I want to get it – I really do. Gosh knows a lot of fans like myself want to intelligently attack the problem in Pittsburgh. But it has to make sense first. Marching in green with a player that admitted he used LSD in the game isn’t what I call a ticket for change. That’s about as bad as the Pirates sending a scab player down to Bradenton to meet and greet the new draftees as the hitting coach.
Is that intended to be a joke on everyone, or what?
None of these pop-up angry fan groups will ever make a difference if they don’t get better organized, don’t get funded, and don’t get more support than from a few season ticket holders and a lot of Internet fans-in-the-stands wannabes.
Walkouts don’t work. Seas of color won’t work. A boycott might work if the business community and the City of Pittsburgh support it, but that’s doubtful they will.
Nutting is all but certain to hire a CEO (one-tier or two) in 2007 and then Littlefield will be given his walking papers sometime in 2008 because that’s the way the Nuttings seem to have set it up. As COB, Robert Nutting surely hopes the fans will become complacent when he hires the new CEO, and full of hope again through 2008 as he hires a new GM. It’s a business first, right?
.. * as the sound of a cash register bell can be heard *
It’s when that new GM announces late 2008 he has to blow up the entire organization Nutting is probably really worried about. That will push even the most loyal fan over the edge, one would think.
But the writing is on the wall and you can protest every day outside Nutting’s home if you wanted to (or were allowed to) and it’s not likely to change Nutting’s course of action one bit. You can thank Mr. Selig and baseball’s welfare system for that.
Ironically, the last paragraph of the Fans For Change letter published in the Post-Gazette said:
"Please give us the chance to be supportive! That’s all we’ve been asking for."
As they buy tickets to a game to protest.
I bet Abbie Hoffman is rolling in his grave wondering why some folks just don’t get it after all he went through.
Here’s hoping that someone does finally get it soon.