Are the Pirates a real Major League Baseball team or are they, as I’ve been saying for years, a Major League Team in Name Only?

They stink again this season.

They’re going to have their 20th consecutive losing season.

Let’s pause here and think about how long that is.

JFK was assassinated in 1963. It was 21 years between that event and the Penguins drafting Mario Lemieux.

Ronald Reagan was elected in 1980. George Bush was elected in 2000.

The last time the Pirates had a winning season, I was 43 years old. I’m 63 now and have six grand kids.

When you’re living through something that drags on like this, you tend to lose sight of just how bad it is because one year is just layered on top of another.

We’re talking a failure of epic if not biblical proportions. (What’s worse epic or biblical?)

As Joe Starkey points out in his column, this year’s team is on pace to become one of the worst offensive teams in the history of baseball.

Stop and think about what “in the history of baseball” means. We’re talking about the turn of the previous century.

Think about how many groups of 25 men have been joined together to form a Major League Baseball team in the last, oh, let’s say 112 years.

The Pirates have a chance to be worse than any of them when it comes to, you know, actually hitting the ball.

Last year they made it into first place.

What did they do?

They put together the worst collapse of any first place team in THE HISTORY OF BASEBALL.

So, now they have a surplus of pitching. They’re one of the best pitching teams in the Major Leagues.

There’s talk of making a trade.

But there’s also lots of calls for caution.

“You can’t trade Player X. He’s off the table. That would be giving up too much.”

If the Pirates were a real Major League Team, they would be spending every minute of every day trying to locate a hitter.

Not a guy who used to be a good hitter — a real Major League good hitter. There has to be a team out there that is deep in hitters and desperate to find a pitcher.

The Pirates are still very much in contention for their division.

Did I mention that they haven’t had a winning season in 20 years?

One more real Major League hitter in their lineup the last month and a half probably would have had them in first place right now.

They have a plan in place that includes some really promising young pitchers in the minor league system. A couple of them might even start making a contribution next season.

It’s almost the end of May. They are in contention. Teams that are in contention and have obvious flaws that need to be corrected in order to stay in contention, make bold moves.

They risk sacrificing a little bit of their future for a big piece of the present.

Sometimes they risk a big part of their future.

What do teams that have had 20 consecutive losing seasons do?

Nobody knows because it’s never happened before in the history of baseball.

If the Pirates are to be taken seriously, (I stopped a long time ago and only pay attention because I have to.) they will make a trade for at least one hitter before they fall out of contention. And they’ll give up whatever or whoever it takes to get him.


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  • Uncle Pappy

    Is it an option to trade the owner(s)? Maybe they can trade the current ownership for someone who can hit.

  • Dan

    Great post. Honestly, the title of this thread sums it up perfectly. I can’t add anything to it. Make a trade, or quit.

    There should be confetti showers the day they fire Huntington.

  • franji1

    I posted this once before, but here it is again…

    Triple-Headed Bobble Head Commemorates Last Time Pirates Finished Above .500″

    Gotta love the last line

  • Tim

    The word “epic” has become vastly overused. My recommendation is to use biblical.

    I’d like to see some of the media members toss out names of who the Pirates should target instead of just clamoring for a trade. And I really don’t have much faith in Coonelly and Huntington in finding a quality bat via trade. They brought in McLouth, McGehee, Barajas and Barmes over the winter who are all struggling. Have they gotten any better evaluating hitting talent in the last 5 months?

  • pat

    Trick question. The Pirates quit about 20 years ago. It has just taken that long for anyone to notice.

  • pgherinfl – Carl

    Darn web browser. Dissappeared y first entry so I entered again only to have it show back up. Doh!!!

  • pgherinfl – Carl

    Hi John!
    Got the second book you wrote in the mail Wednesday. Autographed and everything. Skimmed through the book and it looks as good as your first book. Starting it tomorrow.

    • John Steigerwald

      Thanks,(Again) Carl. Hope you enjoy it.

  • pgherinfl – Carl

    Hi John! Got your 2nd book in the mail Wednesday. Autographed and everything. Will be startng it tomorrow but it I did skim through it. It looks as good as your first one on first impressions.

  • Chuck

    What the hell is Neil Huntinton waiting for. I’ve heard Clint Hurdle say the bats will come aroung. The bats haven’t been around for the last couple of years for some of these guys. I hear from people that Dick Groat is still in pretty good condition even though he’s around 80 . I can still remember he rarely struck out and put the ball in play while winning a batting title. He’d be a lot better than that $5 million dollar “slug” they have at short now, plus he has tons of experience and a World Series ring. Only thing is you might have to pull him out after the first or second inning on these hot days to get him ready for the next game. I think Neil should follow up on that….

  • JoeBod

    NO…they might acquire one of my fantasy players and I would have to get rid of them because my #1 rule is NO PIRATES!!! I’m on the verge of a second title in 3 years using that rule…

  • Jim Loeffert

    I thought Russell was bad? Clint Hurdle has the fastest player in the Majors, he’s the best hitter as well, and walks a lot. He should be the leader in stolen bases in the NL. He has less than 10! Tabata is fat, Walker is nearing the end of his window of opportunity, and 5 guys under the ‘Mendoza line’, in 1 lin-up, is a joke! Did I mention the ‘Can’t Miss Kid-Pedro Alvarez’, is hitting .212? This, is MLB in Pittsburgh, get used to it! What day does training camp at Latrobe start?

  • Zeus

    OK…so who do you trade? They don’t have much to trade. You can’t trade Cutch, Cole, Tallion, or Allie.

    That leaves Marte, Hanarhan, and Lincoln.

    Their minor league system is bare. Drafting like shit for 25 years will do that.

    They have wasted $14 million the next two years on Barmes and Barajas.

    What they need to do, instead of trying to spread out dollars on their major league roster, is to use all of available money on ONE big time bat.

    • John Steigerwald

      They wil never sign a big bat as a free agent. Big bats don’t want to come to Pittsburgh. McCuthceon should be the only untouchable.

      • Zeus

        So you would trade guys like Tallion or Cole now?

        That’s crazy.

        Big time bats will come if you are willing to pay them. Guaranteed money is guaranteed money, no matter where you play.

        But you have to be willing to pay them.

        • John Steigerwald

          Teams that have a chance to win will pay them and that’s where they’ll go . They won’t come to Pittsburgh.

          • chris

            Quality free agents wont come to pittsburgh. But you can acquire some quality players in a trade

          • John Steigerwald

            That’s my point. If they’re to be considered a real MLB franchise, they have to make a major trade when they are in position to win.