Okay, I’m bouncing back. Last week’s rant got a bit on the depressing side, but now I’m back to revelling in just how bad this organization really is, from top to bottom. Not just any fan gets to witness this. I consider myself a lucky, lucky guy.
So...what amazingly bad things happened this week? Glad you asked.
- Jack Wilson, the only consistent offensive threat on the team this year, tweaked his hamstring and was relegated to only pinch-hitting duties this week. Not the best thing in the world when, as I stated last week, your offense averages roughly 0.1 runs/game.
- Ryan Doumit, the team’s catcher (or 1st-baseman, or right-fielder) of the future, who already missed about a month due to a bad hammy, ALSO tweaked a hamstring this week, though apparently it was the other one.
- The Buccos lost another weekend series. To the Marlins. At home. They lost 8-2 on Sunday. In case you’re wondering, the Marlins’ payroll is roughly what the Pirates are paying to Sean Casey, Sean Casey’s broken back, Jeromy Burnitz, and Jeromy Burnitz’ .185 batting average.
- Chris Duffy, who a year ago was the Pirates’ leadoff hitter of the future, got sent down to the minors for barely eclipsing Burnitz’ batting average. Before he left, though, he sent a few shots at his manager. He also called himself “too coachable”. I’ll have to remember that one. It’s an excuse I hadn’t heard before.
- Pirates fans officially started shifting from “Has Jim Tracy lost his mind?” to “Did Jim Tracy ever have a brain to begin with?” this week. Granted, he only started Jose Hernandez at 1B once this week instead of Craig Wilson. That’s an improvement. But he also started Burnitz in RF all five games...then exploded to the media when asked why he seemed to be playing favorites with Burnitz, unleashing the dreaded “If you didn’t play this game, you just can’t understand” comment. Nothing makes fans like you more than telling them they’re idiots and they should stop questioning what you're doing. I mean, just look at the results. This man obviously knows what he’s talking about.
- Oh, and Tracy defended Burnitz after he got booed for not running out a grounder late in a game.
- Tracy did make a nice move by bumping a slumping Jason Bay down to 6th in the batting order. Bay responded with a big game. Hey, maybe there are other players with whom he should try that instead of continuing to bat a 37-year old with a .185 average in the cleanup slot? Eh, I didn’t play baseball at that level, so I just wouldn’t understand.
- Tracy also said that his team was actually pretty good, just unlucky. They’re just missing that “big hit”. As the Post-Gazette Stats Geek pointed out, it is true that the Pirates are 4-10 in 1-run games. But they’ve also been outscored by a league-worst 50 runs this season. That’s a bad team, not an unlucky one.
Here are a few interesting (and by interesting, I mean depressing) bits from my favorite Pirates blogs this week.
FromRowdy at Honest Wagner, I see a couple of fun quotes from owner Kevin McClatchey:
McClatchey on Mark Cuban, May 2006:
"My only thing with Mark is ... since I've been in sports, it doesn't matter if it's baseball or basketball, there's always been sort of a professional courtesy given to other owners. You all know that what you do is difficult, so you don't criticize each other."McClatchey on other owners, January 2005:
"I think, as we go toward a new agreement, there's going to have to be some form of constraint because these guys can't control themselves," he said. "I know it sounds a little harsh, and I'm criticizing my other owners, but that's the way it is. I'm tired of other people affecting the marketplace and making it more challenging for small-market teams."
From Where is Van Slyke, I see that this team is turning its radio announcers into Harry Caray:
And from Bucs Dugout, I find a nice interview with a Dodgers blogger who got to witness the car wreck that is Jim Tracy for a few years:
The highlight of the game was probably Miguel Cabrera crushing a home run to make it 6-0 Marlins with no outs in the second, followed by complete disgusted silence from Lanny and Walk and finally Walk cracking, "Where do you think THAT one's coming down?" Halfway up the second level of bleachers was the correct answer.
The whole thing really is pretty good. And yes...by good, I mean depressing.
DODGER MATH: I think the best way to explain this is that Jim Tracy simply isn't that bright. I think the most telling sign of this was the way he'd see a player, make assumptions about them, and assume they were true. Oscar Robles is terribly slow, yet because he's a small middle infielder, Tracy assumed he was fast. Consequently, Robles went 0 for 8 in stolen bases last year. Also, he constantly referred to Mike Edwards as
a "youngster" despite the fact that Edwards was 28. It was as though he didn't realize how old Mike Edwards was. Because he lacks the ability to make observations like "this guy is slow," it's not that hard to understand why he can't determine if someone is a good hitter.
Jeff Kent led the Dodgers in OPS in 2005. The players who had the next four highest OPSes sat on the bench. He doesn't seem to understand that if you take good hitters out of the lineup, runs are hard to score.
But I can’t finish a rant without something positive, so here it is: The Pirates are now 4-1 in games following a Tuesday Pirates Rant™. And 7-26 in all other games. I am the best thing that’s happened to them this season. Hooray!