Skip to content

The Pirates coaches were fired for loyalty issues

Aug 9, 2010, 8:50 AM EST

The Pirates' coaching shakeup was not a matter of poor performance. It was a matter of loyalty.

The Pirates’ firings of pitching coach Joe Kerrigan and bench coach Gary Varsho yesterday was not a garden variety “we suck and need to shake things up” move. According Dejan Kovacevic of the Post-Gazette, it was a move initiated by manager John Russel as a direct result of those guys having some chain-of-command issues:

According to multiple accounts Sunday, Russell’s call was motivated by a
perceived lack of loyalty, though Russell declined to discuss any
specifics. Several players and others inside the team described scenes
on recent road trips to Texas, Oakland and St. Louis where Kerrigan and
Varsho either were openly critical of Russell or having mini-meetings
with some coaches or players away from Russell.

Not that recently, as the road trips to Texas and Oakland took place between June 22nd and 27th, but the point is clear. As is the point that Russell — being given the OK from Neal Huntington and top brass to carry out the move — has no small amount of job security in Pittsburgh. Which is interesting. I can’t remember the last time a Pirates manager seemed like anything other than a cipher. Probably Leyland.

Anyway, be sure to click through to Kovacevic’s piece, as it has a long discussion of not only the firings, but of Kerrigan and Varsho’s perceived problems in the clubhouse, as well as a look at their replacements, Ray Searage (pitching coach) and Jeff Banister (bench).

  1. BC - Aug 9, 2010 at 9:32 AM

    Russell is a paranoid chipwich in the Queeg variety. Pitching coaches in particular have group meetings without the manager being there. He’s obviously too insecure in himself to let his coaches do the job. They actually have a few good young players, so this would be an opportunity for Russell to teach, and instead he’s apparently lost the clubhouse. Better update the resume John.

  2. BC - Aug 9, 2010 at 9:32 AM

    Russell is a paranoid chipwich in the Queeg variety. Pitching coaches in particular have group meetings without the manager being there. He’s obviously too insecure in himself to let his coaches do the job. They actually have a few good young players, so this would be an opportunity for Russell to teach, and instead he’s apparently lost the clubhouse. Better update the resume John.

  3. Old Gator - Aug 9, 2010 at 11:16 AM

    He’s also slightly schizophrenic.

  4. Old Gator - Aug 9, 2010 at 11:16 AM

    He’s also slightly schizophrenic.

  5. Old Gator - Aug 9, 2010 at 11:21 AM

    Personally, I think these firings had more to do with that as yet unrecovered duplicate key, whose existence Russell proved with geometric logic, that Kerrigan and Varsho made so they could raid the strawberries.
    .
    By the way, I have always wanted to ask, but always forgot to ask as soon as I wanted to ask, what does a bench coach actually do? Most of us have learned to sit by the time we’re a year old.

  6. Parlor Boss - Aug 9, 2010 at 11:58 AM

    Another take:
    http://www.wpgb.com/pages/extra.html

  7. The Ol Goaler - Aug 9, 2010 at 1:03 PM

    Gator, it depends on the manager; Joe Torre (while with the Yanks) used Don Zimmer as a “first-guesser”… Zim would make suggestions to Joe about the hit-and-run, stolen base, and other plays usually called by the manager. Torre would use Zim’s suggestions or not, as he saw fit.
    The Cards’ Joe Pettini keeps track of “paperwork” during the game; making sure the opponent doesn’t bat out of order, (and making damn sure the Cardinals don’t!) keeping track of “available” relief pitchers/pinch-hitters, and so on. Before the game, Pettini (along with third-base coach Jose Oquendo) works with the infielders.

  8. pogodog7 - Aug 9, 2010 at 7:20 PM

    If they want a great pitching coach, they should get Ray Miller out of retirement.

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Featured video

Maddon has high hopes for Cubs
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. P. Sandoval (5099)
  2. H. Ramirez (4457)
  3. Y. Tomas (4169)
  4. J. Lester (3139)
  5. C. Headley (2804)
  1. Y. Cespedes (2341)
  2. M. Kemp (2240)
  3. A. LaRoche (1784)
  4. C. Hamels (1781)
  5. M. Scherzer (1729)