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Note to Pirates management: your team’s fans deserve better

Sep 2, 2011, 6:05 PM EDT

Willie Stargell

It’s September 2nd, yet the Pirates are playing with a 26-man roster.  Because they subtracted Matt Diaz on Wednesday and added only one hitter — and a lousy one at that in third catcher Jason Jaramillo — they’re still going with their usual 13 position players, even though they could have added several more yesterday if they wanted to.

And I get the not adding several, especially with their Triple-A affiliate competing for a postseason spot.  But one or two would have made a lot of sense.  Particularly given that the Pirates just brought in Brad Lincoln, Thursday’s starting pitcher, to pinch-hit to open the eighth inning in a 3-1 game against the Cubs today.

The Pirates have drawn 25,000 fans per game this year, and those fans deserve the team’s best effort.  The team won today in spite of the short-handed roster, but it’s chances were hurt because of some misguided priorities.

  1. papamcgin - Sep 2, 2011 at 6:14 PM

    Yeah, what else is new?

  2. SmackSaw - Sep 2, 2011 at 6:17 PM

    Great fans. Great ballpark. Historically hideous front office.

    • kellyb9 - Sep 3, 2011 at 9:15 AM

      Not to be a bit of a troll, but this city is the epitome of a city that only supports their teams when they are winning. The Steelers have pretty much always been good since the 70’s (more of less), but the Penguins were really close to relocating to Kansas City.. and well, the Pirates – they have an awful front office. Either way, I’m not saying that people won’t start coming to games if they start winning – I think they will.

      • dbick - Sep 3, 2011 at 9:47 AM

        Penguin bandwagon jumpers are the worst fans in the state. The franchise is really only relevant if they have one of the top 2 players in the sport. If anyone would like to argue this point see ther periods before Lemieux and post Lemieux/pre Crosby.

      • bsputnik - Sep 3, 2011 at 10:18 AM

        The Penguins were never close to moving to KC. Mario Lemieux stated that talk of a move was a bluff in order to get the ball rolling on a new arena. And make no mistake, the Civic/Mellon Arena was a terrible venue for hockey. It was not built for hockey, it was built for concerts and it was awful for that. The acoustics were horrendous except when the roof was open and that was rarely done due to the cost and later became impossible due to the renovations that were made to make it a more acceptable hockey venue. And, in general, most cities only support a winning team. You want sell outs every night for a last place hockey team, in an arena with zero amenities that is threatening to move? Don’t forget that the Penguins were the #3 team in Pittsburgh up until very, very recently. Its the only team that is younger than most of the people in the city. Only since Lemieux has owned the team has an effort to build the “fan infrastructure” taken place for a move to #2. How many baseball teams could even stay afloat after a full generation of awful baseball? You have teams that are winning that can’t sell out every game (Yankees at 89% capacity) that are in much bigger markets. Texas is a year removed from a pennant, in first place and is still below 75% capacity. So don’t say that we are not supportive of our teams when they lose. The fact that the Pirates are making money despite a terrible team shows that this is simply not true. The fact the Penguins made it through all of the historical financial trouble shows that we support our losing teams. The fact that the Steelers even made it to the 70s proves how passionate we are (there were decades of awful football before Chuck Knoll). The fact that we are the smallest market with three teams shows that we are supportive. If/when the Pirates start to win again (It has to happen someday, right? Right?!?! Oh dear goodness, please, someday) that park will be sold out every night. So yes, I’m a homer. Yes, I’m replying to a (partial?) troll. I am definitely passionate about my team and my city. There are good fans here. This is a great sports city with an amazing history.

  3. mattjg - Sep 2, 2011 at 7:00 PM

    Who do you propose the Pirates call up? Starling Marte or Gorkys Hernandez? The outfield’s pretty crowded already. It’s not like there’s a wealth of talent at AAA the fans in Pittsburgh are dying to see. Most of the players on the MLB roster are young and will benefit from playing in September. Why not let that AAA players try to make the playoffs like the Pirates’ cross-state rivals are doing? Why aren’t you taking shots at the Phillies for not calling up players on September 1? Oh that’s right, in Lazy Journalism 101 you learn to deride the Phillies for their fans not their front office while any move by the Pirates front office or ownership should be spun as evidence that they don’t care or don’t have a clue.

    • flyerscup2010 - Sep 2, 2011 at 8:51 PM

      shut up

    • kellyb9 - Sep 3, 2011 at 9:18 AM

      I’m not sure what axe you have to grind with the Phillies front office. They’ve been spending money and prospects to put a winning team out on the field. Pirates ownership seems intent on making a profit at the expensive of on-field success.

      • mattjg - Sep 3, 2011 at 9:53 AM

        I have no axe to grind with the Phillies front office. I’m just pointing out that they’re doing the same thing as the Pirates regarding September callups.

        The current Pirates ownership has been in place for four years. You can’t hold the previous thirteen years against them. The Pirates organization has been one of the biggest, if not the biggest, spender in the draft and international free agent market over the past few years. They aren’t a big market team; they can’t improve by signing every free agent that comes along. They’re building from within and in a few years the product on the field will reflect the money they’ve spent to acquire young talent.

  4. mattjg - Sep 2, 2011 at 7:02 PM

    I root for the Pirates. I want them to win long term. The last thing I want is for the team to call up players before they’re ready to get one or two meaningless wins in September. The Pirates aren’t winning the division, they aren’t going .500 this year (as if that’s a goal they should strive for); honestly, I won’t be unhappy if they lose the rest of their games and improve their draft position.

  5. gwjones7 - Sep 2, 2011 at 7:25 PM

    Brad Lincoln’s career hitting stats (MLB and minors, 70 plate appearances): .305/.328/.424. “Small Sample Size”, of course, but still impressive. He might be the best hitter on the Pirates’ bench. *Insert joke about the Pirates being terrible here*

  6. quintjs - Sep 2, 2011 at 8:01 PM

    Did Matthew refer to a 26-man roster as being short-handed?

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 3, 2011 at 9:44 AM

      It’s september, rosters expand for this month.

  7. dailyrev - Sep 3, 2011 at 2:41 AM

    I’m never one for going soft on mgt., but I’d cut Huntington some slack here. He’s trying to build an organization with an eye toward having a contender by 2013-14. And it’s working: kids like d’Arnaud and Presley have already made an impact this year, and they’ve started looking at various young pitchers (including the one who started yesterday’s win). They’ve got a decent mid-staff group (Karstens, Morton, McDonald) and could have a viable ace (#1 pick Cole) in a year or two. As fun and inspiring as their first half was, they’re still in building mode and the kids who could make it work are mostly there already (the biggest question mark remains Alvarez, who needs playing time now just to find out if he’s real). One thing they should have learned from this year is the need for depth: Tabata and Presley spent a lot of time on the shelf and now they’re losing Cutch for a week or so. They also need to make a commitment behind the plate: Doumit’s abysmal defense can’t hide behind his modestly good power numbers; McKenry plays the position but can’t hit. They’ll continue to be a streaky and dangerous team next year, but can’t be expected to contend for another 2-3 yrs.

    • mystereo - Sep 3, 2011 at 6:15 AM

      You forgot Jameson Taillon.

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