No Pirates changes? More losing

November 10, 2012

Any doctor will tell you that high blood pressure often can be the result of drawing a bad genetic hand – you can live right, and still the readings can be well north of 120/80.

But high blood pressure also can be the result of things we do to ourselves and our own actions.

That’s something that Bob Nutting, the owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates, would do well to keep in mind.

At a meeting with the press last Tuesday – Election Day, it should be noted, when most of the public’s attention was focused elsewhere – Nutting told some assembled scribes and camera-wielders he was so spitting mad over the Pirates’ complete collapse in the second half of the 2012 season that it took him a month to steady himself.

“If you’re incredibly infuriated and frustrated, you wait four weeks,” Nutting pointed out.

With this new perspective and, one assumes, blood pressure back in a healthy range, Nutting took a deep breath and a hard look at the Pirates’ organizational chart and decided to do ... not much.

“The failure of us to finish as strongly as we needed to cannot diminish the amount of success that the organization has shown over the past two years,” Nutting said.

Sure, the Pirates had a strong first half of the season in 2011, and an even stronger first half of the season this year – so strong, in fact, that visions of playoff games or, at least, a winning season, were dancing in the heads of the long-suffering Bucco faithful.

But it was all for naught. It was another losing season for the Pirates, another year of stretching out the longest run of futility in all of professional sports. Consider this: Six presidential elections have come and gone since the last time the Pirates finished a season over .500.

But, as currently configured, the Pirates aren’t a team built for the long haul. By the end of August, the huffing, puffing and stumbling Pirates were prime pickings for the worst teams in the majors, like the Houston Astros or the Chicago Cubs. They displayed so much ineptitude on the field that, heck, it’s not hard to imagine minor-league clubs like the Toledo Mud Hens, the Bowie Baysox or the Kannapolis Intimidators hammering the Pirates like a pinata.

With most of the Pirates’ management structure staying onboard, and few major roster changes likely, it’s hard to envision how 2013 will be a whole lot better for the team. Sure, hope springs eternal, and we’ll be very pleased if it turns out otherwise. But after being burned for two seasons in a row, fans of the Pirates would be wise to keep their excitement in check if they’re riding high next June.

And Nutting had better keep the blood pressure medicine handy.



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