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cakmakli
07-17-2010, 06:26 AM
17 and counting: Pirates as bad as ever at break
By Alan Robinson, AP Sports Writer

PITTSBURGH The Pittsburgh Pirates hid the signings of their manager and general manager to new contracts. They misled their fans about the recall of top prospect Pedro Alvarez. They were ridiculed nationally for firing one of their racing mascots.
Celebrating the golden moment in franchise history, they couldn't even get the final scores of the 1960 World Series correct.

All this represented a single week in yet another miserable first half for the Pirates, one that greatly resembled those in the record 17 consecutive losing seasons that preceded it.

As the Pirates (30-58) jockeyed with bad-all-season Baltimore (29-59) to own the worst record in the majors at the All-Star break, they crammed a full season's worth of ineptness into only 3 months.

"It's awful," reliever Joel Hanrahan said. "This definitely isn't what we expected coming out of spring training. We need to turn it around in the second half and start playing together."

Manager John Russell and general manager Neal Huntington were given contract extensions following a 99-loss season last fall, but the team didn't reveal the news until last month because it feared negative fan reaction.

Their starting rotation was a mess. They still haven't hit a home run with a runner on base since June 8. Their second baseman didn't hit his weight. First baseman Jeff Clement didn't hit, period, and was sent back to the minors. And starting outfielder Lastings Milledge went three months before hitting a homer on a team that recently had a 12-game losing streak and is currently in a six-game slide.

They tried rebuilding on the fly, calling up top prospects Alvarez, Jose Tabata, Neil Walker and Brad Lincoln and starting them immediately. Walker and Tabata settled in quickly; Alvarez and Lincoln struggled. Not that it made a difference; their 10-32 record after they began recalling prospects was far worse than it was (20-26) before the kids started arriving.

"Any time you get the young guys up here, you want to win with them," Hanrahan said. "You don't want them to fall into bad habits."

Alvarez, the franchise's top power prospect since Barry Bonds, probably didn't know if he was coming or going. A few hours after Huntington told reporters he wasn't close to being ready for the majors, he was brought up. He's hitting .214 with 35 strikeouts in 84 at-bats.

The gaffes weren't all on the playing field, either. One of their in-game pierogi racers, Andrew Kurtz, was fired for criticizing the front office on his Facebook page. He was brought back to the part-time job when it was determined he wasn't properly terminated.

If only the Pirates had the same safeguards in place when they let Jose Bautista and Matt Capps go.

Bautista, cast off for long-gone backup catcher Robinzon Diaz, leads the majors with 24 homers for Toronto. Capps wasn't tendered a contract last winter because the Pirates didn't think he was worth a $500,000 raise; he has 23 saves with Washington and won the All-Star game on Tuesday night.

Then there were the Aki Iwamura and Charlie Morton messes.

Iwamura was acquired from Tampa Bay despite a $4.85 million salary and a major knee injury. He was so limited defensively he could barely field his position, and he was hitting .182 before he was benched and replaced by Walker, a former first-round draft pick who had been repeatedly passed over for call-ups.

Want to see the Pirates' highest-paid player? That requires a trip to Indianapolis, where Iwamura is playing in Triple-A.

Morton (1-9, 9.35 ERA) stayed in the rotation far after he proved he wasn't ready, apparently because management didn't want to acknowledge its mistake for acquiring him.

The first-half highlight proved to be the back-to-back wins against the Dodgers to begin the season; the lowlight was a 20-0 loss at home to Milwaukee that finished off a three-game sweep in which the Brewers outscored them 36-1.

"The level of disappointment is so high I can't accurately give you a word for it," team president Frank Coonelly said.

The bullpen was a strength, led by All-Star reliever Evan Meek and closer Octavio Dotel. However, much of the bullpen's good work came in games that were already decided because of the bad rotation. Morton, Zach Duke (3-8, 5.49 ERA) and Ross Ohlendorf (1-7, 4.22) all disappointed as the Pirates lost 15 games by margins of seven runs or more.

"We haven't been playing up to our capability," infielder Bobby Crosby said. "Even though we have some young players, we're still not playing the way we possibly can. Step it up a little bit, to say the least."

Even their most popular promotion of the season was executed poorly. A commemorative drinking mug honoring their '60 championship contained incorrect game results that indicated the Yankees, not the Pirates, won the World Series.

If nothing else, their failed first half suggested there's no World Series soon for the Pirates to repeat that mistake.

LINK (http://www.usatoday.com/sports/baseball/nl/2010-07-14-1244987136_x.htm)

BPS3akaWirels3
07-17-2010, 08:56 AM
Same song and dance every season... Blah, blah...

cakmakli
07-17-2010, 09:02 AM
Yeah I know but this year there has been so much stuff that it's nice to have everything on one page.

Anyway, I'll be at the Park tomorrow.

X-Terminator
07-17-2010, 12:55 PM
Comedy Central couldn't come up with a funnier show than the LOL hilarity that has been the Pirates this season.

I hope, though, that the fans don't get down on Alvarez. Yeah, he's striking out 1 out of 2.5 at-bats, but you can tell the kid is going to be damn good. That swing of his is pretty, and once he learns how to hit major-league pitching...look out.

cakmakli
07-17-2010, 02:32 PM
Comedy Central couldn't come up with a funnier show than the LOL hilarity that has been the Pirates this season.


Comedy Central couldn't but Paramount Pictures did.

It is a script written for the Pirates.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqBFhF4haXM

BPS3akaWirels3
07-17-2010, 03:25 PM
Not sure when I'll be at the ballpark again this year since I started this new job and will be down here in NC till the end of the month. I'm hoping to make it to one more series before the end of the season.

cakmakli
07-18-2010, 04:21 PM
Not sure when I'll be at the ballpark again this year since I started this new job and will be down here in NC till the end of the month. I'm hoping to make it to one more series before the end of the season.

Since you are in NC and couldn't make the game, this one is for you my Pirate brother.

http://cakmakli.smugmug.com/photos/938948984_ZvEPx-M.jpg

BPS3akaWirels3
07-18-2010, 04:38 PM
Since you are in NC and couldn't make the game, this one is for you my Pirate brother.

http://cakmakli.smugmug.com/photos/938948984_ZvEPx-M.jpg

Who the heck is the fat, old, bald guy? I take my dad also sometimes.. Glad to see you do also.. lol We had a shutout game today and there was a piss poor crowd today.. Only 16,000 + ugh..

Thanks by the way..

cakmakli
07-18-2010, 04:48 PM
Awesome game. It was great to see one of our Pitchers not only go the distance but to pitch a shutout as well.

Oh yeah, I may be fat and old but I was at the game with a beer in my hand. And you were where??? :)

BPS3akaWirels3
07-18-2010, 04:51 PM
Awesome game. It was great to see one of our Pitchers not only go the distance but to pitch a shutout as well.

Oh yeah, I may be fat and old but I was at the game with a beer in my hand. And you were where??? :)

lol.. Just busting your balls my friend... Don't worry, I am a little thin on top... I am down here in NO sports land... It sucks.. Everyone down here supports sports.. That would be Duke, UNC and ECU.. lol I can't stand college sports unless it's Penn State playing football...

cakmakli
07-18-2010, 04:57 PM
I grew up on the VA/NC state line and even though we were in VA and less then an hour from VA Tech, we still had people from my town supporting the Tar Heels. I hate Carolina Blue.

steelerdude15
07-19-2010, 12:48 AM
SELL THE TEAM BILL!!!!