Big Lead Sports Bar

6/10/2007

The Yankees Win, and Jim Colborn is Awesome

Well, I'm glad that's over. In yet another horrible display of the game of baseball, the Pirates dropped a 13-6 decision to the Yankees on Sunday, getting swept and falling to 11 games under .500 in the process.
I could write about the game, but really, what's the point? The Pirates are awful, they were embarrassed, and worst of all, they're showing more and more that they don't even care, on the field and off.
What I find more interesting than the game itself is the timing of Dejan Kovacevic's latest Pirate article, "Inside the Pirates: Colborn merits credit for starters". And I quote...
"For all the frustration accompanying Zach Duke's opening third of the season, for all the exasperation that comes from seeing Oliver Perez highlights on TV, it might be going completely undetected that four-fifths of the Pirates' rotation appears to be benefiting from the influence of pitching coach Jim Colborn."
Whah...whah...what? Credit for the starters? Let's recap: Sunday's starter, former Yankee Shawn Chacon, was pounded for seven runs in 3 1/3 innings. He replaced Tony Armas in the rotation, who was sporting an ERA of 8.46 when he finally lost his starting role. Zach Duke is 2-6 with a 5.75 ERA and looks like he would be better suited pitching for the Washington Wild Things, although that would be insulting to the Wild Things. Paul Maholm is 2-9 with a 5.33 ERA. The bullpen is in absolute shambles.
That's the problem with the Pirates. Their pitching staff is in complete disarray, and we're told that Jim Colborn is worthy of praise. Yes, two starters (Snell and Gorzelanny) have performed well this season. But if Colborn is worthy of praise for those two, then he is also worthy of criticism for the poor performances of Armas, Maholm, Duke, and Chacon. And as I said, he certainly hasn't made anyone better in the 'pen.
What angers me the most is the lack of intensity throughout the entire organization. So many of these guys look like they're going through the motions. I ask you one question: "WHY DO WE CARE?"
The ownership certainly doesn't care about a winner. They proved that for the 1,214,387th time last week when they passed on "once in a generation" catcher Matt Wieters in favor of a signable pitcher. They can't spend the $8-10 million that it would take to sign Wieters, but they'll gladly throw away $3.8 mil on Chacon, $3 mil on Armas, or $11 mil last year on Joe Randa and Jeromy Burnitz.
And the players? I've seen Little League teams more intense. They have only a handful of true competitors and fiery guys, such as Sanchez, Snell, and Capps. The majority of the rest barely show signs of life. There is little visible leadership among the players, other than Jack Wilson calling out Castillo in the offseason. Guys are jogging out hits, booting balls, not positioned correctly, etc, etc, etc...their heads are simply not in the game.
Luckily for them, Jim Tracy manages the team like it's the reincarntion of the '27 Yankees. How much of that is Tracy and how much is orders from management is debatable. But much like Bill Cowher, Tracy and the Pirates are horrible at ever admitting a mistake. They would rather lose with their original choices than win with the correct ones. If not for Randa's injury last year, Sanchez would have never had a chance. Why? Because the Pirates paid Randa, and they didn't want to admit that they screwed up...again.
They have three starters with what I consider "acceptable" batting averages: Sanchez (.294), Nady (.287), and Bay (.289). Baustista (.265) and Wilson (.251) are mediocre at best, and the remainder of their regulars are what I would call "below average": Duffy (.240), Paulino (.224) and LaRoche (.214).
The real problem, though, is that there's not much to replace them with. The next Roberto Clemente is not sitting by the phone at Triple-A waiting for his shot. And therein lies the problem. The Pirates have officially lost their fans for the season, because, unlike in April, all hope has now officially been lost.
Let's start the countdown to Latrobe.

3 comments:

HotDog_Zanzabar said...

Great article, it makes me want to throw up my breakfast.

Brad said...

We Will...alienate our rapidly deteriorating fanbase.

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