Big Lead Sports Bar

6/05/2009

PAT MEARES 2.0


The Pirates have embarrassed themselves on the field for 16 years, and now, they're embarrassing themselves in a completely different way, getting national attention on blogs from coast to coast for their childish reaction to the Nate McLouth trade.

Said Adam LaRoche:
"There ain't a guy in here who ain't [ticked] off about it," said first baseman Adam LaRoche, according to the report. "It's kind of like being with your platoon in a battle, and guys keep dropping around you. You keep hanging on, hanging on, and you've got to figure: How much longer till you sink?

"It's fine. Heck with it. We're not the GM. We don't run the team. If they feel like it's the best move for three or four years from now, great," LaRoche said, according to the report. "Unfortunately, that does me no good. I've still got to be in here telling guys it's going to be fine with Nate gone. Well, you can only do that for so long until guys just kind of ... well, they know."
Freddy Sanchez:
"Wow," second baseman Freddy Sanchez said Thursday of the trade, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "I think the biggest thing was the shock factor. It's obviously a tough pill to swallow. Our No. 3 hitter just got taken away, the guy who leads our team in home runs and RBIs, and we were 6½ games out. We could still have been right there. I think we still can. But we're all just kind of wondering right now ... wondering what it is."
An unnamed vet:
"You make a deal for a player like that, and you'd better get at least one elite guy in return," one veteran said. "Who's the guy in this trade? Who is that player?"
One finds irony in the fact that LaRoche, who is currently hitting .245 and traditionally does his best to help sink the aforementioned Pirates' platoon by the All-Star break, felt the need to speak out, especially considering the fact that LaRoche is a pending free agent and will surely exit via that route, unless he's traded first (hopefully for some prospects, for comedic irony).

The Pirates' players have carried on as if the team just broke up an outfield of Mantle, Mays, and Dimaggio, to the point of creating a clubhouse shrine to McLouth in Pat Meares fashion. The shrine was erected by Jesse Chavez and Sean Burnett, who have more than earned the right to criticize the team for all the championships they've helped bring the organization.

Forgot Meares? Of course you did. After signing a four-year, $15 million extension in April 1999, he hit .240 and .211 in the two seasons that followed. Notice I said two seasons, not four. The Pirates and Meares eventually parted ways and Meares never played in the bigs again, with a nice injury grievance as the cherry on top. And aside from the shrine that he undoubtedly deserved, there's this classic story that sort of sums up the whole Meares Era:
Shortstop Pat Meares of the Pittsburgh Pirates‚ on the disabled list recovering from surgery on his left hand‚ participates in a sausage race at Milwaukee's County Stadium. Meares‚ dressed as a 10-foot bratwurst‚ wins the race defeating a giant hot dog and a polish sausage. Two days ago‚ Meares was caught on videotape sunbathing in the upper deck of Philadelphia's Veteran Stadium for the first six innings of game.
But I digress. ESPN's DJ Gallo put the current situation into perspective with some cold, hard facts about the Pirates, and #3 on his list makes simply a beautiful point that I was planning on making myself:
Fact #3: The Pirates would not be good if they had kept their "core" in place.

Please stop pretending that last year's Opening Day outfield of Jason Bay, McLouth and Xavier Nady would one day be inducted en masse into Cooperstown.

Please. You're embarrassing yourselves.

When Nady was dealt last year, the Pirates were 48-55. When Bay left, they were 50-58. When McLouth was traded on Wednesday, they were 24-28. The Pirates aren't exactly breaking up the '27 Yankees. The '67 Yankees, maybe.

And, really, Xavier Nady?! We're talking about missing Xavier Nady? Not Barry Bonds, not Jason Bay. Not even Brian Giles. We talkin' about Xavier Nady. Xavier Nady, man. Xavier Nady. I mean, how silly is that. Xavier Nady.
Mark Madden pointed out that none of this went on in the Penguin locker room after a strong locker room guy like Ryan Whitney was dealt, which spoke to the tremendous difference between entitled Major Leaguers and the attitude of most NHL players. And I'd have to agree. Please, Pirates, for your own good, keep your thoughts to yourself and just play ball. Your comments are really not doing anyone any favors.

McLouth trade brings clubhouse backlash [PG]

Arrrgh! you ready for some Pirate facts? [ESPN]

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13 comments:

BURGH08 said...

Obviously I'm not in favor of the deal, but building a shrine is a joke.

We lost a good person in our quality department a couple months ago. Worked for years and lost his job due to cutbacks. It never crossed my mind to drape his cubicle or pour a 40 on what what the desk of my 'homey'. At the end of the day, it sucks, but you move on.

On another note, I understand the feeling about LaRoche, but if Jack Wilson said it instead, would Madden and others have the same reaction?

okel dokel said...

I have no idea how to react to this; the Pirates are a joke - plain and simple.

Do I think it was a good idea to trade McLouth? meh.

Would I have pulled the trigger if I was Neal Huntingdon? Probably

Their farm system is weak and they need bodies. That has been mentioned time after time by many a national publication.

How is Andy going to react when Adam gets sent packing? What are we going to get for Adam? These will be the burning questions for the Buccos in the next few months. How far this team has fallen from the days of "Lumber and Lightning."

Corey said...

this is the first post where the author of mondesi is not even close-

when we staged a walk out, everyone said 'don't do that to the players, it's not their fault'

i don't think their speaking out is an embarrassment at all - finally it looks like someone in the organization has a pulse

trading mcclouth this early says one thing, "we're not interested in even being competitive"

i've known it for years, but apparently mr. mondesi is still drinking the cool aid and believes the pirates are genuinely trying to rebuild (rebuild from what i don't know - it's been 16 years)

this kind of support for the worst franchise in history may cause me to start boycotting mondesi - obviously, he's in on the pirate scam!

do i sound frustrated?

Corey said...

"Mark Madden pointed out that none of this went on in the Penguin locker room after a strong locker room guy like Ryan Whitney was dealt"

are you kidding me - you're comparing a winning organization with the WORST SPORTS FRANCHISE IN HISTORY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jeff_King_Fan said...

the pirates are not the worst sports franchise in history. for anyone to think that, obviously has no sense of history. this organization has 5 world series titles. and has given us arguably the most important moment in world series history (maz's hr). clemente, stargell, bonds, van slyke, and other all-stars & hall of famers have worn the black & gold. obviously, these last 16 years have been brutal. but this franchise isnt even the worst in baseball history (expos, cubs, mariners, rangers, so on, and so on.) let alone all sports. this is one of the worst time periods in sports history for a team, i'll give you that. but worst sports franchise of all-time? please break open a baseball almanac.

S said...

LaRoche knows his head is on the block, I'm sure Neil would have preferred to trade him this early in the season instead of McLouth. There's that whole problem with LaRoche's suckage though.

BURGH08 said...

This ranks up there with the staged walkout.

In terms of stupidity.

jmarinara said...

Add this comment to the list of reasons why ESPN sucks:

"Please stop pretending that last year's Opening Day outfield of Jason Bay, McLouth and Xavier Nady would one day be inducted en masse into Cooperstown.

Please. You're embarrassing yourselves."

And one day when Jason Bay IS inducted into the hall of fame with 500 HR's and 3,000 hits. . . as a "red sock". . . people will be wondering why we ever gave him up for the likes of Brandon Moss and Craig Hanson.

The Nady trade made sense, a lot of sense actually. It was a good trade and we got more in return than what he was worth.

But Bay and McLouth? Are you going to tell me that you couldn't build a line up around those guys, especially with the like of Freddy Sanchez, Ryan Doumit, and Andrew McCutchen on the team?

Please. You're embarrassing yourself.

I hate this ridiculous logic that we weren't contenders with Bay and McLouth so we should just trade them. That's Mark Madden like thinking. (Mark knows as much about baseball and football as he knows about Rocket Science). The Bucs may not be contenders THIS season, but the pieces were falling in place. That is, until they get traded for a more distant future.

By the way, if McLouth and Bay weren't worth having and weren't valuable to the team, why did the Red Sox and Braves, both very intelligent organizations, give up so much for them?

okel dokel said...

I am hard pressed to believe "the pieces were falling into place"

The reality is they will never pay top dollar for any free agent. Had both Bay and McLouth stayed they would have had to pay both of them in addition to other players like LaRoche, Snachez, etc. next year. I am highly doubtful this ownership would have laid out the necessary capital to keep "this group together."

Huntington has been pretty consistent saying he wants to build up a depleted organization (e.g. all the spending in Latin America) before spending money on payroll.

There is an excellent post on Pirate Revolution which points to 2012 as the year the Pirates are "eyeing up" as their year. (Hopefully the patch is covering the correct eye)

Here is the link and a snippet

http://piraterevolution.com/2009/02/mclouths-extension-deserved-meaningless.html

Before 2012, the Pirates have a few choices:

* Keep all three of the players they've extended this offseason for a combined commitment of $27.65million. On a team with a payroll that's likely to reach somewhere between $60-70 million, spending 40-45 percent of the yearly budget on three players is very risky.
* Keep less than three of the players, trading the other(s) or recovering draft picks as compensation for free agents signed by different MLB teams. In this instance, again, Doumit and Maholm seem more likely to be retained given the Pirates' needs.
* Renegotiate contracts to cover more of the players' free agency years.

I am not drinkning the "kool-aid." Long ago I abandoned the notion this team will be competitive in my lifetime. My sense is Connolly/Huntington have a better track record than the previous regimes and may be able to do something, but I am not counting on it.

Badstreet said...

I was all aboard the "This trade sucks" bandwagon when I first heard it. As a quick read, it looked like the Pirates were giving up on the team again. Not only that, but they were giving up at the beginning of June. A very early time to give up.

Sitting back and thinking about it, though, the trade becomes easier to swallow. McLouth was the biggest trade piece the Pirates had to offer. They weren't going to deal Brandon Moss because they just got him and Nyjer Morgan's been doing a decent enough job. The Pirates were not going to win this year, no matter what anyone thinks. Hate to break it to everyone, but this isn't "Major League."

We got good return on McLouth, about as good as we're going to get. No one is going to give up Matt Weiters-type prospects for a guy who's proved he can hit for one season.

What really really turned me around on this trade is the petulant, whiny way the players are reacting. When you win 20 games, Sean Burnett you can build shrines to players who are leaving. Who the hell is the other poker buddy? When Adam Laroche hits 40 home runs a year, he can bitch about how management gave up on the team.

The future IS bright for the Pirates, even if the present looks like dog load. Dave Littlefield left this place a barren, useless wasteland. Huntington is doing his best with what he has.

Don't act like this team was a half game out when this happened.

apk said...

Can anyone even read? From DK's report:

In one corner of the Pirates' clubhouse at PNC Park, the small, circular metal table between the stalls of relievers Sean Burnett and Jesse Chavez had a candle lit atop it, adorned by the No. 13 of Nate McLouth and an accompanying photo of him in full uniform.

A bit dramatic?

Not by design: McLouth was that duo's card-playing partner on that table, and he was, of course, traded Wednesday night to the Atlanta Braves for three prospects. There almost always was a candle there.

"We'll miss him," Burnett said.

--

"Not" dramatic by design. The candle was always there, they just had a little cheesy fun with it after they lost their card-playing partner. There were no rants by Burnett or Chavez. There was just one picture of McLouth the day after he was gone. Why is this a big deal? If it stays up for a week or so, then it's something worth chastising them for.

Badstreet said...

Part of the reason Pirates fans, myself included, have a collective rock up our keisters about the "shrine" is because the entire Pat Meares incident left a collective bad taste in our mouths.

We'd probably react the same way if someone in the Pirates outfield decided to sit out a couple days and called it something akin to Operation Shut Down.

Adam said...

There is a facebook group up called, "We Utterly Despise the Buccos' Front Office". I was on there defending the trade when a Cubs fan showed up with:

"I dont give a crap about the Pirates. I'm a Cubs fan. Just wanted to remind you how much your team sucks. Hahaha.
But I feel bad for you guys. Trading Mclouth. Thats rough."

To which I responded:

"Dear Cubs fan.

1909, 1925, 1960, 1971, 1979.

Kiss my ass."

Its too easy. Just remember, when you think we've got it bad, just remember how bad it must suck to be a Cubs fan.