Big Lead Sports Bar


What Was John Russell Thinking, Episode 122

Bottom of the fourth inning. Your team is down 7-2. Two outs. Runners at second and third. And who does John Russell send to the plate? Reliever Sean Gallagher. I'm sure you can guess how the inning ended.
This team deserves the 18th consecutive losing season they clinched last night with moves like that.

Russell's explanation, courtesy of Dejan Kovacevic: "Well, we're in the fourth inning. We've got a lot of game to cover. ... You feel like we've got five more chances, with the top of the order due up the next inning, to do something. Gallagher was able to give us much-needed innings. You'd like to get the runs, but you have to realize there's still a lot of game left. You start taxing your bullpen and your bench early in a 7-2 game or whatever it was, and it's not going to be a very good situation for us."

Fortunately for Russell, the Pirates' authority types such as himself have worn my energy so low with their dumb comments this year that I have little interest in tackling the latest gem to come out of one of their mouths. All I will say is this: if Russell really felt like his offense was a sleeping giant that would eventually take advantage of the five opportunities they still had, then good for him for sticking to his guns in the face of raw  data that suggests otherwise. I guess he truly knows more about managing than I do.

Was he right? Of course not. The Pirates didn't score another run the rest of the evening, and lost their 82nd game of the season, clinching their 18th straight losing season. But at least he didn't tack his bullpen and his bench too early!

The more I think about it, John Russell is the perfect manager for this team. They truly deserve each other. But Pittsburghers who've stuck by this team throughout this 18-year-and-counting sideshow deserve better.

Mondesi's House: The Director's Cut (more links, commentary, etc):


The Mad Bubbler said...

This team doesn't really deserve anything bad to happen to them. Guys like Alvarez, Walker and co deserve all the great things that come with the great players they will eventually be. They don't deserve this kind of start to their careers, to be on a team that doesn't give 2 craps about winning. I'm happy for them that they will be traded in a few years though.

The owners, management, and especially the fans that support this ownership DEFINITELY deserve not only the past 18 losing seasons, but the next 18 that will come.

elliott metro said...

The losing will definitely continue until the Pirates make a serious effort to change their losing ways. They need a manager who knows the current team. That manager is currently employed by the team; Bob Walk. This man would be a fantastic upgrade over Russell. The current coaching staff could remain in place, although I would like to see Gary Varsho back. The young players don't deserve the questionable and confusing decisions that are currently being made. Losing is definitely contagious. Elliott Metro

Chip said...

Varsho was an ass and the players hated him. Good riddance to him.

Even thought I've made no secret that I believe the front office (particularly NH) have been doing a fantastic job, I am distressed by the poor on-field management. While talent is definitely most important, you do need a manager with a lick of sense.

I think I'm adding a disclaimer to my strong belief this team will turn things around next season: things will improve if and only if they fire JR and bring in a decent major league manager.

Adam said...

The kid in the photo can kiss my butt.

If there's one fan base that has no right to make fun of the Pirates, it's the Cub. They suck almost as bad as the Pirates do normally with quadruple the payroll. They haven't won a world series in 102 years let alone 5. They're tradition consists of Ernie Banks and a trashy old ballpark.

Worse yet, I'm willing to be that kid isn't from anywhere near Chicago. Probably more like Munhall. He watches games on WGN and sold out because he's a shallow person who was never taught any form of loyalty.

78Deville said...

@ Adam
If you look closely, that kid is wearing a Pirates hat from the "We Are Family" era. What a d-bag.

BurressWithButterflywings said...


I agree that Cubs fans are pathetic and annoying. They do indeed pay a handsome sum to lose almost as much as we do.

I do think that every bit of embarassment heaped upon the Pirates is well deserved. It is not easy to be a Pirates fan.