No, I don’t really mean the title of that post. Just that the words that Jack Wilson keeps speaking are stupid. Yes, he later apologized for his post-Nyjer-trade remarks, but he’s still spoken out vocally against his team’s front office on numerous occasions, and if we’re gonna hold Lastings Milledge accountable for high-fiving fans (that bastard!), we can hold a veteran player accountable for a lengthy, unambiguous statement spoken directly to the frickin’ Pirates beat reporter.
I hesitate to just copy someone else’s words onto my blog, but the following two paragraphs from Joe Sheehan of Baseball Prospectus in his column “Whining” is basically the concept that I’ve attempted to convey in arguments (with limited success) to a bunch of my friends who are casual Pirate fans and continue to say things like “we do this every time!” (as though Neal Huntington has been on the job for more than one and a half of seventeen losing seasons) and “we were close, we just needed some guys” (my answer, “like who?” is usually followed by “I don’t know, anyone.” Anyone, like, seven Albert Pujolses who could also pitch?)
The article is Subscription Only, but if you’re a huge dork like I am, you should subscribe. Sheehan writes:
The Pirates aren’t a very good baseball team. They’re under .500, and…there’s no looking at the talent here—or the talent here three weeks ago—and concluding that they’re a contender. This same group of players, more or less, has failed year after year, and the veteran core here has no business whatsoever complaining about the direction that Neal Huntington has taken. Wilson is an overpaid mediocrity. Adam LaRoche is an adequate first baseman in the Paul Sorrento mode, and is probably the team’s best player; if your best player is Adam LaRoche, you have no hope of contending.
Huntington and Frank Coonelly have a difficult job, turning around a franchise that spent a decade in the woods. They’re doing the job well so far, and that the players they inherited—the core of those .440 juggernauts—don’t like it is perhaps the best indicator of their success. It’s Neal Huntington’s job to make Jack Wilson unhappy, no matter what the short-term ramifications of that are. Jack Wilson isn’t a part of the future in Pittsburgh. Lastings Milledge is.
I’m getting a tattoo of these two paragraphs on my face in flourescent, neon green ink just so I don’t have to suffer through another argument with another angry Pirates fan who doesn’t follow the Pirates and just shouts angry vagueries at me. No, there’s no guarantee the Pirates will start winning with the moves Huntington has made — the only guarantee is that the Pirates will definitely not start winning until moves like this have been made.
The Pirates are not good. They were not good last year. Neal Huntington is aggressively trying to make it so they are good by getting rid of players who are not good and trying to get a bunch of players who hopefully turn out to be good. Anyone who’s followed the Pirates in even the most casual of circumstances should not have trouble understanding this concept. Or at least, they won’t once I’ve gotten that tattoo.