I’ve written about the Pirates most days for the past seven years, and with each losing season that passes, the prospect of reflecting, yet again, on the latest tally on the team’s streak of consecutive losing seasons becomes less enticing. Nor do I really care to remind you that, for example, Justin Bieber is younger than the Pirates’ last winning season.
I don’t even feel like optimistically telling you that a winning season is right around the corner. It might be, but it might not be. I don’t think the guys who are currently running the Pirates, Neal Huntington and Frank Coonelly, are doing a poor job. But some of the top young players they’ve brought into the organization aren’t working out yet, including, most conspicuously, Pedro Alvarez and Tony Sanchez.
More to the point, though, the Pirates’ losing streak isn’t about Huntington and Coonelly. Instead, it’s about Cam Bonifay, who failed to turn the team around, and Dave Littlefield, who actively harmed it. And it’s about the economic system that allows some teams to have payrolls that are several times that of the Pirates. If you put Huntington and Coonelly in charge of a team that hadn’t effectively been burned to ash before they’d arrived, particularly if that team had an average payroll, no one would really think Huntington and Coonelly were bad at their jobs. They’ve had a huge hole to dig out of, and they’ve tried; the question is whether they’re working fast enough, or efficiently enough.
In any case, this is a depressing day to be a Pirates fan, just as this day each year in September – or August – always is.