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Should John Russell Keep His Job?

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Over at Bucs Dugout, David Todd uses a comparison of Pirates manager John Russell to Steelers coach Mike Tomlin to argue that Russell should be fired:

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In his post-game press conference Tomlin spoke about the performance of various players. He didn't mince words. He did not parry shots with reporters or dance around issues. Those who played well and those who didn't were mentioned by name. He talked about taking advantage of teaching opportunities to raise the level of play of the young men that he coaches ...

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The shocking thing about the Steelers' performance was seeing multiple players not perform up to The Standard. Coach Tomlin said that others will get opportunities as a result. As a fan, I know things will be better Thursday night when the team takes on Carolina in the final exhibition game ...

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The Pittsburgh Pirates under John Russell do not have a standard. Their play throughout the course of this season has been sub-standard in every facet. They do not hit well, they do not pitch well, they do not run the bases well and they don't play well defensively. First, and most importantly, this is on the players. They are major leaguers getting paid to play baseball. Many of the players are not very good. But, beyond the talent level, the Pirates make fundamental mistake after fundamental mistake.

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I'm not sure I agree, since mistakes are a natural consequence of having bad players, and it's not John Russell's fault he has bad players. With a few exceptions, like his weird fascination with Ryan Church, Russell has mostly put the right players on the field, and he hasn't abused his young pitching. For a team in the Pirates' position, that counts for a lot. Still, though, a good argument is a good argument, and it would be ridiculous, at this stage, to claim that firing Russell isn't something the Pirates should at least consider. I think David is basically right that at the very least, Russell isn't helping the Pirates get better.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.