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Thread: The "Average" Pirates Fan

      
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    Daskid's Avatar
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    Default The "Average" Pirates Fan

    Kipper brought this up in the Winter Meetings thread but I thought it might merit a discussion of it's own. Why are so many "average" Pirates fans upset with the direction the team is going?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kipper View Post
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    They don't understand how teams are built. 80% or more of the fan base has no ****ing clue about the minor league system, the draft, latin america etc... They don't know about it, care not to learn about it. all they know is that the Pirates spending X-amount on payroll because that is the very thing that the entire media in Pittsburgh talks about.
    I think the average Pirate fan, and much of the local media, at least appreciates that the Pirates have to have a good minor league system and draft good players to be competitive, they just have the expectation that the Pirates should simultaneously be spending at the major league level while they do it.

    I think the gaps in understanding have to do with:

    1) Restocking the Farm System
    "Why trade a great player like Jason Bay for a bunch of guys who, if everything goes perfectly, MIGHT be as good as Jason Bay years down the road?" I don't think people understand the amount of talent that has to be given up to restock a system quickly, nor do they understand the need to do so. They think the system should be restocked through the draft and international signings. Not at the expense of the major league roster.

    2) Financial Flexibility
    "You should have a core of major league players and surround them with talent as it develops, not the other way around." The term "financial flexibility" was so abused by Littlefield that people think its a BS excuse not to spend. They think the need to have money available to fill holes with free agents and compliment your core development group as they mature is not only a myth, but flat out wrong. They completely ignore the crippling affect that a couple bad contracts can have on a low revenue team using that strategy (as if the Bonifay days never happened).

    3) Player Development
    "If you're starting Jeff Clement everyday, you aren't even TRYING to win." No consideration is given to using major league playing time to evaluate or develop players, nor is proper consideration given to blocking those opportunities with free agent signings. They think players should develop in the minors until they have "proven" they are ready for the bigs. While that might work for a team in the playoff hunt, it's this mindset for a team in the Pirates' situation that leads to decisions like Burnitz over Craig Wilson or Randa over Freddy Sanchez (as if the Littlefield days never happened).

    4) Years of Control
    "The Pirates got hosed on the Jack Wilson deal because Jack was the best player involved and we gave him up." This ties in to issues 1 and 2, but people consider years of control, and their financial ramifications, to be a non-factor when making personnel decisions. That any decision not based purely on talent alone amounts to being cheap. As if giving up half a season of Wilson and the remainder of Snell's arbitration time for the many, many years of player control in return gained the Pirates nothing in the long run.


    These opinions aren't based on the bobblehead and fireworks group, they're based on conversations with dedicated fans who truly believe that nothing has changed and current management is as inept as previous regimes. These are people who email me a link to every Smizik/Cook written on the Pirates. (Yes, we argue a lot.)

    What is everyone else's take?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: The "Average" Pirates Fan

    good read and insight. i wish more of the automatic nay sayers would take the time to consider some of these factors before they just call everything done a dumb *** or cheap *** move.

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    Default Re: The "Average" Pirates Fan

    Those are all pretty good Daskid.

    One of the biggest things I find from Pirates fans that are also Penguins and Steelers fans is that they believe that the Pirates should be outspending teams in Free Agency to build a winner in the only league of 3 without a Salary Cap. They never sit back and think that the Steelers build their teams solely from the draft and what they do pick up in Free Agency are cheap, low risk players for the most part.

    The Penguins are the same way. They built their core solely through the draft and have filled holes on the dirt cheap. When the Pens tried to build their core through free agency and surround them with talent as it develops they ended up with the ****tiest record in the league and were one of the biggest embarassments to watch (05-06 Pens).

    In regard to general fans, I talked to my brother and was discussing stuff with him. He's heard of Pedro Alvarez... that's it. He doesn't pay attention to theminor leagues, knows nothing about them. The first thing he would do if I told him to check out the minor leagues would be to look at each teams record and draw his conclusion on the entire minor leagues from that.

    I discussed the draft and he admittedly didn't know really anything about highschool and college players and didn't really care to know about them. Says he'll find out about who we drafted from tv, newspaper or radio There's the media influence.

    I discussed the whole "rebuilding plan" and first thing he said was "they tried that before and didn't work". He was influenced by the media there. I had to spend 30 minutes discussing the mythical "rebuilding plans" under Kevin Mcclatchy's leadership and what is being attempted now, drew comparisons to what the Penguins did recently (in which he followed enough of and witnessed first hand) and how the Steelers have operated for decades.

    I got him understand things more. He's skeptical as expected because seeing is believing which I understand BUT... the point is, it took me over 2 hours to try and erase all of the **** poor media feedings he's received over the years and there's really not enough of us die hards that understand what's going on that cry about payroll to educate the entire casual fan base.... that's what the media should be doing and could be doing, but they're both uneducated in regards to what is going on and are trying to buy readers at the expense of good informative writing.

    Daskid... the fact that people are e-mailing you links to Smizik and Cook tells you everything you need to know. That is exactly where they are getting their opinion from and how they are forming it and neither is worth a **** to read for information either. As long as **** poor local media columnists and such continue to feed their propaganda to sell newspapers and ads, the more we'll have to continue dealing with the payroll crying, uneducated, can form their own opinion, disinterested fans until a winner is fielded and that's the bottom line. Most of this starts to disappear with a winner. 4 completely bad brutal seasons of last place Penguins hockey in the early part of this decade with bankruptcy in the air, team moving threats, accusations of money being pocketed, owners being called cheap, horrific trades to dump salary (sound familiar?) were all erased when the Penguins started to win.

    In the meantime, I'll sit around and argue and if I run into a casual that knows little I'll try to educate them... but it's really all about patience at this point. The Pirates started rebuilding a season and a half ago. It took the Penguins 4 seasons, the 5th one to actually field a winning team as they stockpiled their minors and started getting on ice results from all of their draft picks (Crosby, Malkin, Fleury, Orpik, Staal, Talbot won't really mentioned Whitney )... and have since continued to add to that by getting younger and bringing in more drafted players and shipping out the veteran stop gaps (Goligoski, Letang, Kennedy). The Pirates IMO are simply building their team like the 2 successful ones in Pittsburgh. It just takes time and patience for the fruits of it to be seen.

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    Default Re: The "Average" Pirates Fan

    All great points and interesting insight, Kip.

    And while the friends that I talk to agree that a solid farm system is needed, they too couldn't name more than a few players in it. They don't care who is in the system, they just expect it to be productive and fruitful.

    The Steelers the Pens comparisons are good ones for explaining the mindset of the average fan, but I think it really calls out the fact that most people also don't appreciate how much more difficult drafting and developing talent is in baseball versus the other sports. It's a much longer road with many more variables and a lower success rate, even when your drafts aren't as bad as a Dave Littlefield debacle.

    The bottom line is the opinion writers in this city have done a great job focusing everyone on money spent at the major league level. Every decision made by the Pirates seems is judged with the assumption that it takes major league payroll to prove a commitment to winning. Every action that does not increase major league payroll (or throw millions at individuals like Pedro Alvarez and Miguel Sano) equals a lack of commitment and more of the same. And nothing you say about draft strategy and rebuilding plans can convice them otherwise.

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    Default Re: The "Average" Pirates Fan

    My younger sister moved back home (she lived in New York state) to help my mother as my father became more sick from diabetes. She got back into the Pittsburgh sports teams. During the season after each trade she would flip out and not understand why the FO was doing this. The one weekend I got home and spent about 2 hours explaining the whole rebuilding process to her. Essentially, I told her:

    1-The bucs were not in a large market like Philly, New York, Boston, etc.
    2-The entire system needed to be rebuilt (from single A and up). Explained what Littlefield did and his decisions he made then are why we are in the situation we are in now. He traded away the farm system for an over the hill free agent.
    3-The bucs were not going to make a big splash with free agents. Big splashes are for the larger market teams or teams on the cusp of making the playoff run.
    4-I explained the whole trading 1-2 major league players for 3-5 decent to quality prospects to develop in the minor leagues.

    I think it sunk in and while she was upset about the Wilson-Sanchez trade, she called me up and simply asked "Will this make the team better down the road?" I'm pretty sure she gets the rebuilding process we have to endure.

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    Default Re: The "Average" Pirates Fan

    Basically, I went through the same thing you did Kip.

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    Default Re: The "Average" Pirates Fan

    I want to thank you guys for providing this kind of insight and evaluation. I come here, especially after reading another idiotic Cook/Collier/Smizik column, to remind myself that it is possible to intelligently analyze the PBC. DK tries on occasion, but you guys do a great service for the committed Pirate fan. Thank you.


    As I wrote the above, I found myself feeling a bit sorry for NH. He must wonder why he has to try to explain baseball to people whose JOB is to understand and write about these things. I guess those schmucks see their job simply as stirring up the unthinking public - too bad.

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    Default Re: The "Average" Pirates Fan

    How can you blame the "average fan" for feeling frustrated and cynical? 17 straight years of losng and an especially brutal final two months of 2009?
    The team on the field when the Pirates break camp in 2010 is going to be Huntington's, and it apparently is not going to be much different than the one that lost 99 games last year. With the likely exception of Doumit, Duke and Maholm, all those players will be from Huntington's trades and signings. Will you NH enthusiasts educate us "average fans" and tell us how to approach 2010? How can we watch without such ignorance as you imply we have?

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    Default Re: The "Average" Pirates Fan

    Best thread ever.


    Seriously.

    Also one thing Steeler and Pens fans forget is how incredibly lucky (and smart) they have been in the Draft.

    I mean how lucky were the Steelers to get Ben where they did? Can you imagine the Steelers without Ben?

    Even luckier were the Pens in getting Crosby. Literally and figuratively winning the lottery.

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    Default Re: The "Average" Pirates Fan

    Quote Originally Posted by buccoman View Post
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    How can you blame the "average fan" for feeling frustrated and cynical? 17 straight years of losng and an especially brutal final two months of 2009?
    The team on the field when the Pirates break camp in 2010 is going to be Huntington's, and it apparently is not going to be much different than the one that lost 99 games last year. With the likely exception of Doumit, Duke and Maholm, all those players will be from Huntington's trades and signings. Will you NH enthusiasts educate us "average fans" and tell us how to approach 2010? How can we watch without such ignorance as you imply we have?
    Quite simply 2010 is all about letting the kids play. It is gonna be about seeing what we have and then what we will need to get so by 2011 we are competing for a playoff spot.

    It is about hoping Aki stays healthy and performs so we can package him with Zack Duke for some more prospects. Add in the other 1 year guys they sign.

    The first couple of months are gonna suck but we can focus on guys like Morton,Hanerhan,Meek,Oldenorf these are all pitchers who are part of the future.

    Alverez,Tabata,Lincoln,Clement will are be in the pirates everyday lineup by June.

    IN June it gets fun

    Mccuthen Cf
    Tabat (rf)
    Clement 1st
    Doumit (catcher)
    Aleverz (3rd)
    Andy (2nd)
    Milliedege (Lf)
    Crosby/Cedno (SS)

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    Daskid's Avatar
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    Default Re: The "Average" Pirates Fan

    Quote Originally Posted by buccoman View Post
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    How can you blame the "average fan" for feeling frustrated and cynical? 17 straight years of losng and an especially brutal final two months of 2009?
    I don't blame anyone for being frustrated and cynical. It is well deserved. It was not my intent to call the "average" fan, or anyone on this board who might share some of these "average" opinions, stupid.

    I'm just trying to boil the argument town to its essence.

    I think the vast differences of opinion in the above areas keep most people from from seeing even a pixel of light at the end of the tunnel, while others can think, though we're not there yet, we're at least on the right path.

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    Default Re: The "Average" Pirates Fan

    "The Pirates got hosed on the Jack Wilson deal because Jack was the best player involved and we gave him up."
    Yes, and you have to give up 'good players' to get a good return.

    More to the point though, I think we got a tremendous return for Jack Wilson. Also too Pittsburgh fans in general, and especially Pirate fans, always tend to overvalue the players we have.

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    Default Re: The "Average" Pirates Fan

    Quote Originally Posted by buccoman View Post
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    How can you blame the "average fan" for feeling frustrated and cynical? 17 straight years of losng and an especially brutal final two months of 2009?
    The team on the field when the Pirates break camp in 2010 is going to be Huntington's, and it apparently is not going to be much different than the one that lost 99 games last year. With the likely exception of Doumit, Duke and Maholm, all those players will be from Huntington's trades and signings. Will you NH enthusiasts educate us "average fans" and tell us how to approach 2010? How can we watch without such ignorance as you imply we have?

    If you go into this year, or even last year, paying attention to wins and losses and where the ML team is in the standings, then frankly you're an idiot. I'm not talking about you specifically, just if anyone really did. To think that no fire sale and complete rebuild wouldn't take place last year is living in fantasy world. Further, to not realize that this year will be one that "just lets the kids play to see what we have" type of years is also not living in reality.

    And please, enough of the "with 17 years of losing" garbage. As of now, NH cannot be tied into that. Face it, it's a whole new regime and a whole new way of thinking. This is the first time in "17 years of losing" that the Pirates have done a complete tear down and build back up.

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    Default Re: The "Average" Pirates Fan

    Quote Originally Posted by GeoPittsburghFan View Post
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    My younger sister moved back home (she lived in New York state) to help my mother as my father became more sick from diabetes. She got back into the Pittsburgh sports teams. During the season after each trade she would flip out and not understand why the FO was doing this. The one weekend I got home and spent about 2 hours explaining the whole rebuilding process to her. ...

    ...I think it sunk in and while she was upset about the Wilson-Sanchez trade, she called me up and simply asked "Will this make the team better down the road?" I'm pretty sure she gets the rebuilding process we have to endure.
    Geo:
    1) I hope your father is doing better. If not, please accept my condolences.
    2) That was a VERY GOOD thing you did, taking the time to straighten your sister out on the process. Looks like your patience paid dividends! Always good to have another informed fan!

    Cheers,
    cocktailsfor2
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    Kipper's Avatar
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    Default Re: The "Average" Pirates Fan

    Quote Originally Posted by buccoman View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    How can you blame the "average fan" for feeling frustrated and cynical? 17 straight years of losng and an especially brutal final two months of 2009?
    The team on the field when the Pirates break camp in 2010 is going to be Huntington's, and it apparently is not going to be much different than the one that lost 99 games last year. With the likely exception of Doumit, Duke and Maholm, all those players will be from Huntington's trades and signings. Will you NH enthusiasts educate us "average fans" and tell us how to approach 2010? How can we watch without such ignorance as you imply we have?
    Who is blaming the "average" fan? If you read my post you will clearly see this..

    He's skeptical as expected because seeing is believing which I understand
    .

    I fully understand that it is difficult to want to portray optimism especially with regards to the average fan and can always understand 120% that this isn't going to change without them seeing optimism in terms of an improve record.

    The concept of this thread is more about the misleading, one sided opinions that the average fan receives in general to draw their conclusions from. That some of us more hard core fans have simply had some instances where we've had to present the other side, the more informative side.

    With the case of my brother, I presented him likely 10 times the information in the span of 2 hours that he's gotten from the media and I helped squashed some of the misleading media opinions (mainly Smizik's garbage for the most part). He's still skeptical. Never was my goal to remove skepticism and it's never my goal in any of these conversations and debates here either. I can personally understand it. I just wish for people to have the full story, every angle etc.. in which they can form their own opinion, not form their opinion based on what they read or hear from a very poor Pittsburgh media machine alone.

    I was talking to another guy about a month or 2 ago about the Pirates. He either watches or listens to every game. Same thing, guy is skeptical, cries about payroll etc... I put him above "average fan" since he watches or listens to every game but when I was done with him, I at least got him to understand the entire rebuilding plan and he actually understood the parallels I made to the how the Pens and Steelers build their teams. I said quite frankly "The plan is the absolute proper one. It mirrors the Pens very closely, but just because the plan is proper doesn't mean the execution is going to be on the same par. Unfortunately when it comes to Baseball more than hockey and football, development and adjustments takes longer, so the wait is unfortunately longer in general to see if the execution of the plan was good, bad or average".

    I'm not overly critical of Huntington at this phase because there's not really been enough time to fully evaluate the execution of the plan. Sure huntington has had some bad misses with trades or shall I say "trade (Bay trade, since it's one of the few we can gauge better at this point), but thinking realistically that's to be expected. It's not like Steelers GM Kevin Colbert hasn't made some bad personnel decisions (we've been *****ing about the resigning of James Farrior at the cost of Bryant McFadden) or Ray Shero of the Pens (signing Miroslav Satan, ignoring a true backup goaltender last year, some misses in drafts etc...). GM's aren't perfect. For some reason, Pirates fans believe that their GM has to be perfect. Perhaps the stakes are higher to not make mistakes with MLB's economics but rationally you have to accept and expect misses along the way.

    I don't know who mentioned the "Pirates got hosed on the Jack wilson trade" that Vandy quoted but that is perfect example right there of what I'm talking about. You can't fairly assess and evaluate that trade. The return we got in that trade is mostly young with the exception of Jeff Clement who we will get a chance to evaluate this season and ronny Cedeno who we all knew and NH knew wasn't the equivalent of Jack Wilson, but it wasn't a 1 for 1 trade. Jack Wilson was had by the Mariners as a quick fix NOW, while Huntington was more interested in stock piling different levels of the organization. We don't know how Pribanic, Lorin, and Adcock are going to pan out. I know Lup really likes Nathan Adcock and he has some good upside and potential, I personally like Brett Lorin and have seen him creep onto some Top 10 prospect lists. He looked pretty sharp last year... but those guys are a few years away.

    It sucks, but when you have an organization that was bare of talent like the one Huntington inherited, the biggest bit of importance is to build it back up even at the expense of the MLB club and more losing in the present and near future. The lifeblood of a small market team is it's organizational depth. Free Agency seriously sucks. The best players are going to get wads of cash thrown at them by the large market teams, you can't compete for them in Free Agency, you need to be able to trade for those pieces. to trade for them you need talent in the minors. to trade talent in the minors you need more talent in the minors to not deplete all of your prospects. that is why I'm completely behind Huntington's plan and approach. He's put full emphasis on the minor leagues, stockpiling prospects and at the MLB level I guess has attempted to infuse some talent and fill some holes without making bad money decisions (like over paying for Jason Marquis or a 5.18 era closer), but the biggest impact that will occur for the MLB team is when it's better homegrown talent makes it's way up. Alvarez, Tabata, Lincoln, Alderson, D'Arnaud.

    Remain skeptical... that's fine. I don't blame you or anyone else for wnating to see to believe. I just get a headache and get nauseated when every ****ing decision this organization makes gets these ridiculous cries from too much of a fan base about payroll figures and money. It's at that point where and I'll say it now... those who do that are uneducated towards the whole picture.

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