Posted by: Captain Easychord | July 9, 2009

Pirates Thursday: Small Solace

When I started conceptualizing this blog a while back, I had toyed with the idea of making it a Pittsburgh Pirates blog.  Those intentions are even reflected in the blog title, what with a “corsair” being a pirate… and unlike “Pirates’ Affairs”, the chosen title has that whole rhyming thing going for it and…well… that’s kinda slick.  But ultimately, this organization has been just too miserable to follow on a full-time basis for at least the last decade.  Besides, I’m interested in writing about plenty of other subjects in addition to the Pirates.

That said, I still have some occasional thoughts on the Buccos and there’s certainly enough going on in the organization that I can spare a few words on them once a week or so.  Hence, the birth of my second weekly feature:  Pirates Thursday.  I’m still working out a few ideas for what I want to do, so expect a few format tweaks as this gets started.  Having done with the preliminaries, let’s get to the rundown:

The Pirates continued their annual summer fade into irrelevance last week, dropping series against the Marlins and Astros.  There’s never really anything enjoyable about this point of the season where the Pirates sink well below periscope depth.  This year, however, fans can find some small solace in the fact that what happens at the major league level this year (and presumably next year too) is mostly irrelevant anyway.

After last year’s Jason Bay trade, the dismantling of the team as we know it was more or less inevitable.  Neil Huntington inherited a franchise that was top heavy, with the strongest group of talent in the majors already and a farm system almost completely devoid of potentially interesting players.  At this point, there were two directions for the Pirates to go:  either forge ahead with the group in place, supplementing where possible or blowing the whole thing up and building an organization with a stable of prospects that may produce some homegrown talent.

Jason Bay was the singular biggest chip that Huntington had to play with and Bay’s fate was the fate of the Pirates.  Without him, there was little point in playing to win now and in trade, he was the piece likely to bring the largest return.  Presuming Huntington wasn’t going to go halfsies as his predecessors had tried to do beforehand, the Bay trade more or less ensured the departures of his teammates.  Thus far, Nate McLouth, Nyjer Morgan, Sean Burnett and Eric Hinske have gone and it appears that more will follow this beaten path out the clubhouse door.

This is the biggest key to understanding the Pirates today:  the results of the  major league team are largely irrelevant.  Instead, the focus for the Pirates this year has to be acquiring and developing young talent.  Indianapolis, Altoona, Lynchburg, Charleston, State College and Bradenton is where Pirates fans need to keep an eye this summer.

There may be some concern about the big club having a disastrous season and any accompanying PR hit taken (and a lost generation of Pirates fans to go with)… but y’know… this is going to be consecutive loser #17 for the Pirates.  Anyone who’s still paying attention isn’t very easily shaken and the rest will come around should the Pirates start winning… probably…

LAST WEEK: 2-5 (0-1 vs. NYM, 1-2 @ FLA, 1-2 @ HOU)

Bucco of the Week: Garrett Jones:  OK, so he’s a 28 year old rookie with an unspectacular minor league record.  He may not be a guy who will end up being a starter for a winning team.  But you do have to hand it to the kid for making the most of the opportunity he’s been given.  In the last week, Jones has hit .333/.379/.704 with two doubles, a triple, two home runs and two steals in 27 AB, easily good for BotW honors.

NEXT WEEK: 3 @ PHI, All Star Break

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