Fort Apache, The ‘Burgh
I vaguely recall an early-’80s movie about a New York police station coming under waves of attack. “Fort Apache, The Bronx,” I think it was, starring Paul Newman. No soon does one siege get repelled — here came another assault.
Anyway – that’s kinda how I see the Pirates front office in these days following yet another maddening finish to an unsatisfactory season. Frustration to the 20th power? Critics of Neal Huntington, Kyle Stark and Frank Coonelly — and of Bob Nutting, for not doing anything about them — are out of control and venomous and loud.
But are there other voices out there? No one is happy about the Pirates’ morass, sure. However, is there a silent majority of true fans whose disappointment is tempered with reality and whose anger stops short of, say, a lynch-mob mentality? Who weren’t thrilled because another Pirates losing season confirmed their own predictions? Who do not attack with the fervor of Navy SEALS?
I wondered about that a while ago, and got some interesting responses. Caveat: Some of these views are a month old, so may have changed in the interim. But, a sampling:
“The comments and writings of much of the fan base and some of the journalists who cover the team have ruined the season for me at least as much as the play of my beloved Pirates. Too many people are just way too reactionary. And they never learn. … and now are blind with rage that we’re finishing pretty much exactly where our talent level and experience indicate we should. Neil Huntington and everybody else apparently deserve to be fired based on our play over the past two weeks. I get it. So I can understand why everybody wants scapegoats. But following the team is so much more enjoyable when your fellow fans don’t form a lynch mob every 30 seconds.” — Corey.
“I am 17 years old and will graduate high school this spring having never seen a pirates winning season! Unbelievable. … I believe in Clint Hurdle as our manager but I must say I’m still not set on Huntington. I think his time is up. I still recall after our mini fire sale in 2007 or 2008, trading away Freddy Sanchez and Jack Wilson for what so far appears to be absolutely nothing, he said if this team was not a winner by the year 2012, he should be out. And, we are not winners.” — Sammy
“This season was heat breaking. I felt like someone was slowly torturing me and making me watch this collapse but yet I couldn’t look away. I believe this season of disappointment belongs to Clint and the coaching staff and also our trade deadline moves. … I’m 23 years old and can not remember the Pirates last winning season so these last two years have been hard to watch. But through it all I’m still a Buccos fan and a believer. Go Bucs!!” — Michael
“Way too much blame is being put on the front office/baseball operations staff (Huntington, Stark, Smith, Coonelly to some extent) for this season’s epic collapse and the 2nd in a row. In the wake of the whole Kyle Stark fiasco over player development (SEALS, Hoka Hey, military mindset) and then Coonelly saying that no changes will be made to the upper hierarchy. The fan base went absolutely crazy without even fathoming to think before they react.” — Ross
“The fact that the Pirates are at an unfair advantage with salary and location makes it harder to stay competitive. This year had a different feel to it. … The icing on the cake was when upper management was afraid to make any bold decisions. … Sure the Pirates might be more competitive and talented in the next year or two, but without any changes it’s going to be the same old song and dance.” — Jason
“Excited 4 direction of club but disappointed in slide. Made some moves. Feel we had shot with players we had –more than in past.” — @MikeyHeld
“I wonder what they’ve done to earn my loyalty (and $). Because I have fond memories of a tm that won 33 yrs ago? No more.” — @RiddlerPGH
“I love the Pirates, but it is clear they can’t evaluate talent & Hurdle has troubles with player selection. New blood, please.” — @jimlogrando
“I think … is overreacting & reading too much into NH’s 9/23 radio quote, and his many minions are reliably following suit.” — @MattGrayPgh
“stunned, heartbroken, optimistic. In that order” — @Zach_Vani
“Outrage makes me think people are talking about a team like the Yankees with a large payroll & high preseason expectations. … Yes, I’m upset by the collapse. No, I don’t want everyone fired. I’d prefer a calm, rational approach to solving the problem.” — @marc98116
“feel like there needs to be some form of accountability for end to this season, would like to see ownership/mgmt straight shoot.” — @megseese
“20 games better in 2 years is awesome. drafts have been successful. Collapse this year shows its time to spend on the bench.” — @jmohlman
“my opinion may be the minority, but way too much blame is being put on the front office/baseball operations guys.” — @rinsana11