(this is the first of a possible series illustrating the mismanagement of the Pittsburgh Pirates under former General Manager David Littlefield)
The Lynchburg Hillcats fell Friday night, 7-3, to the defending Carolina League Champion Frederick Keys.
The significance of one minor league team's victory over another is largely muted by the buzz of the multi-billion dollar business that is Major League Baseball.
It is dulled all the more by the fact that Lynchburg is merely the High-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Frederick belongs to the Baltimore Orioles organization, and both of the parent teams are years away from contending.
What is significant about this particular game (to a follower of either franchise, or any casual baseball fan wondering how deeply the troubles of the Pittsburgh Pirates run) is this:
Baltimore Orioles first-round draft pick Matt Wieters hit a pair of home runs in his professional debut, going two-for-three with a walk.
Last week, I noted how the Pittsburgh Pirates only need to be previewed by looking at their upper management and ownership.
The Pirates passed on Wieters for a relief pitcher/closer from the Clemson Tigers, Daniel Moskos. Keep in mind, this was the fourth overall pick in the 2007 draft.
The Orioles organization, in the very next draft slot, scooped Wieters up, much like an opportunistic hockey forward netting a sloppy rebound.
The dividends were as immediate as they can be.
Of course, former general manager Dave Littlefield is not the only one to blame. Their former scouting director, Ed Creech has much to do with the state of the Pirates minor league system. They drafted for signability (Wieters was represented by the ever-greedy Scott Boras), rather than doing what a team is supposed to do: take the best available player on the board.
Nevertheless, it happened on Littlefield's watch.
The plot thickens as, tonight (April 5, 2008), Moskos is scheduled to be the starter for the Hillcats.
Moskos vs. Wieters.
Something tells me we're in store for some great cosmic irony.