The Pittsburgh Pirates, a Wall-Mart for Major League GMs

Shorthandedby2Contributor IJuly 1, 2009

ATLANTA - MARCH 31: Right fielder Xavier Nady #22 of the Pittsburgh Pirates is greeted by teammates Jason Bay #38, Nate McLouth #13 and Ryan Doumit #41 after his 12th inning 3-run home run during the game against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field March 31, 2008 in Atlanta, Georgia.  The Pirates won 12-11 in 12 innings. (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)

Great players at a bargain, I am surprised someone isn't complaining of unfair trade practices. I dare say that some MLB teams feel less stress about the speed of their prospects' development over the last five or six years.

If they need a proven talent in the majors they can trade prospects at a variety of minor league levels to the Pirates for a player that is proving his worth with respectable numbers In the Majors. The Pirates might even be willing to take players coming off injury or surgery, having not yet showed that they can come back to play in the majors.

Pittsburgh is a small market and doesn't generate the revenue to allow the Pirates to compete with the spending of the Yankees or Red Sox. And that, by the way, is why I love it when the Pirates do manufacture a win against these deep pocketed teams.

But in all of sports no quote holds more simple truth than when Herman Edwards said, "We Play to Win the Game!" Of course that is why we play any game—to win.

Why is there a professional baseball team in Pittsburgh? To win games.

Except for, going on 17 years, they can't win more games than they lose. So for all practical purposes, if you should spend the time and money to go to a game, you have a better than 50 percent chance of seeing the Pirates lose. And the odds of losing, in recent years, goes way up after the trade deadline.

In all fairness the New Management has made some decisions and signings that show promise, but will they drop anchor and keep good players long enough to build around?

Some of the fun in going to PNC Park or watching on TV, is getting to know the young talent and watching them improve and enjoy playing for the "Love of the Game."  I have watched more baseball, on TV, this year than I have in a long time.  I am impressed with the way the Pirates players compete and take pride in what they do.

I especially enjoyed a game where Nijer Morgan was miked up and we, the TV fans, were able to hear some of the banter from down on the field.

But this leads to more sadness, anger and frustration as Morgan, like many other fan favorites here in Pittsburgh, was traded to the Nationals. The trade might work out to give the Pirates something down the road.  I don't know. 

But the fans lose again. Proud parents have to try and explain to their kids why the family's favorite player gets traded when he is playing so well.

Also, the Pittsburgh Pirate fans have not had the excitement of playoff baseball for a long time. No Little League Pirate fan has even heard talk about the current team being in the playoffs.

What if we had a baseball team in a playoff series, right here in Pittsburgh?

What if the Pirates major league team went to a bigger market where they could compete with the payrolls of other teams in the majors? Maybe Jim Balsillie would buy them and take them to Canada. He couldn't get the Penguins but he is a rich, rich man.

What if PNC Park and Pittsburgh could be the home to a minor league team that might be able to compete against other minor league teams and maybe even make the playoffs? The Pittsburgh Bucks! (a good name for PA team)

This idea is totally outlandish and unreasonable. But, and I would love to be proved wrong, the Pirates have been essentially a farm club playing in the majors.

Of course, if current Pirate management can produce a winner in the next two or three years, the point is moot because then we could, beyond everyone's belief, have a winner in the majors right here in Pittsburgh.