As I’ve mentioned on TPOP at some point before, I started being a fan of the Pirates in 1985 when I was 9 years old.?? I may have been to a game before that, but that’s when my memories of following the team started to crystallize.
That year was probably the worst year in Pirates’ history.?? Not only was the team terrible, but that was the height of the cocaine epidemic in baseball, generally, and the epicenter was at Three Rivers Stadium with the Pirates.?? How bad was it??? The Pirate Parrot was part of a major ring selling cocaine to players.
So 1985 was a bizarre time to onboard as a young, impressionable Pirate fan.?? That is, until 2019 came along.
The news yesterday that Felipe Vazquez was arrested on charges of soliciting a minor and possessing child pornography may have been the final nail in the coffin, but it was delivered via a nail gun along with about 14 other ones.?? Fights between the Pirates and Reds, fights between Pirates and coaches, fights between Pirates and other Pirates.?? As Stefon would say, this season has had it all.?? Vazquez’s arrest is just the wretched aftertaste of a season left out in the sun too long.
As I announced at the start of the month, TPOP will be no more after September.?? The reasoning is that my life has become more and more hectic, with baseball getting squeezed out of it.?? This season has done nothing to dissuade me of that notion, but the Vazquez news has caused me to re-examine if it is worth it at all to be a fan of this organization moving forward in the short-term.
In no way, shape, or form is anyone associated with the Pirates responsible for Vazquez’s actions.?? It’s 100% the work of someone that has violated one of society’s ironclad rules.?? There is no coming back from this for him.?? This isn’t like taking performance enhancing drugs, or drunk driving, or (sad to say) beating your wife or girlfriend.
But this incident just gets piled on the rest of the pieces of evidence showing that something is rotten on Federal Street.?? I can no longer support the team in any fashion until there is accountability for the complete loss of institutional control on display in 2019.?? It’s one thing to fire Ray Searage because the pitching staff is terrible.?? It’s another level to say that Clint Hurdle has to go because he’s lost control of the locker room.?? But I’m talking about a full-scale blowtorching at every decision-making level.
There is a disease running roughshod over 115 Federal Street and it must be treated harshly and swiftly this offseason.?? Everyone must go.?? To look at it a different way, how could Neal Huntington, Frank Coonelly, and Clint Hurdle even justify being here next season??? Why do they want to be associated with this garbage fire?
If the same decision makers who assembled this motley crew are allowed to return, what message is it sending to the season ticket holders??? What message is it sending to the hordes of young fans that show up, especially on Sundays to run the bases after the game, and cheer for their heroes??? Somewhere in this morass of a season is a 9 year old nerd that will say that 2019 is the season he really started following the Pirates.
Frankly, if I were Bob Nutting, I’d want to sell this distressed asset in the offseason, too.?? It’s been a good run (not really, but that’s what people say) and you’ve made your money.?? Time to turn this over to a new ownership group that has the financial wherewithal to dig out from this mess you’ve created over the years and refused to fix.
It’s been very easy in recent weeks and months to tune out the Pirates.?? But I think that for the rest of the season I will literally be tuning them out by not watching the games on TV or checking highlights on MLB.com.?? The news of the Pirates’ best player doing terrible things to children is too much for even this iron-skinned cynic.
And if the front office and on-field staff are here next year, I won’t be watching either.?? I can’t imagine that I’m the only one that feels this way.
It’s always more important to remember that as a fan you root for the front of the jersey and not the back.?? But right now, I don’t want to root for the symbol on the jersey at all.?? There are too many negative connotations associated with this franchise right now.
There is so much good to follow throughout baseball.?? We’re at an unprecedented juncture in baseball’s history where there are so many young, exciting, excellent players to watch.?? But that excitement as a fan has been stripped bare here in Pittsburgh.
Once the dust settles and the executive branch is gone, along with a good number of players, then maybe I’ll consider rewarding them with my loyalty again.?? But right now, after all the broken promises over the years and failed expectations, I have nothing left to give unconditionally.?? There are conditions to my being a fan moving forward.