PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) – With the Pirates closing in on ending their dubious streak of 20 consecutive seasons finishing with a losing record, Andrew proposes that it is the perfect time to look back on some of the low-lights and finally put them to rest.
It all began with the loss to the Braves in the 1992 National League Championship series off the bat of Francisco Cabrera and on the legs of Sid Bream. This team “became a synonym for losing” in the years following. The exodus of Bonds to the Giants occurred soon after and it was all downhill.
Andrew was 7-years-old at the time and he wonders about how and why things turned out as they did.
The Pirates have averaged 90 losses a season during the past 20 years and had two 100 loss seasons during that time. The last time that the Cardinals had a 100 loss season was 1908. Only one time during their streak did the Bucs finish better than third in the division.
Highlights of the bad trades include dealing Bell and King for Randa, Ramirez and Lofton for Bobby Hill, the Matt Morris disaster acquisition, Bautista for a backup catcher, Pat Mears, Derrick Bell, Raul Mondesi, Jeromy Burnitz, and Lyle Overbay.
Washout draft picks litter the streak years as Mark Farris was taken over Nomar Garciaparra, Chad Hermansen flamed out, JJ Davis taken immediately before Michael Cuddyer, Brian Bradley chosen over Zito and Sheets, Moskos picked over Weiters and the list goes on.
Managers have not fared much better as Lloyd McClendon stole a base, Jim Tracy talked in run-on sentences, and Jim Russell didn’t talk at all. General managers like Bonifay and Littlefield flailed and failed.
The stories are numerous and barely believable. Leyland fighting Gross, Kendall’s ankle explosion, Operation Shutdown from Derrick Bell, Ron Vilone as an opening day starter, Randall Simon attacking a sausage with a bat, Oliver Perez derailing a season and career by kicking a laundry cart, actor Michael Keaton blasting the franchise, 13 consecutive losses in 2006, a couple of Indian cricket players who won a reality show and a contract, losing to Manatee Community College, losing to the Brewers 20-0, firing a pierogi mascot, conflicts with local bar owners, “Hoka-Hey” strategy, and the historic collapse of last year.
Soon the losing will be a thing of the past as well.