Only One Friday Starter Attended Clay Pigeon Gate

I don’t really think the whole clay pigeon-gate controversy is news. Dejan Kovacevic wrote today about how the Pirates held a charity event on Thursday in which ten players attended. The event came right after a 20 day road trip and a redeye flight from San Diego. The players arrived at the airport at 3:30 AM, and were then shuttled to Seven Springs for the event, which was held from 10:30 AM to 1:00 PM.

Kovacevic raised issue with the priorities of the team, scheduling this following a long road trip in a pennant race. I’m sure this was scheduled long before that was known, but it’s irrelevant, since the players had the option to move the event to September 6th, which wasn’t a travel day, and would have been easier.

This has raised a lot of controversy, mostly due to the schedule over the last few weeks. The team played 20 games in 20 days, then flew back on a redeye flight, and ten players had to go to a charity event the next day, rather than sitting at home catching up on Burn Notice on Netflix.

I’ve received information that out of the ten players who attended the event, only one was in the starting lineup on Friday. And while this has been painted as a picture that every player involved hated the event, that’s not the case. One player who went is planning on going back during the next off-day. Another player actually bought a shot gun and plans on taking up the hobby.

This all seemed like much ado about nothing when you consider that the players had the power to change the date and didn’t. They also had a choice to attend a charity golf event earlier in the summer, rather than this event. And while the team has played 20 games in a row, there’s no player who has played 20 games in a row, despite the suggestion that every player on the roster desperately needed a day off. Considering that only one of those ten players who attended the event started on Friday, the other nine got their days off anyway.

As I mentioned on Twitter this morning, this probably wouldn’t even be an issue if the Pirates were winning, rather than coming off a rough stretch of games.

Tim Williams

Author: Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/hunter.justin Justin Hunter

    That’s it… stop with the rational thinking.

  • JohnDreker

    It’s unreal this was even a story. The story part of it should’ve started and ended with the Pirates attending an event that was for charity, instead of trying to downplay the good with a ridiculous notion that this hurt a team already in a downward spiral. None of them flew the plane, or worked as baggage handlers after it ended, they sat on the plane, then sat in a car, probably slept most of that time. Then they still had over 24 hours after the event ended, before last night’s game. Why twist something good into an evil event “that will be the reason this free-falling team didn’t make the playoffs”, as if the 13-17 record the last month against mostly weak teams only occurred because this ill-scheduled event weighed heavily on their mind…did Jerry Meals start this story? An absolute joke this made the news and it wasn’t for the good side of it.

    • Lee Young

      I dunno…I knew about this before DK wrote about it (someone on the PG Plus blog mentioned it on Thur). There seemed to be some consternation. A typical comment was “I sure wouldn’t want to be doing that on MY day off after flying in from SD”.

      I’ve done thar flight many times and jet lag is a beeyitch, let alone after being swept. And some players WEREN’T too thrilled unlike what Tim posted above.

      JMHO

      • JohnDreker

        I don’t want to listen to whining about standing around and having a good time for a couple hours for a great cause. Sounds like people looking for an excuse. You would think by the big deal made that they didn’t have the rest of the day off and played later that day, or even played a day game the next day.

        • Lee Young

          John…Tim only mentioned two players that were ‘happy’.

          The others…who knows?

  • BarryJT

    Dejan is becoming a hack.

    • http://twitter.com/frsthypocrit frustratedhypocrite

      “becoming”?

      • BarryJT

        I was being generous…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matt-Beam/100001016052787 Matt Beam

    back to baseball… knock on wood, but how about the pitching up and down the organization tonight… how about Clay Holmes? how much better is he looking compared to all of the HS arms taken a couple years before him

    • Lee Young

      The 2009 draft does appear to have been less than good overall.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matt-Beam/100001016052787 Matt Beam

        Honestly, the sandwich (Victor Black), 9th (Brock Holt) and 21st round picks (Phil Irwin) look the best of that group, Tony Sanchez looks like an offensive disappointment and likely back-up type at this point (after probably another year at AAA next year). Holt just keeps hitting, not sure where he plays, but if he can hit he’s at least a strong utility guy (impresses me much more than Chase). Likewise, Irwin continues to fly under the radar and just gets folks out (reminds me of Jeff Karstens). Victor Black has actually impressed me a lot this year as I think he has a good future in the ML bullpen, otherwise, unless ZVR can figure things out, the rest are a wash after Cain left in the Wandy deal (BTW – he’s been getting destroyed in the Cali A+ league since the trade)

        • JohnDreker

          It is definitely disappointing, and even with Black, you’re getting a reliever with a high pick so that doesn’t do much for me. 11 of the 23 players they signed that year are gone. A couple are just barely hanging on. I had hopes for Zack Dodson after having a long talk with him and seeing him pitch back in June, but that 50 game suspension really put a damper on that.

          The worst part about the recent failures in the draft is that they seemed to have a ton of potential, while this year turned out to be a disaster between Appel/Thomas not signing, safe picks in the top ten rounds and not enough late round overslot spending to make it look better. The front office was lucky that most people missed the overall failure of the draft, because the team was winning.

          • Lee Young

            Also, thank goodness our Latin ‘drafts’ have been so promising. Essentially, our top prospects are the high end pitchers and Latin players.

            • piratemike

              Gayo is helping to make NH look better than he is.

    • JohnDreker

      The thing that scares me with Holmes is the BB/K ratio is getting a lot closer now and the K rate is going down. It is a pitcher’s league too, so while it is hard to argue with the overall results(BAA,ERA,GO/AO), those 29 walks on the year and only 24 K’s in his last 44.1 IP are starting to scare me. It’s hard to find a success story brought around by this new pitch to contact/fastball academy method they have. The guys doing the best are the ones getting strikeouts. I still have Holmes ranked high, just some question marks with him now. Will be interesting to see him next year at WV for a full year

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matt-Beam/100001016052787 Matt Beam

        fair point in regards to control, but in all honesty the same (low K’s) could be said for Heredia (although there is 2 years in age difference) and nobody has really brought that up

        • JohnDreker

          I think the age as you mentioned is the real reason you don’t hear that with Heredia. Not sure if it still holds true with their velocities, but Luis was throwing harder at a younger age too, so he still has more of the potential tag. Heredia has also progressed a ton since this time last year, so that is a combo of reasons that keeps him ahead of Holmes in the rankings. There wasn’t a big difference in rankings between the two for most people when we did a poll a month ago. Clay’s recent control and lack of K’s have only widened it slightly for me, nothing major.

          The strikeouts are likely due to the Pirates method of wanting quick outs, pitch the contact. At some point you have to know how to put away guys, because(stating the obvious) the higher you go, the better the hitters will get. I’m sort of a fan of their methods and I know they have made some adjustments to how they let pitchers pitch recently. I don’t totally agree with it though, and that is mostly based on lack of results

  • maguro

    Clay Pigeon Gate, lol. All I can say to Dejan is: Pull!

    • Lee Young

      LOL…I liked that comment!

  • http://twitter.com/jlease717 John Lease

    If you are trying to win, why schedule that? I’d rather the Pirates be focused on the field, than on shooting clay pigeons.

    • Lee Young

      Amen, brother!