Pirates From an Outsider’s Point of View

I wanted to get an educated, yet non-biased, view of the Pirates and where they stand in baseball, so I decided to ask an outsider what they know about the current state of the Pirates. I went to what I consider is a great source to answer this question — my own brother. He is a knowledgeable baseball fan, runs two fantasy leagues, gets the MLB package both online and on TV and he will sit down and watch spring training games just like anyone who can’t get enough baseball should. He’s also a diehard Mets fan, which is important because not only are they a big market team, but they only see the Pirates twice a year and never in spring. He is also an intelligent, level-headed person as he’s currently attending law school and completed both a two year and four year college prior to starting law school.

I asked him plain and simple, “What do you know about the current state of the franchise?”. I asked him not to research it at all.  If you make a mistake about something it won’t actually be a mistake in your mind, it will be what you consider the truth. I also said if it’s something good, say it, if it’s bad, don’t sugarcoat it. Basically, I wanted him to speak his mind and tell what he believes to be the truth based on what he as a diehard baseball fans know and hears. These are the unbiased opinions of him and for most of you it won’t come as a shock to see. This isn’t meant to start any arguments on whether he is right, but rather it’s to show Pirates fans how one huge baseball fan from New Jersey perceives the team we follow so closely.

So without further introduction, here is the Pirates current situation unedited in his eyes:

The Pirates In The Eyes of a Mets Fan.

The Pirates have a beautiful ballpark and a fan base that is desperate for a winner. The problem with the Pirates is that they have created apathy in their fan base. No longer do they attempt to win, they attempt to get through another year by suckling on the power teat of big market teams while they play in the background of a Stanley Cup and perennial Super Bowl champion. Their problem is not talent. Look at all of the players who have left town. Aramis Ramirez, Jason Bay just to name a couple.

The current team has a lot of talent: McCutchen, Tabata, Alvarez, Doumit, and even Mr. “I can beat the Pirates in arbitration” Ross Ohlendorf. The problem with never reaching .500 after years and years is the perception that you-know-where would literally freeze over before they won another title. While that is not their fault completely, they are robbing Peter to pay themselves. It’s a shame for their loyal fans who look at the history and hope things turn around. The problem is the ownership. As good as the minor league system is, by the time they are good – a lot of the good players they have now will have changed zip codes and towns.

I asked fellow Pirates Prospects writer Kevin Creagh for his thoughts on what my brother had to say.  After reading the above quote, Kevin wasn’t really surprised at all.  He said that “aside from having Doumit in the talented players section, instead of Walker” that my brother was fairly spot on with his analysis as an outsider.  I didn’t expect my brother to know about the fact that the Pirates have talent on the cusp in AAA, ready to help out, like Owens and Morris.  But it was interesting to hear him say that they don’t attempt to win anymore.  I don’t believe that to be the case, but rather a negative perception around the league.

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Ken Baldonieri

The most common misconception I see among non-Bucco fans is that the Bucs have actually had talent to retain over the last 20 years. Your brother mentions Ramirez and Bay, and says “among others.” I assume he says among others because he can’t think of any other players the Bucs let go because they couldn’t afford them any longer. He can’t think of any other players because there aren’t any. Maybe Jason Schmidt, but besides him the Bucs have not developed even one quality major league starter since …?


He also fails to comment that his team (Mets) has spent money and had a commitment to winning and what did that get them?


One of the largest misconceptions I hear on a regular basis including the Baltimore announcers the other day is that the Pirates are perpetuly rebuilding. This is the first TRUE rebuild of this team that I know of. Signing a few aging vets every year is not rebuilding.


I have been following the Pirates since the 40’s, I know a lot about them, in this case I understand where the Met fan is coming from, if you reverse things and ask me my opinions about the Mets, the only thing I would say about them is they try, but they don’t know how to build winner.
I can see why people would say the Pirates are not trying, every year they have a fire sale at the midway point, but that is usually because they are not going anywhere.They just brought up 4 blue chip players in the last year and a half, for the first time in the Huntington era, he has some AAA players that can be called up this year to help the major league team, if they start dumping the blue chip players they have at the midway point, then I think it is safe to assume that they are not worried about winning, when you hit rock bottom in baseball, it takes a long time to get back up.

Steve Zielinski

If the Pirates were uninterested in winning games and competing for championships, the organization would not have dedicated the money and the publicity to building thought the draft and the international free agent market. Any analysis about the organization that fails to account for the organization’s willingness to spend money on the long-term potential of the team instead of the short-term publicity rich ‘drive for 75’ is an analysis that misses the most important feature of the Nutting-Coonelly regime.


Your second sentence may be right to some but the intent of the article is to show that even a knowledgeable baseball fan who follows the sport closely has no idea about that part. It could be described as a “national media driven perception” but it could also show that it’s hard for someone who follows the sport close to see where the team is heading when nothing changes on the major league field for so long

Steve Zielinski

“…it could also show that it’s hard for someone who follows the sport close to see where the team is heading when nothing changes on the major league field for so long”

Sine your brother is a Mets fan, let’s hope he’s pleasantly surprised about the team and organization in a few years.

Pirates fans should remember that it was not all that long ago that the Rays were the laughing stock team of MLB. Not so much these days!


Just to clarify and I won’t put words in his mouth but I also can’t ask him now about it. I believe his minor league comment is referring to Taillon,Allie and Heredia just based on the fact I know he knows who they are because he asked me about a story on the three and also the fact he said they are so far away.

If he knows any other minor leaguers we have I’d be surprised but I will ask anyway when I can.


Just talked to him after he read the story and comments. He said he just likes Doumit,switch hitting catcher with power, he can’t believe he forgot Walker (I actually can’t either because he helped his fantasy team), he hates Steven Pearce because of the game winning hit vs the Mets and offhand he couldn’t name any other minor leaguers besides the 3 new pitchers…. which I guess means he doesn’t read my articles enough

Greg Mercer

Your bro did mention that the team has minor league talent, but he probably believes that ownership won’t pay up to sign the current crop of young talent to competitive MLB contracts and/or will be traded for more prospects (which has been done in the past). This is the lynch pin for many cautious and realistic Pirates fans which will finally determine the “plan” in place. Until this happens, your brother’s thoughts/concerns are totally valid and shouldn’t be discounted.

It’s fine for people to put faith in the “plan” working and seeing the Pirates field a competitive team…that’s what every Pirates fan wants. Still, some people refuse to even entertain these “outsider” opinions. To me, that’s like telling your best friend that his girlfriend is sleeping with 4 other guys behind his back, but he won’t listen to you.

Outside a true Pirate baseball fan, few even take the time to check out what talent a team like the Pirates have in the minor leagues. It doesnt help when others outside the Pirates organization seem to undervalue alot of the Pirates prospects. Only having Tallion on the top 100 list in alot of articles I have read with Sanchez on a few more. Time and consistent drafting/signing the top players available will get the Buc’s to where I want them to be…..

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