First Pitch: Cursed

Tonight I wrote about how the Pittsburgh Pirates have been cursed ever since Barry Bonds left. The story includes a ton of examples, from the recent A.J. Burnett bunt, to Jason Kendall breaking his ankle, to Operation Shutdown, and pretty much everything else the last two decades.

If I had to pick out one example of the Pirates being cursed, it would be the Jose Bautista situation. It wasn’t obvious that Bautista would be the best hitter in the game. He was passed on by every National League team, and half of the American League teams. He didn’t have strong numbers with the Pirates, and only hit 43 homers in five years. Then he exploded for 97 home runs in two years at the ages of 29-30.

Just think about that. How rare is it for a player to break out at the age of 29? It was obviously rare for Bautista. If it was anywhere close to being expected, he wouldn’t have made it out of the National League when he was placed on waivers. But also, how rare is it for a franchise to lose one of the best home run hitters in the game…twice? It’s kind of like the odds of the Pittsburgh Penguins being able to draft Mario Lemieux and Sidney Crosby. How much good luck is involved to make that possible?

If the Penguins looked in to some bizzaro-world mirror, they’d see a reflection of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

So what’s your biggest curse moment? What’s the thing for you that goes beyond bad decision making and bad development, and just goes right in to bad luck? Feel free to share in the comments below.

Links and Notes

**A lot of updates on the blog today, including video of Josh Bell and Elvis Escobar in batting practice. You can go to the blog archives here.

**Speaking of curses, A.J. Burnett has a fractured orbital bone.

**Brad Lincoln won the pitcher’s bunting tournament.

**Gerrit Cole is seeing the negative effects of the old draft signing deadline.

**Nick Evans hopes to click with the Pirates.

**Here is the minor league camp roster, and some notes on the roster.


  • duckwoes comment of “Buc Luck” is great.  Explains the pain, but still gives hope! I hope his Buc Luck phrase catches on like Beat em Bucs in 60!

    • Thank you very much, and for those of us who remember much, much better times(for myself it would be the 70’s teams of my youth) let’s hope that luck changes eventually.  Unfortunate bunting competitions notwithstanding!

  • Although the future remains unwritten for Pedro Alvarez, and I still have hope he will become at least a solid major leaguer, his is a case of Buc Luck.  He was clearly the right pick for them in the ’08 draft, not a signability pick by any means, showed some of his potential in his 2010 MLB debut, and then looked completely overmatched almost the entire 2011 season.  I do hope he turns it around in 2012