Friday, August 7, 2009

Bucs Behaving Badly

Dejan Kovacevic of the Post Gazette, Rob Beirtempfel of the Tribune Review, and John Perrotto of the Pirates Report all made a post-game point to mention that Steve Jackson wouldn't talk to them and that Kevin Hart escaped their tape recorders, too.

Hey, you can cut Jackson some slack. The kid just got clobbered, giving up a couple of hits that were banged and a couple others that were just well-placed grounders, watched his catcher boot a throw all the way from home halfway to third base, and then got sent back to the bushes as soon as he walked into the clubhouse.

Not much that he could say after that would be fit fare for a family newspaper anyway, we suspect.

Hart, well, he should have hung around. Maybe they do things differently in Chicago; whatever his excuse, we're sure Huntington will set him straight. If there's one thing this team does not need, it's an adversarial relationship with whatever press is still covering it.

DK also notes in his article that the leadership thing is missing. There are, of course, a couple of good reasons for that.

First, no one's left that's been there and done that. It's tough to lead others when you haven't been around the warning track a few times yourself.

And we'd have to think that the Pirate clubhouse is a nest of paranoia right about now. Nobody's buying into the "this is the group" BS from management. It doesn't take a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.

What's in the wind is that Pedro Alvarez, Jose Tabata, Brad Lincoln, Tim Alderson, Jeff Clements, Gorkys Hernandez, and a whole slew of minor leaguers that are virtually conceded future spots on the big team's roster.

The players also know that the 2008 team has been gutted. What would make them believe that what's left of the 2009 squad is any different? Hey, it's hard to make a commitment to an organization that has no commitment whatsoever to you.

You need to be secure to lead - not Doug Mientkiwicz rah-rah stuff, but bridge-over- troubled-waters leadership - and no one on this team knows that he'll start 2010 as a Pirate with the exception of Andrew McCutchen and the new pitchers.

No, if there's going to be any direction, it will have to come from, as DK noted, the coaches. They'll have to be the father figures, and uproot the defeatism that has to be lingering in every corner of the locker room while showing guys how to grow into pros.

And they better be out there preaching a little tough love, too. As any parent knows, it's easy to lose a troubled kid. If they let this group get away, they may be letting the future of Pittsburgh baseball get away with them.

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