Thursday, September 5, 2013

Twenty Years of...Streaky Stuff.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil...and Pirate fans have seen just about every kind of evil offered in the seven circles of baseball hell during the past two decades. We thought we'd take a look back at 25 especially irksome stingers that Bucco followers have endured during the gone but not lamented losing streak:

  • October 14, 1992 - The starting point: Sid Bream's slide.
  • December 1, 1992 - Doug Drabek signed with Houston for $19.5M over four years. He pitched in Pittsburgh for six years and won the Cy Young in 1990.
  • December 8, 1992 - Barry Bonds signed a record contract with the Giants for $43.75M over six years after seven years in Pittsburgh and winning the MVP in 1990 & 1992.
  • September 17, 1996 - Manager Jim Leyland opted out of the final four years of his contract and resigned. “I'm looking for a team that has a shot,” Leyland told the media. He signed with the Florida Marlins and won the World Series title the following season.
  • April 30, 1999 - Pat Meares, 30, was signed to a one year, $1.5M contract by Cam Bonifay. He broke his wrist and tore ligaments in it during spring training (the Pirates misdiagnosed the injury as a sprain), and a week after he came off the DL was given a four year, $15M extension. He played 240 games for the Pirates with 2001 as his last season, reaching a settlement that paid him for 2002-03 without him playing.
  • July 4, 1999 - Jason Kendall tore all the ligaments of his ankle when he hit first base awkwardly trying to beat out a bunt. The injury was so gruesome that his foot pointed backwards and his leg bone came through his skin. He came back to have an All-Star season in 2000, but never performed to his earlier levels after that season.
  • April 9, 2001 - PNC Park opened. Not only did the Bucs get drummed 8-2 by the Cincinnati Reds, but team legend Willie Stargell passed away that same day.
  • March 31, 2002 - Upon his release, Derek Bell said “Just tell (the media) I got in my yacht and rode out into the sunset.” The author of Operation Shutdown collected $4.5M not to play while living on his yacht, "Bell 14." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist Mark Madden hit it on the head when he wrote "Derek Bell becomes the ultimate Pirate: Lives on a boat and steals money."
  • June 4, 2002 - Pittsburgh had the first overall draft pick and selected Bryan Bullington, passing up players like Zach Grienke, Prince Fielder and Cole Hamels. 
  • July 9, 2003 - Randall Simon tapped a racing sausage in Milwaukee with his bat as it raced past the Pirate dugout. Done in a sense of warped fun, Simon was nevertheless arrested after the game, fined $432 for disorderly conduct and then suspended for three games and fined $2,000 by MLB
  • July 23, 2003 - Aramis Ramirez and Kenny Lofton were sent to the Cubs to shed salary. The return was Jose Hernandez, Bobby Hill and Matt Bruback.
  • February 24, 2004 - The Pirates signed Raul Mondesi to a $1.75M contract, but terminated it in May when Mondesi went back to the Dominican to fight a legal battle and forgot to come back.
  • July 31, 2004 - Dave Littlefield turned down an offer to deal Kris Benson to the Phillies for prospect Ryan Howard.
  • June 15-28, 2006 - The Pirates put together their longest losing streak of the modern era, dropping 13 straight games.
  • June 30, 2007 - To protest the Pirates' miserly and losing ways, the "Fans For Change" staged a walkout at PNC Park. A few hundre fans left; the others stayed on to watch the Pirates beat the Nats 7-2.
  • July 31, 2007 - Dave Littlefield dealt for Matt Morris and his $10M salary. Morris was at the end of his line and was released in April, 2008 with the Bucs eating the final year of his contract and the $1M buyout for his option.
  • July 31, 2008 - Jason Bay and Josh Wilson were sent to Boston for Andy LaRoche, Craig Hansen, Bryan Morris and Brandon Moss.
  • August 21, 2008 - Jose Bautista was traded to Toronto for Robinzon Diaz.
  • September 7, 2009 - The Cubs beat the Bucs 4-2 at PNC Park, handing them their 82nd loss and a North American major league sports record  of 17 straight losing seasons.
  • November 3, 2009 - The Bucs sent Jesse Chavez to Tampa Bay for Akinori Iwamura. He came to the team with a bad knee, out of shape and in the last year of a $4.85M contract. There was a silver lining - after hitting .182 for Pittsburgh, his spot was taken by Neil Walker.
  • April 22, 2010 - The Pirates were humiliated by the Brewers 20-0 at PNC for their worse loss ever. They had dropped the first two games by  8-1 & 8-0 tallies, being outscored 36-1 in the three game set.
  • June 17, 2010 - Frank Coonelly admitted that he gave Neal Huntington and  John Russell one-year extensions last October after Fox Sports broke the story. Not only where the fans confused about the deal being hush-hush, but a racing perogi was canned in the aftermath for griping about it on Facebook.
  • October 3, 2010 - The Pirates lost 5-2 to the Florida Marlins to finish the year with 105 losses, the most defeats in a season since the "Rickey-Dinks" of 1952.
  • July 26, 2011 - Jerry Meals' blown call in Atlanta hands the Pirates a bitter 4-3, 19 inning loss to the Braves. It signaled the start of Collapse #1: from that date through August, the Pirates were 9-27.
  • August 19, 2012 - The Pirates beat the St. Louis Cards in 19 innings at Busch Stadium 6-3. Oddly enough, the win triggered Collapse #2 as the Bucs were 12-29 after that game, finishing below .500 for the 20th straight year.


Anonymous said...

Ugh! That is one long, ugly list. Was it Roger Angell who wrote something like "you like a team that wins but you fall in love with a team that loses" Maybe from the boys of summer..... Go Bucco's

Cincy - Dave

Anonymous said...

Also our old pal Zack Duke pitched real well tonight helping the Reds beat the Cards. Two strong outings in a row for the former Bucco lefty.

Ron Ieraci said...

Yah, Dave, the Bucs did have some moments. As for Zach, I thought that he could reinvent himself as a decent long or at least middle bullpen guy; he generally worked his way through an order at least once.