What, pray tell me, are the Pittsburgh Pirates trying to do to themselves? Commit hari-kari? Discourage their fans from visiting their dazzling new ball park? I use the word “dazzling,” because I’ve heard that it is. I haven’t seen it. Actually, I enjoyed old Forbes Field most of all, creaking old ark that it was, because that’s where my favorite old Pirate teams played—in the days of the Waner brothers, Pie Traynor, Arky Vaughn and Gus Suhr.
But, back to my point. Last season the Pirates opened with one of the best outfields in the major leagues—Jason Bay, Nate McLouth and Xavier Nady. I’d seen them in early season and was rather impressed by their possibilities. I must admit I’d long ago outgrown my affection for the old Pirates I’d grown up with, but after seeing a few games in the spring, it seemed to me that all they needed was a top-flight pitcher or two, and they might stir the waters.
Of course, that never happened, and to add to their misery, they strangely began unloading some of their jewels. Nady went first, sold to the Yankees. Good, solid power hitter. (Right now, sad to say, he is on the disabled list with some kind of ulnar problem.) Then Bay was traded, or sold to the Red Sox. This is an All-Star, who by season’s end had hit 33 home runs, and is at it again this season.
Now the Pirate brain-trust has finished off the wrecking job. They traded Nate McLouth to the Braves. Happy for us, sad for their poor, suffering populace. Look, Nate McLouth is not just some jack-rabbit centerfielder, he hits home runs (26 last season), he steals bases (23 last season) and he’s a mere 27 years old. He can also add and subtract, obviously so, for he turned town a scholarship at Michigan to get an early start in baseball.
This takes some of the edge off the awkward dealing with Tom Glavine, which left a heavy smog of dismay over Turner Field. At last, the Braves have a suitable replacement for Andruw Jones, and they were able to get it done without following through on all those trade rumors involving Jeff Francoeur.
But the Pirates—what are they doing to themselves? Out with one of the best outfields in the majors, replaced by—let’s see– Morgan, Young, Monroe or guess who?