I've been toying around with a mission statement/manifesto type post for a little while now, but in light of DK's blog post yesterday morning on Pirate fan polarization and some of the questions raised in one of my interview posts with Huntington, I think now is as good a time as any. If you've been reading for a long time, much of this post might seem obvious to you, but the reality is that I've got nearly six years worth of posts spread across two sites and it certainly can't hurt to lay this all out in one place.
At its core, WHYGAVS is what it's always been: a place for me to talk about the Pirates as a Pirate fan. Certainly the readership is bigger and I've gotten a chance to write for bigger outlets and the team has given me a chance to do things like see Pirate City from the inside or talk to Neal Huntington and that makes it impossible for this to be the exact same blog that it was when a 20-year old blogging out of my dorm room, but at the core it's still built around the same Andy Van Slyke quote it's been built around since Day One.
Every season has its peaks and valleys. What you have to do is try to avoid the Grand Canyon.
How do the Pirates avoid the Grand Canyon? How do the fans avoid the Canyon when the Pirates fall in? That's the blog in a nutshell.
I'm not a journalist or writer by trade: I'm a scientist. I have a bachelor's in biochemistry and I'm working on my PhD. I've worked in a lab for every bit as long as I've written WHYGAVS. asking questions about why things work the way they do. In lab, we start with something that we know is happening and work from there. Why is it happening? Is it because of something we expected? How does this affect the other things that we know? This is how I try to approach the Pirates on this blog.
When the front office does something I don't like, I don't like to just bash it and leave it. I try to dig deeper. Why did they do it? Was there a reason? Is it a good reason? I don't love the free agent signings the Pirates made this winter, but I can see the reasons why they made them. I still don't understand why Matt Morris was ever a Pirate, and that's what drove me crazy about the last front office. There are 100 ways to build a house, but all of them require blueprints.
When they do screw up, what happened? What happened with Sano? Did they misread the agent? Did someone hold money back? Did they learn from it? That's the most important question. They failed to sign Sano, but they made sure they got Heredia. We all know not signing Sano was a bad thing for the Pirates, but they've seemed to learn from the mistake and so I'm done harping on it. Others can and I understand why, but it's not something I'm interested in. I'd rather focus on other things.
I do get asked a lot about the ownership and why I'm not more critical. The truth is, I don't even think about ownership that much. Ownership is a condition imposed on the front office, as far as I'm concerned. A complicating factor. The one thing that drives me nuts is meddling ownership; as far as I can tell the Pirates' owners haven't meddled since the Aramis Ramirez trade, when a different owner was in charge and circumstances were different than they are now. I see money flowing into the draft, into Latin America, into facilities like Pirate City, and that's where the money should be going for a team like the Pirates. Am I worried that they won't be willing to spend if the club needs a free agent to put them over the top? Am I worried that they'll be hesitant with the checkbook when the Pirates need to pay McCutchen and Tabata and Alvarez and Walker arbitration salaries to keep a contending team together? Of course I am, but that's like worrying about a flood when clouds roll in. We're not there yet. When it's an issue, I'll worry about it.
I'm a Pirate fan. The only way to stay sane is to look forward. How good are the young players we have? Is the front office doing enough to bring more young talent in to make the Pirates a winner? What happens if the players we have now aren't as good as we think? This is what I'm worried about, and it's what I'm going to write about this year. The only way to really answer these questions is to watch, and that's what I'm planning on doing.
I jumped on the bandwagon when the new ownership and mgmt. team took over and drafted Alvarez. Every team has it's detractors and the Pirates have more than others and that should maybe be expected. but this ownership and front office not only has to shoulder the blame for the missteps they have taken but also unjustly for the 15 years prior to their arrivel. Maybe somebody else could have done a better job these last three years................But what if we got more of the same from the previous ownerships and FO's.?.... Listen to Huntington in these interviews, there is a lot of hard work and thought process that goes into running the scouting, drafting, developing and co-ordinating of these players and teams and trying to get better at the ML level while waiting for the minor league system to mature because when they took over they only had one top prospect in the entire system.
Pirate fans you should be glad that you have at last a FO that is working hard to put a competative team on the field.......Just remember you may have gotten more of the same from the previous ownerships.
The "root cause" of the problem is the patently unfair economic system of Major League Baseball. That's where everything else comes from. It's why Nutting doesn't have enough captial to compete. It's why we have to trade away our best players before we lose them to wealthier teams. And it's why we have to focus on the draft and player development.
I find that as a Pirates fan that looking forward makes me depressed and desirous of liquor. I still love the team and watching the game, I don't see that changing. While I don't disagree with the notion that ownership is a problem, it's always nice to read about the team without having to deal with that bias. One of the reasons I enjoy the blog.
Appreciate the time & effort to provide good info about the team. Please ignore any haters, there are always some out there. Keep up the good work; stay positive, and Go Buccos .
Pat, Thanks for your efforts in your tireless efforts to blog in an appropriate manner. I have been reading you for over 4 years. Many other bloggers appear to be trying to hone their jounalism skills. That is fine, but I prefer the simple adherence you have to "blogging." At times, I agree and disagree with you. Being married to an analytical science lady makes me appreciate your writing style and different perspective. You scientists don't fall into the trap of knee jerk emotional opinion! Keep blogging, and I will keep reading and crossing my fingers each season.
There are 100 ways to build a house, but all of them require blueprints. <-- This would refer to the plan through building through the draft and being able t evaluate talent, knowing when to trade and when to keep and extend.
The blueprint is sound. The construction company hired to follow the blueprints (Front Office).
Do you believe that the Front office has followed the blueprint with much accuracy?
If not, in the real world, that construction company would be fired and another brought in to take it's place.
If MULTIPLE construction companies could not follow the blueprint (which is standard as it is touted as the same one used by other teams) then is the problem ALL of the construction companies (yes), but is it also the person HIRING these construction companies (usually the owner)?
If the person who keeps on hiring these faulty construction companies refuses to pay top dollar (ie a REAL Front Office with people who HAVE successfully followed the plan) and instead gets another bargain basement company after another, shouldn't we look to this as the problem?
Putting your head in the sand won't change the facts. As a scientist, isn't part of the process finding the ROOT CAUSE of the problem?
If so, in your SCIENTIFIC opinion, what is the root cause of the problem?!
@PittPanthers90 The root cause of the problem is that.....NUTTING IS CHEAP AND THE FRONT OFFICE STINKS.........there.....that should make you and smizik happy.