The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette published this editorial on May 31:
Step right up, one and all, for the chance to see one of the most embarrassing teams in Major League Baseball!
On May 27, the Pittsburgh Pirates took on the Chicago Cubs at PNC Park. At the end of the third inning, the Cubs’ Javier Baez hit a grounder to third, but the throw pulled first baseman Will Craig off the bag. Rather than simply retreating to the base and stepping on it for the third and final out, he chased the batter back toward home plate in a bizarre rundown. Meanwhile, the Cubs runner from second came around and scored while this absurd rundown was taking place.
Adding insult to injury, Baez ran from home to second after a botched throw to first, and he came around to score in what would be a 5-3 Cubs win.
Fans probably felt as though they were watching a T-ball game rather than professional baseball.
Mistakes happen. People forget things in the heat of a moment. Still, a major league player spontaneously forgetting baseball basics and regressing to his Little League days? That’s mortifying for the player, the team and the city.
Already, the gaffe is being hooted at as perhaps the worst play in baseball history.
One play does not define a team or a season, but this one speaks to the lack of talent on the field for the past several years. Fans are paying major league prices for minor league baseball.
Pirates owner Bob Nutting often talks about the long game in interviews. He’s in his 14th season at the helm of the franchise. How long is this game he’s playing?
Mr. Nutting has proven himself unable to provide the city with a truly professional team. There’s no consistency of play, no building on previous seasons’ successes. There’s always a shiny new strategy to rebuild that’ll supposedly pay off in a few years.
“Free beer tomorrow,” the sign promises each day.
Mr. Nutting talks a big game about his commitment to smaller-market teams and his enthusiasm for the Pirates, but talk is cheap. He should sell the team to an owner more capable of building real momentum. Someone more willing to pump dollars into payroll (the Pirates still stand at second to last in terms of payroll) to attract and retain talent. Someone who wants to be a part of Pittsburgh’s momentum.
Shame on Mr. Nutting and Pirates management for pitching such a boondoggle on behalf of the city.
The Post-Gazette backed the new stadium in the 1990s and will continue to fight to keep a major league team in the city, as Pittsburgh deserves a team that mirrors the city’s caliber and promise. On May 27, the Pirates reminded us once more that this team is not it.