Five Pirates Thoughts at Five

2-28-22 – By Gary Morgan – @garymo2007 on Twitter

Well everyone, it’s hard to believe, but here we are on the last day of February in 2022 already. Normally, I’d already have heard stories from friends checking out Spring Training ballgames, and we’d have already argued about who should win the outfield spots up for grabs. Instead, we’re debating which major faction of baseball hates the game worse.

Let’s dig in today.

1. Selling the Drama?

There seems to be a groundswell of people who are mad at Jon Heyman for tweeting a sense of optimism that an agreement could be reached.

It was met almost immediately by this…

Zack for those of you who don’t know is a pitcher who has been in the room the entire time.

I normally wouldn’t waste space here on Keith Olbermann but he too went after Heyman, claiming he was purposefully playing a role for the owners by putting out false positivity only so he’d have the opportunity to blame the players when it didn’t happen.

Now, Keith typically accepts unnamed sources as fact, so I guess this only applies to “sports journalism”

Guys, we’re trying too hard.

Some dude Jon talks too probably said he felt optimistic, and he put it out there. I can count on one hand the number of national baseball writers who’ve had a negative word to say about the players, like ever, so pardon me if I don’t think there’s a backdoor plot going on.

2. Don’t Let Success Get in the Way of Improvement

I saw this quote from John Baker the other day talking about the development system the Pirates are building and it made me think a few things. First, the cynical of you (most, lol) are just going to laugh at it, they haven’t had any success.

The other thing though that struck me, they don’t want a guy to have a good week and believe the work is done. In fact they don’t want a player like Reynolds to feel that way. Much like naming their development camp “Get Better at Baseball” sometimes the obvious is best. The evidence is building up on guys who have excelled under an environment that focuses on individualized plans driven by the players themselves. Max Kranick, Matt Fraizer, even Carmen Mlodzinski, leveling up, and making strides. Each one to a man credits the freedom to evolve.

We are still a ways off from seeing results at PNC, but I’m not going to get mad I’m seeing it on the way up while we wait.

3. After Today, Officially Missing Games

I hate to say I told you so, but, I’ve been telling you since before the 2020 season started. These issues are bigger than many anticipated and I’m not surprised honestly, if you spend all your time carrying the jock of either side of this thing you’re bound to miss why something that sounds completely reasonable isn’t close to doable through the eyes of the other side of the table.

I understand that most people aren’t digging in on every little aspect of this crap, trust me. I do it almost daily and feel a need to shower and scrub ’til I bleed when I’m done. Suffice to say, this isn’t just “those greedy b*stards!”, no, it’s a combination of a ton of emotion, past failure and mistrust. I tried to sum up some of the thinking that goes into the most contested issues recently, but trust me, you can’t pick a subject, no matter how small that isn’t riddled with hurt feelings and past experiences.

Thing is, when I predicted this, it wasn’t because I’m a generally pessimistic person, it was because when I added up all the wants I knew about back then it was enough to know this was happening. The lists have done nothing but grow since.

The owners reportedly said in today’s meeting that they could miss a month of games, a clear signal that they aren’t close to budging on the things they hold dear. We’ll see how long the players can hold out. More importantly we’ll see who’s left to watch it when they figure it out.

4. The Interest Drop is Palpable

Doing what we do, we get a different kind of insight into what these negotiations are doing to loyal baseball fans. In fact if you’re reading this, you probably do too. The interactions are down drastically, and if this was say the middle of July, I might question if we’re doing a good job running this site or our shows.

Conversations are painful right now. Want to talk about the actual team, well they won’t play for a while so that only can go on so long. Wanna talk about the negotiations? It’s going to be a short talk that ends in shrugs and “hope they figure it out”.

How about prospects? Well, that’s fun but what is a prospect if there is no major league to aspire to?

This whole thing has been a conversation ender.

I just refuse to pick a side and start crying they’re being hard done by, because to me and my fandom, if they don’t come out of it with a system that makes winning and being in the conversation for every free agent in all 32 markets the game didn’t get better.

That’s where I am, and it’s where I’ll stay.

5. What Could Actually Help the Pirates?

A new owner! Ha, beat ya to it.

I mean in the CBA, lets look beyond a cap, let’s just focus on small things that could have increased their chances of competing.

A revenue sharing increase coupled with harder confines for how to spend it. That’s about it.

Being that the players are anti revenue sharing, anti floor, really anti anything that stunts spending or takes money from the few teams who are flush with cash.

Reality is, I don’t see one proposal from either side that will actually help the Pirates, unless you want expanded playoffs as a carrot on a stick. There simply isn’t anything on the table that makes this club more competitive, or forces Nutting to spend whatever you fantasize he’s got tucked under his mattress.

To we Pirates fans, I’m not sure all the other CBA stuff really matters. It’s not going to improve, so I’m inclined to just root for them to go back to what they had. Once we lose games though, better make it worth it.

Published by Gary Morgan

Former contributor for Inside the Pirates an SI Team Channel

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