Celebrate-Gate: When a Team Fails to Read the Room

12-14-2022 – By Gary Morgan – @garymo2007 on Twitter

Win the first ever MLB draft lottery? Put up a celebration video, and a garbled exasperation tweet on top.

Sign a borderline 5th starter (even on this team), put together a produced hype video!

The Pirates just can’t help themselves can they?

Here’s the draft lottery celly.

Look, I get it. As I said at the time, this is the outcome you want to see but I’d argue you probably don’t need to see any reaction.

Fans aren’t in a place where they want to see “profit” from what they’ve been watching.

Let’s blow through more of this before I get back to overall writing about the team and their continued lack of self awareness.

Here’s one that shouldn’t bother anyone, and yet…

Hell yeah Right? How could this one make anyone upset you ask? The revelation about Reynolds wanting a trade came out just a few days before and seeing Cruz in Dodger Blue swatting another easy bomb just reminds fans they’ll likely be saying goodbye to him as well come 2028.

Kinda starting to see how they can’t win here?

You sign a guy to a one year deal. He’s a guy who hasn’t really had a lot of MLB success, at least not as a starter. You’re watching guys sign 13 year deals worth 350 million and then you see the Pirates do this….

Our guy? I mean we all know you’ll move him at the deadline. Don’t get me wrong, that’s fine, but a hype video?

OK, let’s talk about a top prospect. How could that possibly be a bad thing right?

Quinn Priester sure looks like he’s going to be a good one, thanks for the fuel for why it’s so ridiculous he isn’t here before July.

Folks, this team has no good way to go with this stuff at this point. They also have nobody to blame but themselves.

The natives are angry, and rightfully so. I may spend every day writing and talking about the process at play and the execution of a plan, but I’ve never expected everyone to enjoy it. Certainly not like I do, as I’ve told you all several times, I’m weird. I actually enjoy watching kids develop and the team building process, but even I think they were far worse than they needed to be and for too long.

I spent that top portion doing my best to sound like an angry fan in response to each of those posts, some of it I agree with and completely understand. Some of it I feel is just looking for reasons to be mad. That said, all of those sentiments and more were all over these posts from the team.

Problem is, it creates a situation where the message hardly matters. Everything will be viewed through the prism of what this organization does wrong.

I didn’t include them because I find it really distasteful but they got hate for having David Bednar and Jack Suwinski do some charity work. I mean it’s that caustic now.

Think about it.

If they extend Oneil Cruz, say they get him to accept 10 years, he’d be 34 so that wouldn’t be the smartest thing for him to accept but let’s just pretend. Pirates fans would be excited, a hype video would be accepted and shared all over, and then, after a couple days the dust would settle and they’d go right back to realizing they still aren’t spending enough, they still aren’t locking up all the guys you want, Mitch Keller is up after 2025!

I’d love to tell you an ownership change would change this, but it won’t happen, and it wouldn’t change things enough. NOBODY is coming in here and pretending they have the ability to play in the top of the market.

The only thing that’s truly going to fix this, short of MLB changing it’s entire system, is winning.

Ben Cherington and his staff seem to believe their best path to that is to build it internally, regardless of how long it takes. They also seem to believe doing it this way will make it sustainable. Meaning no more wide open window, instead looking for a continuously cracked window that on occasion lets in enough air.

I think there should be a balance in there to hold onto players, at least a bit more, and bring in a meaningful free agent when you can feasibly take bad to acceptable. But it ain’t my team.

If he’s right, they’ll be seen as a smart team that found a way to succeed in the system they operate within. If he’s wrong, they’ll yet again change GMs and we’ll be at the mercy of whatever their method for beating the system is.

In the meantime, they should really accept that nobody is going to celebrate with them. Perhaps they already have and simply don’t care about the negative comments that come with it.

I can say, the things I’ve seen posted about Vince Velasquez this week after the hype video, well, I’m not sure I’d want to print up a brochure about how great it is to play here right now. And I don’t mean posting his awful barrel rate, I just mean calling him a piece of s*** or lying about respecting Roberto Clemente.

Again, this isn’t a criticism of fans or how they react to things. The Pirates haven’t cared about that for years now. It’s more of an observation that this team isn’t “tone deaf” as much as they simply aren’t going to let the negative takes change how they go about business or the promotion of things that happen.

You wonder how a team can hear a trade request leak out and just shrug and say tough, well, there you go. They know, and he knows he has to play, and play well, or he’s the idiot, not them. Regardless of who yells at them. That said, let that play out while not trying to fix it, and welcome your new pitcher you signed being treated like Josh VanMeter before he’s even toed the rubber.

You can’t act like signing a player like Velasquez is a big, hype worthy deal, and at the same time shrug about your best player wanting out. Fans, even dumb ones, are gonna call you on that type of thing, EVERY time.

In other words, they don’t have the same gut as Cam Heyward when he gets a sack down 31-3. He knows a fist pump is about all he’s gonna get without looking stupid. The Pirates are posing for a picture and screaming at the away crowd when they get to the QB, hell they celebrate a QB pressure.

Look, a guy like Vince Velasquez should get to sign and at least do something on the field before joining the ranks of pariahs. In fact the team has done quite well with reclamation projects or unearthing gems from plain looking rocks recently, but fans simply aren’t going to start dancing in the streets for one season deals.

Win, and things get less gross.

Don’t, and it’ll only get worse.

This isn’t PR as much as it’s about a team that simply doesn’t see how interconnected every single thing they do really is.

A typical fan that gets the majority of their Pirates news from watching Bob Pompeani at 6 has heard very little news. They’ve heard Bryan Reynolds wants a trade along with the assumption the Pirates will do so, meager signings and moves for first basemen and a couple pitchers. That’s it.

You know, until they see the hype videos.

Know what, anger kinda makes sense when you realize how this stuff is ingested by most fans.

Published by Gary Morgan

Former contributor for Inside the Pirates an SI Team Channel

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