Abandon Ship! Pirates sailing in a circle of despair

Written By Mason Strawn, For The Globe

There’s no real way to really explain the Pittsburgh Pirates 2019 season other than as an absolute disaster. A team that had finished last season with a winning record and had an opportunity to run for a wildcard spot this season, has absolutely collapsed.

I could be like every single sports talk account and show in Pittsburgh and blame the management for being lazy or making bad decisions. I could blame players for mostly underachieving and failing when they were needed most. I could even blame a much harder division compared to last year as the reason for the failure. But to be honest, it’s every single one of these factors, plus some.

The Pirates spent an offseason cutting loose older players such as Josh Harrison and Jordy Mercer, and tried to experiment with questionable signings; players like Jordan Lyles, who was traded to the rival Milwaukee Brewers, and Lonnie Chisenhall, a utility man that many were happy to see join the Pirates organization, but never actually made it onto the playing field due to an injury.

The Buccos continued with the minor moves, trading for Erik Gonzalez from the Cleveland Indians to become their starting shortstop unless someone stepped up (flash to the future; Kevin Newman did exactly that). The players the Pirates gave up to Gonzalez? Oh, just a minor league player and outfield prospect named Jordan Luplow.

Luplow is now is the Indians main hitter against lefty pitchers and has been a major cog in Cleveland’s playoff push when they’ve needed him. The only good name to come out of the Pirates winter was Melky Cabrera, who now starts less often than a 1997 Dodge Neon with sugar in its gas tank.

The team started the season incredibly well to some fan’s surprise. Josh Bell developed into an MVP caliber hitter, Felipe Vazquez was a shut-down closer, prospects were developing and excelling, the signings were beginning to look promising, and we were in the running’s for a playoff spot against an MVP led Brewers, and superstar studded Cubs and Cardinals.

But after the all-star break, the team fell hard. After the break, the team finished the month of April 8-18. The team would go on to lose 30 out of 40 games and had the second worst record in baseball during the second half. From there, injuries, suspensions, and bad play would kill the rest of the season. Not including the recent Vazquez problem that doesn’t need to be talked about considering how bad it is. If you want to know what happened, you can search it yourself, though the results might make your stomach flip.

This is quite possibly one of the worst seasons in Pirates history. A team that had a chance to succeed, has officially fallen to the point of not being able to tank, but also not able to win. A team whose prospect system is now dry, but whose former prospects have collapsed or developed on other teams. They are stuck in mediocrity; a limbo state, one they can not escape now.

The team was already headed in this direction; the roast of Bob Nutting, Neil Huntington, Clint Hurdle, and Ray Searage are for the angry fans to do. I’m simply here to say this team has no direction, no leadership, no successful management, nothing. I walk past PNC Park, and feel a dark, depressing feeling in my chest when I look up to see one the most beautiful ball parks in America.

I know I’m not the only one to feel this way; record low attendance and ticket prices that cost less than a Big Mac at McDonald’s show this. Bless the players and prospects affiliated to the Pirates, I hope they understand that they must now rebuild and try to start from scratch.

If ownership doesn’t understand this, then I’m sorry to everyone who is a Pirates supporter. The Pittsburgh Pirates are going back into the dark ages for a few years; bless the players whose career’s will be wasted due to this. Hopefully we will be able to see “Buctober” in our lifetime once again. Hopefully.