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Thoughts on Tonight's Game

1. This is a wretched team. It's just terrible. The pitching is decent, but the players can't hit or field to save their lives.

2. I simply do not know how Bob Nutting and Kevin McClatchy can watch this team and not reach the conclusion that Dave Littlefield should be fired immediately. Even if you buy the idea that the ownership thinks Littlefield's fine as long as the team doesn't have an embarrassing season, I can't understand why Littlefield still has a job, because this team is embarrassing.

As hitters, these players are baffled by anything that's even slightly off the plate. Opposing pitchers have taken perfect games into the fifth inning or later in at least three games this season, by my count. Any fifth starter can look like Cy Young against them. They never reach base or hit the ball hard. As fielders, most of them (and I'll specifically exempt Jose Bautista despite his error tonight) are flummoxed by any situation that forces them to move more than a foot in any direction. Fans routinely boo them. There is little help in the minor league system. And for the second consecutive year, one of the team's two best hitters is a guy who didn't even have a starting job coming out of Spring Training. The team is awful, and the baseball decisions that were made to construct it are transparently terrible.

Again, even if you buy that the Nuttings are just trying to avoid an embarrassment, Littlefield has failed, because this team is embarrassing. And yet Nutting and McClatchy don't get that, or don't care, or something. If you want a GM to win 75 games for you with a low payroll, there are GMs who can do that without bankrupting the minor league system or producing terrible results like this. Whatever the owners' business model is, there are dozens of aspiring GMs out there who can do better than what Littlefield has done.

I'm not a socialist, but if I were, I would point to the Pirates as proof that capitalism does not work. How stupid do you have to be to watch a game like this - or, really, any of about two dozen of the games the Pirates have played so far - and not come to the conclusion that whomever's responsible for this should be fired? And yet the people who continue to believe that Littlefield is the right man for the job have millions and millions of dollars, perhaps more money than the all the readers of this blog put together.

3. Brad Eldred has no idea what he's doing out there. None whatsoever.

4. The Pirates are 15-20. That record projected over 162 games equals 69.4 wins. Baseball Prospectus' Baseball Between the Numbers points out that between 1993 and 2005, the Pirates won an average of... yes, 69.4 wins per year. This season is, as it turns out, just business as usual - terrible, terrible business as usual.

5.What's the Michael Bluth quote? "I don't know why, but that's it"? I have no idea why this game made me so angry.