Those of you who read BD regularly know I've become a cautious optimist about the Pirates, which is pretty dramatically different from what I was when Dave Littlefield ran the team. But even I, the sort of guy who sees these Pirates more as a 70-win team than a 58-win team, have to roll my eyes at stuff like this:
The scene was a downtown Philadelphia restaurant. The moment was late last Thursday night, after the Pirates flew north from Florida to finish out spring-training exhibitions at Citizens Bank Park.
Ryan Church, Octavio Dotel, Brendan Donnelly and Bobby Crosby -- still in their first few weeks as Pirates after arriving in the offseason -- had heard enough about the 17 years of losing. They had seen enough of a 7-21-1 spring record, the franchise's worst in 26 years. So they huddled their remaining teammates in the tony establishment under the shadows of Philadelphia's city hall and held a players-only meeting.
They made a declaration of Pirates independence: It was time to change, unify, act accountable. Now.
I don't know--the idea of a bad major league team sitting in a posh restaurant in Philadelphia and, after eating dinner, "declaring independence" like some bunch of latter-day Elbridge Gerrys is just hilarious to me. (And yeah, I realize that "declaring independence" is a liberty--tee hee--the writer took, and not anything anyone on the team said, but still, that's funny.) And the idea of the Pittsburgh Pirates using a "tony" restaurant as the site of an urgent team meeting about how they'd like to avoid an 18th consecutive losing season--is there anything that sums up the state of Major League Baseball in the 21st century better than that? Dear sirs, I daresay I'd quite enjoy avoiding 100 losses this year. Now please pass the caviar!
I say this as someone who doesn't believe that urgent team meetings are a bad thing, and who thinks that Octavio Dotel seems like a really cool guy. But still.