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How bad things were

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Jared Wickerham

I'm doing some research for my book, and ... just read this thing. Your eyeballs will burn. It's amazing.

It's 2000, and Chad Hermansen's prospect status is about to start circling the drain. He's in Triple-A Nashville (remember when the Pirates had their Triple-A affiliate in Nashville?) because he'd struggled in the early part of the season and been demoted. His big-league teammates are telling him to be happy he's in Nashville, because the big-league clubhouse atmosphere is so toxic. Kevin McClatchy has said that the Pirates can win 90 games, which isn't happening. It's more of an underpants-gnome plan than anything else. (Brian Giles later says McClatchy must have been "dreaming a lot.") Aramis Ramirez, Warren Morris and Jimmy Anderson are all floundering. The Pirates are showing few signs of being competitive, even though PNC Park is set to open the next year.

Hermansen finds the tension in the clubhouse difficult to deal with, and is "confused" about the coaching he's receiving. Whatever's going on, whether it's the poor coaching or just his strikeout tendencies catching up with him, he'll struggle to hit for the rest of his career, in both the majors and the minors. In two years, the Pirates will trade him to the Cubs.

Hey, did y'all know the Pirates have a playoff game tomorrow?