If the Pirates are to maintain the illusion that they want to be a competitive baseball organization, they need to fire manager Clint Hurdle immediately. Enough is enough.
The Pirates' 8-29 slide since the All-Star break isn't all Hurdle's fault. It's never totally down to the manager.
But Hurdle signs the lineup card every night. He's in charge.
Somebody has to pay the price for how awful the Pirates are, and that's traditionally the manager - especially when your last three losses are by scores of 11-1, 13-0 and 7-1.
It's one thing to lose. It's quite another to be embarrassed on a regular basis.
The Pirates would be doing Hurdle a favor. Putting him out of his misery. Some of his recent media interaction points to Hurdle being near the end of his rope.
Hurdle's frustration is understandable. He has managed under owner Bob Nutting's tightwad financial constraints for nine years and done better than most would have.
Hurdle makes $3 million per year and is signed through 2021. Nutting would loathe paying Hurdle to do nothing for two years.
But bench coach Tom Prince or special assistant Jeff Banister could be promoted from within at minimal cost, making the total cost at manager annoying but not onerous.
A team can't be taken seriously if it plays this bad, this long but nobody pays a price.
The Pirates should fire Hurdle. If not for baseball reasons, then for the sake of PR.
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