Mark Madden

Mark Madden

The Super Genius of Pittsburgh Sports.Full Bio



Pirates fans are so easily fooled. (The marks on Twitter are, anyway.) 

The Pirates swept a series at Los Angeles, then won a series at home vs. Arizona. PNC Park was even half-filled for one of those games. A few young players did OK. 

The battle cry went up: “The future is arriving! The Pirates are going to take over the town! They're going to be the best team in Pittsburgh!” 

The Pirates immediately lost nine in a row and 11 out of 12. 

Then, on Sunday, they beat visiting San Francisco 4-3. Rookie Jack Suwinski walked it off with his third home run of the game. Almost 24K showed up.

The same misguided optimism and arrogance were immediately renewed. After the Pirates’ second win in 13 games, mind you. 

Owner Bob Nutting doesn’t even have to try to con you stooges anymore. You swindle yourselves. You're stupid. 

Third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes is a prime example of how dumb Pirates fans are. He’s not so bright himself, either. 

Two months ago, the Pirates signed Hayes to an eight-year, $70-million contract extension. 

That’s a lot of money for someone who isn’t that good. 

The Pirates signed Hayes for PR as much as anything. You’ve got to keep somebody. 

Hayes, 25, gave away three years of his free agency. If he had proper confidence in his ability, he would have wanted to escape Pittsburgh ASAP. Instead, Hayes settled. 

Outfielder Bryan Reynolds, 27, signed an extension through 2023. But he still has two years of arbitration after that. Reynolds can’t be a free agent ‘til 2025, but he must think he can perform well enough to ultimately escape Pittsburgh in lucrative fashion. (He’ll be traded long before '25.) 

Hayes isn’t that good. 

He’s an excellent fielder. But this is the era of launch angle, and Hayes has two home runs in 222 at-bats this season, 13 homers in 669 career MLB at-bats. 

Hayes has doubles power. Big whoop. 

Hayes is a competent big-leaguer. But he’s not a cornerstone-type talent. Not if you expect your team to exceed mediocrity. But the Pirates gave Hayes what passes, for the Pirates, as a cornerstone-type contract.

Nutting and his subordinates are smooth grifters, if only because hardcore Pirates fans are such rubes. 

Aided and abetted by Bucco media stooges, the faithful see Suwinski as a key building block in the outfield. Shortstop prospect Oneil Cruz has arrived to save the season. And hey, how about Mitch Keller? His ERA is down all the way to 4.72. 

To be fair, the con isn’t working that well. (It’s overrated, like Hayes.) The Pirates average only 13K in attendance, third-worst in MLB. But Nutting profits big before he sells a single ticket. 

Let’s say the Pirates do build a good team someday. Nutting won’t spend to maintain it. That was proven after the 2015 team won 98 games. 

So, raise this, idiots. It’s never going to get better than Cueto dropping the ball. 

San Francisco Giants v Pittsburgh Pirates

Photo: Getty Images

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