Monday, October 4, 2010

Pirates Make Russell Walk the Plank

After the Pittsburgh Pirates had their worst record since 1952, the team fired manager John Russell.

Russell had been Bucs manager since 2008. As each season progressed the Pirates played progressively worse. The Bucs went 67-95 in '08, 63-99 in '09 and 57-105 this season. The Pirates finished in last place in the NL Central all three seasons in which Russell managed.

John Perrotto, editor-in-chief of, writing in the Beaver County Times thought Russell's demeanor to be dull. "What the Pirates need in their next manager is someone who is personable, a motivator and a little bit of a showman. In short, someone with pride and passion," writes Perrotto.

The question here is who would want to manage the Pittsburgh Pirates?

After all, the Pirates have had the likes of Jim Leyland and Jim Tracy manage them.

Leyland took the Bucs to three consecutive NL East titles between 1990 and 1992. After Barry Bonds and company left following the '92 season, Leyland posted four consecutive losing seasons. Did Leyland lose his pride and passion? In 1997, Leyland became manager of the Florida Marlins and took them to a World Series title. Nearly a decade later, Leyland took a moribund Detroit Tigers team to an AL championship.

In Jim Tracy's two seasons with the Pirates his teams lost 95 and 94 games. Tracy took the Los Angeles Dodgers to an NL West title in 2004 and last year took the Colorado Rockies to the NL Wild Card. Did Tracy have pride and passion in L.A. but lose it in Pittsburgh only to regain it in Denver?

The Pirates simply are lacking in talent, especially pitching talent.

If the Pirates were to hire Tony La Russa he too would finish last in the NL Central.

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