Monday, March 10, 2008

Pirates Rant

My trip to Florida is coming to an end today and I feel that everyone in Pittsburgh should be made aware of one of my experiences down here.

The Pirates ineptness runs much deeper than the players on the field (as if we didn't know). We had tickets to the first night game in McKechnie Field history on Friday night. The game was delayed for 45 minutes because of the THREAT of rain. It was not raining... it just felt like it was GOING to rain... maybe... but maybe not... but maybe... The Pirates management had ZERO plan for the threat of rain.

It's 7:05 - game time - and the tarp is still on the field. Red's players are warming up in the outfield and near the bullpen. It's not raining.

At about 7:30 we got the first notice from the Pirates that the game wasn't going to start on time. They said, "Due to the threat of inclimate weather - the start of this evening's game is going to be delayed." No shit? Really? I kinda figured that out already. The big green tarp tipped me off, but thanks anyway. There were several huddles between Coonelly and Huntington on the field... then they ran up to the offices behind home plate and talked to Lanny Frateri... then they ran back down to the field... then they talked to Dusty Baker... then they talked to the umps... It all seemed as if they were saying, "SOMEBODY TELL US WHAT TO DO!!"

At 8:15 it finally started to rain. About 2 nanoseconds after the first drop they promptly came on the loud speaker and said, "For your viewing pleasure, the fireworks that were scheduled for after the game will be presented to you RIGHT NOW!"


With no hesitation they tried to soothe us with fireworks - it felt just like being in the 'burgh. The problem was that they left us lingering - not knowing if this meant that the game was canceled or if they were just buying some more time. Everyone was talking about this in the stands while Zambelli's explosives lit up the night sky. Nobody was watching the fireworks (the entire first base side of the ballpark could not see the fireworks because of how they were situated).

Following the display (or lack thereof for us) the Pirates came on the loudspeaker and canceled the game. It was about 8:30.

UGH. This was a complete mismanagement by the Pirates brass. I understand they can't control the weather but they needed to communicate and to have a better plan. What they should have done was this...

7:05 - promptly start the game because we know it's going to rain soon.
7:45 - announce that lightning and rain is approaching so we have to buy some time with fireworks. Players leave the field, cover it, and then have the fireworks display. It's over around 8:05.
8:15 - it starts to actually rain for the first time.
8:30 - cancel the game due to extreme wet conditions and lightning (we all know that just a little rain cancels a spring training game and that's acceptable).

This way the fans get to see the starters (the only players that people are interested in anyway) and everyone wins. Players go home early, team makes their money from tickets and concessions, fans see some baseball. I just don't get it. This display of inefficiency, although minor in the grand scheme of team plans, has made me very skeptical of the new management's capabilities of actually managing a professional baseball team.

Also - the Pirates didn't have any lids and straws for their drinks (they claimed it was for the environment - I asked) Nor did they have jalapeno peppers available for on top of the nachos. All other parks had saurkraut next to the ketchup and mustard for on your hot dogs. (Now - this is a new phenomenon that I think is great, but the Bucs were the ONLY club of the 5 places we went to NOT to offer this as a common condiment.) I can't help but feel like these things are not offered by the Pirates in an attempt to cut costs. They are all items that fit into the category of "free stuff that will not impact consumer purchasing". They also fit into the category of "stuff that makes fans like your team and ballpark more than the others and come back again."

Maybe I'm just searching for things - but I don't think so.