Pirates clinch 18th consecutive losing season

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The Pirates dropped to 40-82 on the year with a 7-2 loss to the Mets last night, clinching their 18th consecutive losing season. It extends the longest streak in the history of the four major North American professional sports.

According to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, this is the earliest that the Pirates have reached 82 losses during the 18 years. This year’s team is currently on pace to be 53-109 (.327), which would be the franchise’s worst showing since 1953.

Pirates manager John Russell had a hard time holding back the frustration after Friday’s loss.

“You expect something better every year. Nobody likes to lose this many
games. It [stinks]. Bottom line, it [stinks]. I hate to cuss, but it
does. Nobody likes it. Nobody wants it. But we have to continue to get
these guys better. We have a very young team, and we have to keep
pushing.”

The Pirates spent a franchise-record $11.9 million on the draft, including a $6.5 million signing bonus for No. 2 pick Jameson Taillon and $2.25 million for second-round pick Stetson Allie. They also invested $2.6 million in Mexican pitching prospect Luis Heredia, the biggest bonus the franchise has ever awarded to a international amateur player. There’s some light at the end of this tunnel, but I’m sure it feels a million miles away for Pirates fans right now.

By the way, be sure to read all of Kovacevic’s piece regarding the streak. It’s fantastic.  

There will be a pitch clock for spring training

Associated Press
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Major League Baseball just announced that there will be a pitch clock for spring training. It will be a 20-second pitch clock, phased in like so:

  • In the first Spring Training games, the 20-second timer will operate without enforcement so as to make players and umpires familiar with the new system;
  • Early next week, umpires will issue reminders to pitchers and hitters who violate the rule, but no ball-strike penalties will be assessed. Between innings, umpires are expected to inform the club’s field staff (manager, pitching coach or hitting coach) of any violations; and
  • Later in Spring Training, and depending on the status of the negotiations with the Major League Baseball Players Association, umpires will be instructed to begin assessing ball-strike penalties for violations.

As is the case in the minors, the batter will have to be in the batter’s box and alert to the pitcher with at least five seconds remaining on the timer; and the pitcher needs only to begin his windup before the 20-second timer expires, as opposed to having thrown the pitch. The timer will not be used on the first pitch of any at-bat. Rather, it begins running prior to the second pitch once the pitcher receives the ball from the catcher.

The league has not decided if the pitch clock will be used in the regular season yet. It can do so unilaterally, without union approval, for one year if it chooses to since it first introduced the idea last year.

There will likely be a lot of complaining about this, but as someone who has been to several minor league games with the clock in place, it’s pretty seamless and not noticeable. Minor leaguers had few if any complaints about its implementation.