The Pirates were below .500 on May 29th. Then they figured out their offense, rode A.J. Burnett and some other unexpectedly good arms for a while and put a run on that had everyone in Pittsburgh thinking not only a winning season, but a playoff season. Indeed, they were 16 games over .500 at one point.
And then they stopped winning. They lost to the Brewers today 9-7 and now stand at 74-75.
They had a chance in this one. They were up 7-4 heading into the eighth when Rickie Weeks hit a tying two-run triple and scored the go-ahead run on Aramis Ramirez’s single in the eighth inning. Credit Chad Qualls and Chris Resop with the meltdown.
Pittsburgh has lost 11 of 13. They’re staring their 20th straight year of losing records in the face.
Earlier today the Major League Baseball Umpire’s Association made multiple posts on social media registering its displeasure at what it feels was the league’s weak discipline of Manny Machado following his run-in with umpire Bill Welke. It was an unusual statement, as it’s not common for umpires, individual or via their union to comment on such matters.
This evening, in an official statement, the league called it inappropriate:
“Manny Machado was suspended by MLB Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre, who considered all the facts and circumstances of Machado’s conduct, including precedent, in determining the appropriate level of discipline. Mr. Machado is appealing his suspension and we do not believe it is appropriate for the union representing Major League Umpires to comment on the discipline of players represented by the Players Association, just as it would not be appropriate for the Players Association to comment on disciplinary decisions made with respect to umpires. We also believe it is inappropriate to compare this incident to the extraordinarily serious issue of workplace violence.”
That final bit, about workplace violence, is something that I didn’t really consider when I read the umps’ statements, but it’s a damn good point. In an age where people are literally shooting up workplaces, umpires making reference to that kind of thing in response to a player throwing a bat is pretty rich indeed. And in pretty poor taste.