The first pitch of the 2013 baseball season won't be thrown for another five months, but Pittsburgh Pirates owner Bob Nutting already has tossed a disappointing conclusion to the team's fans.
After what he said was careful review, Mr. Nutting has decided that no changes are warranted in the Pirates' front office despite the team's alarming plunge from 16 games over .500 in July to a 79-83 record by October, sealing its 20th consecutive losing season.
Mr. Nutting said he conducted a wide-ranging investigation of the organization after the team had precipitous drops in 2011 and again in 2012, despite flirting with success in the middle of the summer. He said he spoke with executives from other teams, officials from Major League Baseball, and players on the Pirates and other ball clubs. He said he and his staff went through every free agent signed and player drafted in the last five years and compared them with their peers. And he said the study is ongoing.
Yet he decided against firing team president Frank Coonelly, general manager Neal Huntington or the managers in charge of player development and scouting. He's keeping his leadership team because the Pirates did somewhat better in 2012 than in previous years. He said, "we do have a much stronger organization than we did," and he said it with a straight face.
Mr. Nutting admitted he probably would have made different decisions if he had acted immediately after the season ended, because he would have acted in anger.
Sometimes it's a good idea to get fired up. Sometimes instincts are our best guides for action. Sometimes, cooling off, lying back and maintaining the status quo means nothing but accepting mediocrity.
Pirates fans are tired of trekking over to PNC Park just because it's got a nice view of the city, puts on good fireworks displays and offers a wide variety of snacks and drinks. They want to watch competitive baseball, but that doesn't seem to be a priority for Mr. Nutting.
What he said Tuesday is that he's willing to deliver more disappointment. Pirates fans have endured that for 20 years. How many more before even Bob Nutting says "Enough!"?