As Pirates fans consider the shame of 18 losing seasons for the battling Buccos, a turn events may have unlatched the albatross that has hung their necks like a Bjork Oscar gown. This shift in momentum comes shortly after it was revealed that manager John Russell and GM Neal Huntington had their contracts secretly extended last October.
After a 12 game losing streak, the Pirates managed to take two from the Cleveland Indians this weekend. Had they lost these two games they would have beaten their longest losing streak from 1890. Now, it’s one thing to see a team that hasn’t had a winning season since the class of 2010 was born, it’s an entirely different thing when they start breaking bad records from when the class of 1908 was born. So, what did the Pirates do to fix their leaky vessel? Bring up Pedro Alvarez? Designate Aki Iwamura for assignment? No. They fired a pierogi.
That’s right sports fans, they trimmed the fat from their roster by dumping a dumpling. Turns out, the kid who sported the pierogi suit, one of 18 men who race between the fifth and sixth innings dressed up as a pierogi, put a disparaging remark in his Facebook post about the contract extensions that lead to his dismissal. Clearly, he was a threat to the morale of the team. He was a poison pierogi, hanging in the club’s belly like a lead bullet. I’m surprised he hasn’t been banned from baseball altogether. He deserves to be sautéed in garlic and butter and then left out in the sun to rot at a County Fair.
Honestly, this is your answer, guys? The kid says what we’re all thinking and you fire him? You know, it’s not like anyone would recognize this kid out on the street as a representative of the Pirates’ organization. Well, let me rephrase that. It’s not like anyone would HAVE RECOGNIZED this kid before you fired him. Now, the story is national news showing up in USA Today. Businessmen in Holiday Inns, all over the country, woke up to the freshly delivered paper adorning their room service stained door steps and saw the news, Pirates fire racing pierogi mascot for Facebook criticism. That’s like being told you’re a lousy employee and then going home and kicking your dog in retribution. Guess what? The kid is right.
He posted a disparaging remark on a social network. All you had to do was ask him to remove it. Nope, you decided to use a nuclear warhead to get rid of a few pesky ants. Now, I have not looked at the facebook page of Andrew Kurtz but I’m willing to believe that not only did more than a handful of people LIKE his post, he now has more than a handful of new friends on facebook. In fact, he already has been offered a job with the Washington Wild Things, a local baseball team in the Frontier League. Look, if you’re really pissed about the response to your organization’s inability to break .500 for the year then maybe fix the problem, not fire the mascot. Better yet, explain why you decided to keep the contract extensions of two of your suspected problems a secret? Why not come out in October and say, “You know what? We had a bad season. But I have faith in these two guys so, we’re going to extend their contracts.” You know why you didn’t say it. Because you looked on the schedule for next year and saw one of the games was torch and pitchfork night and thought, maybe I better keep this to myself.
I guess the real point of this story is the ever present threat to employment by Facebook posts. I’m surprised and shocked that no balls to the wall, Judd Nelson style in From the Hip or Denzel Washington in Philadelphia, lawyer has not tried to sue the pants off of an employer for firing a worker who had an opinion on Facebook or twitter. Apparently, freedom of speech is no match against the HR machine. If it wasn’t the fact that Andrew was a part time employee he may have had some reason to be truly upset and miffed. But, now he can disparage the Pirates all he wants, because he is now like all the other employees who probably had a smidgen of talent, working somewhere else. And to those who cry, “But according to the news, he was already on a suspension for violating company policy.” He’s a freaking pierogi. It’s not like he tweeted trade secrets or gave insider odds on who was going to win a race. “FYI, Oliver’s juicing and Hannah’s got a sprained noodle. Count on me for the win!”
But now, that’s all over. Nutting, you’ve turned the ship around and are sailing high on the water with a two game winning streak. I smell success. I smell contention. I smell pennant. I smell dinner cooking. Bob Nutting is sitting in his office feasting on the remains of Cheese Chester, laughing at the notion that he finally cracked the curse of Sid Bream with every cheesy bite. Stay Classy, Buccos.