Sadly bad signings will continue to doom bad baseball teams
The press conference will begin momentarily, so that the nation's newspapers will have plenty of time to lead with the blockbuster in tomorrow's sports sections.
This is how things are done these days at PNC Park. Classy. Smart. Are the Pirates en route to greatness? Look no further than the team Web site, where yesterday's lead headline beamed, PIRATES ADD VETERAN LOPEZ TO LEFTY BULLPEN MIX! (Admittedly, I've added the exclamation point. But, hey, it's not every day a team signs a pitcher with major league experience who literally nobody has heard of). There are big days ahead in the Steel City. Huge! Gigantic!
Oh, wait, it's about to start
"Ladies and gentlemen, the man sitting to my left needs no introduction," says Huntington, beaming from dimple to dimple. "He's someone we've been interested in for a long time; someone who can restore honor and a winning attitude to the Pittsburgh Pirates organization. We are committed to excellence here in Pittsburgh, and that's why this is such a historic day in our franchise's history. I'm pleased to introduce the newest member of the Pirates family, a proven winner and a future Hall of Famer ..."
You are wondering if this can happen.
You are wondering if any team would be crazy enough to sign an unproductive, uncooperative utility infielder stripped of his range, his pop and his health.
Your question can be answered with a single word: Yes.
And yet, perhaps it won't be Nomar. Perhaps it will be
Throughout the majors, lowly franchises everywhere are doing their thing -- which means lavishing funds upon men who should be either playing for the Newark Bears, coaching the Newark Bears or watching the Newark Bears from the stands. Two weeks ago, the Kansas City Royals signed
This is what bad franchises do when they're officially, unambiguously, unanimously pegged as bad franchises: They act stupidly. Some of it stems from sheer desperation, and some from poor decision-making skills. Mostly, however, it's a flimsy effort to fool the fan base; to hope that the illusion of an effort to compete cons enough bored city residents into coming out to the 'ol park and buying a hot dog and a collectable seat cushion. The Royals, whose Kendall signing is a near-replica of the past acquisitions of
Nobody, however, outdoes Pittsburgh. Seemingly year after year, the Pirates complete one boneheaded off-season move, then overhype it in an effort to hoodwink naive loyalists into thinking the organization is on the right track. Last year it was bringing in
Of course, 2010 is different. This year, led by Garciaparra, the Pirates will surely sneak up on people. "I didn't come here because it was my only option," Nomar says in the press conference, a black-and-gold Pirates cap covering his head. "I had a lot of options. No, I came here because I like the direction this team is taking, and I want to be there when the Pirates win the World Series."
Heck, so do I.
Sadly, humans rarely live more than 100 years.