By The Last Hollywood Star
After the Pirates traded Sean Burnett to the Washington Nationals, the left-handed relief pitcher said that his former team is the “laughing stock of baseball.”
Several days later, Burnett watered his comment down somewhat but insisted that his original evaluation was on target.
Whether the Pirates are a joke throughout major league baseball may be debatable. Chicago Cub manager Lou Pinella had encouraging words to say before beating the Pirates 4-2 and holding the Bucs to two hits.
But the Buccos certainly are the target of ESPN’s Mike and Mike’s jabs.
The Pirates rarely get a mention on ESPN unless it is about their 17 year losing record. After the Bucs traded Jack Wilson, Freddie Sanchez, etc, ESPN talking heads were unanimously critical.
Today, Mike and Mike took after the Pirates calling the team pitiful and pathetic.
To help viewers grasp how long 17 years is Mike and Mike pointed out that when the streak began, U.S. Open tennis sensation Melanie Oudin and pop singer Miley Cyrus had not been born yet.
But as depressing as it is to be the butt of jokes, the Pirates have a more pressing problem. As I wrote yesterday, the team is insignificant. ESPN has not included the Pirates in one of its nationally televised games in recent memory.
Even if Pirate management is correct in its glowing evaluation of the current minor league prospects, a winning season is at least three years away. Remember this year the Pirates will finish about 35 games below .500
But if management is wrong and the prospects fail, then a winning season will be nowhere in sight.
Jayson Stark, senior ESPN baseball writer, joining in at 8:30 with Mike and Mike for more laughs at the Pirates expense, asked: Who is the only player on the Pittsburgh Pirates roster from the last winning season in 1992 who is still active?
Answer: Boston Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield who has won 175 games since being released by the Pirates.