Greetings, friends. It’s been some time since I’ve posted, what with the ups and downs of the Pirates season pulling us in so many directions – or one direction unfortunately! As we all know, this was the year that saw a monumental collapse by our Buccos – they became the only team in history to go from 16 games ABOVE .500 to their 20th non-winning season in a row.
I wanted to get to the bottom of all this. How could this happen two times in a row? The Pirates’ owner, Bob Nutting, angrily assured us changes were coming and hinted strongly that no one’s job was safe. But then a week or so later, the Pirates’ president Frank Coonelly came out with his own statement. He was grim and determined to get to the bottom of the team’s troubles.
Well, color me impressed! Frank’s strong words and gritty determination made it clear that the team’s brass was going to address the team’s issues. No stone would be left unturned in their investigation! I had a chance to talk with Frank C (or “Grim_FrankC on Twitter) to talk about the situation.
Monte: Frank,thank you so much for talking with me!
Frank: My pleasure. Now, that’s enough small talk. I have a very, very serious task ahead and time is of the essence.
Monte: You certainly do and I’d like to ask a few questions about your plans.
Frank: Before we do that, I am curious – did you happen to catch the picture of me the day I released the statement?
Monte: I believe so.
Frank: Did I hit the trifecta or what? I wanted a picture that conveyed three things, and I did it!
Monte: What were the three things?
Frank: Well first, grimness and seriousness. This is no laughing matter. The fans expect championship calibre baseball in Pittsburgh now, and we didn’t deliver.
Monte: That is true! And you did look serious, and grim!
Frank: Yes I did. But on to attribute two: Determined. I promised the good fans of Pittsburgh I would do everything I could to get to the bottom of this, and I will!
Monte: That means a LOT to people! Your word is gold, everyone knows that. You have the people’s trust, and if you say you are determined to do something, then we believe you! What’s the third attribute?
Monte: That’s actually kind of ironic, because I don’t think anyone would blame you for hitting the bottle now and then over the past two months.
Frank: And I did! But not that day! Or at least, not until after the statement.
Monte: Some would say that only a drunkard could have written that statement.
Frank: And they would be wrong my friend!
Monte: Okay, got it. But why was the Budweiser Bowtie Bar in the background when the picture was taken?
Frank: You mean my second office? Where I go when Bob’s on a rampage? When Neal comes begging for more payroll, or when Clint comes asking for better players?
Monte: I guess so…but I guess that explains it. OK, let me ask you this, if I may be the devil’s advocate for a moment.
Frank: I knew it. This is one of those “gotcha” interviews, isn’t it?
Monte: How’s that?
Frank: Setup! Shmooze the big man then POW right in the kisser!
Monte: Well I can’t just ask you softball questions all day.
Frank: OK Mr. Edwin E. Morrow, hit me.
Monte: Well, in his interview Bob basically said that everything was on the table – that there could be pretty serious changes coming.
Frank: Absolutely correct!
Monte: but the first thing you did, just days after that, was put out a statement confirming that Clint, Neal, and all of Neal’s key assistants would be back.
Frank: Absolutely correct again, Jimmy Olson!
Monte: Well, how do you respond to those that say that Neal and even Clint were part of the problem? And still playing devil’s advocate, what about the fact that some people think YOU are part of the problem?
Frank: Wow, sounds like someone’s already making room on their mantle for their pulitzer prize! Ooh, aren’t you a hard hitting journalist! I’ll bet your mommy is so proud of you!
Monte: Well, do you have anything to say in response beyond sarcasm? Because really, that’s not fitting for a man in your position.
Frank: Listen here Dan Rather. After Bob made his comments, I immediately went into action. I called the brain trust togther. Me, Neal, Clint, and I even invited that maniac Stark into the meeting. I sat them down and asked each to look the other in the eyes. “Gentlemen,” I said, “we must be brutally honest here. There can be no vacillaition, no obfuscation. We must ask ourselves, no matter how painful a question it may be, if any one of us bears any responsibility whatsoever for the recent collapse.”
Monte: Wow, that must have been a tough meeting.
Frank: It was, my friend, it was. And we all sat there contemplating the question. And finally, we spoke up, one by one, bearing our souls and dropping all illusions. And we all said “Yes.”
Monte: “Yes?” Wow, you all took responsibility? There was true accountability?
Frank: Correct. We all said “yes.” Yes, we can honestly say that we bore no responsibility for the Pirates’ collapse whatsoever. It was a sobering moment. Or at least it was until I broke out the Johnny Walker.
Monte: So you all agreed that you bore no responsibiity whatsoever for the collapse?
Frank: That’s right. It was quite a revealing moment. Cathartic, really. And then shortly after that I released the statement, knowing I had eliminated a number of possible explanations for the collapse.
Monte: You really did! So what IS the problem? Is it Bob, not willing to spend any money?
Frank: Of course not! Bob is determined to bring a championship caliber team to Pittsburgh – perhaps in our lifetime! Though of course, don’t hold me to that.
Monte: So what IS the problem? Is it the fans? I know they’ve let you down in the past, what with not coming to the games enough. Is it the players? Perhaps they’re not really that good? The system and it’s inability to teach fundamentals? Horrible deadline deals? Poor player evaluation? Clint’s bench coach forcing him to make all those putrid in-game decisions?
Frank: Those are precisely the possibilities we’re looking at! We’ve eliminated the management team and the ownership, so we’re down to the fans, the players, the system, or the bench coach. And we will rest at NOTHING until we find out the facts!
Monte: Frank, you really seem to have a grip on this. One follow up question though. You referred to Kyle as a “maniac.” Yet you also said he’s being retained. Why are we retaining a maniac?
Frank: Well, he and I were both marines, we share a lot in common.
Monte: I didn’t know you were a marine. It doesn't even say that in your official bio.
Frank: I don’t talk about it much. Marine Corp’s code, you know.
Monte: You know, I walked into this interview skeptical and even a bit angry, but now I feel like the future of the Pirates is in the best possible hands! Thank you!
Frank: Thank YOU my friend, and rest assured, the Best Management Team in Baseball, or Perhaps All of Sports, is on the case!
Monte: You’re like a modern day Sherlock Holmes!
Frank: Hoka Hey, my friend! Hoka Hey!
And that, friends, is how it went. Frank’s in charge…and we’re all the better for it!
And don’t forget – you can follow Frank on twitter at Grim_FrankC!