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First Pitch: Cursed


Tonight I wrote about how the Pittsburgh Pirates have been cursed ever since Barry Bonds left. The story includes a ton of examples, from the recent A.J. Burnett bunt, to Jason Kendall breaking his ankle, to Operation Shutdown, and pretty much everything else the last two decades.

If I had to pick out one example of the Pirates being cursed, it would be the Jose Bautista situation. It wasn’t obvious that Bautista would be the best hitter in the game. He was passed on by every National League team, and half of the American League teams. He didn’t have strong numbers with the Pirates, and only hit 43 homers in five years. Then he exploded for 97 home runs in two years at the ages of 29-30.

Just think about that. How rare is it for a player to break out at the age of 29? It was obviously rare for Bautista. If it was anywhere close to being expected, he wouldn’t have made it out of the National League when he was placed on waivers. But also, how rare is it for a franchise to lose one of the best home run hitters in the game…twice? It’s kind of like the odds of the Pittsburgh Penguins being able to draft Mario Lemieux and Sidney Crosby. How much good luck is involved to make that possible?

If the Penguins looked in to some bizzaro-world mirror, they’d see a reflection of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

So what’s your biggest curse moment? What’s the thing for you that goes beyond bad decision making and bad development, and just goes right in to bad luck? Feel free to share in the comments below.

Links and Notes

**A lot of updates on the blog today, including video of Josh Bell and Elvis Escobar in batting practice. You can go to the blog archives here.

**Speaking of curses, A.J. Burnett has a fractured orbital bone.

**Brad Lincoln won the pitcher’s bunting tournament.

**Gerrit Cole is seeing the negative effects of the old draft signing deadline.

**Nick Evans hopes to click with the Pirates.

**Here is the minor league camp roster, and some notes on the roster.

Tim Williams
Tim Williams
Tim is the owner, producer, editor, and lead writer of PiratesProspects.com. He has been running Pirates Prospects since 2009, becoming the first new media reporter and outlet covering the Pirates at the MLB level in 2011 and 2012. His work can also be found in Baseball America, where he has been a contributor since 2014 and the Pirates' correspondent since 2019.

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