Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes — the richest man on a roster full of no names — made a blatant mental error against the Mets on Friday.
“When I put on my uniform, I feel I am the proudest man on earth,” – Roberto Clemente.
Those feelings, echoed by Clemente over a half-century ago, are far from the modern reality for any player wearing the Pittsburgh ‘P’ on their helmets these days. These Bucs play for a franchise that’s third-fiddle, at best, in their own city. They play for an owner who refuses to spend money to upgrade anything but his own bank account. They play in a beautiful ballpark, but one which is routinely full of fans rooting for the visiting team, rather than the historic Pittsburgh Pirates.
They are a rotating door of hodgepodge veterans on prove-it deals, hoping to be traded to a contender at the deadline. They are prospects — some of whom have real futures that will take them far, far away from Pittsburgh.
Hayes is one of a few who could stay for awhile. He signed an eight-year, $70 million deal before the season. Yet, if even he doesn’t care about the outcome of a game against the contending Mets in mid-September, why should anyone else?
This mess starts at the top, and Hayes is just a reflection of it, sadly.
Ke’Bryan Hayes chews sunflower seeds as Mets score winning run
It’s a meaningless controversy in a meaningless season for the Pirates, sure. Hayes should not be the primary focus of it, but he will be. He plays for an organization which refuses to take any accountability for decades of mismanagement.
As heard on the SNY broadcast, Hayes and Pittsburgh were called out by Mets analyst Todd Zeile:
“That’s September baseball when you’re in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization right now,” Zeile said.
As much as I’d like to disagree with him, he’s right. Hayes being involved in said play wouldn’t have made much of a difference in the end result, but shouldn’t he at least make an effort to direct traffic? Look interested? Something!
But then again, why should he? Hayes caring about the end result of a mid-September baseball game goes against the very fabric of what the Pirates have taught him, and what they practice on a daily basis.
Don’t expect the players to change until the culture does.