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Pirates Give More Fodder for Criticism From Opposing Broadcaster

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Pittsburgh Pirates

Yet again the Pittsburgh Pirates have been criticized by out-of-town broadcasters for the way they do business. 

First it was Hall of Fame pitcher Dennis Eckersley, who made waves in August when he called the Pirates starting lineup “pathetic” and “a hodgepodge of nothingness.” John Kruk followed suit later that month when he compared the Pirates to a college team.

Mike Claiborne, a long-time sports host at KMOX, radio flagship of the St. Louis Cardinals and also part of the club’s broadcasts, questioned the Pirates for how they’ve mentored young talents during a postgame show on Friday.

While the Pirates had a respectable showing in their 2-1 road loss to the Redbirds, Claiborne slammed the organization for their inability to foster budding stars. 

“They’ve always had good players, but for some reason they fall off the table,” Claiborne said. “Players who come up…who have set a standard of professionalism on and off the field…there are a lot of teams who don’t have those guys anymore.”

Claiborne cited a conversation he’d had about Pirates’ shortstop Oneil Cruz as evidence of Pittsburgh’s failure to get the best from their players.

“I’m talking to a guy today about the Pirates, and I say ‘this Oneil Cruz, what do you think?’ He said ‘he can do anything,’” Claiborne said. “I said ‘well, who’s taking care of him? Who’s looking after him?’ He said ‘we don’t have that guy. We don’t have that tradition anymore.’”

Claiborne’s story raises a question. What unnamed source said that about Cruz? Is there discord brewing within the Pirates’ clubhouse? Or is this yet another example of an out-of-town personality plucking at the low-hanging fruit of Pittsburgh’s struggles?

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