Manatee Community College forces Pirates to walk the plank

Yeeeargh! Shiver me timbers and fly the Jolly Roger at half staff, mateys!

The Pirates, who have averaged 89 losses since 1993, sank to the deepest part of Pittsburgh's Three Rivers on Thursday after one of its split squads lost to Manatee (Fla.) Community College during a fundraising exhibition game.

In some ways, the top of the box score says it all: Manatee C.C. 6, Pittsburgh 4.

The Sarasota Herald-Review, however, ran a very detailed story — almost 1,000 words, for your Bucco masochists — about how the Lancers did the unlikely at McKechnie Field in Bradenton.

It's only fair to point out that the Pirates lineup was filled out by guys who missed the cut in spring training. Several of the team's best players, including Nate McLouth, Ryan Doumit, the LaRoches and Stewcast guest Freddy Sanchez, did not play in the game.

Yet several guys who have logged big league minutes — like Mets' killer Steve Pearce, Brian Bixler and Robinzon Diaz — were in the no-win situation lineup, as was prized prospect Jose Tabata. Virgil Vazquez, who contended for Pittsburgh's fifth starter spot this spring, started the game for Pittsburgh on the mound.

OK, so your aunt was in contention for that fifth spot, too, but that's not the point. These were real, live Triple-A (perhaps even Class 4A) players.

And these junior college Manatees managed to beat ‘em!

Whatever excuse you want to drum up for the Pirates — spring training's almost over, the scrubs played the final five innings, the juco players wanted it more — we still say it's not good enough. Get ready Pirates, we'd like for you to take on our office softball team.

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One more note: I discovered that the Pirates have a prospect named Henry Henry, who played in the game and made the final out. He's just in Class A, but I sure hope he makes it to the majors someday. Not since Boutros Boutros Gali or Duany Duany has a man so nice they named him twice made such an impact.

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