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xabial
10-24-2012, 11:46 PM
Remember those Navy SEALS exercises the Pirates put their prospects through to open their Florida Instructional League session last month in Bradenton?

Management stressed at the time it was only a three-day event, Sept. 14-16. But it turns out that, even though those ex-SEALS have long since left Pirate City, their methods didn’t.


On Oct. 14 at 11:45 p.m., the Pirates’ minor-league coaches and instructors broke the midnight silence by banging on dorm rooms throughout the complex shouting, “It’s Hell Week! It’s Hell Week!”

Players were told to be dressed in 20 minutes and to meet outside by the batting cage. Waiting there were Kyle Stark, the assistant general manager and architect of the team’s “Hoka Hey” ways, as well as Larry Broadway, the first-year farm director who never before held any instructional position at any level of baseball.

Look it up.

Broadway told the assembled players this would be their “rite of passage” to become Pirates, then sent them on a two-hour scavenger hunt for envelopes hidden across the complex.

(Don’t ask. No idea.)

At 5 a.m., after a wink or two of sleep, they were bused over to Bradenton Beach for a two-mile run, followed by relay races in which they ran back and forth filling garbage cans with sand.

(Don’t ask. No idea.)

This garbage — pardon the pun — went on all week.

On the “Hell Week” finale Friday, with a 10 a.m. road game on tap, the players again were awoken at 5 a.m. This time, it was to perform sliding drills on a still-dark field lit by a solitary quartz lamp. The coaches took turns manning second base and tried — not always successfully — to leap over players sliding into the bag, generally making a mess on the basepaths.

(Now this one explains a lot.)

I know about the above because I continue to hear from prospects worried about injury (some among the team’s most expensive draft picks), from parents who wish their sons had never signed with the Pirates, from angry agents, even from men who answer to Stark and GM Neal Huntington.

I’ll repeat: The Pirates’ development system is the laughingstock of baseball.

And most unfortunately, it isn’t just a harmless sideshow.

Gregory Polanco is one of the Pirates’ top five prospects. He’s a 21-year-old, 6-foot-4 outfielder who was named Most Outstanding Prospect in the Single-A South Atlantic League after batting .325 with 16 home runs, 85 RBI and 40 steals for West Virginia.

The kid can do it all, but that apparently isn’t enough.

Polanco’s ankle was sprained in mid-August, and it cost him most of his final month of play. But the Pirates still saw fit to have him participate in that first day with the SEALS last month, and as you might guess, the ankle was reinjured.

Worse than before.

It happened during a drill in which Polanco sprinted across the outfield, through an above-ground pool of ice water, then leaped into a sand pit.

(You’re still seeking logic?)

I know this because I asked Polanco himself. Through an interpreter, he described it in vivid detail.

I know this because a pitcher in his drill group independently described it the same way.

But sadly, I wouldn’t have known this if I had relied solely on the Pirates’ word.

When I initially asked the team two weeks ago about Polanco, this was the emailed reply from baseball operations — no name assigned — through a team spokesman: “Polanco was NOT injured during that workout. He actually injured his ankle during the season. He opted out of those workouts, as he has continued to battle swelling but no pain.”

If you believe the players — and I do — the statement was a bald-faced lie..

Source- http://triblive.com/sports/dejankovacevic/2819385-74/pirates-polanco-baseball-players-team-hell-month-prospects-week-ankle#axzz29xfwc3PE




The hand-delivered invitations went to the unlucky. The Pittsburgh Pirates recently sent letters to their best minor leaguers warning them that from Sept. 14-17, their Instructional League training in Bradenton, Fla., would consist of "intense Navy SEALs drills."

Players had come to rue these activities. A number of team officials feared them. And the rest of baseball just laughed.

It's not just the Pirates' second consecutive collapse that has made them an industry joke. The methods by which they rear their minor leaguers are perhaps even worse, a combination of hubris and recklessness that has led to injuries and widespread resentment, according to four sources who outlined the problems to Yahoo! Sports.

They are general manager Neal Huntington and assistant GM Kyle Stark, who have implemented a training program unlike any other in the industry. From getting blasted with water after 5 a.m. wakeup calls to hand-to-hand combat in which, according to two sources, top prospect Jameson Taillon once suffered a knee injury, the Pirates' insistence on using militaristic exercise has spooked enough players that a number openly complained to minor league staff members this year about the instructional league plans.

Source- Yahoo Sports (http://sports.yahoo.com/news/pirates---hells-angels-----navy-seals--minor-league-training-methods-become-mlb-joke--.html)



These aren’t soldiers. They’re baseball players. Their training varies from position to position. They’re also teenagers for the most part. Most have never heard of these types of exercises, much less prepared mentally or physically to endure them. Ask anyone in the military, and they’ll attest there’s no comparison between what they do and even the highest level of athletics.

metswon69
10-24-2012, 11:54 PM
Wonder if the players have any legal recourse?

Good idea putting one of your top prospects through that stuff when he was injured only to re-injure him even worse.

Station 13
10-24-2012, 11:59 PM
WTF seriously

theproof
10-25-2012, 12:03 AM
What is wrong with that organization?

MetsLegacy
10-25-2012, 12:12 AM
I think there are definitely some legal matters that can be taken up because of this. While different training methods for baseball players are always interesting, this is overboard and downright dangerous. Running on a pool of ice water is dangerous normally, doing it competitively is stupid.

Nomar
10-25-2012, 12:13 AM
Appel made a wise decision.

Yankee Clipper
10-25-2012, 12:23 AM
Well that's just insane.

Nomar
10-25-2012, 12:30 AM
God bless the unathletic players they draft.

SenorGato
10-25-2012, 12:31 AM
Appel made a wise decision.

LEVERAGEZZZZZZZZZZ!

Anyway, that organization is weird. You kinda sorta almost want to root for them, but they're so entrenched in suck its crazy. Still one of the funniest things from this season to me was that a couple of Cubs fans actually thought and might still think the Pirates are years ahead. Their most exciting team in 20 years didn't even finish .500 lol.

Of course, just as the knocks become loudest it always seems things turn around, and things can turn around very quickly. Still...I enjoy this. Thought it was hilarious that Appel retweeted an article about their terrible player development system.

DodgerB24
10-25-2012, 12:35 AM
I have no words. :laugh2:

AsKingsSharks
10-25-2012, 12:48 AM
Only the pirates

yanksrock
10-25-2012, 12:55 AM
Seriously? Hard to believe. WOW!!

Greedy22
10-25-2012, 01:10 AM
Selig and MLBPA, step in and stop this madness. Contract the team, they have been awful since Bonds left in '92.

T 980
10-25-2012, 01:33 AM
Haha...wow.

Halladay
10-25-2012, 01:40 AM
That's just bizarre.

Jeffy25
10-25-2012, 01:55 AM
Wasn't this already posted?


Seriously asking.


But yeah, intense stuff

Orange&Black55
10-25-2012, 02:50 AM
wtf???

redbird89
10-25-2012, 03:06 AM
This is just amazingly stupid.

Jeffy - I posted it in the Cards forum a few months ago. I'm not sure about here. At the time I had posted it nobody had gotten hurt yet,

AI
10-25-2012, 06:10 AM
Yet people wonder why the Pirates are screwed, their GM is an incompetent as they come.

Ill21
10-25-2012, 07:19 AM
Very weird

Yankees90.
10-25-2012, 07:44 AM
And.....WTF is the point of making your prospects go through this?

Sometimes I wonder what goes through certain peoples heads :facepalm:

HowFit
10-25-2012, 08:05 AM
Not the brightest idea...

Pinstripe pride
10-25-2012, 08:26 AM
What is wrong with that organization?

they ahven't had a winnign season in 19 years, mt first guess would be a lot

Kelly Gruber
10-25-2012, 11:27 AM
Yeah if I was a prospect I wouldn't be signing with the Pirates... And that's just what they need. Hopefully for their sake they get rid of this stuff. It's a bad idea.

Fly
10-25-2012, 11:31 AM
:laugh:

Nomar
10-25-2012, 11:52 AM
LEVERAGEZZZZZZZZZZ!

Anyway, that organization is weird. You kinda sorta almost want to root for them, but they're so entrenched in suck its crazy. Still one of the funniest things from this season to me was that a couple of Cubs fans actually thought and might still think the Pirates are years ahead. Their most exciting team in 20 years didn't even finish .500 lol.

Of course, just as the knocks become loudest it always seems things turn around, and things can turn around very quickly. Still...I enjoy this. Thought it was hilarious that Appel retweeted an article about their terrible player development system.

Yeah you were right, and all of those tweets were funny too.

SenorGato
10-25-2012, 04:22 PM
And.....WTF is the point of making your prospects go through this?

Well that's common sense...athletes need to be conditioned and doing difficult, new workouts is a great way to stress, test, and train the body. Some of these prospects are already millionaires to be athletes, and part of being a professional athlete is to be as well conditioned, physically strong, and mentally tough as you possibly can be.

Honestly the process makes sense to me and initial failures should not completely halt the thinking. Calling it stupid without completely taking in what is going on is dangerous but it also seems to be the jobs of sports fans to react as they're prodded to react.

Just playing Devil's Advocate, but really you can hardly say that there's enough data on this to make any real conclusion.

UPRock
10-25-2012, 04:29 PM
This can't be truth.

Nomar
10-25-2012, 07:51 PM
Trade the Sox Cole, Taillon, Polanco, or Hanson. They may break their limbs, but at least it wont be because General Custard is readying them for battle.

netsgiantsyanks
10-25-2012, 08:10 PM
:laugh2:

MetsFanatic19
10-25-2012, 08:14 PM
Wow. That's horrible.

burgh_fan66
10-25-2012, 08:48 PM
Let me speak as someone who has followed this closely. It is odd, bizarre and unnecessary. However some prospects have come out and said this training is less strenuous than their own personal work outs. I don't really feel that this type if workout puts the players at a greater risk for injury than a normal work out.

For the record Polanco injured his ankle late in the regular season and was cleared to play. He reaggrevated his injury during this workout and doing something like that isn't uncommon.

I really don't believe that there are any negative side effects here, except bad PR but I don't see any positives here either and that is the real issue.

Black Betsy
10-25-2012, 09:22 PM
What did they think?Omg this is funny.

SenorGato
10-26-2012, 02:43 AM
It's almost scary how basically every reaction, and this is total reaction, is the same. Probably the scariest part is how easy it would be to predict the reaction.

Beyond the hilarity of the fact that it's the Pirates I'm not really sure what's so bad about what actually happened. Oh noes athletes had a hard workout...I feel like there's better things to get on them about such as having Casey McGhee as your main 1B until making that big Gaby Sanchez acquisition.

Nomar
10-26-2012, 05:15 PM
Boys dont cry. - The Cure








Until they get drafted by the Pirates.

Nomar
10-26-2012, 05:17 PM
It's almost scary how basically every reaction, and this is total reaction, is the same. Probably the scariest part is how easy it would be to predict the reaction.

Beyond the hilarity of the fact that it's the Pirates I'm not really sure what's so bad about what actually happened. Oh noes athletes had a hard workout...I feel like there's better things to get on them about such as having Casey McGhee as your main 1B until making that big Gaby Sanchez acquisition.

I dont think its a violation, but it's stupid for sure. It might be there to make every regular season less painful :shrug:

PiratesFan1981
10-26-2012, 06:26 PM
I realize the pirates look horrible on this. i agree that at some point, enough is enough as far as their conditioning. I guess after 20 yrs of losing, you try to step on boundaries that hurt the organization instead of helping them. I have been heart broken about this news and actually thought the Pirates were on the right track. This seems to be a bigger set back then rebuilding the organization 10 times in 12 years.

It's bad enough that the MLB world looks at the Pirates as the Montrel Expos. Just waiting to be bought and shipped out of a city that spent years of losing. We are loyal as any fan, but for the last 12 years, you have seen us speak out about the ownership and front office. Maybe this is a step to investigate the organization and finally make a decision that provides the city of Pittsburgh with it's former glory of baseball. A winning product would be so beneficial to the city and MLB, but most importantly, the fans. I just hope that the Pirates are not moved if MLB strips ownership of the ballclub. :( I have been a fan of the Pirates since I was little and that was roughly the last time I saw a winning season. I'd be crushed if Pirates where moved....

KB24PG16
10-26-2012, 06:32 PM
:laugh2:

More-Than-Most
10-26-2012, 06:37 PM
fantastic

SportsAndrew25
10-26-2012, 07:55 PM
This **** has got to be from the Onion. :laugh2:

They having these guys do NAVY SEAL exercises??? They are playing baseball, not trying to catch Osama Bin Laden!!!!!

Information like this makes it less difficult to understand why the Pirates' last winning season predates the election of Bill Clinton.

gauth25
10-26-2012, 08:55 PM
Maybe there's a reason why this team hasn't had a winning record in decades.

thefeckcampaign
10-27-2012, 10:07 PM
Wonder if the players have any legal recourse?

Good idea putting one of your top prospects through that stuff when he was injured only to re-injure him even worse.Honestly, I do not care if they do it or not. But don't you all think that if they are some of top athletes of the world they should be able to handle it?

TRUTH-TELLER
10-28-2012, 03:54 AM
sounds like a group of @zzh0les are in charge. i hope the players win a huge lawsuit and the guy who came up with this bright idea gets attacked by an angry rottweiler

whitesoxfan83
10-28-2012, 11:49 AM
I actually think this is brilliant... I've always wondered what an incredibly physically in shape team would do.

If all you players had the endurance of a Seal a 162 game season would be nothing... while all the other fat ***** in the league are huffing and puffing and dying out there around August your players would still be in tip top shape.

I actually think this is a great idea. Seal exercises might be a tad too far but getting guys in serious physical shape for baseball seems like an excellent idea. I think they're just trying to kill the fat guy culture that comes with the game.