Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Pirates Trade Stargell and Wagner to Cubs

The Cubs are reportedly close to acquiring left-handed reliever John Grabow from the Pirates. No word on whether Tom Gorzelanny is actually included in the deal, who the Cubs gave up to the Pirates, or whether Grabow will have to check the Stargell and Wagner statues at the gate or carry them on. An update to the update is expected soon.
ESPN Chicago and WGN Radio reports that the Cubs have sent Kevin Hart, Jose Ascanio and infield prospect, Josh Harrison to the Pirates in exchange for John Grabow and Tom Gorzelanny. Hart, upon winning his second start in place of Ted Lilly and Ryan Dempster, is expected to turn in his uniform, clubhouse pass, and the giant bag of awesome on loan from Ted Lilly before leaving for Pittsburgh. He will immediately take his place as the Pirates #1 starter.

The Cubs look forward to re-acquiring all three players in a few years when they near free-agency.


As the trade deadline approaches, the Cubs have made a trade that not even Steve Stone saw coming in his crystal ball. The Cubs have acquired the statues of Honus Wagner and Willie Stargell from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for Ronnie Woo, an ivy sapling, the press box caricature of Harry Caray, the exclusive rights to the term "Lovable Losers," and a bucket boy to be named later.

The Cubs managed to engineer the trade without having to give up any of their key prizes: the manual scoreboard, the Harry Caray statue, the main entrance marquee, and the phrase, "Wait 'til next year."

Jim Hendry and Crane Kenney were both visibly excited at the press conference announcing the major deal. "We have been looking to upgrade the 'winning feel' our fans get when they come to the ballpark and we feel these two statues of fantastic players will help in that regard tremendously," said Kenney.

"Let's not try to belittle what those items did for this team, but we are moving forward into a new winning tradition and we assessed that our main position of strength was tremendous depth in our marketable features that have nothing to do with actual winning baseball," said Hendry. "We opened a dialogue with Neal [Huntington] and found a real nice trading partner for us. We think this will help both teams in achieving their goals."

Pittsburgh has continued its seemingly yearly tradition of selling off any veteran that gets anywhere close to free agency. Prior to the deal with the Cubs, they traded away Nate McLouth to the Braves, Adam LaRoche to the Red Sox, Ian Snell and Jack Wilson to the Mariners, and Freddy Sanchez to the Giants. Without any players the people of Pittsburgh have ever heard of, the Pirates needed to provide some reasons for Pirate fans to come to the ballpark.

"We are very pleased with our side of this deal," said Huntington, "We believe that by including the ivy inside the park along with Ronnie providing his own unique brand of cheering, we can transform PNC Park into a tourist destination where the baseball game being played is incidental to the experience."

The Pirates believe the kitschy charm of the Harry caricature, the perpetual optimistic wooing of Ronnie, and the classic ivy combined with the core attractions of the Roberto Clemente Bridge and the statue of Clemente will be a strong attraction for fans of the beleaguered team.

The key to the deal was the inclusion of the rights to the "Lovable Losers" name. The Pirates believe that nickname along with the other improvements to the fan experience will soon have PNC filled with fans who don't actually care about baseball being played well.

"If this works, we'll be selling out, raising ticket prices every year, and starting our own ticket scalping service like the Cubs. Then we can go out and start wrecklessly spending that money on overrated and overpriced ballplayers like Aaron Miles," said Huntington optimistically.

Meanwhile, the Cubs will continue moving towards establishing a winning tradition by acquiring two Hall of Fame statues to boost the credibility of the exterior of the ballpark without losing the core of their ability to market to the casual fan like no other team.

"We have taken a lot of heat from the media about having as many statues of old man broadcasters as we do actual Hall of Fame players. I think we have addressed that need very capably with the addition of not one, but two Hall of Fame statues to decorate the exterior of Wrigley Field," said a beaming Kenney.

Stargell is expected to be placed on Waveland under the left field bleachers where he played six to nine games per season at Wrigley as a member of the Pirates. Honus Wagner's statue will be retrofitted with a pirate captain's hat and placed atop the Captain Morgan's Club on Addison.


Derek said...

This is fantastic news!  Though I would have preferred the Cubs retain the press box caricature of Harry Caray, this is a deal that simply couldn't be passed up.  Well done, Hendry!

Tim McGinnis said...

Hendry felt that since they kept the statue of Harry, they could live with giving up the caricature.  It was a tough decision, but I think it will ultimately pay off.  I'm looking forward to years of pictures of the new statues on marketing materials from the Cubs for years to come.

Seat 106 said...

The idea that PNC Park will be:

1. Be "turned into a tourist destination where the baseball game being played is incidental to the experience" and

2. Soon be "filled with fans who don't actually care about baseball being played well"

makes me wonder if the next move will be the Pirates request to the name "Wrigley Field" after it is dropped in favor of Ameritrade Stadium.

Tim McGinnis said...

The name Wrigley Field is believed to be a non-starter with the Cubs, but new ownership may have different plans.

Anonymous said...

1909 and counting eh? haha

Aisle 424 said...

Well, you're either not a Pirates fan, or you're a very stupid one because no one with 17 straight years under .500 should be talking smack about anything.

You're also probably not a Cardinals fan because everyone in St. Louis is taught at birth that the last year for the Cubs was actually 1908.

So, wrong facts and kind of bitter. Steve Stone, is that you?

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