As a longtime friend and co-worker of "Irish" Pat Coakley, I must say that I am greatly offended by the letter in last Sunday's Mailbag. Anyone who knows Irish knows that he is an great employee and an even better person.
From talking to Irish, I learned that there was a type of weed that had recently begun growing in the outfield.
Irish took the proper steps and sprayed a product designed to kill only that kind of weed. Unfortunately, the patches were larger than previously thought and that resulted in the large dead patches.
The action needed to be taken or it would have only gotten worse.
The fact that Irish was able to maintain a world-class playing surface on a 10-year-old field when the average lifespan of a baseball field is 4-5 years is a testament to the dedication and tireless devotion to the Curve that both Irish and his assistant, Lisa Guinivan, had.
Irish's plan to leave the Curve was put into motion long before the problems with the outfield, and he hated leaving Matt Neri with the field in that condition.
Everybody occasionally has a problem at work; unfortunately Irish had 6,000 people witness it.
Irish is a fantastic groundskeeper who have given everything he has to the Altoona Curve, and he deserves a lot better than to have misinformed fans taking cheap shots at him.
Criticism totally unfair
Once again we have a fan, totally oblivious to reality, expounding on a situation to which he hasn't a clue.
I'm talking about the contributor to last week's Voice of the Fan who puts the blame for the trouble and worsening conditions of the field at BCB squarely on the shoulders of Pat Coakley, and likens his leaving for a better job, close to his home, to a rat abandoning a sinking ship. Unbelievable!
This guy is so far off base he's not even in the ballyard.
Given his scenario, we have a man who has won several awards for his work as a groundskeeper, including the [Eastern League] Groundskeeper of the Year more than once, suddenly, and inexplicably, losing his senses and all his knowledge and expertise on how to do his job over the 2008 season, and leaving to avoid all the unwarranted speculation as to why he would leave now.
Those who know what has been going on over the past couple of years know the field should have been completely done over a long time ago, and that Irish had a very big hand in keeping BCB in playing condition long past its prime.
There were many factors in his decision to leave Altoona, but his work and his performance in doing an excellent job over the years, cannot, and should not, be questioned.
I wish him well.
Bucs are 'Washington Generals'
Because of recent trades, the Pirates have been reduced to the status of the Washington Generals of baseball.
The Generals were formed in 1952 by Louis ''Red'' Klotz and were designed to provide deliberately ineffective opposition for the Harlem Globetrotters' comedy routines on the basketball court.
That is now the fate of the Pirates. They will be led into coliseum after coliseum until season's end, providing a public spectacle for howling fans as their favorite team beats up on the Pirates.
They are called the Pittsburgh Pirates, a once-proud organization. But look around the field now and what do you see? Nothing but duct tape holding together the infrastructure of the team.
Most teams have players at all positions. The Pirates have bodies that once played for other teams but were discarded to the scrap heap.
They fill our positions, they play hard and do their best, but they are no match for the opposition. And so just as the Washington Generals set records for the most losses by a basketball team, the Pittsburgh Pirates will establish losses for a major league baseball team. And when the current owners take the money they made in Pittsburgh and move on, the next owners will give away the remaining players who have major league ability.
But you can count on one thing: Stop any Sunday at a ballpark in St. Louis, Milwaukee, Chicago, etc. and you will find the local fans howling with delight as the ''Washington Generals of baseball'' are led on the field for yet another execution.
A sad epitaph of what promised to be a successful season when the team assembled in Bradenton back in February.
But then we had players, and we had promise. Now we have neither.
We are the Washington Generals of baseball.