President Frank Coonelly calls Freese’s 2018 criticism of Pirates ‘legitimate’
While stumping for Josh Bell’s candidacy to become a starter for the National League in the All-Star Game, Pittsburgh Pirates president Frank Coonelly praised the team’s ability to crawl out from under adversity.
While doing so, he suggested that former Pirates infielder David Freese’s critical comments last year about attitudes in the clubhouse, dugout and front office deserve some credit for pointing the team in the right direction.
“David Freese made some comments two spring trainings ago,” Coonelly said Wednesday night at PNC Park, “about maybe seeing some things in the dugout when we were getting our butts kicked and looking around the dugout and some players were laughing, perhaps not as focused on the coming back.
“I think that was a legitimate observation and something we made sure that we addressed and made sure that every single game is important and that we don’t give away any games like we don’t give away any at-bats.”
Coonelly referenced the Pirates’ recent comebacks – rallying from 7-1 down to beat the Detroit Tigers and erasing two three-run deficits in late innings to defeat the San Diego Padres.
Since losing seven in a row earlier this month, the Pirates are 7-3, including an 14-2 victory against the AL Central-leading Astros on Wednesday night in Houston.
Putting forth a complete effort, physically, is the least any team of professionals can do, but Coonelly said it’s also a belief in the Pirates’ clubhouse.
“Even when we’re down, we never believe that we’re out of the game,” he said.
Coonelly said the concerns expressed by Freese, who’s now with the Los Angeles Dodgers, were addressed in the clubhouse “with very direct conversations in terms of with the entire team.”
“Looking inward, David had some comments about management as well and we had to look in the mirror and say, `You know what? We can be better than that.’
“There were some things to take from those comments that helped us as we moved forward.”
Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jerry by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .