Monthly Archives: August, 2010

Neal Huntington and the “Draft to Nowhere”

During primary season in Pennsylvania this year, a Democratic candidate ran an attack ad against Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato. (I don’t remember which candidate, but he lost, so sucks to be him.) In this ad, Onorato was criticized for backing the “Tunnel to Nowhere.”

The tunnel in question is part of the Port Authority’s North Shore Connector, which will run under the Allegheny River and extend the T light rail system from Downtown to PNC Park, Heinz Field, the Carnegie Science Center, and Rivers Casino. The entire project has been a political lightning rod, both for its priority over other public transit needs and for the decision to bore a tunnel under the river instead of building a bridge. (We’re pretty good at bridges. We’ve had lots of practice.)

The attack ad used the actual phrase “tunnel to nowhere.” Sounds like the project is dead, or stalled. Right?

The extension is still under construction, and is scheduled to open in 2012.

Maybe that has something to do with why Onorato is the Democratic candidate for governor of Pennsylvania now?

Now I told you that story to tell you this one.

Mondesi’s House is jumping all over Neal Huntington. It seems that Mr. Huntington has been accused of a grievous injury to Yinzer Nation: He has done his job as General Manager of the Pittsburgh Baseball Club.

It’s one of the most thankless jobs in sports: PR manager for the White Sox, Bruce Pearl’s dry cleaner, Antti Niemi, and Pirates GM.

The crux of Mondesi’s argument is that the Pirates are making a big deal about signing Jameson Taillon and Stetson Allie when it should be business as usual. (Ignore his Aroldis Chapman argument: He was a free agent, not drafted.)

This is why Huntington can’t win. Half the columnists in town visit the sins of Bonifay and Littlefield on Neal, and the other half rip him when he defends himself from the first half.

Huntington’s real problem is that he can only make the same promises Bonifay and Littlefield broke, and until this stockpile of minor league prospects become major league talent, the won’t-be-fooled-again media will continue to use him as a punching bag. It’s Huntington’s lot in life to be cursed for not completing a Five Year Plan in two years.

Maybe if the Pirates had Dan Onorato’s campaign manager…