Tag:Frank Coonelly
Posted on: February 23, 2012 11:17 am

Report: Pirates president charged with DUI

By Matt Snyder

Pittsburgh Pirates president Frank Coonelly has been charged with four counts related to a DUI back on December 22, reports the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Coonelly, 51, was reportedly driving the wrong way and had a blood alcohol content of over 0.16, which means he was more than twice the legal limit. This is Coonelly's first offense. He's currently with the Pirates for spring training in Bradenton, Fla. and has released the following statement, via Pittsburghlive.com:
"My actions that evening were irresponsible and wrong."

"I take full and sole responsibility for them. There is no excuse for ever driving under the influence of alcohol."

"My wife and I have preached to our children about the dangers of driving while under the influence of alcohol, not only for themselves but for the innocent drivers, passengers and pedestrians on the road," Coonelly said. "I am embarrassed that I failed to follow this advice myself on this occasion and extremely grateful no one was injured or adversely affected by this serious lapse of judgment."

"I have apologized to my wife and children, to Bob Nutting and to all of those at the Pirates organization who work so tirelessly for the club. I would also like to apologize to all of the fans and friends of the Pittsburgh Pirates. My conduct that night was uncharacteristic to my personally held values and not who I am. I will learn from this serious lapse of judgment."
Coonelly has a wife and four children. Prior to taking over as the Pirates' president in September of 2007, he was Major League Baseball's general counsel, where he advised on arbitration hearings, draft bonuses and the like. Before that, he was a lawyer in private practice in the Washington D.C. area.

His arraignment is scheduled for March 20.

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Posted on: June 16, 2011 12:45 am
Edited on: June 16, 2011 9:20 am

Pirates want to switch divisions, not leagues

PNC Park

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The Pirates are lobbying to be realigned, but only into a different division, not a different league.

Pittsburgh would like to be part of the National League East, Pirates president Frank Coonelly tells Joe Starkey of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

"I have made some points to [MLB]," Coonelly told Starkey. "I wouldn't over-read it to suggest I'm getting traction yet. While the [collective bargaining agreement] discussions are ongoing, I'm letting them know where we stand."

Still, the Pirates do not want to move to the American League.

"We like it in the National League," Coonelly said. "We have a long history there."

Technically speaking, Pittsburgh is farther east than Atlanta and slightly more so than Miami, and the closest National League park to Atlanta's Turner Field is Cincinnati's Great American Ball Park.

Still, there doesn't seem to be an overwhelming reason to move the Pirates to the NL East without a massive reorganization of the divisions.

Starkey suggests in his column the Pirates move to the American League Central, setting up a rivalry with Cleveland and Detroit, while moving Kansas City to the AL West.

I don't really see either happening. Even if realignment happens, don't expect the Pirates to be movng anywhere. 

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Posted on: September 3, 2010 10:52 am
Edited on: September 3, 2010 12:23 pm

Pirates president unhappy with team

Paul Maholm There could be a regime change in Pittsburgh, as a projected 109-loss season stares the Pirates in the face.

"I have been extremely disappointed in the team's performance,'' president Frank Coonelly told Bob Nightengale of USA Today. "We are evaluating every aspect of our operation in order to determine how we can get the club moving in the right direction immediately."

That includes assessing the work of GM Neal Huntington and manager John Russell, two with contracts through 2011.

The Pirates certainly expected a losing season in 2010, but not one that could be the team's worst since 1953, when the team went 50-104 for a .325 winning percentage. Pittsburgh is currently at 44-89 with a .331 winning percentage.

The team has an intriguing future ahead, with Andrew McCutchen manning center field, Jose Tabata in left and power-hitter Pedro Alvarez at the hot corner. Second baseman Neil Walker has also turned heads, but their decrepit offense still ranks near-last in the majors, thanks to the incoming rookies adjusting to big-league ball and some disappointing seasons by young veterans such as Garrett Jones and Lastings Milledge.

The pitching, on the other hand... is just as bad as the hitting. When a 4.07 ERA is the lowest of any starting pitcher with at least 11 starts, you know you're in trouble. No. a 4.07 ERA isn't terrible for Ross Ohlendorf, but it shouldn't be the best on the team. Speaking of the minimum 11 starts, Charlie Morton has exactly that number of starts with an unsightly 10.03 ERA attached to it. Nice.

"While we have made tremendous progress executing a sound plan to overhaul a broken system and return this once-proud franchise to its tradition of winning baseball, we have only one benchmark by which we measure ourselves and that is wins and losses at the Major League level," Coonelly adds. "By that benchmark, we have badly underachieved."

This is where things diverge between Coonelly and common sense. The last several seasons have featured a mass exodus of quality players -- players like Jason Bay, Xavier Nady, Freddy Sanchez, Adam LaRoche, Nate McLouth, Jack Wilson, Tom Gorzelanny, Matt Capps and Nyjer Morgan. (Although, at this point, Morgan may be addition by subtraction ). 

No, these players weren't enough to get the Bucs to .500, but they certainly didn't exactly hurt the goal of .500 either. To dump all these players and replace them with fringe major-league veterans plus a bevy of prospects doesn't instantly translate to wins. A large number of these prospects either didn't pan out or are still in the minors, which was expected. Those that have reached the majors yet haven't produced instant results, but despite the sheer talent of NL rookies who have entered the bigs this year, rookies tend to have a learning curve. Is it any surprise, then, that the young major-leaguers have underperformed who they are replacing?

No, not really. So additional losses shouldn't have been a surprise. It's only when you go from a 95-loss team to a 105-plus loss team that it really crystallizes just how awful a team is.

"Our sole focus is determining why that is the case and making the decisions necessary to achieve our goal of giving Pirate fans winning baseball again as quickly as possible. '

As for the fates of Huntington and Russell, their culpability is less than clear. Huntington has done a fine job at building up a stable of prospects but also making a few curious moves. The Jason Bay mega-deal was a failure, as Brandon Moss nor Andy LaRoche have helped the team, while Bryan Morris is 23 and stuck in Double-A. Yes, Morris still has a chance to help, but even if he cracks the bigs as a solid starter or reliever one day, the return for Bay remains poor. In addition, the head-scratching move to dump Matt Capps in the offseason has completely blown up in Huntington's face as has the odd trade of Gorzelanny to the Cubs.

So no, Huntington hasn't been perfect. But he hasn't been awful, either. He has cobbled together strong drafts since joining Pittsburgh in October 2007 and is in the process of infusing the team with exciting young players. Other than Ohlendorf and Tabata, however, no external acquisition has worked out yet.

The judgment for Russell is less certain, and it seems all but a done deal that his head will roll after the season. After all, the manager is always the first to go. Huntington will likely get one more year to prove himself, but that's all he'll get -- so you may see a more aggressive general manager making moves in the winter.

-- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: June 17, 2010 4:18 pm
Edited on: June 17, 2010 4:19 pm

Huntington, Russell with Pirates through 2011

John Russell The Pittsburgh Pirates may be in the midst of its worst performance since GM Neal Huntington and manager John Russell took over, but president Frank Coonelly isn't giving up.

Amid speculation that Russell was on the hot seat , Coonelly announced that both Huntington and Russell had their contracts extended through 2011.

The extensions happened in spring training, when Russell's option was exercised and Huntington's had an extra year tacked on. Coonelly has resisted clarifying contract statuses in the past, but felt the need to do so amid whispers a change would be forthcoming in management.

"While we have demonstrated in the past that a contract will not prevent us from making a change if one is appropriate and thus contract status truly is irrelevant, we will confirm that during the offseason we exercised the club's 2011 option on JR's contract and added a fourth year to Neal's contract," Coonelly wrote in a statement via e-mail, reports the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review .

"We did so because we believed that they were successfully implementing the organization's vision of building a baseball organization that could compete for championships on a consistent basis," Coonelly added.

While Russell's contract status would not inhibit a firing if the team felt the need to, it's clear the Pirates have no interest in severing ties with Russell.

"While dismissing the manager when the club is performing poorly is common in this industry, it is not the appropriate response in this case," Coonelly said. "JR's contract status has played no role in this determination. "

Despite the poor play thus far (23-42 entering play Thursday) the team has graduated several top prospects to the bigs recently. Pedro Alvarez joined Brad Lincoln and Jose Tabata on Wednesday, forming a core along with Andrew McCutchen the team hopes will push Pittsburgh back to respectability -- soon.

-- Evan Brunell

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com