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Error on the Bucs: It has come to this: Pirates punish a pierogi

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Talk about dropping the ball. The promotional arm of the Pittsburgh Pirates ball club, which typically does a better job than the players on the field, made a big error last week when the team decided to fire one of its mascots for criticizing team management on his Facebook page.

For the past two years, 24-year-old Andrew Kurtz of New Brighton has been one of the 18 people who take turns dressing up in a pierogi costume and participating after the fifth inning at PNC Park in The Great Pittsburgh Pierogi Race N'at. Last Thursday, after news broke that Pirates president Frank Coonelly had extended the contracts of general manager Neal Huntington and manager John Russell through 2011 despite the team's dismal record, Mr. Kurtz made the ill-advised decision to post a complaint about it.

It's never a good idea to take on your boss in writing, and we can't blame the Pirates for expecting a member of the organization to refrain from joining the chorus of boos, but the team would have been much better off just warning Mr. Kurtz and letting this bad play slide.

The Major League Pirates can learn a lesson from the Washington Wild Things, the Frontier League franchise that plays at CONSOL Energy Park in Washington County.

The Wild Things saw public relations potential when the pierogi got into too much hot water. The team quickly offered Mr. Kurtz a gig as Harry Hot Dog, who competes against Kermit Ketchup and Mikey Mustard in the Albert's Meats Hot Dog Race at Wild Things home games. The current top dog and the condiments showed their support Saturday night by wearing black arm bands with a picture of the pierogi on them, and Mr. Kurtz is thinking about making the switch from pasta to meat.

Silly? You bet. Almost as silly as cheering as four pan-fried pierogis race along the warning track.

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