Ouch. It hurts.
Marty Brown feels your pain. Actually, he feels it better than anyone in these parts does.
As the on-the-field head of the Nashville Sounds family, Brown knows it has been a painful first half of the season for the Triple-A Sounds, the top minor league affiliate for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Yes, there have been actual injuries, like that of infielder Warren Morris, the team's top run producer (37 RBIs) heading into and out of the all-star break.
But the most pain comes while viewing and digesting the Pacific Coast League East Division Standings. Except for Day 2 of the season, the Sounds have found themselves in last place and looking up.
Thursday night the Sounds entered the second half of the season with a 40-49 record, nine games under .500 and 16.5 behind first-place New Orleans, which just took six straight games from the Sounds at Greer Stadium and claimed the season series, 12-4.
What makes it hurt even worse are the high expectations for the club. It was considered one of the top Triple-A farm teams in some circles. The Sounds won virtually all of their preseason games to head into the regular season on a high note.
Then reality, fate, or something set in, and whatever it was, it wasn't good. The Sounds quickly became a .500 team, then a sub-.500 club. A five-game losing streak and a 1-7 stretch helped send April out on a sour note.
During the Major league and Triple-A All-Star breaks, Brown got a chance to relax with his family: wife Kim, sons Jace and Zachary and daughter Alexia. The Browns visited relatives in Elizabethtown, Ky., went out on an area lake for an outing, planned to take in a movie and were guests for a function at the invitation of Reese Smith III, a minority owner of the Sounds.
Just before the break, The City Paper talked with Brown, 38, a former University of Georgia standout, a former Sounds' player (1988-89), an ex-big leaguer with short stints with Cincinnati and Baltimore and a 10-year pro player.
"Obviously, I'm not happy with the record (40-49 at the break)," Brown said in summarizing the first half of the season. "We have had a lot of movement [transactions], which is understandable in Triple-A