"John Russell was booted by the penurious Pirates after 299 defeats in three seasons, which extended the woebegone franchise's consecutive losing years to a major league record 18."
The Penurious Pirates. As plain as day. Penurious must be in Minnesota and I say that for two reasons.
First, as odd as it is for a common sports article to whoop out the word 'penurious', the paper in Minneapolis' sister city, St. Paul, used the same word shortly thereafter. From the Pioneer-Press:
"For years these have been the lovable, do-no-wrong Twins who persevered despite a penurious owner, pathetic payroll and abominable stadium."
So the Pirates and the owner of the Minnesota Twins are from penurious.
Second, the Pirates were also called the 'woebegone franchise'. This must be the same part of the country that Minnesotan Garrison Keillor is always telling tales about.
So, the Pirates are from penurious, which is in Minnesota and this is why they play ball in the NL Central and not the East.