Poof! There Goes Another Face Of The Franchise . . .

Posted on June 4, 2009. Filed under: MLB | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

DO THE PITSBURGH PIRATES EVEN HAVE A FRANCHISE PLAYER?  Sure, second baseman Freddy Sanchez won the National League batting title in 2006 – wait, you didn’t know a Pirate led the league in batting recently?  Well, he did – but he never really stuck as “the guy”.   And every year that management claims to have signed the “face of the franchise”, they turn around and trade him for minor league prospects and reep the ires of their tired fanbase.  Pittsburgh’s once beloved Buccos have become faceless. 

Nate McClouth Makes One of His Many Spectacular Plays as a Pirate

Just yesterday the Pirates traded freshly signed, All-Star centerfielder, Nate McClouth, who last year won the first gold glove for a Pirates’ player in ten years, to Atlanta for three prospects.  Here are the details.  The positive?  The move makes way for celebrated centerfielder, Andrew McCuthchen, to play on the big stage.  A consolation prize of sorts . . .

This follows the big splash move – well, not for Pittsburgh – of last season where the Pirates sent Jason Bay to the Red Sox to replace Manny Ramirez in Left Field as he escaped as far away as he could from Boston in a three way trade to Los Angeles.   What did the Pirates get?  Pieces for the “future”.  And fans are waiting to see a glimmer of hope from Brandon Moss and Andy LaRoche, who are starting in the big leagues, but haven’t yet delivered in a way that replaces fan favorite, Jason Bay.

Outfielder Brandon Moss has 7 homeruns in the 90 games he’s played in Pittsburgh, is hitting .242 over that span and strikes out once every four at bats.  His fielding is not terrible and he’ll pull out a gem every now and again, but he’s not the “amazing” player the management touted he would be.  Not yet . . .

After a forgettable start to his Pirates career in 2008, Andy LaRoche is rounding into form so far this year, batting nearly .300 with 13 doubles and making some spectacular plays at the hot corner, not withstanding his terrible 3 error performance in the first two games of the season, of course . . .   

With Jason Bay instrumental in the Red Sox playoff run last year and already totaling 16 dingers for Boston this season, Pittsburgh fans feel like they’ve just sucked on a bushel of lemons . . . SOUR.

There might be hope for the future, but the loyal fans that support the once proud participant in the “City of Champions” have been waiting 16 years for a winning team to cheer on. 

Not for bobbleheads, fireworks and Styx concerts . . .

Yes, this is only the second year with new management, and President Frank Coonelly and GM Neal Huntington are focusing on the hated “future” during a season where it is imperative that the team gets to at least 81-81 or else they will hold the most dubious distinction of WORST FRANCHISE IN PRO SPORTS via their 17 consecutive losing seasons . . .

Haven’t the Bucco faithful been waiting long enough?

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MLB Quick Hitters . . .

Posted on April 14, 2009. Filed under: MLB | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

As we move into the meat of the second week of the young baseball season, I have a few thoughts on what has taken place so far on the diamond:

I GOT 5 ON A STEINBRENNER EXPLODING . . . Hey Bud Selig, I would dedicate an official to monitoring Alex Rodriguez closely as he rehabs.  Someone in the Yankees organization just might try to pump him up with HGH so he can heal faster.  Cody Ransom looks lost in the field and is batting .083.  Nick Swisher is leading the team in every offensive category, which is NOT a good thing, and he pitched a scoreless eighth inning last night in the game against the Rays that should have ended in the 5th inning via the mercy rule.   Watch the madness for yourself:

P.S.  And the Pirates have a better record.  We are just starting the 2009 campaign, and Joe Girardi has got to be looking over his shoulder . . .

OH WHERE OH WHERE HAVE MY CY YOUNG AWARD WINNERS GONE?  I could have told you that Cliff Lee was going to fall off the face of the Earth this year.  In fact, I did on my radio show  when I previewed fantasy baseball action.  He was always inconsistent, and in 2007 was even sent to the minors, without pitching 100 innings at the major league level.  Could last year be an “I’m going to show them” aberration?  With an 0-2 record and an ERA of 9.90, it’s looking that way so far.  We’ll see.

Tim Lincecum is also sitting ugly with an ERA of 7.56, winless in two starts this season.  Lincecum is having trouble locating his heat with only 56.1% catching the strike zone.  Last year he had amazing command with two-thirds of his fastballs thrown for strikes as he led the majors in strikeouts.  With two seasons of work to scout, hitting coaches will have more material to research so batters won’t be as wide eyed at the plate, and that’s expected during a young pitcher’s development. 

However, I’m more confident in Lincecum shaping up once he regains confidence in his fastball than I am in Lee figuring out whatever it is that’s making last season’s performace look like mirage . . .

 

Nyjer Morgan leads the Pirates in hits (12) and average (.387)

Nyjer Morgan leads the Pirates in hits (12) and average (.387)

QUICK!  END THE SEASON . . .

At 4-3, the Pittsburgh Pirates are still above .500.  They look like they have a new attitude and it starts with their scrappy lead off hitter and left fielder, Nyjer Morgan.  He is tearing up the base paths with an OBP of .424 and 3 steals, breaking up double plays and drawing from his hockey playing days to take out catchers at the plate – just ask Ramon Hernandez of the Reds what it feels like to be bulldozed.  In Sunday’s loss to Cincinnati, Jack Wilson and Freddy Sanchez not only turned an amazing, “oh no you didn’t” double play, but they chimed in on a triple play, the first for the franchise in 16 years.  Oh, what a coincidence, the Pirates haven’t had a winning season in 16 years either . . . 

PLUS . . . pitcher Zach Duke is returning to form, undefeated in two starts at 2-0 with a minuscule ERA of .59.  Pirate fans are wearing out their knees, praying that they can keep this up, avoiding their 17th consecutive losing season and the distinguished title of professional sports’ worst franchise.  Let’s go Bucs . . .    

CARL PAVANO’S ERA IS 81.00 . . . No, that’s not a typo.  Plus he’s making $11 million this season.  Where’s Alyssa Milano when you need her?  Heck, with Cleveland’s pitching making fans sick, they’d be better off bringing in Charlie Sheen to pitch as Rick Vaughn.  At least they’d be entertained while almost winless . . .

YOU RANG?  Is it me, or does Aaron HARANG look like Lurch from the Addams Family?   At 6’7″ he’s definitely tall enough.  To get the full effect you have to pronounce Harang in the same drawn out, creepy way Lurch delivered his infamous line “You rang?”  See for yourselves . . .

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