Who Invited Murphy To The Party?

Posted on June 3, 2011. Filed under: MLB | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

Funny how things work.

Going into Thursday’s series wrap up contest with the Mets, Paul Maholm was 2-7.  With an ERA of 3.18. That’s not a typo . . . 3.18.  He’s been pitching out of his mind to start the season, but the offense seemingly refused to provide run support.  Yet Maholm went on, day in and day out, quality start after quality start, giving his team a chance to win.

Pitcher Paul Maholm Couldn't Hang On This Time . . .

Inevitably, someone invited Murphy to lay down the law yesterday afternoon.  The Mets’ Daniel Murphy, I suppose.  Little bugger caused all kinds of havoc for the Bucs this series. Regardless, the runs just came crashing in on Maholm.  Wouldn’t you know the day the lineup fluffs a seven run cushion for Maholm to sit on, he blew it.

Bound to happen, I say.  The starting pitchers were not going to sustain the mind-blowing 1.67 ERA they had logged in the thirteen games prior to Thursday’s collapse.  At some point, the feeble offense of late had to buck up and make something happen.  And unfortunately for Paul Maholm, he couldn’t hold it together when they did. 

You win some, you lose some, right?  All the matters is how you respond.  Unlike last year, or the year before that, or the year before that, or . . . let’s just say “in a long time”, this is a team primed to galvanize. I feel as if there are leaders within the clubhouse at both managerial and player level that this Pittsburgh team hasn’t had in many years.  Obviously, Hurdle brings confidence and a steady, even keeled cornerstone of attitude to the ebbs and flows of a very long season, and a veteran “been here before” energy comes from Lyle Overbay.  And I’d be remiss to not mention the noticeable spark from call up, Josh Harrison.  I’m really liking this kid.  

BUT what can’t be overlooked or underestimated, is the consistent performance and unwavering presence of Neil Walker. I think he can take the club on his back. It’s his hometown team. He doesn’t say die. I’m sure there’s a fuel to his fire that not only inspires him, but also rubs off on his teammates. At least it should.

The PA Turnpike Series begins tonight.  Here’s that opportunity to respond.  Let’s see if the pitching can recreate some of its recent magic and if the bats can stay hot.  They’ll need both to come out with a series victory against the Phillies.

Time to galvanize, Buccos.

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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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No Hands . . .

Posted on April 28, 2009. Filed under: Beer, MLB | Tags: , , , |

PNC Park, Pittsburgh

PNC Park, Pittsburgh


During a recent rainy visit to watch the Pirates on dollar ticket night – hey, they had to do something to attract fans while the Penguins were playing playoff hockey, although there were probably only 8,000 people in the stands anyway – my husband and I were lucky enough to run into a father and son who couldn’t sit in the front row of the left field bleachers because the 6 year old couldn’t see over the fence.

That’s right, they gave us their seats.  Close enough to pat the left fielder on the tookas . . .

My husband Jason tells the little boy with his tiny glove on, “If I get a ball from Nyjer Morgan (Buccos’ left fielder) I am going to give it to you.”  The kid was thrilled!  A promise of a real, live, major league game used baseball . . . you could plainly see that he could feel it in his little hands already.

So what happens?

Before the beginning of the first inning, Jason is yelling for Nyjer to throw the warm up ball to him, and I mean really workin’ it for that ball to give to the young man like he promised.   Nyjer Morgan turns around and obliges.  Here it comes!  Jason tries to balance a beer in his left hand as he reaches up to snag it out of the air.  Then THUD . . . .

It hit him right in the palm as his $8 beer was spilling out of the cup . . . and he missed it.  It bounced off of his hand, onto the ground where a fan with a glove scooped it up . . . 

Nyjer Morgan waves him off with a big smile on his face as if to say, “how’d ya miss that McFly?”  A minute later, after the crowd dissipated, that cute, wide-eyed, grateful little boy comes over to Jason and says


Then walked away . . .

It was one of the funniest scenes I had ever well, seen . . .

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Opening Day Baseball Thoughts . . . So Far . . .

Posted on April 6, 2009. Filed under: MLB | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

What Does Opening Day Mean To You? 

Sunshine glistening off the finely trimmed grass, diving catches that make you say “did you see that?!” and walk-off homeruns, completing inconceivable comebacks. 

Let’s not forget the smells . . . popcorn, roasted peanuts, hot dogs and nacho cheese, and the excitement to get to eat them without your fingers freezing off like they did during football season . . . and I don’t want to hear from people in warm weather cities that don’t have to balance gloves, handwarmers, nachos, a hot dog, a beer – or two, and your cell phone, necessary to keep track of your fantasy team, all in sub-freezing temperatures.  It just doesn’t count . . .

In Pittsburgh, Opening Day is like a gateway to Spring.  And today it’s snowing.  Can you belive it?  It happens . . . just ask Cleveland. 

Here are a few interesting observations from today’s first full day of baseball:

  • The Yankees’ Hundred Million Dollar Men – I suppose that narrows it down to most of their team, although I am talking about the latest additions, big splash free agents, Mark Teixiera and C.C. Sabathia.  They gave “bombers” a whole new meaning today as they both stunk up Camden Yard against Baltimore this afternoon.  Sabathia didn’t get out of the fifth inning as he gave up six runs, eight hits, five free passes and went strikeout-LESS.  How do you like the initial return on that $161 Million investment, eh?  Teixeira left five runners on base, unable to connect at the plate going 0-for4 with a walk to the delight of the Orioles’ hometown crowd that feels slighted by Teixeira who flirted with the birds before signing with the evil empire.
  • The American League 2008 Cy Young Award Winner, Cleveland Indians’ Cliff Lee, already has one-third of his loss toal from a year ago as he was rocked for seven runs in five innings by the Texas Rangers.  Lee has always been a streaky pitcher, trust me, I had him on my fantasy team twice.  One above average year and one BAD, very bad year.  Last season he went 22-3 and was just on a very long hot streak.  He won the Cy Young and we did not draft him this year.  It’s kinda like Freddy Sanchez of the Pirates winning the 2006 NL batting title . . . not going to happen again.
  • The pair of Sox teams both postponed their opening day games to tomorrow, due to inclement weather.  The Royals are enjoying the snow in the Chicago forecast and the Red Sox have another day to think about beating the Rays . . . not that they need it, I’m sure they’ve been thinking about it since last October.
  • Oh Canada – stop throwing debris on the diamond . . . During the bottom of the eighth inning, Toronto led Detroit by a score of 12 to 5, and the Rodgers Centre fans began throwing garbage onto the field.  You read it right, the Blue Jays were on top by seven runs and the home crowd began tossing crap on the field . . . someone even threw a baseball at the Tigers’ outfielder Josh Anderson.   Straighten up Toronto, that’s ridiculous.   
  • The Pittsburgh Pirates came back from a two run deficit in the ninth to beat the St. Louis Cardinals 6-4.  The come from behind win delays the “here we go again” mentality from taking hold of Bucco nation . . . We’ll see just how long they can keep fighting and hold out hope for their fans – THEY ARE IN PAIN – that they can avoid becoming the sole owner of the record for most consecutive losing seasons in professional sports history.  They are currently tied with the 1933-1948 Philadelphia Phillies at 16 years of losing seasons.  

Happy Opening Day Everyone!  Here’s a classic baseball clip for your viewing fun:

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