Monday, December 25, 2006
Merry Christmas everyone. I hope you all have a wonderful and safe holiday.
Saturday, December 23, 2006
UPDATE (12/23/2006 10:30 AM): I haven't seen this mentioned anywhere else other than Bucco Blog, so I am still pretty skeptical. Dejan reports that the Pirates have contacted Aubrey Huff, which could be a sign that trade talks for a hitter are cooling off. I would not like to see $23 million wasted on three years of Aubrey. We'll see what happens.
Friday, December 22, 2006
The Pirates recently signed three minor leaguers.
The Pirates signed 33 year-old catcher Einar Diaz to a minor league contract on Wednesday. This makes absolutely no sense, as they already have a backup catcher that provides no offense whatsoever. Humberto Cota went .190/.248/.200 for the Pirates last year, while Diaz put up an OPS under .600 at AAA. It's okay though, because at least Diaz is much older. But we shouldn't be wasting time signing catchers when there are so many mediocre middle relievers out there waiting to be picked up.
Ken Griffey Jr. hurt himself again, this time breaking his hand in the offseason. That poor guy could have been the best of all-time.
The Pirates signed this guy, as a player! He may look like a coach, but he will be playing at the AAA level for the Pirates in 2007. Sigh.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Pat came up with a reality television show starring Masumi Kuwata. Good stuff here.
Changing gears a bit, the Penguins future is still up in the air, as the Isle of Capri proposal was not awarded the slots license.
Look at that, a whole post without mentioning a Mike Gonzalez trade rumor. Oops.
Monday, December 18, 2006
Now it is time to study the details of NFL tie-breaker rules. I believe this is basically what must happen:
- Jets must lose at least one of their final two games (at MIA, OAK)
- Bengals must lose their remaining three games (at IND tonight, at DEN, Steelers)
- Jaguars must lose their final two games (NE, at KC)
- Steelers must win their final two games (BAL, at CIN)
If for some reason all of the above occurs and the Steelers slip into the postseason, people around the NFL are going to be upset.
Friday, December 15, 2006
In the same article, Dejan gives a quick overview of each of the eight minor league players that the Pirates signed yesterday. There is nothing very interesting there, unless you are excited about the return of Mike Edwards for some reason.
Also, the Trib is reporting that the Pirates have shown interest in free agent pitcher Joel Pineiro. Pineiro's statistics the past few years have been mediocre at best. My first reaction is that we have no reason to toss $7 million a year his way. I have read a few comments by matskralc in which he disagrees with me. His opinion is based on the fact that Pineiro has been a victim of high BABIP the past couple of years (5th highest in MLB in 2006). It's an interesting thought, even if the Pirates' defense would be unlikely to cause much improvement in that category.
(EDIT: The Trib article also reports the minor league free agent signings made by the Pirates yesterday. However, the information in the Trib conflicts with what was reported in the PG. I don't have the energy (nor do I care enough) to try to research which one is accurate.)
Thursday, December 14, 2006
- The Pirates filled their glaring hole at relief pitcher on Tuesday when they claimed Franquelis Osoria off waivers from the Los Angeles Dodgers and added him to the 40-man roster. Osoria has put up some decent minor league statistics in the past, but really struggled while splitting 2006 with the Dodgers and Las Vegas in AAA. He could end up being a fairly productive arm, but did we really need another mediocre middle reliever on the roster?
- The Pirates also tendered contracts to all of their players eligible for salary arbitration. Many of these players were easy decisions (such as Freddy Sanchez and Mike Gonzalez), but the team also decided to keep Shawn Chacon and Humberto Cota. Chacon makes sense, as he can fill the 5th spot in the rotation much more cheaply than any free agent could. But why Cota? He was one of the worst hitters in all of Major League Baseball last season, and the Pirates could very easily replace him with someone at a lower salary. However, the team can release any of these players by March and only owe 1/6 of his salary. Apparently, Chacon and Cota are simply fall back options. The Pirates also resigned Carlos Maldonado to a minor league contract.
- Mike Gonzalez trade rumors continue to float around. Reportedly interested are the Yankees, Red Sox, Diamondbacks, etc etc etc. Who knows?
There was something else I was going to talk about, but I forget what it was and the lunch break has been over for quite some time now. Maybe I'll get back to it later.
Monday, December 11, 2006
However, the same article states that the Braves and Pirates may still be discussing a trade for Adam LaRoche. Who knows if this is accurate or not, but there are a few new names thrown in. Here's what John Perrotto has to say about this:
"However sources close to the negotiations expect both sides to try to resurrect talks once cooler heads prevail and believe the potential is still there for a multi-player deal, including a possibility in which the Pirates would send left-handed closer Mike Gonzalez, catcher Humberto Cota, second baseman Jose Castillo and outfielder Nate McLouth to the Braves for right-hander Kyle Davies and LaRoche."
I'm not going to go any deeper into this, because I've wasted too much time thinking about it during the winter meetings. But I thought I would mention it.
Friday, December 08, 2006
Thursday, December 07, 2006
Also, here is Jake's take on the happenings of the past few days. Also here is today's Q&A from Dejan on the subject, as well as another article in today's PG.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Looking for something to lift my spirits in some way, I found this post on Bucco Blog. Jake claims to have a couple of new rumors that he is trying to confirm, and teases us by saying that one would "rock your socks."
Let's look a bit deeper into the stats of Adam LaRoche. You probably already know that he went .285/.354/.561 with 32 HR in 2006. His Win Probability Added (WPA, a measure of a player's ability to increase his team's chance of winning) was 1.20. His Runs Created per Game (RC/G) was 6.24. Both of these numbers are slightly above average. He is a solid defender, ranking 6th out of 21 qualified 1B in zone rating (.860), and in the middle of the pack in range factor (9.47). These are just some things to think about while we are bored with the limited action in Orlando.
UPDATE (12/06/2006 7:45 PM): According to this article on MLB.com, the Pirates and Braves are getting closer to a Gonzalez for LaRoche deal. This article says that the Braves are waiting only on medical clearance on Gonzo's elbow. Hopefully we will know more tomorrow.
Thanks to Uncle Nate on the comment board over at WHYGAVS for the lead to this article.
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Cory talks about the Pirates willingness to deal Mike Gonzalez. We can only hope that he is right.
Charlie has a few different links, and mentions names like Adam LaRoche, Ryan Church, and Brad Hawpe. Same names, new articles.
On the flip side, Jake is clearing up the rumors that he feels are just wrong.
In other news, Yuslan Herrera has made it to the U.S. and is looking to sign with the Pirates, DL does not expect to make a pick in the Rule 5 Draft, and Sammy Sosa has not signed with the Pirates. That is good.
Also, in this same article we read the sad news that Jim Tracy's father passed away on Thursday. You and your family are in my prayers, Jim.
Monday, December 04, 2006
On another note, Dejan from the PG is doing a daily live online chat from the GM meetings in Orlando. Take a look to see the answers he provided to fans' questions today.
Also, Jake from Bucco Blog discusses the Pirates revenue in his podcast from 12/03/2006. He believes it is possible that the team could have up to $106 million to spend if ownership wouldn't take an enormous profit first. Who knows what's going on inside those offices?
Sunday, December 03, 2006
1. What's your take on the Pirates' situation within the NL Central? What impact have free agent signings and trades within the division had on the Pirates as they move forward this offseason and enter the 2007 campaign?
2. Which pitcher in the Pirates' organization would you absolutely refuse to trade?
3. If you had Dave Littlefield's job, what's the first personnel move you'd make?
The Roundtable will be updated with new questions and responses each Monday. Feel free to leave any comments you have and get a discussion going over the next week.
Many thanks to Cory for the extra work he put in to make this project possible. Also, check out his site for some great reading.
Saturday, December 02, 2006
Cory found a story in which Bret Saberhagen claims he would decline induction into the Hall of Fame if he was voted in, in protest of the exclusion of Pete Rose. It is interesting that Bret would turn down such an amazing achievement to support someone he doesn't even know. And while I have never really formed a firm opinion either way on the Pete Rose issue, I support Saberhagen on his comments.
Earlier today, I remembered that Jody Gerut was still on our roster. I glanced at some of his stats, and learned that he has a pretty drastic split facing LHP/RHP. His numbers in 2004-2006 are an anemic .191/.304/.281 vs. lefties and a more servicable .275/.344/.431 vs. righties. While he doesn't have great numbers against righties, it got me thinking that a Jody Gerut/Xavier Nady platoon in right field would probably be the best plan for the Pirates in 2007. Nady's splits over the same period are also perfect for a platoon, at .331/.409/.506 against LHP and .243/.291/.418 against RHP. While Nady's overall numbers are obviously better than Gerut's, it probably wouldn't hurt to give some of his starts against right-handed starters to Gerut. Now all the Pirates need to make this work is that power-hitting first baseman. Anyway, the interesting part is that just a few hours after I started thinking about this, Jake posted some words by Jody Gerut from 2004. He actually sounds like a pretty intelligent guy.
Charlie has some updates on the recent signings of Glavine, Durham, Hawkins, and Posednick. Take a look at them.
The folks at Bucco Wire say that they will be in Florida for the Baseball Winter Meetings that run 12/4 -12/7 and promise any insider information they can come across. Insider information is swell.
Here is what Pirates.com thinks will happen at these Winter Meetings. Yawn.
Thursday, November 30, 2006
In today's Q&A, Dejan disagrees with my opinion that the Pirates would be foolish to pursue Jeff Suppan or Tomo Ohka via free agency. He makes some good points and I'll admit that he has me second guessing myself a bit.
If you're more of an audio person than a reading person, Jake at Bucco Blog has been doing podcasts almost daily this week. Here are links to Podcast #2, Podcast #3, and Podcast #4. (If you're looking for #1, he apparently was not satisfied and trashed it.) I have enjoyed listening to these, and I recommend you take a few minutes and do the same.
Tom Verducci at SI.com has a well-written article about overusing young arms (link via A New Pirates Generation). It is an interesting article that mentions Zach Duke and Paul Maholm.
Thursday, November 30, 2006
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Cory at A New Pirates Generation has an excellent post with details on the compensatory draft picks teams receive due to free agent signings. It is good information that any diehard should want to be aware of.
EDIT: Cory posted some more valuable information on this matter on Thursday.
CBS Sportsline's Larry Dobrow attacks Dave Littlefield in a way that is not often seen on mainstream websites. It is sad for a Pirates fan, because it is so true.
Turner Ward is the new manager of the State College Spikes, the Pirates' affiliate in the New York-Penn League. I have two very fond memories of Ward from his couple of years with the Pirates. The first, of course, is when he dove through the outfield wall at Three Rivers Stadium to catch a flyball, with the Pirates trailing 10-0! This single play defined Ward's playing career. The other was watching Ward easily circle the bases for an inside-the-park homerun while a young Andruw Jones lazily jogged after the ball in left-center field. If memory serves me correctly, this was a ground ball homerun. This single play, in my personal view, defines Jones' career. Anyway, it's a good day when I get to see Turner Ward's name in the news.
The Pirates announced the rest of their minor league managers and coaches today. I don't have anything interesting to say about this.
Pat at WHYGAVS summarizes the arguments on whether or not the Pirates should spend the money to bring in a veteran pitcher such as Suppan or Ohka.
A few weeks ago, Cory posted a list of possible Lefty McThumps the Pirates could look into acquiring, along with links to their stats at Baseball Cube. It's a nice resource, and I've found myself going back to it often. So I decided to temporarily link to it on the sidebar, right below ESPN's free agent tracker.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
John Bettis, father of Jerome Bettis, died earlier today. The sight of John and his wife Gladys standing among the Steelers' faithful each week was a comforting thing to see for many years. This is sad news.
Monday, November 27, 2006
EDIT: This was as far as I got this afternoon while on my lunch break. I came home tonight to finish the post and found out that the Pirates have now extended Marte's contract an additional year. Marte is now signed through the 2008 season with an option for 2009. I am not sure what to make of this move, especially since the financial details have yet to be revealed. The Pirates should primarily be focused on trading Marte before the 2007 season, not tying up future payroll on this left-handed reliever. My hope is that Dave Littlefield has something up his sleeve, and that he didn't just give Marte a raise on the contract he already had. Maybe DL was able to lock him up for an extra season at little more than the initial $3 million per year in order to increase his trade value. Maybe Dave saw the extraordinary contracts that have been given to average relievers recently, and realized that a lefty with an ERA under 4 and a relatively cheap 2-year contract could possibly bring something in a trade. Maybe he even has had contact with another team and has something in the works that helped cause this extension.
But because of recent history, I am nervous about this move. I am worried that Mr. Littlefield has been ignoring the glaring holes that need filled at first base, third base, right field, starting pitcher, etc. and is trying to build a contender through the bullpen again. I hope I am wrong, and I am interested to see what develops of this situation.
EDIT#2: Rotoworld has the finances of this contract at $2.45 million in 2007, $2 million in 2008, and a club option at $6 million for 2009 with a $250,000 buyout. This still doesn't make much sense. I have no idea why Marte would take less money, as it is very unlikely he will ever see that $6 million in 2009. This is a good deal for the Pirates, as they now have less money tied up in Marte, plus his trade value rises with the even cheaper contract. I am tired now, and ready for bed. I am also confused, because in the past two days the Steelers have lost 27-0 and the Pirates have apparently made a good move. What is this world coming to??
Thanks to Bucs Dugout and WTM for links.
Friday, November 24, 2006
It has also been mentioned that the Rockies want more than just Maholm, specifically Tom Gorzelanny. Personally, I would prefer to throw a reliever in with Maholm before letting go of Gorzelanny, as we have plenty of relievers to throw around. Gorzo for Hawpe straight up would probaby still be a good deal because of our desperation for offense, but I wouldn't be in quite as big of a hurry to make that move. We'll see how serious this rumor turns out to be.
This speculation is brought to you by Rotoworld.com and The Rocky Mountain News. Links provided by Pat at WHYGAVS and Cory at A New Pirates Generation.
Monday, November 20, 2006
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Thursday, November 16, 2006
One name on the list, first baseman Joe Koshansky, was also mentioned in Ed Eagle's most recent Q&A on Pirates.com. This article is mostly crap (for example, someone asks why the Pirates are letting Freddy Sanchez become a free agent), but Ed makes a good point in that the Pirates could get Koshansky for some pitching, one of their supposed strengths. Also, much like Ryan Shealy, Todd Helton is blocking Koshansky at the Major League level.
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
During the second period of tonight's game, Nils Ekman of the Pittsburgh Penguins scored three goals in 4:10, the fastest hat trick in Penguins' history. Although the Pens eventually lost in overtime, those few minutes had the fans losing their minds a bit down at the Civic Arena. I was losing it myself, I was so excited while watching the game on TV. I have to get down to a game real soon.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Yesterday he went through the history of the Pirates' logos and uniforms. This post also links to a couple of great sites that have a ton of information on past uniforms and logos.
Today, in the spirit of Election Day, he put together some fictitious political advertisements based on the hypothetical situation in which the Pirates GM had to be voted into office. One is supporting Dave Littlefield, the other is against him.
EDIT: Another link; Deadspin has an article about Woody Paige leaving Cold Pizza, and explains rather well what a waste of television space he was. It is a good day, as we now will have to deal with less Woody on our televisions (although apparently he will continue making appearances on Around The Horn [sigh]).
(Link via Mondesi's House, also check out a clip of Joey Porter's pal Jerramy Stevens taking a knee to the crotch.)
Saturday, November 04, 2006
Let's start with the previously discussed AL shortstop award, the easiest argument to make. Derek Jeter won the AL Gold Glove for shortstop for the third consecutive year (Note: The last time a guy not named Jeter, A-Rod, or Vizquel won this award, the Pirates were in the postseason), despite being below average in fielding percentage, range factor (RF), and zone rating (ZR) (Glossary). Out of nine qualified shortstops in the AL, Jeter ranked 4th in fielding pct. (.975), 9th in RF (4.14), and 7th in ZR (.810). Take away his average fielding percentage, a flawed statistical measure at best, and Jeter was arguably the worst defensive shortstop in the AL this season. Michael Young (ranked 2nd in RF and 2nd in ZR), Jhonny Peralta (1st, 6th), Juan Uribe (3rd, 1st), Miguel Tejada (4th, 4th), Carlos Guillen (7th, 3rd), and Orlando Cabrera (8th, 5th) all were more deserving than Jeter. Or in other words, 2/3 of all qualified shortstops. But then again, one time Jeter caught a pop-up and then went face first into the seats. Plus he won this award last year. So maybe he does deserve it every year until retirement.
Then there's Torii Hunter, who won his sixth straight Gold Glove in 2006. This marks the third consecutive season that the entire AL Gold Glove outfield remained the same. Hunter is an incredible athlete who seems to show up every night on Web Gems, but does that make him the best outfielder in the game, as he is often called? Personally, I think that over half of the great outfield catches we see should be much easier plays than they end up being, but that's another post for another day. Let's take a look at the stats. Out of ten qualified AL centerfielders, Hunter ranks 6th in range factor (2.56) and 7th in zone rating (.870). I would say that Corey Patterson has a beef here (2.94, .926), as does Brian Anderson (2.87, .883). Or how about Carl Crawford (2.24, .878), who had an outstanding RF for a leftfielder. And while we are discussing AL outfielders, Vernon Wells ranked dead last out of AL centerfielders with a RF of 2.34 (and if we want to bring back fielding percentage, he was next to last there too). But he won a Gold Glove for the third straight season. And Andruw Jones over in the NL, who won his 9th straight Gold Glove this season was last among all Major League outfielders with a pathetic ZR of .846.
There are many other 2006 winners that I could vent about here, but I am tired and don't feel like talking about such a stupid award anymore.
Qualifications = 2 games per 3 team games
Fielding Percentage = (PO + A) / (PO + A + E)
Range Factor (RF) = (PO + A) / innings
Zone Rating (ZR) = The percentage of balls fielded by a player in his typical defensive "zone," as measured by STATS, Inc.
All statistics provided by ESPN.com
Thursday, November 02, 2006
Pat at WHYGAVS takes a look at who the Pirates may consider putting on the trading block this offseason.
Cory at A New Pirates Generation continues to play fantasy GM after the alleged signing of Yuslan Herrera. There a bit of additional information provided in the comments section, plus someone who claims to be from Cuba.
Charlie at Bucs Dugout was reading the comics this morning. He also reports that Joe Randa expects to retire this offseason.
Finally, David at Baseball Analysts writes an interesting article about pitch location. I'm not sure that there's anything extremely valuable to learn from the data, but it's interesting nonetheless.
Now go and read. This writing thing is easier when you just use articles by other people.
EDIT: Here's an update on the Yuslan Herrera situation from the Post-Gazette (link via WHYGAVS). Basically Dave Littlefield declines an opportunity to confirm the signing, and also it states that Herrera likely would not be with the Major League club even if he is signed.
Pirates.com is reporting that a three year deal is set, pending only a physical.
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Friday, October 27, 2006
The Pirates could not under any circumstances keep Burnitz. But I wish him well and hope he finds somewhere else to play and succeed.
Sunday, October 22, 2006
And the Cardinals won tonight 7-2. Not to sound like I knew this might happen, because I didn't, but why were we so quick to mark this one down as over before it started? Yeah, the AL beat the snot out of the NL during interleague play. Yeah, the NL only had one team with 90+ wins.
Anything can happen in a seven game World Series. Over 11 seasons, Jim Leyritz averaged one homerun every 28 at-bats in the regular season . In the postseason, he homered every 8 at-bats, including a couple of clutch bombs. Hell, the Pirates took five straight from the Mets and Dodgers in September. ANYTHING can happen with a small sample size. Plus, the Tigers were anything but dominant in the second half of this season. They dropped 31 of their final 51 games and squandered a huge division lead before settling for a wild card berth. Nobody remembers that after a couple of postseason wins.
That said, the Tigers will quite possibly still take this series. A 7-2 loss in game one does not mean a thing. I hope they do. Andy Van Slyke deserves his ring.
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
EDIT-10/10/2006: Also, Charlie at Bucs Dugout has some additional input on the matter in his 2006 review of Bay.
Cory at Pirates Generation has a look into the 2007 Pirates. It's a nice breakdown of the roster and possibilities to improve it.
The Post-Gazette has a look back at the 2006 Pirates and a look forward to the 2007 Pirates.
Stats Geek also had a live chat yesterday that you should check out.
I apologize for linking to some older posts, but this blog is in its infant stage and I read some interesting items before it began.
Monday, October 02, 2006
- Two consecutive 2-1 losses last Saturday and Sunday to the Padres. Trevor Hoffman tied Lee Smith's saves record Saturday and broke it on Sunday. I am happy for him, but did not enjoy the conclusion of a lousy west coast trip that had started promising. I was able to watch very little of these two games, so I will not comment any further.
- The Pirates returned home to host the red-hot Astros on Tuesday. Houston was in the midst of an incredible surge upward in the standings that would eventually fall a bit short. I attended this game, and found only a bit to enjoy throughout the evening. The second inning was fun, as Bay and Bautista launched a couple of pitches well into the bleachers to briefly tie the game. Also Freddy had a typical four hit, two double night to take firm control of the batting race. Other than that, just your typical 7-4 loss.
- I was in attendance for Wednesday's game as well. This one started in a very promising manner, with Freddy bringing Duffy home with a first inning single (here's hoping we get to say that every day in 2007), Doumit ripping a second inning pitch over the centerfield fence, one more coming home in the third, and three runs scoring as the result of an Xavier Nady single in the fifth. Also, Shawn Chacon had quietly allowed just a sac fly through five innings and we were holding a strong 6-1 lead. But it all fell apart in the sixth, as Shawn Chacon ran out of gas after looking dominant just an inning before. The lead was cut to 6-5, and the Astros were able to scratch a run across against Torres in the ninth to tie it. And a game that was already dragging was extended several innings. I had to wake at 5 the next morning and the game did not end until after midnight. Plus, this was a game the Pirates had no right losing after our early lead. But I love extra-inning games way too much not to enjoy the night. There's just something exciting about being one of the last thousand fans remaining in the park as the game goes longer and longer. 14th inning stretches are great. I was on the scoreboard twice, since there was no inning-break entertainment planned and nobody else was really left to be shown. Yes, we lost. yes, I slept through the alarm in the morning. Yes, Freddy's two early hits were cancelled out a bit by extra at-bats. Yes, Houston did not give him a chance to win it, employing the intentional walk tactic. But I still had a blast.
- I was at work on Thursday and could not watch the game. It sounded as if Gorzelanny was throwing well, but all three hits that he allowed came in the fifth inning and three runs came across also. Oswalt shut us down and that was that.
- I was unable to watch the game again on Friday, and do not know much about what happened. Freddy had a couple of hits and the infield turned a slick double play. The losing streak is at eight.
- I went to the game on Saturday, and the losing streak ended. This one only lasted about 2 hours 20 minutes despite a 13 minute rain delay thrown in. McLeary either pitched well or the Reds saw that they had been eliminated from the playoffs and quit trying. Either way, a shutout is a good thing everytime. The Bucs got a couple of clutch hits from Paulino and Bautista, and Torres got the save to pull within one appearance of Tekulve's record. Freddy went 0-4 and will enter the final day of the season leading the batting race by only 3 points. It should be exciting.
- Sunday's game flew by also. Shane Youman looked pretty sharp (hard to tell from sec 210, but seven shutout innings is a decent measurement and he was breaking bats all game). Despite Youman's performance, Nady's three hits-including the game winner, and Torres tying Tekulve's record, this day belonged entirely to Freddy Sanchez. With thousands chanting his name, he calmly singled in his first two at-bats to clinch the batting title. While Miguel Cabrera took the rest of the day off after K'ing twice and losing any chance of coming back in the race, Freddy continued playing his heart out as the Pirates defeated the Reds 1-0. After Freddy's second hit, he was given a standing ovation while standing on first base. Eventually he gave in to the crowd and briefly raised his helmet to the crowd. The Post-Gazette compared that moment to Roberto Clemente acknowledging the crowd after hit number 3000. The tribute to Freddy after the game, while a bit dramatic, was great, and I was glad to be there for it.
In home games that I attended this season, the Pirates were 11-14. In two away games, they were 0-2. Wait 'til next year.
Saturday, September 23, 2006
Since this blog is in its infant stage, I will briefly tell a bit about myself. I am a lifelong fan of the Pirates, and here is a short history of what I remember (This might be a bit boring for many of you, I apologize in advance):
- My earliest memory is sitting in the upperdeck of Three Rivers Stadium in 1988 at four years old and watching Sid Bream hit a walkoff homerun on Richard Caliguiri day (checked retrosheet.org, it was May 6, 1988).
- In 1990, my dad got tickets so we could attend an NLCS game against the Reds. That morning I woke up sick, vomited in the school library, felt better, then vomited again during the car ride home and was told I would not be going to the game. Bogus.
- You might think the next thing I am going to say is how I shed tears after that fateful game in October 1992. I did not. I sat in silence with my dad and uncle in our basement where we watched the game. We were completely stunned, unable to speak for what felt like hours after what we had just witnessed. And that's enough about that.
- Since I started typing, Joe Randa broke up the no-hitter with a two-run shot. We lost 6-2. Sigh.
- We lost for some years, starting and restarting a few 5-year plans in the process. 1997 was pretty exciting, as a team in a complete rebuilding year fought for a playoff berth until the final few weeks. There were some fun games that year (no-hitter with a walkoff homerun, striking out overpaid Albert Belle 4 times in one game, the July 4th game in St. Louis, Joe Randa and Mark Smith back-to-back 9th inning homeruns to win against the Dodgers, etc.), but that was the closest we would come to the postseason.
That's about all I can think of to put in my brief personal Pirates history. I should note that I am a steadfast optimist and generally will give players and management the benefit of the doubt. (You will never read anything on this site about how Mark Cuban should buy the Pirates and lead them back to glory. Frankly I am tired of hearing that crap.) This point of view will make it difficult for me to be objective, but I will attempt to avoid being delusional about the Pirates chances for success (see yesterday's post where I basically guarantee that the Pirates will win the 2007 World Series). If you ever feel that I am failing in that attempt, feel free to call me on it. In fact, feel free to comment on anything if you agree or disagree with me. I would love to hear your opinion and discuss a bit.
Discussing the 1997 season has me again thinking about some of the most enjoyable Pirates games that I have attended in my life. Maybe I will put together a top ten list or something in the next week or so.
Friday, September 22, 2006
The one interesting thing I saw before falling asleep in the second inning was Jason Bay's single in his first at-bat. The one thing I would like to see Bay improve on for 2007 is his two-strike approach. Too often he still seems to be looking for a pitch to drive in these situations as opposed to simply trying to put the ball in play somewhere. Because of this, his strikeout total is high as he often is fooled by the pitch. Many times he goes down chasing a breaking ball off the outside corner (presumably looking fastball) or is frozen by the heat (possibly expecting something offspeed). I would like to see him shorten his swing with two strikes and react to the pitch rather than guess what is coming. Keeping his hands back and going to right field should decrease his strikeouts and make his game that much stronger. Not to mention he can still hit some homeruns in these situations, with his tremendous power to the opposite field.
Now to get back to what prompted all of that rambling. In the second inning last night, Bay was facing a two strike count (I think it was 1-2). The pitch was a slider, the type of pitch Bay doesn't always seem ready for when behind in the count. Granted this particular slider was pretty poor (flat and right out over the plate), but I was encouraged by the solid single Bay delivered up the middle. His swing was short and he seemed to be looking for just a base hit.
If the Pirates can acquire their power lefty this offseason to protect Bay, he should be able to cut down on his strikeout total. Here's hoping that player isn't a repeat of Jeromy Burnitz.
Looking forward to getting to watch the game tonight. Let's start another win streak.
Thursday, September 21, 2006
So this west coast trip is really hindering my ability to see the Pirates play. The 10 PM games don't really mesh well with the 5 AM wakeup. I only watched a couple of innings before muting the television and drifting off to sleep last night. So the only comments I can make come from reading recaps and such:
- It looks like Shawn Chacon pitched pretty well, making it a couple of solid starts in a row. Is it possible that when I marked that trade down as a bust three innings into his first start for us that I was being unfair? Probably, but was I wrong? Well that's a different story.
- Freddy Sanchez had four hits, including two doubles, and is baseball's leading hitter. No surprises there.
- When Jose Bautista batted for the first time in Tuesday's game, I said to those I was watching the game with, "Jose has really been struggling, especially his power." He singled in a run a few moments after that comment. Later in the game, he hit a grand slam. Yesterday he hit another homerun. And that is why people don't often take me seriously.
- Chris Duffy had a couple more hits as well as two stolen bases. It seems he attempted to bunt for a hit also, which I would like to see more of. I think Duffy's ability to become our everyday centerfielder and be productive will have a major impact on whether a successful 2007 season is coming. (Along with the hits and stolen bases, Duffy also struck out twice last night. That gives him 60 K's with only 16 BB this season. These are numbers he must improve on next season.)
That's all of the thoughts I can pull out of the box score. Look for the same tomorrow if I can find the time. Hopefully tomorrow night I will actually be able to watch the game and get a little more in depth.
Over the next week I plan on putting together some posts about some of the things I regularly daydream about. You can expect some entries about my favorite Pirate games of all time and maybe a Turner Ward reference or something. I would like to tell a little about myself also. We'll see what develops.
Hopefully Shane Youman can continue the bit of success he has enjoyed thus far tonight. Another sweep would be nice.
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
This past Monday, the defending Super Bowl Champion Steelers were pushed around by the Jacksonville Jaguars, a sight that Steelers fans are not used to seeing. This was obvious by the frustrated reactions of the folks watching the game around me (including myself). However, over the past week the Pirates have won six of seven, including four straight against first-place teams. While much of Pittsburgh has been busy worrying about Big Ben's health, I have enjoyed some extremely fun baseball. After suffering through 90 painful games to start the season, the past 61 have me excited again.
I spend much of my time daydreaming about the Pirates. I think it is time to write some of these thoughts down.