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I wonder if MLB franchises have considered running academies as in the European soccer system. Take promising kids in and give them a high school with quality education, free room and board, and of course baseball training and competitions. This could be a good way for teams to give back to the communities that pay for their stadiums, with the benefit to the league that they could encourage many athletic kids into baseball instead of the other sports. Not to mention getting to directly train kids properly -- today's high school coaches aren't too worried about blowing out young arms.
Given the years of development required to make a successful major leaguer I think baseball is maybe the worst possible sport to do this. That is, at age 18 it's fairly easy to spot a future basketball star, whereas baseball teams still have no idea. But whichever sport does it first will have major inroads with the best athletes from that generation.
1 month, 1 week ago on Conversation @ http://whygavs.com/february-2015/andrew-mccutchen-baseball-freezes-out-lower-income-kids.html
@Carnegie Chip I was going to write out my own thoughts, but I'll just tack on to yours.
Pat, thanks for the effort put into this space all year. And thanks to everyone working on the field, in the gym, and in the offices to make the Pirates such an enjoyable team to follow.
5 months, 3 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://whygavs.com/uncategorized/nl-wild-card-game-giants-8-pirates-0.html
@wkkortas ...Is it now too late to do that?
5 months, 4 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://whygavs.com/october-2014/the-2014-national-league-wild-card-game-theres-not-much-left-to-say.html
[Geordi surveys the competition, then goes back to the holodeck to make himself another girlfriend]
8 months ago on Conversation @ http://whygavs.com/july-2014/game-105-pirates-5-giants-0.html
I understand the reasoning thinking that the DH is inevitable, but somehow I just can't see organizations like the Cubs, Cardinals, and Giants simply rolling over and agreeing to play a different game after more than 100 years. I think it'll be a more protracted argument.
9 months ago on Conversation @ http://whygavs.com/june-2014/game-78-rays-5-pirates-1.html
@wkkortas Ah crap, I'm going to take the bait. Florida and Florida State play regularly, Clemson and Georgia both schedule Clemson. LSU's schedule in the last few years has included Wisconsin, TCU, Oregon, and UNC at neutral sites as well as home-and-homes with West Virginia, Washington, and Arizona State. Please don't make me defend Auburn or Alabama. Point is, I think there was a time this was true, but hasn't been so for a while.
Anyway, I think we can all agree that we miss the Astros.
9 months, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://whygavs.com/june-2014/game-66-pirates-4-cubs-0.html
Coming down Bigelow at 11:30 tonight I saw they had all the lights on in PNC Park. I'm pumped, let's go!
1 year ago on Heyman: Pirates agree to extension with Starling Marte
Still the best baseball writer around. Thank you, Pat. Thanks for being the voice of Pirates fans, for Pirates fans. Thanks for giving us a place to celebrate and commiserate. Thanks for making it easier to be a Pirate fan.
1 year, 5 months ago on Thank yous and programming notes
Today feels a little strange. No more baseball. Up until the 27th out last night there was still a chance the Pirates could win the championship. Now, no chance. And we're looking at 355 days and 162 games to even get back to this point. I'm sure soon I'll smile about the Astros running into each other, Pedro bombs out of the stadium, the ball ricocheting off the pitcher's glove and into outfield in the Cardinals doubleheader, what should be an award-winning season from McCutchen, Cole putting it together in September, a sea of black across the Clemente bridge. And I know I'll smile a long, long time about "Cueeeeetoooo". But today? Still disappointed that it's over.
1 year, 5 months ago on NLDS Game 5: Cardinals 6 Pirates 1 (and so much more)
Where did Matt Adams go to college?
1 year, 5 months ago on NLDS Game 5 Preview: Gerrit Cole vs. Adam Wainwright with an NLCS berth on the line
So... would you say it's time for us to crack each other's heads open and feast on the goo inside?
Alright, it's going to take at least three runs to win the game. Gotta get Wainright out of the game somehow. Get some hits, work some counts. Something.
Aaaaagh, three more hours!!!
1 year, 5 months ago on The end is the beginning is the end
In the player introductions before the wild card game and NLDS game three, AJ got among the loudest ovations. There have been times where his performance has lead to some hand wringing, but I don't think there's any question how much value he has had to the team.
1 year, 5 months ago on On Gerrit Cole
Beautiful day, huge game, and I can't get away from work. I'm just going to spend the next five hours doing the "I'm missing the chili cook-off" dance in my office.
1 year, 5 months ago on NLDS Game 4 Preview: Finish it today (Charlie Morton vs. Michael Wacha)
@wkkortas Sure, there were a lot of hard hit balls off of Liriano that found gloves. But did the Cardinals really do that much that you would say they deserved to win and not the Pirates? I'd call it a close game that could've gone either way, happened to go our way.
1 year, 5 months ago on NLDS Game 3: Pirates 5 Cardinals 3
@JeffreyMccartney @mwr505 @LastingsMilledgeville All good points here. Maybe I shouldn't be so critical about attendance for a Thursday afternoon regardless of the situation. However, isn't their complacency a mark _against_ the narrative that they're the best fans in baseball?
1 year, 5 months ago on NLDS Game 2: Pirates 7 Cardinals 1
@LastingsMilledgeville Out of curiosity I checked on Stubhub the other day before the start of the series. St Louis had tickets available for $20. Standing room only for the first game in Pittsburgh is $190. I don't expect Cardinals fans to be as excited about the division series as we are; but really, twenty dollars??
Was there any doubt about that?
1 year, 5 months ago on NLDS Game 2 Preview: Don't Panic (Gerrit Cole vs. Lance Lynn)
Any chance we'll see Gaby Sanchez?
Darn. That was a nice swing
Time for the three-run homer from Cole....
@wkkortas Don't question it, just go with it
@wkkortas @Eephus I'll take a single. It's just nice to have one pitcher that isn't an automatic out.
Better dead than red. Go get 'em, Bucs!
1 year, 5 months ago on NLDS Game 1 Preview: AJ Burnett and Adam Wainwright
Just got back. Leading a standing ovation in the upper deck for Byrd coming out to warm up. "Let's go Bucs!" drowning out the Reds' introductions. Cheering like we won the World Series after Liriano's first strikeout; knew it was his night by the end of the first inning. Byrd homers. Cueto drops the ball. Cueto serves up another homer. "MVP! MVP!" Shouting down a guy who wanted to start the wave with "Liriano! [clap,clap, clap clap clap]" The crowd refusing to get down whenever any of our pitchers got into trouble. Piling on the runs. Grilli locks it down. Everyone just stands and cheers for another five minutes before we even think about leaving. Amazing night.
(Cueto dropped the ball!)
1 year, 5 months ago on NL Wild Card: Pirates 6 Reds 2
@LastingsMilledgeville -1 minute. Liriano throws one into the opposing dugout during warmups.
1 year, 5 months ago on Do the do
1 year, 5 months ago on National League Wild Card Game preview: This is what we've been waiting for
The old system pitted the wild card team against the best team in the league on equal terms for a best of five series. Was it fair in 2011 with the 90-win Cardinals against the 102-win Phillies, first one to three games? Your argument against the new system is valid, but I think the old system might've been less fair, since it's treating teams with a higher win disparity as equal.
Really I find the obsession we have with playoffs is ridiculous. In European soccer leagues, you play every team twice, once at home and once away. Absolutely fair. Also has the chance to have the winner decided a month before the season ends, but that's the price you pay.
1 year, 5 months ago on The one game playoff is ridiculous
@Carnegie Chip Agreed. If we finish third then we're ecstatic that there's another wild card now, right?
Actually I'm pretty much ok with the wild card playoff game, assuming you want to make it "important" to win the division. Every American sport says that's their goal, only baseball has now succeeded. Just look at the level of intensity over the last three weeks as all three teams were terrified of the wild card game, followed by the race to at least host the game.
1 year, 6 months ago on Game 159: Cubs 4 Pirates 2
Back in June it became clear that September/October would be the best time for my vacation. I made sure the flight back was on September 30. Sad to miss the stretch run, but so, so happy to buy playoff tickets. Congrats to everyone wearing black and yellow today.
New goal for the team, Cutch gets to play the day after his birthday.
1 year, 6 months ago on The Pirates are going to the playoffs
@MattGajtka @mwr505 @Eephus Yeah, I might not remember back that far, but I don't think we were ever "natural rivals" with Cleveland. They were playing Cincy, Baltimore playing DC and Philly, which left us with no one. Detroit works out in a "let's compare our post-industrial economies" way. And I actually think the four-day, two-city series was ok. It's a long season, gotta do something different once in a while.
1 year, 6 months ago on Game 145: Pirates 7 Rangers 5
@mwr505 Houston moving to the AL meant that MLB's schedule makers had to throw out all the models they had previously used and design something from scratch, including year-round interleague play. So we got a four-game series spread across two cities, 3-weeks straight with no off-days in April and again in September, four off-days in the three weeks leading to the All-Star break, and not seeing a division opponent for three and a half months (out of a six month season). No conspiracy, just a new situation that they didn't quite figure out how to deal with. I haven't looked too hard at next year, but hopefully they've fixed a few things.
Memo to Mr. Hurdle: However many innings you think AJ can go, subtract one and plan accordingly. Thank you.
1 year, 6 months ago on AJ Burnett tries to finish off a sweep in Arlington
I moved to this fine city around the start of the Littlefield era, went looking for Pirates blogs a couple years later when I started really following the team and also wondering why they seemed to be stagnating. WHYGAVS has always been the home of solid baseball analysis, but more importantly, some of the most honest emotion you'll find on the internet. Reading the comments section it always seemed more like group therapy than a bunch of people talking about baseball.
So thanks to Pat for sticking it out for so many bleak years. Congrats to you, and all the others who have found the time to write a few words in the threads. wkkortas, bwzimmerman, savage beast, carnegie chip, nick juneau, mornacale, azibuck, miniplen to name a few, I'm happy you all got to experience 82. Here's to October.
1 year, 6 months ago on 82 wins
@TomBrenholts @Eephus Eh, everyone gets to have their own feelings. And one of the things I've harped on in my time here is that the good moments are the good moments. Even if this season ends poorly, everyone gets their own personal catharsis tonight, and no one can take that away. The end of 2011 really sucked for me, but I'll always have the Honey Badger's punt return against Arkansas when the noise of 92,000 fellow fans felt like it was crushing in my skull. Now every Pirate fan will have the look on Darvish's face as the ball off of Alvarez's bat sailed over his head, McCutchen with his arms raised to the heavens after the final out, and the number 82.
1 year, 6 months ago on Gerrit Cole and Yu Darvish face off as Pirates look to snap losing streak
What's the proper response to this? Is there an improper response? I was thinking about running up and down the street yelling at the top of my lungs, but went with a quiet fist pump instead. As our esteemed blogger reminds us, there's still work to do.
That'll do, Petey. That'll do.
You there! Alvarez! Hit a home run!
@mwr505 Keep in mind that the Pirates won the season series against the Cardinals, and are currently winning the season series against the Reds. Undeniably they're limping now, but I'd say that's mostly due to pitching injuries and a streaky offense currently in slump mode, rather than being pretenders. You could make an argument that the Pirates are, top-to-bottom, the least deep team in the NL playoff field, but they are still a team that deserves to make the playoffs. And once in October, the made-for-TV schedule means you don't have to have the deepest team to win it all.
1 year, 6 months ago on Game 142: Cardinals 9 Pirates 2
1 year, 6 months ago on 81 wins
@AtomK13 @whygavs It's become pretty clear this year he should drop the whole bio-chem-whatever-it-is-he-does and get a PhD in baseball writing. Wouldn't be much extra work because, in the time-honored tradition of grad school, he could just take previous work and package it up as a thesis. We could round up, oh... how about Keri, Neyer, and Verducci as the committee. Maybe pick up Bill Barnwell or Chris B. Brown if we need an external member. Say the word, Pat. We can help make this happen.
@DouggieB The one thing that really bothers me about the negative posts following a loss are people telling me how I should feel as a Pirates fan. The direct way, telling people not to get their hopes up (as if missing the playoffs is a foregone conclusion somehow). The more indirect statements, like the Pirates are worse than the Diamondbacks and the Pirates are going to get swept by the Rangers, which is just extreme pessimism presented as incontrovertible facts. It just annoys people and ends any possibility of a real discussion.
So, glad to see the change of heart. I hope you'll find that enjoying the wins (78 of them before the end of August!) is a lot more fun than anticipating the losses.
1 year, 6 months ago on Game 134: Pirates 5 Cardinals 0
According to Baseball Prospectus, the probability of the Pirates winning the World Series is 5.3%, while the probability of not making the playoffs is 2.3%. To everyone who comes here after every loss to tell us that the collapse is nigh and everyone should be as depressed as they are, I say my biggest dream is still more likely than your worst nightmare.
The 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates are a pretty good baseball team. They have what it takes to make the playoffs, and from there anything can happen. To those who think like me, let's keep the faith. Maybe it won't be rewarded, but I'd rather spend the next month hoping for something big than wallowing in misery like a few people here.
1 year, 7 months ago on Game 133: Brewers 4 Pirates 0
You know who's worried about a collapse? Clint Hurdle. For a few months there he was letting the hitters hit and the pitchers pitch; the wins stacked up and the Hurdled hashtag basically disappeared. Then one bad week in the heartland, it looks like he got spooked, and now he's trying to manufacture wins again. Whatever it was in the late spring that turned him into a completely different (and much better) manager, he needs a reminder right now.
1 year, 7 months ago on Game 122: Diamondbacks 4 Pirates 2
Let's go.... Cubs? Let's go.... Brewers?? Being in contention in August does strange things to the brain.
1 year, 7 months ago on Game 121: Pirates 6 Diamondbacks 2
@wkkortas [ Dad voice ] : PAAAAAAAT! BE NICE TO YOUR READERS!!!
1 year, 7 months ago on An attempt for some Friday morning context
Ooh, better yet. How about HBP-SB, "The Marte Double"?
1 year, 7 months ago on The biggest series (part two)
Any chance we can get that named "The Marte Walk"?