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Any word on Cutch's foot? Or will we know when Hurdle posts the lineup?

2 weeks, 6 days ago on Conversation @ http://whygavs.com/july-2014/game-84-pirates-5-diamondbacks-1.html

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Nice writeup on Jeff Locke over at Pirates Prospects. Advanced metrics say he's starting to pitch like the real deal.

4 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://whygavs.com/june-2014/game-77-pirates-6-rays-5.html

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I'm trying to guess who the PTBNL is going to be. Assuming it's one of the 2013 draft picks, right now I'll say Cody Dickson. No one below him has a high enough upside for the Mets to make the trade, Meadows and McGuire are too good to trade for Davis, and JaCoby Jones doesn't fit the Mets' needs as much as a projectable pitcher and the Pirates probably want to keep an infielder who might be able to hit a bit.


Maybe Blake Taylor, but he's kind of young. Who knows, though. I'd be okay with either one if Davis turns out to be half decent. Gotta give to get.

3 months ago on Conversation @ http://whygavs.com/uncategorized/some-thoughts-on-the-ike-daviszack-thornton-trade.html

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What I find heartening is that they actually look like a good team going through some early season adjustments, rather than a bad team rising to .500. 


Except Wandy looks pretty rough. I know, early season etc, but it doesn't look like he has any weapons out there.

3 months, 1 week ago on Conversation @ http://whygavs.com/april-2014/game-13-pirates-8-reds-7-game-14-reds-7-pirates-5.html

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I might be overoptimistic, but I don't see a problem other than some hard baseball ahead, same as everyone else has. Volquez will probably go 1-3 before Locke or Pimentel or Cumpton takes his place. Ishikawa is Jones minus the power; okay. 


But the team plays hard and expects to win. That can't be measured, but it can be seen. It can be seen in the difference between the way the team responded to losing streaks in '12 and the way they responded in '13. 


I don't predict. But I do anticipate. And I anticipate having a real blast watching the Pirates play this year, a feeling I haven't had for a long time.

3 months, 3 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://whygavs.com/march-2014/are-the-2014-pirates-a-pitching-team-or-a-hitting-team.html

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Just as important is noting that Ryan Doumit is the worst defensive catcher in terms of framing over the past five seasons. I never doubted his competitiveness, just his ability.

4 months, 3 weeks ago on Monday Morning Required Reading: Harry Pavlidis and Dan Brooks on Pitch Framing

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And now it's official, we've signed the Clint Barmes of catchers.

7 months, 3 weeks ago on Olney: Pirates close to trading for Chris Stewart

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I remember the post where you wrote about how you were thinking of giving it all up, but then decided to keep at it. I'm glad you did.

I hate to say it, but I bet I wasn't alone when I thought it was over when the Bucs didn't win Monday.

And this team was pretty freakin' good for not being able to hit. They did a nice job of compensating by being outstanding on defense, including pitching, and by improving their base running over previous years. We didn't like the ending, but this season was a hell of a lot of fun.

9 months, 2 weeks ago on NLDS Game 5: Cardinals 6 Pirates 1 (and so much more)

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You watch, I'm calling it right now. Daydro will be the hero Monday in game 4. Bet on it.

9 months, 2 weeks ago on NLDS Game 3 Preview: Francisco Liriano vs. Joe Kelly

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One of the great things about AJ IS the "Sit the **** down!", though. It's not that we can be guaranteed that he gives 100%, because everyone on the team is giving 100%. And anyhow AJ's 100% might not be good enough to win. It's that natural showmanship. In the end, we're sports fans because it's fun to be a sports fan, and we like watching players who we can see are laying it all out. I know they are the best in the game, from Cutch to Lambo every one there earned it with physical, mental, and emotional talent. But the part that makes it EXTRA fun to watch, the icing on the cake that over the course of two seasons leads to 40,000 fans chanting "KWAY-TOE!" is "SIT THE **** DOWN!"

9 months, 3 weeks ago on AJ Burnett and the road to the NLDS

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@bwzimmerman Wouldn't AJ be pitching on 3 days rest then? Man, I dunno about that one. I'd rather have Cole on Sunday, but I'm just some guy.

10 months ago on The final week

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Okay, I'm knocked over by those games because I expect this team to win them. Better? Sorry I made a common fan's mistake by assuming the team's persona as mine. Hell, I would have expected the 2008 team to win that one.

I bet you I've been watching as long as you have, and likely longer, but I don't think that is a useful statistic. Our gracious host here has been watching since I was in my 40s, and he is far more astute than I am.

Don't get all bent out of shape about it. I'm the guy who wrote that if they got to 80-60 and lost the next 22, the sun would come up the next day. But that game last night, it was wrenching.

10 months ago on Game 154: Reds 6 Pirates 5

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@lee1943 I would prefer to be devastated by it than satisfied with it, if that's what you're asking. And I think the players themselves would consider accepting it because they weren't expected to do better than 82 wins an insult. 

Now, on the scale of things that would upset a player, a fan's insult, especially a backhanded one like that, is somewhere below a mosquito bite. But still. We're knocked over by it because we expect to win those games. 

10 months ago on Game 154: Reds 6 Pirates 5

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@PatStuart Ahhhh, I'm just mouthing off. I know winning is the best solution.

10 months ago on Game 154: Reds 6 Pirates 5

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@PatStuart How about Kyle Farnsworth? He isn't going to be on the post season roster. 

10 months ago on Game 154: Reds 6 Pirates 5

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Just another way to be a Pirates fan.

10 months ago on Game 154: Reds 6 Pirates 5

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How about the cards coming back to tie the Rockies, then giving up 4 in the bottom of the 8th? I'd rather run into the buzzsaw that was Cashner last night. He was dealing. Yeah, he was helped by the Pirates' propensity for aggressively striking out, but that kid was going to beat any team on the planet last night. The Bucs' only hope was to get him into a high pitch count in the later innings, and he never got there. No hits, one hit, four hits, it wouldn't have mattered: he was quick, efficient, and accurate.

10 months, 1 week ago on Game 150: Padres 2 Pirates 0

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@mwr505 You do know that the Reds have the best defense in baseball this year? They turn more balls into outs than any other team, Pirates included. They'll have their bad games, like any team will, but those guys are really good. They get to more balls and make fewer errors (3rd best in MLB).

Marte and Cutch are awesome, but Marte had a Little League drop and Cutch had that ball skip past him that led to 2 runs and a guy on 3rd. Both errors led directly to losses. It doesn't mean they suck, though.

10 months, 1 week ago on Game 149: Pirates 3 Reds 2

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Grilli's lower velocity is definitely a concern, but the first two batters of the inning didn't seem to notice the lost mph. They looked bolloxed.

PitchFX says the umpire got that ball right. It was close, but it was outside. The one that Rizzo hit, that was a damn good pitch, right on the edge in the lower inside corner with lots of movement; the guy just nailed it, is all. A moonshot. 

Son of a gun, I'd told Mrs that I was going to take last night off, and I wound up checking the score on MLB At Bat and then watching the rest of the game after the bang-bang-bang. Oh well.



10 months, 1 week ago on Game 147: Cubs 5 Pirates 4

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Aaaaaaand, Cards lose!

Nice game by Locke, really nice. What I think he is doing again is working quickly, taking less time between pitches. He seemed to slow down in July and August.

I love seeing him and AJ together during the game. If Locke learns the knuckle curve he'll be unhittable. But just absorbing the attitude, that works for me.

10 months, 2 weeks ago on Game 146: Pirates 3 Cubs 1

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I don't necessarily want to see the Bucs make a habit of giving up 4 or 5 runs, but it's nice to see them give up 4 or 5 runs and win. That is a promising sign this time of year, actually.

10 months, 2 weeks ago on Game 145: Pirates 7 Rangers 5

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I've tried to write something in response, but every time I've tried I've looked at it and thought, "That's just about me."

The beauty of what you've done is written about yourself, but made it about all of us. Thanks.

10 months, 2 weeks ago on 82 wins

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Yeah, I should have said "For me....". It's been a long time, hasn't it! Cheers, Eephus! Raise it! 19 more to go, then October baseball!

10 months, 2 weeks ago on Gerrit Cole and Yu Darvish face off as Pirates look to snap losing streak

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@Eephus The proper response is a satisfied inward smile, and a good night's sleep after a rough weekend.

10 months, 2 weeks ago on Gerrit Cole and Yu Darvish face off as Pirates look to snap losing streak

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@mwr505 I know what you're saying, but they aren't pretenders. They've played even with the best teams in the NL to this point. Those other teams, their falterings came earlier in the year. The Bucs, theirs have been the last 20 games. But right now, everyone is pretty much even. Anything can happen, starting tonight. 

But yeah, the Bucs need a break. Beating Yu Darvish 1-0 would be a good start. Let's go Gerritt.

10 months, 2 weeks ago on Game 142: Cardinals 9 Pirates 2

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This team has the potential to win the division.

Unfortunately for us, this team also has the potential to finish the season 0-20. (0-24, actually, but the first 4 of those are already in the bag.)

What has been most troubling for me hasn't been the hitting, or the pitching, but the return to bad baseball: the bad fundamentals in the field and on the bases, the mental lapses, and the questionable coaching. That was why we felt out of the game after the 3rd inning on Sunday. When the team is playing good baseball, 5 runs feels like a challenge rather than a wall. Yeah, 5 runs, but they pick up a couple here, a couple there, and all of a sudden a couple hits and the Bucs win! 

Look at the shoulders slumping, watch the way they go about their business. This team needs a couple breaks in a row to get their mojo back.

10 months, 2 weeks ago on Game 142: Cardinals 9 Pirates 2

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Y'know, I'm not as concerned about pitching matchups as I was before we added Morneau and Byrd. I'm pretty confident these Bucs can put 4 runs up on anyone, and I'm equally confident that they can hold the Cards to 3 runs or less. Locke will be good for at least one game. The Pirates need 5 innings out of him: remember, Grilli is back. I'll trust Watson, Grilli, and Melancon with the last 4 innings against anyone.

5-2, 5-3, 7-5. Bucs sweep. Stick a fork in St Louis, the Cardinals are done. (Yeah, predictions are stupid, but if it happens I can say I called it!)

10 months, 2 weeks ago on AJ Burnett and the Cardinals

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Damn tablet. Thought I'd lost that in editing!

"... more games turn into shootouts than stall at 3 runs from here until the end of September."

10 months, 3 weeks ago on Game 139: Brewers 9 Pirates 3

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This wasn't all on Liriano, though. HR/HBP/2B with no outs yields one run? Yikes. I didn't know Morneau was that slow. (In all fairness I thought he was going to score, nice set of relays by the Brewers.) And Alvarez not producing with a runner on 3rd twice? Oh, man. I know, it comes with the territory, but... And the errors. The error at 2nd, Liriano's fumbled bunt, the fumbled comebacker double play/out at home choice, the misplayed doubled-off-first from Byrd to Walker, the wild pitch through Buck's 5 hole...

The Bucs had lots and lots of opportunities to make this a football score shootout. A break here and a break there and it's 10-7, or 9-6, something like that, or 7-6, or 7-7 going into extras.

All in all, I'd like to chalk this one up to "Bucs Play Like Crap, Lose". And it happens. Look at the Red Sox/Tigers score this morning. There's a lot of promise to this lineup, and I really think that we'll see more games like this turn that way from here on out

10 months, 3 weeks ago on Game 139: Brewers 9 Pirates 3

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In 1992 I was one year into a new job, one where I worked 12 hours a day 6 days a week. Our daughter was 18 months old; if you have kids, you know what I mean. I watched that last game of '92 falling asleep and waking up, falling asleep and waking up; my wife shook me awake to watch the end of it, but all I remember is Bream sliding home on a bright screen in a dark room. I groaned, we turned off the TV, and the next morning life went on.

At the time, all news was going by in a blur. I knew in a vague way that the Bucs were going to get broken up, but my mindset was more, "OK, so we'll bring up some new guys. What the hell am I going to do about all those held contracts from last week?" 

I tell that story to point out: none of us had any idea.  Through the next 20 years, the only other really strong feeling I got was from the mid 2000s, when I was listening to the Bucs on XM while washing the car (something I loved to do with my dad in the '60s and '70s). They were playing the Brewers, and the Brewers kicked the snot out of the Pirates, and I realized that I really, really hated the Brewers.

So that's it. Not knowing, and hating the Brewers. That's what's kept ME going all these years.

10 months, 3 weeks ago on 81 wins

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Just last night my wife asked me, "If you could spend an evening with any current athlete from any sport, who would it be?"

Wow. Sure, Cutch would be up there. He seems like a really low key guy for a superstar. Polamalu? Damn. Well sure. Leaving Pittsburgh: people seem to love Peyton Manning. Sid the Kid? Too young, I'm almost 60. The Olympic guys & gals, I don't really know any of their personalities. Hoops, forget it, I don't watch. 

I picked Jason Grilli. I like the fact that he's been down, and kept working, and he reached the top late in his career. He seems really well grounded, like the kind of guy who would appreciate a good barbecue.


Welcome back, Cheese man!


10 months, 3 weeks ago on Jason Grilli is back

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@MattGajtka @TomBrenholts  

It's an admission of helplessness in the face of fate. I don't BELIEVE it is going to happen, not even close. But I understand that it can. I can't be a Pirates fan without knowing that it can. (FTR, I believe the Bucs will win the division.) 

10 months, 3 weeks ago on 80 wins

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I am ridiculously amped for September... but I understand that they could go 0-25.

10 months, 3 weeks ago on 80 wins

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Johnson knows what he did, too. He said something to the effect that he was handed his opportunity and he blew it. Which sucks for everyone, because we lost to the Cards and he probably won't get another opportunity. At least not with the Pirates. I hope.

10 months, 3 weeks ago on Game 136: Cardinals 7 Pirates 2

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I just loved seeing Morneau enter the dugout mid game, with a huge smile on his face, and Hurdle turns around and giving him a big hug. Y'know, that's as important as anything. It was as recent as last year that Pittsburgh had the reputation as a place you didn't want to go; now they have a reputation as a good young team with a player's manager, one that has strong fundamentals, a strong foundation, and a bright future with good talent in the pipeline.

Winners want to play for winners. Guess what: winning games solves everything.

10 months, 3 weeks ago on Game 135: Pirates 7 Cardinals 1

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Good lord people. Let the pessimists be pessimists. It's not like there isn't any reason for that attitude. 

The reason we do that is so that if it happens it doesn't hurt as much. I'm as rah-rah as anyone, but if the Pirates got to 80-60 and then went 0-22, it wouldn't surprise me. 

I'm excited as hell about September, and the reason for my excitement is that the Bucs have played their best baseball against the Cardinals and the Reds. Yeah, we're backing the lame horse in this race, I get that. But if there is one way to take this thing, one way that I would prefer over all others, it is head-to-head against the teams we are up against. None of this "We have to beat the Giants and Mets, and they have to lose to the Cubs and Padres" crap. Bring it.

10 months, 3 weeks ago on Game 133: Brewers 4 Pirates 0

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Geez Pat. one of the reasons I like reading you is that you make so much sense. Even when we disagree, I see what you mean. Even when we are thinking at cross purposes, I can see why. 

But I think this is just plain nuts. And even more, I would be excited as all get out if the Bucs actually did this, which there isn't a chance in hell of actually happening.


10 months, 4 weeks ago on Who should start on Sunday? I've got a suggestion.

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Vic Black? Love him, but bu-bye. Same with Herrera. Where the Bucs are RIGHT NOW is where we would want those guys to take them in the future. 

Good move by Huntington.  The farm system is strong enough now that he can trade those guys and it is still strong. Hoka-hey.


10 months, 4 weeks ago on Victor Black is the PTBNL in the Marlon Byrd deal

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@mwr505 He should probably write "Pence". That would make some heads explode, huh?

11 months ago on Game 130: Giants 4 Pirates 0 (a late recap)

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@justinzeth The Pirates are 5 wins over their theoretical W/L. That's good, but not unheard of. The Reds are 2 wins over. The Cards are 5 games unde. Wwhich you can interpret to mean that they are losing games they should have won, which many consider to be the sign of a team in trouble. I would think that there are more things wrong with a team 5 games underperforming than there are with a team 5 games overperforming.

Head to head with the Reds and Cards they are 7-6 and 8-5... or more illustratively, the Reds are 6-7 against the Pirates, and the Cards are 5-8. So when it comes down to it, the Bucs are winning against the best competition they face. 3-4 against the Braves? That's OK. 2-4 against the Dodgers... the Dodgers are good. But add 'em up. Pittsburgh is 20-19 against 1st place and prospective wild card teams. Add in the D-backs and they're 23-22. And that means that they're as good as their best competition... not on paper, but on the field, where it counts.

It's freakin' awesome. I mean, really. I'm pissed when they lose not because they're awful. And not because they're in the middle of a collapse. I'm pissed because I want them to stay in FIRST PLACE. I don't want to put it all on a play-in game. IMO give the Pirates a 5 or 7 game set and they can take 3 or 4 from the best in baseball. It won't be pretty, and they might get outscored. But they could lose that play-in game before they get a chance. 

 So, I'm pissed because I think we can win it all. And that's great.

11 months ago on Game 130: Giants 4 Pirates 0 (a late recap)

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Here is what I liked:

The all right-handed lineup against Bumgardener, Neil Walker notwithstanding. 

The quick hook on Morton in the 8th. Give me fresh arms! 

2:29 game time. Nice efficient outing! Us "olds" can't stay up until 2AM for the Bucs no matter how hard we try.

11 months ago on Game 127: Pirates 3 Giants 1

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What is reassuring for me is that the Bucs are beating up a weaker team and looking better in doing it. I always forget that the Pirates play a pretty high level of competition for most of the season; no other NL division has two teams as good as the Reds and Cards, or three teams as good as the Reds, Cards, and Bucs. And the D-backs are pretty decent, it isn't unexpected that they'd take 2 of 3 from a team ahead of them in the standings.


Bring it. Cole is back on his home turf (Cali), and he'll be hyped up, which could go either way but I'm confident we're going to see Future Gerrit Cole this afternoon.

11 months ago on Game 125: Pirates 8 Padres 1

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@wkkortas @LastingsMilledgeville 

I don't believe that WILL happen; all I say is, if it happens, I won't be plussed. If they got to 80-60 and then lost 22 in a row, I would get up and turn on the Steelers like nothing happened.  

To those that say the team is mentally strong right now, I say that they are pressing at the plate, swinging at balls in the dirt and balls a foot outside, suckers for changing speeds. This team is tight, this team knows about the history. Does that mean that they'll succumb? Nope. But they'd better relax and start swing an easy bat, and that's better said than done. 

Every win is the start of a streak. Every streak  breeds confidence. Winning games solves everything.


11 months, 1 week ago on When 'should win' becomes 'have to win'

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It's not that I BELIEVE that they'll go 10-34; it's just that if they did, as a fan I would take it in stride. It's not like I'm not used to it. I would just figure that one of these years they'll be 80-60, and then go 0-22. Each year, a little bit closer, but still not quite there...

11 months, 1 week ago on Game 118: Cardinals 4 Pirates 3

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Here's the thing, though. And I'm pretty sure I represent just about all Pirates fans on this. 

First, this team feels different. Yeah, we're all aware of how thin the talent is, but at least it's really good talent. So, the team feels different. Last year's team hit better in June and July, but this team has better fundamentals, especially on the bases and in the field. It's OK to throw the ball into the stands as long as you're throwing it to the right base. 

Second, if the collapse is coming, this is the start of it. Because as different as this team feels, we can't unremember last year, or the year before. 10-35? Yeah, we've seen THAT before. 

Third, that is what makes the next three games much more important TO US FANS than they are to the standings. As fans, in order to erase the stigma of the past from our minds we need to see a non-collapse, here, and now. We need to see 2-1 or 3-0 in St Louis, not because of the standings but because believing in the Pirates is different than believing in the Steelers. Right now, believing in the Pirates means understanding that you might have to believe another couple or three more years, or maybe it's knowing that there might be a hint of light that you think you might see behind that cloud that fills the sky all the way to the horizon. In order to change that (and really only to change that for 2013), we need to see at least 2-1.

11 months, 2 weeks ago on Game 117: Rockies 3 Pirates 2 and the lost weekend in Colorado

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If history has any say it will be Pittsburgh-Baltimore.

1 year ago on The best in the dark

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It's Charlie Brown and Lucy and the football, isn't it.

1 year, 1 month ago on Game 72: Reds 2 Pirates 1

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I dunno, man. Even the '27 Yankees lost some tough ones. It would have been nice to have had another run up going into the ninth, but the Reds are pretty good and they went in with none. It would have been better to have not lost two guys to pickoffs, but the Reds had a guy thrown out at the plate.

The Bucs could be hitting better, but they've earned where they're at. Nothing Piratey about it.

1 year, 1 month ago on Game 72: Reds 2 Pirates 1

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Pat, that is EXACTLY how I listened! On the way home from work, Walker homers. While eating dinner, nothing happens. Then the Tigers score, and after a little bit I say to Mrs, "Well, they're probably not going to win this one. I'm going for ice cream, what do you want?" And driving back from Mountain Freeze: double, double, squeeze!

I've gotten pretty pissed at Hurdle for all the other squeezes that haven't worked, but they were all worth it for this one. This was a statement. This was a Muhammed Ali wind up and hit you with the other fist. This team can play. I'm going to say it now, in May: this year the Bucs make the playoffs.

1 year, 1 month ago on Game 53: Pirates 5 Tigers 3

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I don't want to be mistaken for being optimistic, but the Bucs seem to look like they might have some understanding of possibly how to maybe play the game.

 

(Did I qualify that enough?)

1 year, 2 months ago on Game 22: Pirates 6 Phillies 4

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Here we go Daydro, here we go!

1 year, 2 months ago on Get away day in Philly

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The plain fact is that Pittsburgh has rarely supported the Pirates since Forbes Field folded and the Steelers came into prominence. The only times attendance has broken 2 mil were '90 and '91, and '01, the first year of PNC Park. In '78, the Bucs needed to win out to take the division title; over Sept 25/26/27, a sweep of the Cubs, they drew 19,900 fans. TOTAL. During a pennant race! On the 24th, in Montreal, they drew 23,000 for one game. During that season they drew over 35,000 TWICE; the home opener (39k) and Sept 29th, a double header against the league leading Phillies (45k, the highest baseball attendance of the year).And that year they were GOOD. The 1979 team that WON THE FREAKIN' WORLD SERIES drew an average of 17,700... 330,000 BELOW the league average.

 

In fact, in the entire history of the Pirates, They averaged over 20,000 fans exactly ONCE before 1980 (1960). During the Bonds years they averaged around 24,000  about the league average... FOR ONE OF THE BEST TEAMS IN BASEBALL. Since '97 they've averaged over 20,000, but they have been well below the league average... because they've almost always been below league average in attendance, even when they've won the World Series.

 

sources:

 

http://www.baseball-almanac.com/teams/pitatte.shtml 

http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/PIT/

 

1 year, 3 months ago on It's your fault that the Pirates suck

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 @wkkortas When I was growing up I used to beg my dad to take me to games where Veale was pitching. I can remember him standing at the back of the mound, facing center field, and wiping those thick glasses with a cloth, in a real exaggerated motion... then turning back to the rubber, and scratching the hole in front of it with his foot as the batter tentatively edged back into the box.... it was awesome.

1 year, 3 months ago on Do the Pirates have enough pitching to do anything meaningful in 2013?

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 @mwr505  @wkkortas For some reason I just don't remember Haddix like I do Law and Friend. Since my list is only based on my memory and perception, I couldn't include him. Haddix struck out a lot of guys for that era, more on average than either Law or Friend. I'm not sure that today's metric can be applied to that era, nor that those players if in today's system wouldn't do the things needed to dominate in that way. But there it is; Haddix put up some Ks in a low K era, more per game over his career than Whitey Ford.

1 year, 3 months ago on Do the Pirates have enough pitching to do anything meaningful in 2013?

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 @mwr505 Even though I mentioned Teke, Scurry, and Goose, I think that Pat was only referring to starters. If we were getting into relievers, I'd definitely say Face... and Hanrahan, who was as dominant as any pitcher in the game for stretches over the past three years. But I think that pitching talent means being dominant over 9 innings. Just my opinion.

1 year, 3 months ago on Do the Pirates have enough pitching to do anything meaningful in 2013?

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 @mwr505 Ahh, shoot. I meant tp include Law, But I got side tracked looking up Friend's stats at BR, and when I switched back I forgot Law. He's always been one of my favorite Buccos.

1 year, 3 months ago on Do the Pirates have enough pitching to do anything meaningful in 2013?

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"[T]he second that Cole steps foot on the mound in black and gold, he will become one of the most talented pitchers in Pirate history."

 

Hmmm. Okay, who else might be considered to have been that talented? And are we talking potential? Because we can count Rod Scurry, then.

 

In my life,

 

Bob Friend. The only pitcher to lose 200 games and not also win 200. 

Bob Veale. Freakin' guy was awesome.

Steve Blass, at his best Blass was fantastic. He wasn't a strikeout guy, but he could k 'em if he had to.

Dock Ellis. He had the talent, no question about it.

John Candelaria. Candyman pitched with a chip on his shoulder, for sure.

Doug Drabek. Didn't K a lot of guys, but you can't argue with the results.

 

Can we count Blyleven and Gossage, even though they were only Bucs for a short time?

 

Teke was pretty freakin' good. Can we count relievers? I'm guessing no.

 

Anyone else?

 

 

 

1 year, 4 months ago on Do the Pirates have enough pitching to do anything meaningful in 2013?

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I like Karstens, but this doesn't really bother me all that much. We're not talking about potential Cy Young winners when we're parsing the difference between him and Jeff Locke or Kyle McPherson. It is perfectly reasonable to me to think that either of those guys could have the same season as Karstens, and also be younger and more durable. It says a lot when you're advocating keeping Karstens to block a younger guy... both about Karstens AND the younger guy.

1 year, 7 months ago on Pirates will non-tender Jeff Karstens

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Man, when Moss played for the Bucs, I so much wanted him to be good. He tried so hard, and he wore his heart on his sleeve. I remember in '10, in an interview he talked about how he was now completely healthy and felt great, and that 2010 would be the year he would really shine. I liked the kid. But he never showed any potential for shaking the AAAA tag; he struck out a lot and looked bad doing it.

 

Kudos to him. And if this happens often enough, it certainly does make one wonder.

1 year, 9 months ago on Brandon Moss and Nate McLouth

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I said it a couple weeks ago, and I'll say it again: This team won't break the streak. If you would have asked me whether or not they'd break it back in June, or July, I would have laughed; THAT WAS REAL BASEBALL. What kills me, what absolutely kills me about this year, is that these very same guys who are stinking up the joint played the very best baseball IN THE WORLD for two months. THAT is the betrayal. And I don't want to hear about the trade deadline; the guys we got are better than the guys we gave up, and they're playing better, too. Hurdle's puzzling decisions mean nothing when the team scores 5 by hitting the ball out of the park. It's only when every run is crucial that he would even think about suicide squeezing. That play doesn't get considered when we score 3 in the 1st and 2 in the 3rd. I'm back to checking the scores in the morning, and waiting for the inevitable 82nd loss, which should come sometime around the 26th. Peace, Bucs fans. Out.

1 year, 10 months ago on Game 141 Precap: F*ck you, Pirates | August 2012

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Y'know what really sucks? I was thinking about making plans to see one of the last two series, not the Braves but either the Brewers next week or the Reds on the 30th. But now, it's not worth the trouble. I've traveled to see bad baseball before, and while I love seeing my home town I'm not interested in sitting in the sun watching a lackluster effort AGAIN, as I've done numerous times over the years. I was looking forward to watching REAL BASEBALL like I saw on TV earlier in the year, games that didn't feel like they were over at 2-0 in the bottom of the 4th.

 

Not worth it, not worth the travel time nor the expense any more.

1 year, 10 months ago on Actually, I'm not sure I do want to talk about it | August 2012

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Good thing they got that day off, who knows what might have happened if they'd had to go on a promo meetup or sumpin'. Prolly would've been 12-0 instead of only 12-2.

1 year, 10 months ago on Game 137: Cubs 12 Pirates 2 | August 2012

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You know what, though? There's also the chance that we could see something pretty amazing. The Orioles have just made up 5 games on the Yankees in the last 10 days. Sure, we need some cooperation from the Cards, Braves, and Dodgers, but that doesn't mean it can't happen.

1 year, 10 months ago on Game 135: Pirates 6 Astros 2 | August 2012

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IF the team from May and June comes back, then they MIGHT make the wild card. But since the All Star break, this is the same team from 2011.

 

But here's the thing. It's the same guys. And that wasn't smoke and mirrors like '11 was. May/June '12 was built on scoring runs early and often, getting guys out with aggressive pitching, and whacking home runs with guys on base in later innings. Swap out McGehee and Lincoln for Rodriguez and Snider and Sanchez, and they should be better. That's what the deadline deals boil down to. McGehee is hitting .186 for the Yankees (.560 OPS), and Lincoln hasn't set anything on fire since leaving, with a 4.56 ERA and 1.415 WHIP. Mock all you want about "all in", but TBMTIB made the team better at the deadline, and they went out and played worse.

 

Baseball is a game that is meant to be PLAYED. That's what we're not seeing. The team that hits the ball all over the yard? They're playing the game. The pitchers that go out there and dominate, they're playing, taking advantage of the team that's not.

 

It looks to me (from the cheap seats, mind you) that the pressure has gotten to the Bucs. It seemed to start when they got the chance to take a few days off, and looked at what they did and said to themselves, "Holy heck, WE did that?" And now here they are, playing truly meaningful baseball, and it just means too much for them to PLAY at it. Those early games, nothing was decided. Sure, a win in May and a win in September both count the same at the beginning of October, but at the same time not really they don't. The one in May is already in the bucket in September. But the ones in September are mostly still in the future and undecided, and now mean a whole hell of a lot more. And these guys didn't have to think about it back then, when the season was shaping up. And now they do. And it shows in the way they play. It's slipping away, and they know it, and their opponents know it and are taking advantage of it.

1 year, 10 months ago on A long, ugly weekend for the Pirates | August 2012

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Haha, I did almost the same thing! I was driving home from work, listening on XM, and coming up to a part of the drive where reception dropped the count was 3-1, so I slowed down to make sure I heard the next pitch. And you nailed it; you could tell just from the sound of the bat that he'd hit it a mile, followed a split second later by the roar of the crowd. I pumped my fist, it was awesome.

1 year, 10 months ago on Game 130: Pirates 5 Cardinals 0 | August 2012

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I don't think he'll ever be great, but I'll settle for good.

1 year, 10 months ago on Giving Pedro Alvarez's huge night some context | August 2012

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11 strikeouts today, 10 yesterday, 13 Friday. That is a problem.

1 year, 11 months ago on Baby steps | August 2012

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@LastingsMilledgeville I was going to write thee same thing. Don't forget 10 strikeouts, including 3 against batting practice pitcher Livan Hernandez. And McCutchen ending the rally inning by getting caught stealing. Are the Bucs hurting? EVERYONE is hurting, including the Nationals, the Reds, the Yankees, the Dodgers... time to separate men from boys.

1 year, 11 months ago on Streaking | August 2012

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 @MattWitkowski Tomlin says the starters are going to play the first half tonight, that should be interesting.

 

I have to take some time off from the Bucs. Earlier this year, we would have won that game. One of the three sluggers would have lashed a double into the gap, two runs would have scored, and it would have looked like real baseball, instead of looking like a bunch of guys in baseball uniforms doing baseballish things.

1 year, 11 months ago on A lot of roster moves and the Brewers | August 2012

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So, do you think Manning will be able to throw effectively against our starting defense? I can't stop being a Bucs fan, but l can ease the pain by not caring, like miniplen. This team might not even break The Streak.

1 year, 11 months ago on A lot of roster moves and the Brewers | August 2012

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It pains me to say it, but the team right now looks like all the other teams of the past 10 years: mediocre pitching, untimely outs with runners in scoring position, lots of strike outs, bad fielding and bad base running. 7-13? That's .350, which is pretty normal for the Bucs of the millennium.

 

Sigh. I'm trying to resist the knowledge that football is right around the corner. Really, I am. I don't want to stumble to 86 wins and feel happy, because I won't feel happy about that. This is a team that has shown that it can take it right to the very best that MLB can offer, and I will settle for nothing less than what I saw in June. Sorry. I've seen it, and I want more of it.

1 year, 11 months ago on Respite | August 2012

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Anyone remember rookie Bruce Kison's amazing shut-down performance in the '71 series? He came on after Walker failed to get out of the 1st, and pitched 6 innings of 1-hit ball. Point being not only that rookies can come through in the clutch, but also that the guy in question doesn't have to be a HOFer to be that guy, just a good, gutsy player/pitcher.

 

I could have picked from dozens, if not scores, of examples, but Kison is Pirate-centric and was the first example to come to mind.

1 year, 11 months ago on Seriously, what is happening in the bullpen? | August 2012

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 @CookieMonster24 I was listening on MLB AtBat, the announcers called it a blown steal with Harrison swinging to protect Tabata. If it was as you said, then I'm wrong. Still, he got picked off first and failed to get the bunt down the third base line. I'm a little down on the guy, yeah. I'm also just a guy with a keyboard, so there's that.

1 year, 11 months ago on Game 121: Pirates 6 Cardinals 3 | August 2012

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Let's not forget Tabata's absolutely abysmal base running, and inability to lay down a bunt to third. That game could have been over a lot earlier. The guy's got no fundamentals.

1 year, 11 months ago on Game 121: Pirates 6 Cardinals 3 | August 2012

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Also, remember we haven't watched winning baseball for 20 years or so. We're used to the Steelers winning four for every one they lose, we're used to going a month between losses. It's unrealistic for a baseball team to do that, sure, but we have to get used to what winning baseball looks like; winning baseball is 60-40, or thereabouts.

1 year, 11 months ago on Yesterday and today | August 2012

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My point would be that they hit the All Star break looking good, and heading into the part of the schedule against weaker teams where a GOOD team should really make some hay, and they didn't do that. They're playing even against a mix of good and bad teams, which means to me that they're not really all that good. And I'm OK with that. I think that it's more likely that we're going to see the team of the last 30 games or so than the team of June, or the team of April.

 

On the other hand, my crystal ball has been wonky lately. The crystal ball shop tells me there's nothing wrong with it, but I've had my doubts. I can't use it for betting horse races any more, so I'm not sure it would be good for baseball games now.

1 year, 11 months ago on Yesterday and today | August 2012

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Diamondbacks announcer (matter-of-factly): "I don't think I've ever seen anybody get thrown out by that much."

1 year, 11 months ago on Game 108: Pirates 4 Diamondbacks 0 | August 2012

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First time I've looked at a lineup all year and thought, "What the heck?" But some guys need a rest, it's a long stretch that's just started. Harrison's been hot, and Alvarez has been cold, so there's that. What do I know? I guess we'll find out by about 11PM or so.

1 year, 11 months ago on Eleven | August 2012

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Screw that. You hit them. Hard. First batter. You know what? Start Chad Qualls.

 

Remember the lesson of previous years.

1 year, 11 months ago on Game 105: Reds 3 Pirates 0If | August 2012

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Funny, I'm not nervous at all. I think we're going to kick the crap out of them.

1 year, 11 months ago on Pirates juggle rotation for Reds | August 2012

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A stopper. A REAL stopper, like Carlton was. A guy who keeps a 2/3 game losing streak from becoming a 4/5/6 game losing streak. I know, you can only identify those guys looking back. But that's what AJ is to this team. He's the stopper.

1 year, 11 months ago on Game 103: Pirates 5 Cubs 0 | July 2012

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 @wkkortas Yep. I was more speaking to people who are overvaluing Lincoln. I agree completely with everything else you wrote. I think the trade serves both teams in exactly the same way, and is a win/win on a small scale. Either or both players could blossom or fizzle.

1 year, 11 months ago on Pirates trade Brad Lincoln to the Blue Jays for Travis Snider | July 2012

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A pitcher who hasn't lived up to his #1 status for a hitter who hasn't lived up to his #1 status.

 

Next.

1 year, 11 months ago on Pirates trade Brad Lincoln to the Blue Jays for Travis Snider | July 2012

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Read "Scorecasting: The Hidden Influences Behind How Sports Are Played and Games Are Won". It ABSOLUTELY plays a part in who gets the calls.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Scorecasting-Hidden-Influences-Behind-Sports/dp/0307591808/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1342819328&sr=8-6&keywords=home+team+advantage

2 years ago on Good teams and bad teams and strike zones | July 2012

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 @wkkortas Yep, considering that we'd be ecstatic if Marte became as good as Upton is right now.

2 years ago on Jayson Stark: Pirates "serious bidder" for Justin Upton | July 2012

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 @whygavs I agree, and that's why I was surprised to hear them specifically asking for major leaguers; if I were looking for a major leaguer to get me over the hump, I'd start with someone like Justin Upton! It's almost as if they said that as code for, "Pirates, go away."

 

As far as including Marte, as much as I love his potential I'd do that as quickly as I could sign the documents. Upton is already what we'd hope Marte could become.

2 years ago on Links and things for the off day | July 2012

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Okay, the Snakes want major leaguers... and there are reports that they need a third baseman.... Alvarez and someone else for Upton. Maybe Alvarez and hell, I don't know. Hanrahan. I couldn't see Arizona making that deal, though. But IF there's a major league deal to be made between the two teams, our major player in is going to be Alvarez, and the rest will be creating equal value using other guys.

 

In reality, we probably don't have anyone close to good enough to trade, considering A Mc off limits.

2 years ago on Links and things for the off day | July 2012

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The blog post I've been waiting for since last night. It caught everything I've been feeling. Thanks.

2 years ago on Today is Andrew McCutchen Day | July 2012

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 @NateRose Thanks! I figured to read about it tomorrow but this was better. It was easy to see why they both need some more work, and also why they are both so exciting.

2 years ago on Game 85: Pirates 13 Giants 2 | July 2012

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D-backs need a closer, JJ Putz is a 4.50 ERA and 1.21 WHIP, Hanrahan might lessen the prospect sting.

2 years ago on Morosi: Pirates interested in Justin Upton and Carlos Quentin | July 2012

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Cole did hit 100 on the gun. He looked like he was nervous, trying too hard, overthrowing a lot, to me anyhow. I watched Taillon some, too, but turned it off after 3 batters. It looked like it would be rough, too. Maybe he settled down, I don't know.

2 years ago on Game 85: Pirates 13 Giants 2 | July 2012

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Thanks, Pat. that was the idea I was trying to get across in the comments yesterday, but in better perspective. I agree 100%.

 

What a blast, to be down 4 runs and think, "That's not so much, there's a lot of game left."

2 years ago on Let's take a deep breath and be briefly logical about the Pirates | July 2012

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 @wkkortas I'm trying to think of what it would actually take. Castro is 7.3 WAR after 3 seasons, is currently 2nd in defensive WAR this year, led the league in hits last year, is 22 years old, and isn't eligible for free agency until 2017. (Gotta love Baseball Reference, source of the stats.) I think the key to making the deal (ie, giving a lot, and IF the Cubs would even listen), is the age and control. If he continues his upward arc, what is he worth? I think the Cubs would turn down either of our deals. Castro is already a top SS, our guys have no MLB experience.

2 years ago on Welcome to the second half of the season | July 2012

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 @wkkortas How about Taillon, Marte, and Alen Hanson? (I'd do that in a heartbeat, myself.)

2 years ago on Welcome to the second half of the season | July 2012

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 @whygavsYou know what's startling? the fact that a respected authority like BP actually gives them a 35% chance... of PLAYOFFS. Not .500, but actual post-season play!

 

Watch, tonight we'll start bunting and cs-ing ourselves out of innings. (What I find maddening is that stealing bases is a big deal when we're trying to do it, but not a big deal when the other guys are doing it. Pick one. It either matters, or it doesn't. But if you're going to be really bad at doing it, and really bad at stopping it, that is going to show up eventually.)

2 years ago on Welcome to the second half of the season | July 2012

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 @whygavs Thanks. I get all the different metrics mixed up sometimes. I fall pretty heavily toward the "this can be measured" side, but still retain a very strong "but that's why they play out all the games" attitude about it. My observation is that this team has changed. Yes, it could change back. But it got where it is with all those bad games already in the hopper. I'm used to seeing "baseball", now I'm seeing BASEBALL.

 

I guess that's why they're going to play the rest of the season, huh? It's going to be a stone cold blast, I think, regardless of what happens.

2 years ago on Welcome to the second half of the season | July 2012

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 @wkkortas This is a game I'm playing with my friends right now: how high would you go for Castro? IMO the kid has perennial All Star written all over him, with potential HoF. How much future do the Pirates have with him? How much without him?

 

I'd give up one of the top guys. Not two, but one.

2 years ago on Welcome to the second half of the season | July 2012

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35%... hmm. This points out the problem with using past performance to indicate future results. What do you do if a team genuinely gets better? Is there a better chance that they'll continue as a real team, or that they'll go back to 2 runs/game with 10 Ks? IMO, there's a better chance that they'll play winning baseball. Maybe not at the pace they've played in June, but definitely .500 or better. I don't see these guys collapsing. This time, this is baseball.

 

And you might notice that Hurdle has adjusted his strategy; no small ball. Even the announcers mantioned it last night: 7th inning, Walker and Cutch on base with no outs, McGehee swings away. Jones swings away, gets on base. Then Alvarez gets to bat in a leveraged situation, instead of with two outs.

2 years ago on Welcome to the second half of the season | July 2012

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Man, I've seen this guy before, but with a different name, maybe 15 times over the last 10 years. Sorry, no thanks. I hope we lose this bidding war, because I don't see Youk turning it back on.

2 years, 1 month ago on Kevin Youkilis will be traded soon and probably not to the Pirates | May 2012

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 @Eephus What I don't understand is, why is it such a big deal for the Bucs to try to steal bases, but it isn't such a big priority to try and stop the other guys from stealing bases? Come on, you can't have it both ways. A base is a base, right? I'd be all for stealing if we could pull off 23 in a row. But the table is kind of tilted right now. If you can't steal 'em, then at least even it up. Don't give away bases on both sides of the inning.

2 years, 1 month ago on Interleague begins | May 2012

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You get 81 outs over 3 games. The Pirates struck out in 41 of their 81 outs against the Tigers. The amazing part is that they won one of those games.

2 years, 2 months ago on Correia's last stand? | May 2012

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You know, you're getting pretty good at predicting things. It's kind of scary, a little. Please use your powers for good.

2 years, 2 months ago on Time-shifted | May 2012

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 @wkkortas I was 10. To this day, I remember the lanky lefthander Frank Bork coming in to warm up for a late season relief appearance; I'd almost swear it was against the Dodgers, which would make it Sept 15, 1964 (according to BR). I was excited, he was a lefty and I was a lefty. And my favorite pitcher, Bob Veale, was also a lefty. Anyhow, he came to the mound, and promptly threw his first warmup pitch 10 feet over the catcher's head and well up into the backstop webbing.

2 years, 3 months ago on Kip Wells is considering a comeback | March 2012

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The first mediocre pitchers I obsessed over were Butters, Bork, Priddy, and Sisk. Sisk turned out to be not too bad.

2 years, 3 months ago on Kip Wells is considering a comeback | March 2012

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It figures, we get a fiery, player-centric manager with a fierce love of the game who is dedicated to winning... and he is married to old thinking and the bunt.

 

It's a freakin' Greek tragedy, it really is.

2 years, 4 months ago on AJ Burnett bunts himself in the face | February 2012

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Thanks. My thought is that the Pirates spent money accelerating guys; paying them more to become available before they would normally even be in the system to be rated. Like Bell, who normally would become a pro 3-4 years from now. Naturally these players would grade out lower, until they mature. Guys who would be playing college ball are in our low minors.

I'm beyond panicking, and frankly if everyone bombs out I'm beyond caring, it's what I expect now. I was talking about this with a Phillies fan, and he commented that Pirates fans are the only ones he knows who know almost all the guys in the farm system; most Phillies fans are barely aware that their AAA team plays in Allentown.

2 years, 6 months ago on How good is the Pirates' minor league system? | January 2012

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Umm, wow... I didn't think there was ANYTHING that could make me hate the guy more, and now this comes along and makes my day!

2 years, 7 months ago on Ryan Braun failed a PED test in the playoffs | December 2011

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Thing is, we never knew which OD was going to appear: the one who mowed 'em down, or the walk-monster.

2 years, 7 months ago on Congratulations, Octavio Dotel! | December 2011

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I think this is also as close as anyone's come to saying right out loud that Derrek Lee isn't going to be playing 1st for the Bucs. Not that we didn't already know it, but doggone. I really liked watching him at the plate last year. So much more aggressive, and in control at the same time.

2 years, 7 months ago on Reading between the lines, November 29 edition | November 2011

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I'll take Larussa's idiocy over Morgan and Braun and Fielder and the rest of the Brewers. At least I can appreciate Pujols.

2 years, 9 months ago on The NL Central in the Spotlight | September 2011

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I would have taken a loss to have seen Grilli hit Fielder, Braun, and Hairston 3 in a row.

2 years, 10 months ago on Game 160: Pirates 9 Brewers 8 | September 2011

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Anyone think Ohlendorf is going to win his arbitration this year?

2 years, 10 months ago on A weekend with the fishes | September 2011

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I don't always agree with you, but I ALWAYS understand how you feel. Thanks for writing.

2 years, 10 months ago on The State of WHYGAVS: September, 2011 | September 2011

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@whygavs Oh, I'm as pissed about it as anyone. But I'm pissed that Sweed dropped it, not that his number was called. Bringing it back to the Pirates, the problem isn't that Hurdle put in McCutchen; the problem is that McCutchen didn't do the job and we don't have the equivalent of Mike Wallace or Hines Ward to put out there instead, considering that in a 162 game season you need your best guy sharp in the last 20 games. Everyone is moaning in the comments about Presley and Tabata, but the real hurt right now is the absence of Evan Meek.

2 years, 11 months ago on I'm still in a bad mood today | July 2011

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@MattGajtka Well, yeah, I alluded to Tomlin when I wrote "...even in baseball...." The point still stays the same, that it takes all the players contributing in order to win, and you have to put McCutchen out there and trust him to do the job. And Grilli, and Biemel. It's great to want to use Hanrahan in every clutch situation. But with this team, every game is a potential clutch situation. Sure, blame Hurdle... but just like he doesn't deserve credit for everything good that's happened this year, he doesn't deserve credit for everything bad that's happened, either. I'd rather blame this one on the guys with the ball in their hands.

2 years, 11 months ago on I'm still in a bad mood today | July 2011

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Thing is, unless ALL the players on the team are capable of delivering, the Pirates aren't going to win consistently. It's true that using Hanrahan now wins now; but then what will they do in September, when he's tiring? The simple truth is that even in baseball, the standard is the standard, and these guys have to deliver. Sure, the bullpen. But also Pearce... Diaz... yeah, Alvarez, but he's coming around... and a whole host of guys who are hitting .229 and striking out with men on base.

Regarding Veras; you never know whether you're going to get the good Veras or the bad Veras. I found it interesting that you held him up as an example.

2 years, 11 months ago on I'm still in a bad mood today | July 2011

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@MRH1` No. The best thing to do would be to let it go and concentrate on winning the next game. Look forward, not back.

2 years, 12 months ago on Leftovers from last night: Jerry Means and Clint Hurdle | July 2011

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@whygavs @whygavs & @joshuabobby, I didn't get to see the ABs, I was listening on the radio (phone, MLB AB), so I couldn't really tell that. I'm not negative on Pedro, if he were the next Brandon Moss his numbers last year would have reflected that. However, I think the front office thinks he could have used more time in AAA. Anyhow, I still didn't mind that bunt. Now, the squeeze, I was laying there thinking, "Please, please, don't squeeze! The Braves just tried it, it's not going to surprise anyone!"

2 years, 12 months ago on Leftovers from last night: Jerry Means and Clint Hurdle | July 2011

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Y'know, I actually AGREED with the Alvarez bunt. The guy isn't doing anything, and you can expect him to strike out or hit into a dp before you can expect him to advance the runner. Maybe after a couple dozen games and he shows that he's not going to flail at a slider away and in the dirt, but for that guy and that situation, I can see the bunt. At least get the guy to second. I'd rather have Overbay up with McCutchen on second than Alvarez up with McCutchen on first. Say what you want about potential, Overbay > Alverez so far this year.

2 years, 12 months ago on Leftovers from last night: Jerry Means and Clint Hurdle | July 2011

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I'll disagree that it makes Pirates fans look bad; it makes us look like fans. Just like all the other fans. In previous years, we would have been laughed at for caring, but now we are on the exact same footing as all the other fans who have been screwed by, or have benefited from, bad umpire and official and referee decisions. We now are allowed to be the same, and that is good.

2 years, 12 months ago on Leftovers from last night: Jerry Means and Clint Hurdle | July 2011

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Dude. 16-11 in June.

3 years ago on Game 80: Pirates 6 Blue Jays 2 | June 2011

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Last year we were losing 19-1. This year, we are rightfully pissed that we didn't win this last game and sweep the Red Sox.

What a difference a year makes, huh?

3 years ago on Game 77: Red Sox 4 Pirates 2 | June 2011

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With Colorado: 9 plate appearances, no hits, 1 walk, 5 strike outs. That is a very small sample, but it still looks a hell of a lot like Brian Bixler with catching tools.

3 years, 1 month ago on Report: Pirates acquire Mike McKenry | June 2011

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