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Rather than talk about what the Pirates are doing now, here is a happier story on the occasion of Clemente's 80th birthday. This story comes from a guy I worked with almost 20 years ago at a casino in Mississippi. I can't guarantee it is authentic, but he was not prone to spinning tall tales and loved baseball too much to lie about. Here it goes.
The guy had a buddy in high school who played baseball well enough to play in the minors. One year he was called up to the show for a cup of coffee, and played one of his first major league games against the Pirates. He smokes a pitch down the first base line, just fair, and down into the RF corner. Rounds first, heads to second, and looks over his shoulder. By the time he is a few feet from 2B, Clemente still has not recovered the ball. A certain triple is there for the taking, so he races to third, and as he starts his slide, he looks to see that the third baseman is waiting for him with the ball in his glove. He is easily tagged out, and as he walks towards the dugout, the third baseman says "You don't run on Clemente, rook."
2 days, 19 hours ago on Conversation @ http://whygavs.com/august-2014/game-125-braves-7-pirates-3.html
Does Mother WHYGAVS read the comments as well? If so, I would like to apologize for using an obscenity on this site once before, and I promise to comport myself in a more dignified manner going forward.
4 weeks, 1 day ago on Conversation @ http://whygavs.com/july-2014/game-100-pirates-12-dodgers-7.html
Most times when I read about something that looks good, say a recipe or a landscaping idea, and I try to to make it on my own, the results range from "meh" to "not too bad". But every so often, I luck out and the final result is better than I had hoped, it looks nicer than the picture, and I decide to incorporate it into my life. That is how this outfield makes me feel. Reading about the idea of this outfield playing for the Bucs for years to come was nice, but seeing it in action, watching as the word became flesh, well, I want to incorporate this in my life.
2 months, 1 week ago on Conversation @ http://whygavs.com/uncategorized/game-67-pirates-8-marlins-6.html
At least Cole didn't tear his ACL on the bases in extra innings of a game that should never have lasted that long.
3 months, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://whygavs.com/may-2014/scenes-from-a-debacle.html
During the "Dave Kerwin" era, Pat wrote a post about how focusing on the sniping and beanballs between the Brewers and Pirates was wrong, that the bigger issue was the Pirates were incapable of beating the Brewers in Milwaukee, and that is what we should be focusing on. Someone, and I apologize for forgetting who it was, left a comment that said "Is it still OK to want to chuck batteries at Ryan Braun?" I like to bring that to mind during games like this one because it keeps me from cussing as much.
4 months ago on Conversation @ http://whygavs.com/april-2014/game-19-brewers-3-pirates-2.html
Very sorry for you and your family at this loss.
4 months, 1 week ago on Conversation @ http://whygavs.com/april-2014/cadaco-all-star-baseball-my-grandfather-and-me.html
When I first watched this video I saw COL, so my dumb brain thought that stood for Colorado and slightly diminished the blast due to altitude. Then I woke up and realized this happened in Columbus. Oh My.
4 months, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://whygavs.com/
This has ruined my day.
4 months, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://whygavs.com/april-2014/7455.html
He had the same thought when he immediately called for a replay when Pedro slid under his tag at home. Beating the Cardinals is so much fun.
4 months, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://whygavs.com/april-2014/game-4-pirates-12-cardinals-2.html
Not including all the good things the Pirates did today (win, Cole being great, Pedro killing the ball, Morneau showing signs of life, squishing the "just happy to be here" narrative, and so forth), my favorite part was Costas one-upping every writer who has spelled McCutchen's last name incorrectly by referring to him as "Lawrence McCutchen".
10 months, 2 weeks ago on NLDS Game 2: Pirates 7 Cardinals 1
The only thing that could make me any more emotional about this game is if the Pirates took the field while the instrumental music from the playoff game in "Major League" blared over the stadium speakers.
Good luck to all of us.
10 months, 3 weeks ago on National League Wild Card Game preview: This is what we've been waiting for
Same old Pirates, preparing to play a meaningless final game of the season.
10 months, 3 weeks ago on Game 161: Pirates 8 Reds 3
We get back to worrying about the division, home field, avoiding the need for Jeff Locke to start again this season, all of that can wait for tomorrow. Tonight, I am going to hang out with this big shit-eating grin that won't leave my face. Let's all inhale this right now.
11 months ago on Game 157: Pirates 2 Cubs 1
For a while, my biggest fear has been not that the Pirates lose in the playoffs, but that we lose to the Reds in the playoffs because Hurdle is out-managed by Baker. Games like today do little to assuage this fear.
11 months ago on Game 156: Reds 11 Pirates 3
I am going to sleep so much better tonight than I did last night. Thank you Bucs.
11 months ago on Game 155: Pirates 4 Reds 2
My life consists of two true outcomes lately: hope and a great night of sleep with each win, despair and a night of tossing and turning with each loss. Here's to more of the former than the latter this weekend.
11 months ago on (Hopefully not) the last home series
The magic number for the Pirates making the playoffs is ten. That means the magic number for the Pirates magic number to make the playoffs being in the single digits is one. I like that.
11 months, 2 weeks ago on Game 145: Pirates 7 Rangers 5
I was thinking about the ground rule double and runners from first not being allowed to score. Why is that not determined by a judgement call from the ump? The game is filled with judgement calls, many people even embrace it (Human Element, I'm looking at you). The strike zone is interpreted, the definition of a check swing is not committed to paper but passed along though storytelling and parables to every new generation of umpires, balks are called based upon whims and antiquated notions, the neighborhood play exists, and the infield fly rule is filled with suppositions, assumptions, and, well, judgments. Yet for some reason, the ground rule double is a Bright Line.
The only way McCutchen, on first with two outs and going on contact, does not score on Pedro's double is if he gets lost and turns right at third base, yet the rule is that the ump can't make that assumption based upon his judgement. These are the same umpires who, when trying to determine whether a pitcher simply had a pitch get away from him or meant harm to a batter by aiming at his head, are called upon to divine intent, a.k.a. Read the Pitcher's Fucking Mind. But allowing them to award home to a fast runner on first running on contact would apparently give them too much discretion and power, and disrupt the current system where they have limited control over a game and are exceedingly meek and humble.
What a strange game.
11 months, 4 weeks ago on Game 130: Brewers 7 Pirates 6
After Cutch was thrown out at home and then the Giants came back to tie the game, I started thinking about how this game felt awfully similar to many of our games lately. Early Pirate runs put a smile to my face, I feel like this game is going to be different, then nothing is added on, the other team ties it, and we ultimately lose.
Is this trend real, or just selective editing on the part of my memory? If real, is there a reason behind it, such as opposing pitchers adjustments after the first time through the lineup? I was set to dig through the numbers, then the Pirates scored seven in the fifth inning, and a big smile came to my face, and I decided things were different now, that my search probably would have been inconclusive anyway, and I went to bed.
In summary, more runs equal better sleep.
12 months ago on Game 127: Pirates 10 Giants 5
So it is out of pity for the Padres offensive woes that Harrison is our leadoff man? Thanks, Hurdle. My appreciation for your altruism will help me deal with any other frustrating decisions you make tonight.
(Please please please win this game. I don't want to have to deal with myself if you don't.)
1 year ago on A different kind of West Coast trip in August
The past two starts by Locke have not only been games that we probably should have lost, but also the types of games we are usually on the opposite side of. Take last week's game against St. Louis from the Cards point of view. The opposing pitcher is giving up hits all day long, the opposing defense is shaky, the opposing catcher is caught stealing TWICE, yet the Cardinals lose because the go-ahead run moved into scoring position by tagging from first on a fly ball to left. Not just a normal loss, but a loss that makes the team and fans wonder what in the hell just happened.
We've been on the other side of games like last night, avoiding the big threat in the bottom of the eighth only to be finished off by someone like Josh Harrison in the bottom of the ninth. We've lost games like this before, and we will lose games like this again, but when we win them, I start thinking about things falling in to place and this season being different and I shudder. Then I put that thought away and wait for today's lineup to come out and focus on the pitching matchup.
1 year ago on Game 112: Pirates 4 Marlins 3
I could watch his first inning strikeout of Pujols all summer long.
1 year, 2 months ago on Game 74: Pirates 4 Angels 2
As the ball was heading to right, I asked myself who was playing RF today. My brain quickly came back with the answer, and I cringed. Now that we apparently have a catcher who can throw to second on the fly, the most painful thing to watch as a Bucs fan is Jones stumbling around in right with a "this is going to get worse before it gets better" look on his face.
1 year, 4 months ago on Here goes something
"Attention, HO-scale passengers. The dining car is closed. Root beer is still available, but the cost is now six-fifty. If the passengers will look to their right, you will see a sad man. That is all."
We are all that sad man.
1 year, 10 months ago on Game 155: Reds 1 Pirates 0
Not surprised, just saddened. It feels like I am eight years old and I got grounded just before my best friend's birthday party. All of the fans of playoff contenders are watching games closely, looking at standings and remaining schedules, and I am sitting on the floor, staring at the wall.
1 year, 11 months ago on Game 149: Brewers 9 Pirates 7
My favorite "what-if" is imagining what would have happened if Burnett didn't break his eye during a freaking spring training bunting competition and was able to pitch in April. If the Pirates finish a game or two out, I will blame this while simultaneously laughing at how perfectly it sums up the Hurdle experience.
1 year, 11 months ago on Here we go | August 2012
The stinkiest part of his series is that we have a manager who is being out-managed by Dusty Baker. That's an impressive feat in a limbo sort of way.
1 year, 11 months ago on Game 141 Precap: F*ck you, Pirates | August 2012
@wkkortas I miss that guy.
1 year, 11 months ago on I don't have anything to say right now | August 2012
Every night, I watch less and less of each game, shaking my head at something stupid that just occured before tuning out. Every morning I look at the standings and see that we are still within striking distance, tell myself that we can't keep playing this crappily, and gear up to watch another game that evening. I know if the Bucs make it into the wildcard game, Barmes and Barajas will go a combined 0-7 with 6 K's, Qualls will do something dumb in a high leverage situation, and we will give up 9 stolen bases, all uncontested. It will most likely be horrible, but I want it so bad.
The big question is "are the trolls scrappy?"
1 year, 11 months ago on Let's try again | August 2012
I've reached a level of calm detatchment with this team. The way the last month has unfolded, the idea of the playoffs seems preposterous. Still, it could happen. What is even crazier, it could happen not just in spite of Barmes and Barajas and Correia, but because of them. We could give up an infinite number of stolen bases and still make the playoffs. It is all so insane that it just might happen. So I am going to roll with this thought for the next week and see where it takes me.
1 year, 11 months ago on This is an opportunity | August 2012
It has reached that point where I am still watching all the games, and I am still hoping for the best, but I am not caring. A couples of weeks ago, I would have been livid at Barmes incredibly shitty play during the first inning. Now it is just something on the TV. Please start playing well enough to give me a reason to care.
1 year, 12 months ago on A lot of roster moves and the Brewers | August 2012
I went to bed after Jones tied it up in the 9th. Reading about how we lost makes me happy I did, because it would have been so damned infuriating to watch live.
1 year, 12 months ago on Game 123: Padres 7 Pirates 5 | August 2012
Was the person who messed up your experiment Jim Tracy? If it was, but you don't want to name names, just write a post where you ask and answer seven rhetorical questions in a row.
2 years ago on James McDonald hammered again: what happens with the rotation now? | August 2012
@whygavs @TWT_Junior Yeah, it would be great to have games at PNC. When the Majestic cruised by the Stadium last night and blew the horn, I imagined how insane that would be with a packed house during a playoff game, and I started to hyperventilate.
2 years ago on You are here [x] | August 2012
I am still trying to wrap my head around the fact that we are having non-sarcastic discussions about which players we should call up this month so that they would be eligible for the playoff roster.
When I saw that Gorkys was traded, I didn't like it because I like him as a defensive replacement for Jones in the outfield. Then I remembered the Snider trade meant that we should never have to witness Jones in RF again, and I was happy.
2 years ago on Pirates trade deadline in review: Convention is your worst enemy | July 2012
That OPS+ is causing me to shake my head in awe. I keep a mental list of my favorite things/players in baseball, so if someone asks me my opinion, I will be ready. No one ever does, but that doesn't mean I don't continually edit the thing. For a while, I had divisions in place for favorite player (Pirates only), favorite player (entire MLB), and best player in baseball. This year, these categories are in agreement. That's how great Andrew McCutchen is. He is simplifying my life.
2 years, 1 month ago on Andrew McCutchen through 90 team games: this is a real thing that is happening | July 2012
The first thing I look for when the lineup is posted is Jones position on defense. If a see a nine next to his name, I shudder. Last night, I was initially happy, but that is only because I forgot how bad Harrison can be out there. If the Bucs are going to keep putting people in RF who play the position like Doumit, let me know now. I'll just pull back inside my protective shell and watch the games from a safe remove, like I've done for the better part of two decades. But I would rather they just play someone in right who doesn't give the other opposition runs in close games while the team is contending for the division.
2 years, 1 month ago on It's well past time to bring Starling Marte up | July 2012
"...there is a very real chance that the Pittsburgh Pirates could make the playoffs this year."
When I read something like this, my brain short-circuits. It is not that I think it is a ludicrous idea, nor do I immediately start planning the victory parade. It's more along the lines of we've been trudging along in this rut for two decades, our bodies
inured to the pain, forgetting what we have been walking for because it is the only way to keep going, and all of a sudden someone taps you on the shoulder and says the finish line is within sight. It requires a mental adjustment to process this possibility.
2 years, 1 month ago on Let's take a deep breath and be briefly logical about the Pirates | July 2012
If this game happened two month ago, I would have watched the first three innings, thought "I see it's going to be one of those games", then quit watching because I knew that the Pirates would lose and the opposing pitcher would finish with a career high in strikeouts. Now, I watch and think "Cutch bats third next inning."
Eight games over, tied for first.
2 years, 1 month ago on Game 80: Pirates 8 Astros 7 | July 2012
(after the final out)
Nice victory. 3 games over .500. Always good to watch the Pirates win at home in front of a big crowd. Now I'll take a quick glance at the other games.
(immediately switches over to Det-Cin)
No, I'm not scoreboard watching, just looking for a close game to watch. Sure, it would be good if the Reds lost, but it is waaaay to early to even contemplate ramifications in the standings.
(Reds tie the game in the bottom of the 8th, I curse, then apologize to my loved ones for the person I will become if the Pirates stay in contention.)
2 years, 2 months ago on Interleague begins | May 2012
If you love the Human Element, you are in for a real treat with this umpire's strike zone.
2 years, 2 months ago on Charlie Morton to the disabled list, the Brewers loom | May 2012
I was going to say something about how ludicrous it is to put Jones in RF after watching him throw 25 feet wide of his cutoff man. As I was about to post the comment, Harrison, playing shortstop, took the cutoff throw, turned to throw to third and promptly threw it 15 rows deep into the stands, allowing a run to score. I deleted my Jones post, not because it was wrong, but because sometimes you watch this team and you see so many bad things that Pirate Nihilism (Pihilism?) sweeps over you and you wonder what the point is. Now we are making Homer Bailey look like Greg Maddux in his prime as he has made it through four innings with a pitch count in the single digits.
Looking for hope.
2 years, 2 months ago on Jordy Mercer arrives, the Bucs look to make up more ground | May 2012
What makes McCutchen's play this season even more enjoyable is that he and the Pirates agreed on the contract extension. It would have been awful to have spent the last month wondering if each home run made a deal less likely, parsing comments from management/agents, and reading terrible columns saying either get a deal done now or trade him.
2 years, 3 months ago on Andrew McCutchen is on another planet right now | May 2012
This has nothing to do with why the Bucs lost, but can the Pirates please stop playing Jones in RF? I like Jones. I admire him trying to play a position he is not capable of playing in order to help the team and get his bat in the lineup. But it is somewhere between painful and scary to watch whenever anything other than a routine pop-up heads in his direction.
If only there were some way we could have his bat but not play him in right. What's that? We were playing an AL team on the road, and we could have used him as a DH? Who did we use instead? Yeah right, Harrison, that's pretty funny, but I am asking a serious question. Oh, you weren't joking? Well, #*%*.
2 years, 3 months ago on Game 39: Tigers 6 Pirates 0 | May 2012
With Morton starting, shouldn't we go with an outfield of McCutchen, McLouth and Hernandez and call it the "Circle of Life" outfield?
2 years, 3 months ago on Pirates activate Gorkys Hernandez, presumably not to be a designated hitter | May 2012
McCutchen's catch in the fifth was the most exciting moment of the year for me. When it left the bat, I thought "that ends the no-hitter, and of course it was LaRoche who did it." Then he caught it, except he didn't, but as he's descending he is able to track the deflection off the heel of his glove, haul it in and hold on. At that moment, I went from "McDonald is having a damned nice night" mode to "Cutch is bleeping awesome, don't all no-hitters have some defining play like this, the Nats must be so demoralized after that, this could actually happen" mode.
It didn't work out that way, but I regret nothing. Also, we won. Wins = good.
2 years, 3 months ago on Game 38: Pirates 5 Nationals 3 | May 2012
@Savage_Beast My inner manager went from screaming "No no no!" to "Go go go!" instantaneously. There are many shortstops who could bungle a play like that, including some who have played for the Bucs recently, but there are only two or three guys who could score from second like that. One of them plays for the Pirates, and his name is Andrew McCutchen.
2 years, 3 months ago on Game 30: Pirates 4 Nationals 2 | April 2012
I am happy about this game for two reasons:
1) The Pirates won.
2) They did not get shut down by Moyer. When I saw the probables for this series, I was fearful of him pitching a complete game shutout and the slew of articles lauding his accomplishment while also including the following aside - "of course, since it happened against the Pirates, it shouldn't count as a major league victory".
2 years, 3 months ago on Game 16: Pirates 5 Rockies 4 | April 2012