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My Cutch story is sort of a poor man's version of yours. My parents retired down to Tampa in 2007 and during my first visit down for Spring Training in 2008 I finally got to see this fabled prospect who everybody hoped would lead us out of the darkness and into the promised land. Man was I crushed when he turned out to be this tiny little dude who was fast but not much more. Of course he didn't make the team - he was just there to get his feet wet - but to see him play now, I feel so dumb for ever doubting him. 

I still have pictures I took that year on a flash drive. So if anybody's interested, presented for the sake of posterity, leading off and playing center field, number.....74?????????  http://tinypic.com/r/6ntst3/8

1 week, 2 days ago on Conversation @ http://whygavs.com/july-2014/leading-off-and-playing-center-field-for-the-national-league.html

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I think this loss has broken me. I'm at the point now where I'll watch games until the starting pitcher leaves and then I'm going to turn it off because I don't think I can take one more bullpen meltdown. This has gotten beyond ridiculous.

As for Watson, I love reading Twitter if only because Pirate fans might be worse armchair coaches than Stiller fans. This past week it was all "Watson is the best! Watson should be allowed to pitch 2 innings every day! Hurdle is in idiot!" then last night it's "Watson can't get anybody out. Why didn't he get yanked after he gave up three hits? Hurdle is an idiot!" I love baseball but I think managing with the level of second guessing involved has to make it the worst job ever.

1 week, 5 days ago on Conversation @ http://whygavs.com/july-2014/game-93-reds-6-pirates-5.html

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J-Hay! He's officially become a more talented/less insane version of Nyjer Morgan.

3 weeks, 6 days ago on Conversation @ http://whygavs.com/june-2014/game-80-pirates-3-mets-2.html

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Dear Bob, Frank, and Neal: please sign Gregory Polanco to a long term deal at your earliest possible convenience. I understand wanting a good bargain but every game you wait his price goes up. This kid is going to be an absolute monster and I wish to enjoy watching him do his damage whilst wearing a Pirate uniform. Also, get rid of that useless bum Jason Grilli...but first sign Polanco. Kthanx.

/Closers save games, Polanco saves seasons

4 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://whygavs.com/june-2014/game-79-pirates-5-mets-2.html

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Speaking of odd pitch sequences, I couldn't understand what the heck was going on in that McGehee AB. Melancon already bounced the first curve they tried - that pitch hasn't worked for him much at all this year to begin with. Then after wasting a pitch inside for some reason to go Ball Three, Martin - or whoever calls pitches from the dugout, I'm not sure how they work it - calls for another curve. Why would you throw that pitch in that situation? If you walk him, at least do it throwing a pitch that has a remote chance of being swung at.

Thank goodness for Polanco. I used to silently mock the fans acting like bringing him up would cure all the team's ills but now I'm convinced. Gregory Polanco is here to save us all.

1 month, 1 week ago on Conversation @ http://whygavs.com/uncategorized/game-67-pirates-8-marlins-6.html

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Ah, starting to feel like old times around here...


If last season was actually a fever dream brought on by an overdose of fried pickle chips and Mr. Pibb, please don't tell me. I prefer to live in my beautiful fantasy world...

2 months, 4 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://whygavs.com/uncategorized/game-24-cardinals-1-pirates-0.html

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I thought winning game #82 last season would be the pinnacle of surreal fan experiences but hearing Greg Brown talk about Daniel Bryan and explain the YES Movement on a Pirates telecast is truly bizarre.

My worlds are colliding, man...

3 months, 1 week ago on Conversation @ http://whygavs.com/uncategorized/game-16-pirates-11-brewers-2.html

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Popcorn Boy was (deservedly) the most screen-grabbed moment of the game but the look on Molina's face after Pedro stole second was an all-time classic. He's like, "How can he be safe? I'm a Cardinal, dammit!"

3 months, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://whygavs.com/april-2014/game-4-pirates-12-cardinals-2.html

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I lived through Sid Bream and The Slide. I not only watched the game from start to finish, I had World Series tickets in my hand when THAT happened. Yes, the last two games have been disappointing. But comparatively speaking, last night was a very bad paper cut compared to the utter agony that was Game Seven.

The Pirates aren't going to lose their best players to free agency this off-season.This isn't the culmination of 3 years of chronic underachieving. If anything, they overachieved. And the future is bright. Yesterday was disappointing, no doubt, but I see it as the beginning of the story, not the end.

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

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I kind of hope they use Cole similar to how the Rays used Price back during his rookie season (as your go-to reliever in key relief situations). I have no idea if Cole is calibrated to that sort of usage but it would give a much-needed boost to the bullpen. As I look at things, I assume the Pirates go with a 3 man rotation at least in the LDS with AJ & Chuck on Thurs/Fri and then bringing back Liriano on Sunday so unless Cole pulls a Bob Walk (92 NLCS Reference for you old timers!) at some point, they gotta get him some work in somewhere.

9 months, 3 weeks ago on Wild card game roster updates

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While certainly not ideal, not sure I agree about the idea of a Wild Card game in Cincy being "terrifying." Not to be a negative nelly but if they play in Cincy, then the Pirates finished 3rd. If you finish third, I'd consider them lucky to even be getting a playoff game. Not replacing the Jolly Roger with a Vogelsong (reference for us WHYGAVS old timers!) by a long shot but I'm happy the Pirates are back. Everything else is gravy. 

10 months ago on Game 159: Cubs 4 Pirates 2

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It's nights like this that I flashback to October 1992 and for a second - a very very brief split second - wonder why I ever wanted to go through this again. Another loss like this and I'm starting a blog titled, "Where Have You Gone, Dave Littlefield?"

10 months, 1 week ago on (Hopefully not) the last home series

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And it also seems right the guy who made the final putout was the Pittsburgh Kid...wearing Andy Van Slyke's old number.

10 months, 2 weeks ago on Game 143: Pirates 1 Rangers 0

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I actually liked Presley, too. I would've preferred he be the lefty in the platoon with Tabata in RF rather than Travis Snider, who is absolutely useless. That said, I'm good with this trade because I don't see Presley as anything that's irreplaceable. Polanco will be here sometime next season and in the meantime the Bucs can sign somebody over the winter and I wouldn't even give up on Tabata, who I still think has the most upside of the "fourth OFers" if he could only stay motivated and healthy.


Sure Morneau is having a down year but we've seen many many times how changing leagues creates a brief revival in a talented veteran. Plus, I'd rather see GI Jones in RF and Morneau at 1B against RHP than Jones and Snider.

10 months, 3 weeks ago on Pirates acquire Justin Morneau from Twins in exchange for Alex Presley

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@wkkortas I don't consider Herrera a top tier prospect. When I made that comment, I was more referring to the yinzers calling into talk radio demanding we swap Taillon or Polanco for Alex Rios. I have no problem trading middling prospects for help in a pennant race. 

Of course, I reserve the right to Monday morning quarterback this trade if the PTBNL turns out to be someone I like (or Herrera becomes the next Robbie Cano). 

11 months ago on Pirates trade for Marlon Byrd and John Buck

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@mwr505 @wkkortas It's Neal Huntington's version of the rope-a-dope. He's been so slow to address the team's obvious need for a bat that I'm sure the Reds figured he was content to stand pat for the rest of the season rather than part with any of his precious prospects. Clearly the Reds don't have a GM as deviously clever as we have here in the 'Burgh!

11 months ago on Pirates trade for Marlon Byrd and John Buck

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I was really hoping Wandy would come back because both Locke and Cole seem to be at the end of their ropes. With a visit to Dr. Andrews (the four worst words in baseball) looming, it looks like he's done for the year. Cumpton had that great spot start against the Cards and Gomez has pitched well all year but I'm not sure I feel comfortable throwing either one into the rotation on a regular basis. 

I know Huntington seems loathe to pull the trigger on a trade but I'd feel a lot better if he looked into the Angels about Jason Vargas or even, *shudder*, Houston about Eric Bedard. At this point, I trust either of them to give us 7-8 mediocre starts more than I trust Locke. 

11 months ago on Game 127: Pirates 10 Giants 5

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Clutch hits by Pedro and Cutch, an unexpected homer by Tabata, a solid bounce back by Cole after terrible fourth inning, Garret Jones Crazy Hot Wife revealing he loves junk food, and some douchebag dropping his Primanti sandwich all over the warning track... This game had something for everybody!

11 months, 1 week ago on Game 121: Pirates 6 Diamondbacks 2

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@nickjuneau24 Exactly my thoughts (except with less math). People always bring up Zane Smith being a "key" to the Pirates making the playoffs but to me that's a strawman. Alas MLBTradeRumors didn't exist back then so I have no idea who else was on the market but those 90s Pirates were so good, how could we know they wouldn't have accomplished the same amount with a different/cheaper deadline acquisition?

The lesson I think/hope Pirate fans would have learned from that fiasco is nothing is a sure thing. You're far better off planning for the long term than the short. Instead of going all in for one shot, it's better to maintain a strong farm and ensure you're competitive for as many years as possible because the odds of winning it all in one particular year just are never that great. 

Or in simpler terms, the A's and Rays never trade away future All-Stars in the name of going "ALL IN." Neither should the Pirates. 

1 year ago on At the break

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@wkkortas The trading of Moises Alou still haunts me to this day. Trading a potential solid every day player or two to help you "win now" is fine but trading a potential superstar/All-Star is the surest road to utter ruin.  

1 year ago on At the break

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See, Spring Training isn't a complete waste of time after all!

1 year, 3 months ago on Game 17: Pirates 3 Braves 1

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The only positive about that quick half inning is it limited the amount of BS from NH we were subjected to. The Bucs should hire Ray Shero when this assclown is fired after the season.

1 year, 3 months ago on Here goes something

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Guess the Bucs don't have a book on Rizzo yet. Yeesh.

1 year, 3 months ago on Here goes something

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The Bucs are like a bitchy ex-girlfriend. It's not enough that they break your heart, they gotta kick you in the balls on the way out the door.

1 year, 9 months ago on Game 155: Reds 1 Pirates 0

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 @wkkortas I just didn't feel like typing out a real long comment. Wandy and Gaby are token moves, those aren't "over the top" moves. Trading for CC Sabathia is an over the top move.  Not saying this was the year to go all in but if it was, he didn't do what he needed to do in that regard.

 

As for organizational depth, they didn't have any starting pitching to take over when JMac turned into JSuck and Jeff Karstens got hurt. Locke and MacPherson are just Duke and Gorzo redux. When Kevin Correia is your best option, that's on the GM. They didn't have any effective relievers in AAA so when Lincoln was traded and the other guys (like Resop and Watson) began to falter, the bullpen fell apart. The failure of Tabata and Presley meant they had to trade perhaps their best bargaining chip (Lincoln) for a corner OF, who has contributed very little.

 

I could go on but I don't feel like rehashing this depressing season. You like NH, I get it. I think he's made a ton of mistakes. Way more than the Pirates could afford.  I've mentioned many times that I follow the Rays since my folks live in Tampa. Andrew Friedman (Rays GM) has the same plan as NH and operates under the exact same constraints but he's implemented the plan about a billion times better than NH has. I think the problem with a lot of the pro-NH people are they confuse the fact he has a GREAT PLAN with implementing that great plan.

 

NH wins on the former but has failed pretty badly in the latter.

1 year, 10 months ago on Neal Huntington and his staff get a vote of confidence

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 @wkkortas Lack of organizational depth and failure to add pieces that would put a contender over the top fall directly on the GM.

1 year, 10 months ago on Neal Huntington and his staff get a vote of confidence

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 @wkkortas You're picking and choosing the exceptions and trying to claim it's the rule. 99 times out of 100, the player goes for the money. Yes there are cases here and there where a guy takes less to play for a contender or whatever but they are few and far between.

 

Believe what you wish but if you think the Pirates finishing .500 means they'll suddenly start getting a higher class of free agent than the Kevin Corrieas or Erik Bedards then you're just setting yourself up for disappointment.

1 year, 10 months ago on Neal Huntington and his staff get a vote of confidence

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I'm not really much of a NH fan but (insanity of the past month and a half aside) I do like Hurdle and I guess you can't keep one without the other. So I can't really quibble with bringing him back for another year. I still think NH has no idea how to effectively shift from rebuilding mode to contender mode but I guess he deserves one more year to figure it out.

 

Although I'm not sure what we're going to learn next year. The pitching staff looks to be a mess heading into 2013 and if the offense drops off even a tick, I can see this team not even being in the hunt. In which case the rallying cry will be "Wait until Cole and Taillon are both here in 2014 & 2015. That's when the Pirates will finally be contenders!" And we'll be having this discussion all over again.

 

Wash, rinse, repeat. Waiting 'til next year for a year that never actually comes.

1 year, 10 months ago on Neal Huntington and his staff get a vote of confidence

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 @MattGajtka Free agents go where the money is. End of story. All this "Nobody will come here because we stink" stuff is, frankly, bullshit. Milwaukee had a really good team that made the playoffs a few years back and even though they made a very competitive offer to CC Sabathia, he still signed with the Yankees because they offered him even bigger money. The Rays are one of the best franchises in baseball and they do the same dumpster diving we do. The bottom line on free agents is you only get what you're willing to pay for. Period.

1 year, 10 months ago on Neal Huntington and his staff get a vote of confidence

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Watching ESPN this morning as they beat last night's MNF game to a fine pulp and notice the Pirates have finally been dropped from the NL Wild Card ticker. Not gonna lie, I shed a tear.

1 year, 10 months ago on The Pirates and Mets bring their sad seasons to a close together

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Fire them all.

1 year, 10 months ago on A few words about the Kyle Stark stuff

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Being a Pirate fan is nothing but Melon Collie and Infinite Sadness.

1 year, 10 months ago on The end is the beginning is the end

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Six years ago it was "The club that will turn the corner will feature Andrew McCutchen." Then it was "The club that will turn the corner will feature Pedro Alvarez and Andrew McCutchen." Now Marte is here. And then in 2013 it'll be "wait for Cole and Taillon to both get here."

 

No offense to anybody but I'm tired of this "Wait 'til next year" mentality. I think what Pat is saying with this post (and what I've been saying for awhile now) is WHEN WILL IT BE NEXT YEAR?

 

You can't wait 'til next year forever. What if this is Cutch's career year? What if this is Pedro's? Then what? Wait for Hansen and Josh Bell? It's a shell game. Plus I hope Cole and Taillon are awesome but do you realize how astronomical the odds are against them BOTH turning out to be Verlanders is? I would think by now after the Kris Bensons and Duke/Gorzo/Snell "rotations of the future" and "we got Tim Alderson for broken down Freddy Sanchez!" disasters that we'd all realize that nothing is a sure thing.

 

Look, I'm sorry for repeating what I've written before but this season has really depressed me. Not because of the swoon but because I'm REALLY REALLY scared that we're going to look back on 2012 three or four years from now and realize that was our last best chance to win. And we didn't take advantage of it. 

1 year, 10 months ago on It's alright, Ma (I'm only sighing) | August 2012

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Welp, you can only dance through the raindrops for so long before you get drenched.

1 year, 10 months ago on The Pirate Playoff Improbabilty Tour continues | August 2012

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Headline should read "Mother Nature bails out Pirates." Cubs are making Correia look like Verlander, swinging at everything. They couldn't make it more obvious that they have zero interest in playing this game.

1 year, 10 months ago on Mother Nature attempts to save the Pirates from themselves | August 2012

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People bitch about Barmajas (see what I did there) or point to the inconsistency of Cutch & Pedro when placing blame for this tailspin but I think JMac going in the tank is the biggest by far. It hasn't been posted here but he's been demoted to the pen for probably the rest of the season. What's disturbing is reading into Hurdle/NH's reasoning, they're saying it's all mental. Mental? Great, just what we need, another Ian Snell/Ollie Perez.

1 year, 10 months ago on Game 14something: Cubs 11 Pirates 9 | August 2012

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In the spirit if this post, I'm going to try and remain positive. That said, J-Mac has already been lifted in the 4th and, if he had been facing a halfway decent line-up instead of the Cubs AAA team, he probably would've given up about 5 runs.

 

I guess what I'm saying is, maybe it's time to shut him down for the year.

1 year, 10 months ago on Here we go | August 2012

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I've been a Hurdle fan but he's just been indefensible the past month or so. At this point, I really hope the Pirates at least reach out to Tito. The players can have all the KFC and Iron they want.

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

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I don't know what's worse at this point: the Pirates' crashing and burning or the fact the freakin' BREWERS have a very real shot at backdooring into that Wild Card spot that belonged to us.

 

Definitely the Brewers. Anybody but the Brewers.

1 year, 10 months ago on I don't have anything to say right now | August 2012

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Kick the ball around like Little Leaguers for 3 runs then go down on six freakin pitches the next half inning. AT LEAST MAKE IT LOOK LIKE YOU'RE TRYING TO WIN!!!! I'm out. Hope Xtina Aguleria is wearing something appropriately slutty tonight...

1 year, 10 months ago on There is a game tonight | August 2012

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I pretty much feel the same way. I want to feel outraged or optimistic that this will be the Pirates rallying point but I'm just numb to the whole thing right about now. As I said in the game thread, I think this is the game that finally broke me.

1 year, 10 months ago on Game 139: Reds 4 Pirates 3 | August 2012

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I think I'm tappin out, boys. This game broke me.

1 year, 10 months ago on A final line in the sand | August 2012

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Wow, I'm pretty sure that's the first time I've seen you definitively state you saw this year as a window. I struggled with that all season. If this was a window, NH deserves a lot more blame for failing to seize his chance. I know this is a pro-Huntington blog but he really didn't do what a GM in his position shoud have. When the Brewers sensed their window, they traded their top prospects for CC just to go over the top. If we lost Marte and/or Taillon so be it. Now maybe adding say Greinke and Victorino wouldn't have mattered, maybe we were doomed anyway but it discourages me that he worried more about 2014 than right now. I guess my biggest anger/sadness about this whole deal is I'm starting to wonder if RIGHT NOW will ever come. Or, like ass and the carrot, will they just keep moving the stick??

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

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I've been wracking my brain trying to crunch the numbers for a playoff spot. Luckily, the Dodgers and Cards haven't been setting the world of fire either. With about 28 games remaining for each of us, I'm figuring a .600 wp% would be generous for any of them. Something between .500 and .600 is much more likely. So it's looking like the 2nd Wild Card will have around 87-90 wins.Can the Pirates go 16-11 over their final 27? I think that's doable. So assuming the other teams don't get hot out of nowhere, I think there's a pretty good chance of us being right in there at the end or at worst falling a game or two short.  

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

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Uh oh, Snider looks gimpy. Astros D is comical. Like Russell era Bucs comical.

1 year, 10 months ago on Trying to find some footing | August 2012

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The Pirates were extremely lucky the first 3/4 of the season in terms of injuries. Now you subtract their 2nd best hitter (at least from a consistency standpoint), Walker, plus pile up peripheral injuries to guys like Marte and Karstens and this team doesn't have the depth to stay afloat like say the Rays did. Plus we knew Cutch and Jmac couldn't possibly continue playing at the heights they were but who figured they'd fall totally off a cliff. When the team gets a brief hot streak from Jonesy or Pedro, things improve but they aren't consistent enough players to keep it going. Honestly, this is about a .500 team that played above their heads a long time and now we're experiencing a regression to the mean. A HARD regression.

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

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So who had Bedard being released Correia? Anybody? Anybody?

 

I said yesterday that this team has to keep the facade of being in the playoff hunt up if just to give long-suffering fans hope and/or generate some revenue for a new chair lift up in Seven Springs.However, this presents an interesting crossroads. If the team replaces Bedard with a rook like Locke or McPherson, that's probably a sign that they've turned their sights to next season. If they just replug Correia, they're continuing to delude themselves and the fanbase.

 

Clearly there is only one true solution: Call up Gerrit Cole!!!!

1 year, 11 months ago on Pirates release Erik Bedard | August 2012

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To be fair, I hear comments like those from the Bright Sunny Optimists (TM) down at the bottom of the page on Pittsburgh talk radio all the time. It's great there are some true believers to counteract the mouthbreathers on PHB's blog but I'm sad to say I'm with Pat here: we've seen this story too many times to not know how it eventually ends. 

 

This team isn't going to make the playoffs. Look at the teams they're competing against and seriously try and say they're the same caliber as the Braves or Cardinals. They played above their heads for 4 months and now it's crashing back to earth. I was just thinking last night that come Sept call-ups, they might be better served to play some rookies and prepare for next season but they aren't going to do that because for PR purposes they HAVE to keep the facade that they're in a playoff hunt up until the bitter bitter end.

 

From here on out, I'm firmly in the "Please please please finish over .500 club" (t-shirt and membership card in the mail!)  I know Pat doesn't care about that so I totally understand why these remaining games really hold no interest for him. If I wasn't firmly in the PPPFO500 Club, I'd probably punt too.

1 year, 11 months ago on And so here we are again | August 2012

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No baby steps today. The Bucs were hoisted by their own Bedard.

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

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