© Steve Rogers 2011

Monday, October 14, 2013

Thank You Pirates

Dear Pirates,

Thank you for the great season. You really gave me a passion for baseball that I haven't had since 1992. You buried the images of Sid Bream with much better ones. The comeback in Anaheim that one Sunday is one memory I won't soon forget.

Here is a wish list on how to make the offseason better:

Sign Pedro to a multiple year deal. Mr October deserves it, hopefully Scott Boras gets out of the way.

Sign Byrd.

Sign a shortstop.

That's it, I'll see you next spring.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

1990 vs. 2013

First, let's discuss the elephant in the room.  What a game last night.  It's been over 20 years since I've seen the Pirates play in the playoffs and pretty much every emotion was drawn out of me as I watched the game.

I laughed when Cueto dropped the ball.
I shouted when Martin hit the very next pitch out of the park.
I cried when Grilli recorded the final out.

I know that I've waited for many, many years for this moment and I'm relishing being able to see my Pirates play in October.  It kind of reminds me when I was just a little lad and my childhood team made the playoffs for the first time.  The year was 1990 and I was only 14 years old.

First, let's look at the lineup for game one vs. the Reds and see if memories are stirred:

Wally Backman 3B
Jay Bell SS
Andy Van Slyke CF
Bobby Bonilla RF
Barry Bonds LF
Sid Bream 1B
Mike LaValliere C
Jose Lind 2B
Bob Walk P

Wally Backman was pinch hit for after two at-bats by Jeff King and Jeff King started the second game.

Let's look at some more comparisons from the two teams.

Batting, I pretty much matched up the key characters from each team with each other for comparison.  McCutchen is to Bonds as Alvarez is to Bonilla:


Pos
Age G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR ▾ RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
CF Andrew McCutchen 26 157 674 583 97 185 38 5 21 84 27 10 78 101 0.317 0.404 0.508 0.911
LF Barry Bonds* 25 151 621 519 104 156 32 3 33 114 52 13 93 83 0.301 0.406 0.565 0.970
3B Pedro Alvarez 26 152 614 558 70 130 22 2 36 100 2 0 48 186 0.233 0.296 0.473 0.770
RF Bobby Bonilla# 27 160 686 625 112 175 39 7 32 120 4 3 45 103 0.280 0.322 0.518 0.841
LF Starling Marte 24 135 566 510 83 143 26 10 12 35 41 15 25 138 0.280 0.343 0.441 0.784
1B Sid Bream* 29 147 448 389 39 105 23 2 15 67 8 4 48 65 0.270 0.349 0.455 0.804
2B Neil Walker# 27 133 551 478 62 120 24 4 16 53 1 2 50 85 0.251 0.339 0.418 0.757
SS Jay Bell 24 159 696 583 93 148 28 7 7 52 10 6 65 109 0.254 0.329 0.362 0.691
1B Justin Morneau* 32 152 635 572 62 148 36 0 17 77 0 0 50 110 0.259 0.323 0.411 0.734
1B Sid Bream* 29 147 448 389 39 105 23 2 15 67 8 4 48 65 0.270 0.349 0.455 0.804
C Russell Martin 30 127 506 438 51 99 21 0 15 55 9 5 58 108 0.226 0.327 0.377 0.703
3B Jeff King 25 127 402 371 46 91 17 1 14 53 3 3 21 50 0.245 0.283 0.41 0.692

As you can see, these players closely align with each other.  There isn't any reason to compare Barmes with Lind offensively.  They are strictly out there for defensive purposes and it would be similar to comparing Liriano vs. Drabek batting stats.

I hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane.  Tomorrow, I might compare the pitching stats.  For reference sake, the 1990 Pirates scored 733 runs and allowed 619 runs.  Our 2013 Buccos scored 634 runs and allowed 577.  Clearly, that's why the comparison above have inflated RBI's.  We'll see the difference in pitching in tomorrow's post.  Until then, enjoy the fact the Pirates are starting a playoff series tomorrow!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Spring Training 2013

Baseball season is almost here and I was able to check something off of my bucket list that I've always wanted to do...visit the Pirates in Spring Training.  I was traveling for business to Sarasota and was lucky enough to have time to see them.  If you're a Pirate fan and have always thought about doing this, don't wait any longer, you'll be glad you did.  Here are three reasons why it is worth it:
  1. The weather was perfect.  Highs around 78-82 and lows in the mid 50's the entire week.  Enough said.
  2. You can get *very* close to the actual players and coaches.  I was able to hear Clint Hurdle talking trash with the players as they took BP.  Very, very cool.
  3. McKechnie Field was upgraded this winter it is worth the trip just to see the beautiful park the Pirates get to call home in March.
The first day I visited was Tuesday, February 19th.  This is before the Spring Training games had started so the team was practicing at Pirate City.  When I arrived I was unsure if there was a cost or if I could even get in.  The staff the Pirates hire around Pirate City were very friendly and pointed me in the right direction.  Everything was free.  Pirate City is four baseball diamonds backed together with their home plates close to each other.  Visitors are allowed to walk in along the outfield between two of the fields.  When you get to the home plate area between all of the fields, the other "between" areas are roped off to prevent visitors from walking there and to allow players and coached to move between fields at ease.  When I first arrived I was greeted to following site:
You may not notice it at first in the photo but I was so excited to get Maz in the picture that I cut off Clint Hurdle who can be seen in the left side of the photo.  That statement kind of sums up the afternoon.  There is action going on at all times on all four baseball fields.  As a spectator I felt like I couldn't stand too long behind one home plate or I'd miss something on another field.

After I snapped the above photo and turned around to see the action in the next field and saw the this:
I was treated to witness the wonderful personality of Manny Sanguillen.  It was awesome.  He just kind of wonders from field to field and sits on a stool or in the dugout and hollers support as the Players take BP.  He even paused between fields and I was able to score his autograph.  What a great person.

Then, I was able to witness the highlight of my day.  Andrew McCutchen, Russell Martin, Pedro Alvarez, and Garrett Jones took batting practice together.  The following photo isn't very good but you can see Cutch sitting on the bucket to the left of the cage.
And I wish I could say Cutch hit them the best but he didn't.  Garrett Jones was hitting absolute bombs that day.  He even got a "go Garrett" out of Manny Sanguillen.  After they were done with BP the everyone went back to the locker room and that was the end of practice for the day.  But that wasn't enough for me.  I wasn't leaving until Saturday and they had an intersquad game on Friday.  So, when I left Pirate City I made the short drive to McKechnie Field to buy my ticket.  I was able to get second row in behind first base for $8.  This is, however, cheaper than regular spring training games because it was only an intersquad game.  This is a view from my seat:
It was a wonderful day for a ball game and McKechnie field is a beautiful park.

Once again, if you've been on the fence about whether spring training is worth the trip, don't wait any longer.  Book a trip for next year and you won't be disappointed.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Tonight's Starting Lineup vs. the Royals at PNC Park

Presley, LF .235
Walker, 2B .270
McCutchen, CF .332
Jones, G, 1B .246
Alvarez, 3B .200
Tabata, RF .219
Barajas, C .234
Barmes, SS .191
Bedard, P .111

Bedard is 3-6 with a 3.72 ERA


Monday, May 28, 2012

Pirates Reach 0.500

The Pirates won today to get their record to 24-24 and just 3 games behind the first place Reds, whom they beat.  The story can be found here.

As described by Tom Singer in the link above, pitching was once again the story of the day.  This seems to be the theme so far in 2012.

The Pirates have only scored 144 runs this year which is dead last in MLB.  They have scored 28 less runs then the last place Cubs and have almost had their run total doubled by the Texas Rangers (276 runs).  This just further illustrates how great their pitching has been to get them to 0.500.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Statement from The Penn State Board of Trustees

The Board of Trustees of The Pennsylvania State University is outraged by the horrifying details contained in the Grand Jury Report. As parents, alumni and members of the Penn State Community, our hearts go out to all of those impacted by these terrible events, especially the tragedies involving children and their families. We cannot begin to express the combination of sorrow and anger that we feel about the allegations surrounding Jerry Sandusky. We hear those of you who feel betrayed and we want to assure all of you that the Board will take swift, decisive action. 
At its regular meeting on Friday, November 11, 2011, the Board will appoint a Special Committee, members of which are currently being identified, to undertake a full and complete investigation of the circumstances that gave rise to the Grand Jury Report.   This Special Committee will be commissioned to determine what failures occurred, who is responsible and what measures are necessary to insure that this never happens at our University again and that those responsible are held fully accountable. The Special Committee will have whatever resources are necessary to thoroughly fulfill its charge, including independent counsel and investigative teams, and there will be no restrictions placed on its scope or activities.   Upon the completion of this investigation, a complete report will be presented at a future public session of the Board of Trustees.
Penn State has always strived for honesty, integrity and the highest moral standards in all of its programs. We will not tolerate any violation of these principles. We educate over 95,000 students every year and we take this responsibility very seriously. We are dedicated to protecting those who are placed in our care.   We promise you that we are committed to restoring public trust in the University.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Pirates Make a Splash in the Draft

The Pirates signed their top two picks a the signing deadline early this morning.  Pirates.com has the story.

After Dave Littlefield swung and missed in the 2007 draft.  Neil Huntington stepped in with the following choices:
2008 - Pedro Alvarez
2009 - Tony Sanchez
2010 - Jameson Taillon
2011 - Gerrit Cole

This year, the selection and signing of Josh Bell makes a huge splash in the draft for the Buccos.  Josh Bell sent a letter to all 32 MLB teams before the draft asking not to be drafted because he intended on playing ball at the University of Texas.  Some folks agreed had he not written that letter he would have been selected in the top ten.  So, by able to draft and sign Josh Bell the Pirates basically took two top ten talents in this year's draft.