*edit* – well i had pictures in here between these paragraphs that SPRUCED up the entry, so you’ll just have to read this without much color, sorry kids.
Well Mike Hampton has always been great against the Pirates. He has given up only 41 runs in 23 starts as a Pirate. He has held the Pirates to a .241 batting average and a .294 on base percentage. He is now 3-0 at PNC Park after earning his 2nd victory there this year today. The Pirates only run came from their first batter of the game, as Nate McLouth drilled a home run to right center field.
After the first inning, Hampton pitched 6 scoreless, and was helped by 2 shutout innings from the bullpen. Latroy Hawkins got the save and the Pirates lost another game in which their starter pitched great.
Paul Maholm pitched 7 innings, giving up 8 hits and only 2 earned runs. It’s hard to see the team keep posting great pitching performances and losing these low scoring games against pitchers who they should be able to hit.
Anyways, we all know the real reason they didn’t win today, and that’s because I wasn’t at the game. I went last night and they played great.
Yes, the oh-so-attractive Jeff Karstens pitched 7 innings and gave up only 2 runs and striking out 4, much like Maholm’s performance today. However, the team put 7 runs on the board, including 5 off of one of the league’s best pitchers, Wandy Rodriguez. It was a great game to go to, even though they were sold out so we had to buy general admission bleacher seats, but that’s not too bad in PNC Park. After the game, however, the REAL fun started.
The ever talented Zac Brown band came to Pittsburgh to play a show while SkyBlast was going on. For those of you who don’t know, Skyblast is a fireworks show put on by Zambelli fireworks. It’s one of the greatest fireworks shows in the country, although I wasn’t too impressed with last night’s show. The band wasn’t great, mostly because I had never listened to them (except for their hit song CHICKEN FRIED, which is awesome) and also due to the fact that I don’t care for country music. Also, they split the fireworks shootings off so they were only set off between songs, which kind of ruined the majesty of it. The finale was awesome, we were walking across the bridge during it, that was quite a sight. All-in-all, it was a great night at the ballpark. If anybody is in Pittsburgh during a skyblast show, you would be foolish to not go down to a buccos game during it. Also, they rig the series’ so the Pirates win the night of skyblast, and then drop the other 2 games so the other team isn’t too angry. Seriously, a great time last night, I look forward to the next one (I think it’s in August). Anyways, that’s all I got, so have a great day everyone, and happy summer!
Alright well a friend of mine (and fellow Pirate fan) posted this note on facebook yesterday, and I figured it appropriate to share here.
I’m here to start the talk of positivity as we are a few weeks away from a very important amateur draft. The Pirates organization is new and on a mission. The key to any organization/company, whether it’s a grocery store or a sports team, is that it must have a solid vision. Without a vision there is no clear goal. Without a vision there is nothing to get motivated or excited about each day. Vision leaks and is very important. Finally, after many failed attempts by former Pirate brass, the Pittsburgh Pirates have a vision. People say that in order to fix the Pirates money must be spent on big name free agents. However, spending big money has never been a proven strategy to winning on a consistent basis. The Pirates brass is clear that they want the Pirates to win Championships. The key to championships is having a vision and sticking to that vision.
The Pirates have been clear that they are willing to spend money as long as the money is spent towards the vision. The vision is to bolster the Minor Leagues so that they do not have to go outside of the organization to build a championship caliber team. The key to consistent success is to have a deep farm system. So we cannot be negative and criticize management unless they are going against their vision.
I think we would have to be happy if they took the best player available at pick #4 in the June 9th draft and continued to take the best player available the rest of the draft and also signed Dominican phenom Miguel Sano. The Pirates usually throw money at free agents who would simply be a one year fill in type of a player. So what’s wrong with throwing that money at potential talent? Scouting is so much a crapshoot. So why not spend a lot of money at “Educated Guesses” and hope to get lucky. The more money you spend the better chances you have at finding something. The worst thing about all of these Pirate losses is that it hurts that they lose and it hurts even more that there is nothing on the way to relieve this pain. So at least if they stock pile the minor leagues with a lot of “Educated Guesses” on projected potential it gives us a lot more hope than we have had in a long time.
I think the Pirates have stuck to their vision, so why so much negativity? The Tanner Scheppers thing is our only legit complaint. However, there are some people out there like Keith Law who regularly criticizes the Pirates who did not think it was a bad decision to not give Scheppers that money at the time. Let’s spread positive talk about the Pirates, because I feel the future is very bright as long as we stick to the vision. Now if the organization starts to make some decisions that lead away from their vision then we have a right to throw up our arms and raise our voice in anger. However, as of right now we need to raise our voice in support of what they are trying to do. Of course they want to win in the major leagues, but they will not win the way WE want them to win until our farm system is deep. A fortress built on sand is not very strong. The Pirates are trying to build their fortress on a solid rock foundation, so let’s give them our full support.
On May 28, 2006, Rob Mackowiak pulled off one of the greatest individual performances of Pirates history. It was a double header against the Chicago Cubs. In game one, the Pirates were tied with the Cubs 5-5 in the ninth. Rob Mackowiak stepped up and hit a game winning grand slam to left field. In game two, Rob Mackowiak hit a 9th inning home run that tied the game and led to a victory for the bucs (after a Craig Wilson game winning homer in the tenth). This all came in the same day as the birth of his son, Garrett. It was one of the greatest Pirates moments I have ever experienced, and I am reminded of it every time May rolls around. Here’s an article to read more :
Here’s to the old days, which are strangely familiar to the new days…
Alright well the Pirates lost again today thanks to the bullpen. I don’t feel much like typing right now, plus the work I did on that hockey post last night needs to get read, so I’m going to leave it closer to the top of my blog. Anyways, here are my picks for Friday’s games (you can see the current standings here, and don’t forget to read my hockey post.
Well the Pirate game is under delay and very well might not resume tonight, so I’ll turn my attention to the other big event in Pittsburgh sports tonight, and that is the Penguins advancing to the Stanley Cup Finals. They swept the Hurricanes and now move on to face either the Red Wings (who lead the series 3-1) or the Blackhawks. Of course, if you know me, you know I have nothing good to say about hockey. So this is going to be a sour, offensive, completely biased post… that I think most real baseball fans will enjoy, especially those in Pittsburgh.
- Nearly all hockey fans are fair weather fans. Of course I know very little about hockey fans nationwide, but I can guarantee you that over half of Penguin “fans” in Pittsburgh have never heard the phrase “beat him like a rented mule” (a classic Mike Lang line from the 90′s), or heard of players such as Alexei Morosov or Tom Barasso.
- The Penguins were so down and had so little fans that they nearly ceased to exist. They were days away from going to another city because they weren’t making enough money in ticket sales (that might not have been the only reason but it was part of it). Granted, the Mellon Arena doesn’t exactly hold many, but tickets were extremely cheap because no one wanted to go. This is kind of like the Pirates are now, but hey, more people go to Pirate games now than went to Penguins game back then. You can attribute that to the fact that baseball is AMERICAS pastime, and not Russia’s.
- Hockey fans aren’t real sports fans. Now every rule has exceptions, and this holds true. I know many sports enthusiasts who take interest in hockey. The thing is though that very few of those would call hockey their favorite sport or would even say they’d rather watch a playoff hockey game than a regular season baseball game. The game of hockey just doesn’t blend with the other sports. It seems you can almost classify fans in 3 categories. Strictly hockey fans who don’t like other sports, sports fan who hate hockey, and the very rare sports fan who enjoy hockey but don’t call it their favorite. I think I fit into the 2nd category.
After that massive NHL strike that almost ended the league permanently in the US, they made all kinds of changes to the game. It was these changes that saved the game and made it relevant again, but just the fact that they had to make the changes makes me hate it. It was a popular sport through the 90′s, but near the end of the 90′s and early 2000′s, it became less popular for various reasons – mainly player greed. The fact that a major sport would become this unpopular in America gives me a reason to hate it. Many argued that the game was boring and not fun to watch – but heck, more than half of America thinks that baseball is boring and not fun to watch, but it’s still incredibly popular and they didn’t have to change it at all to make it such. Although the change did save the game, and was needed, I still hate it.
4) The Overtime Loss
What kind of league are you playing in when your team’s record can be something as dumb as 4-4-2? A loss is a loss, sure, give them a point for making them work the extra 5 minutes, but just make it a loss. You’re not 4-4-2, you’re 4-6, quit making it sound better than it is. Better yet, bring the TIE back into the game. Although that would take away the best part of the game in the shootout, so just get rid of the OTL column, it just makes you look childish.
3) The NHL’s Fake Popularity
At the end of the Penguin game tonight ( I did watch the whole 3rd period and overtime), Paul Steigerwald said that hockey is “the most exciting spectator sport in the world”. Are you kidding me? It’s not just Paul that thinks this either. Many of the NHL’s fans think it’s this way, which is probably the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. How could a game that was not even relevant 5 years ago be recognized as the most exciting to watch? Have you forgotten that one sport they play this time of year called football? Give me a break.
This is America. If you’re an NHL fan, more than 80% of the players you watch are not American, and near a third of them don’t even speak English. I understand America is the best place to play professional sports, and it’s where all the money is at, but do we really have that few good hockey players in America? And for God’s sake, the players that do come over to play should at the very least do us the service of learning the language.
1) The Fan
You’ve all heard my views on the bandwagon fans. How people that had never watched nor thought of watching a hockey game 3 years ago are now “diehard” hockey fans who act like they actually know what sports are about. The worst part is they all claim that they’ve liked it for a long time, which is complete bull because of the fact that teams like the Penguins nearly moved to another city because of lack of support just a few years ago. Not to mention the NHL strike, which never would’ve happened if their were a large fan base. To add another point, I can guarantee that over 70% of NHL fans would not call themselves fans of any other sport. Basically, you can be a sports fan who likes hockey, but it’s tough to find a hockey fan that likes sports.
Well I read this article in the paper today and really found it funny and interesting, so I’ll post it on here for all you non-Pittsburghers to read. I wouldn’t want to deal with any infringement issues, so I’ll post the link to the article here :
CHICAGO — After hitting a game-tying homer in the ninth inning Sunday, Pirates shortstop Jack Wilson gave all the credit to his batting practice pitcher: first baseman Adam LaRoche.
“Since he had the day off, LaRoche was nice enough to throw BP today,” Wilson said. “He said he was going to get me right. Sure enough, he did.”
Wilson came into the game in a 1-for-17 skid. He singled in the first inning, then cracked his first homer of the season off Chicago White Sox closer Bobby Jenks.
“I’m going to hit off Adam again (Monday), whether he likes it or not,” Wilson said, grinning.
The Pirates took pregame batting practice in the indoor cages instead of on the field. When LaRoche arrived, no one was on the mound and a half-dozen players were hitting flip tosses.
It wasn’t just Wilson who was struggling at the plate. The Pirates were shut out Friday and Saturday on a total of seven hits, all but one of them singles.
Hitless in his past eight at-bats, LaRoche was not in the lineup yesterday. So he offered to get on the mound for anyone who wanted to take some cuts against him.
“This isn’t the first time,” LaRoche said. “I do this when guys are struggling. It’s kind of a superstitious, get-people-out-of-their-funk thing. That’s why I wish I could throw to myself sometimes. If I could, I’d do it every day.”
Wilson and a few other players hit against LaRoche for about 30 minutes.
LaRoche wasn’t just fooling around; he knows a thing or two about pitching. His father, Dave, pitched in the majors for the Angels, Cubs, Indians and Yankees in the late 1970s and early ’80s.
“I threw about 20 curveballs, some sliders, some four-seamers,” LaRoche said. “I mixed it up to them.”
LaRoche paused and winked.
“I didn’t want to blow them away in there, so I didn’t give them my best fastball or my best curveball. They would have been depressed going into the game.”
There’s one other pitch LaRoche did not throw.
“He threw me curveballs and cutters, but he never threw me a changeup,” Wilson said. “When I (grounded out) on a changeup in my second at-bat, I told Adam it was his fault.”
LaRoche has bugged manager John Russell a few times about pitching as a reliever in blowout losses. Don’t expect it to happen, though.
“I gave up on that,” said LaRoche, who will make $7.05 million this season. “He told me he’s got 7 million reasons why I can’t pitch, and I said, ‘fair enough.’”
That’s right the Pirates rallied back from a 3-1 deficit after the 7th inning to beat the White Sox 4-3 on Sunday afternoon. The bucs were aided by Eric Hinske and Jack Wilson’s first home runs of the year. Hinske’s came in the 8th to pull the bucs within one and Jack’s came in the 9th with 2 outs to tie the game. After that, Nyjer Morgan doubled down into the right field corner and Delwyn Young scored him with a slap single into left. Matt Capps then came on to strike out the side, notching his 9th save of the year. It’s good to see Capps blow through 3 batters that quickly and not cause any drama.
Surprisingly, for me atleast, Jeff Karstens pitched well. He went 5.1 innings and only surrendered 3 runs. He was 2 outs away from a quality start. He gave up 5 hits and more importantly struck out that many as well. Karstens has never been a strikeout pitcher but apparently he had good stuff yesterday. I say apparently because again, I didn’t get to watch the game. I’m going to catch some of tonight’s game but I have to leave after a couple innings to play some tennis. But I don’t think any of you care about that :-P.
The Pirates are now 20-24 and looking to draw even closer to the ever sought after .500 mark. It won’t be easy though, as they face the other team in Chicago. The Cubs. We send Paul Maholm to the mound tonight, who has been terrific in his last couple outings. An interesting point was brought up in one of my live game blogs a couple games ago, that Paul Maholm has an ERA under 2.00 when Jason Jamarillo catches him and an ERA over 5.00 when Robinson Diaz catches. So let’s hope Jamarillo is behind the dish tonight. I’m sure Russell has caught onto this trend and will adjust the lineup appropriately.
In other news, my blog’s stats count continues to plummet. I have a ******** 50 views over the last 2 days and most of those were me or people clicking on the picture of BJ Upton that references my blog on google images. Maybe I should stop pouting and start commenting. That always seems to get me more viewers, and commenters
I love you all.
Well the Pirates have been atrocious over the last several years when playing games against American League teams. I don’t know the exact numbers but I can guarantee we have a win percentage around or under .400 in the last 5 years or so. It’s ridiculous. Many times have the Pirates gone into interleague and hot and with hope for their season, only to come out of it completely deteriorated and way far back from the leading teams in the division. Now the Pirates are only playing a quick 3 game interleague series now, then go right back to NL Central competition, but still, it’s not looking good.