May 2009

Pride. Passion. Pinstripes:My evening with the New York Yankees

DISCLAIMER:

In no way shape or form am I a fan of the Evil Empire. For one night, I wanted to experience what life was like in the shoes of a fan of the Bronx Bombers. I am a Pirate fan through and through. I bleed black and gold and could never cheer for the Yankees. On May 29, 2009 I “supported” the club in an effort to be an away fan at a ballpark. I had no intentions of cheering for either team (Yankees/Indians), so why not make the evening fun and tranform into a New Yorker.

Well in my first hours of me becoming a Yankee “supporter” I was greeted with heavy downpours of rain. From 7:00 til 8:30 there was nothing but torrential rain and thunder coming from the Cleveland skies. Maybe it was a fitting entrance, mother nature must have known I did not belong in Yankee attire.

The rain delay was quite shocking because just a few hours earlier the weather looked beautiful. I made my Facebook status read that it is a beautiful night for baseball. You can see from these next pictures that it surely looked that way.

Upon parking at the garage across from Progressive Field and Quicken Loans arena at about 5:30, I saw this towel sitting on a rail by a police officer. I hollered over to the cop and politely asked if it was anybody’s towel. He politely responded with a “no”, tossed it to me and said “its all yours.” Now I am by no stretch of the imagination a Cleveland Cavaliers fan. I liked the team back when they were God-awful but since Lebron has taken over I really don’t like their whole mentality. They are facing elimination in the NBA playoffs and the city is buzzing with Cav-pride. I myself am cheering for teh Orlando Magic in hopes that they will make the Finals against the LA Lakers. I am however a huge fan and collecter of random sports paraphernalia and a Calavliers One Goal Towel fits that bill perfectly.

The picture to the right was taken when we entered the park at 6:00, still bright out and no sign of rain. The kid to my left is Andrew, my good buddy and friend for the longest time. He is a die-hard Yankees fan and has been his whole life. His grandpa can tell you anything about New York and the team from the Mickey Mantle days til now. Andrew supplied me with my Yankees garb. You can see I’m rocking the 2009 innagural season at new Yankee Stdium hat as well as a #13 A-Rod jersey. Andrew is wearing a Derek Jeter jersey, his favorite player. For all 20 years of my life and as long as I’ve known Andrew, very close to that 20 years, I’ve harrased him for his Yankee loyalty. But for one day and one day only I was on his side, root root rooting for his team.

At the scheduled gametime of 7pm the white tarp was thrown onto the field. The skies began to look ominous but still no liquid was falling from the sky. I was shocked that the groundscrew would put the tarp out so prematurally, less than ten minutes later they proved themselves correct. Torrential rain would start to pour, we took shelter under the walkway near a concession stand. We bought hot dogs, peanuts and a pop, classic ballpark fare. Andrew made out like a bandit though. The guy working behind the counter at the stand somehow gave him a free pretzel and a pop upgrade to a large. For 10.50 he got a hotdog, large pop, peanuts and a pretzel. I paid that same 10.50 at a cashier down a ways and got a hotdog, peanuts and small pop. Something fishy, but it made matters a little better when we split the pretzel.

There are 2 things I enjoy about the concessions areas at Progressive Field…

THE LARGE AND SPACIOUS DINING AREAS          AND…..

The large dinisng areas are prevalent throughout the park and were perfect in last night’s situation. We were able to stay dry and enjoy our meal during the rain delay. Now the brown ballpark mustard is indeed a special creation. You can notice right away that it is not normal mustard. Normal mustard is yellow. This is brown. It is also thicker and tangier. I think it also adds more of a kick. You can only find it in Cleveland and no trip to the Prog is complete without some on a hot dog.

When we were finished eating we looked out at the jumbo tron and saw this glorious sign.

By this time it was nearly 8pm and we ran to the restroom to get paper towels to dry off our seats. The lines were out the door, everybody had teh same goal: dry seats.

We mosied on down to our seats and were surrounded by “fellow” Yankee fans. It’s also fun to have a meet and greet with fellow fans. We sat next to a family who traveled from Buffalo, NY to cheer on their Yanks. Andrew had a fun time discussing personnel issues with teh club and how they will look for the rest of teh season. I just sat back, nodded my head and whispered “Lets Go Bucs” to myself.

We talked to some more Yankee fans throughout teh game and even some Indians fans were cordial to us and we enjoyed talking about Ohio, the Cavs and our drive from Youngstown. Nobody in attendance last nigth was more vibrant than this guy.

Adorning his Mickey Mantle jersey, official white baseball pants, suspenders and cane his blood was Yankeed blue through and through. The entire game he was spouting off facts and figures from Yankee lore. He downgraded Cleveland like it was his job and made New York seem like heaven. Andrew and I got plenty of kicks from him. He reminded me alot of Andrew’s grandpa they way he told stories of former great baseball players such as Al Kaline, Duke Snider, Mickey Mantle and Cool Papa Bell. Many people were annoyed by him but I knew it was all in good fun, he was a real baseball man.

The game itself was rather boring compared to other games I’ve seen live. The final score was 3-1 in favor of NY. The Yankees put guys on base but couldn’t get them across to score. They left the bases loaded twice. Andy Petitte pitched a decent game only giving up one earned. Andrew was concerend in teh 5th inning when the trainers came out to check on him. Nothing has been reported about his condition so I take it he’ll be fine.

The entire lineup for the Yanks was generally booed by the hometown Cleveland crowd. This guy got the most boos by far.

Proper and well deserved? I’d say so. The A-ROID chants were out in full force and a throng of cheers would go up when strikes were thrown on him. What I feel is great about the Yankees though is that for the entire lineup to be acknowldged like that shows how much of an impact they have on the MLB. Everybody knows them, everybody can name them, they are baseball. While its the front office paints a bad picture of the franchise with the spending sprees the on the field guys are first class when in uniform.

One thing that was annoying about last night was these little boogers.

That is indeed a midge. The little bugs that are famous for getting all up in Joba Chamberlains grill must have known the Yankees were in town. They wer eflying all over the place last night. Like little mosquiots I had to brush them off periodically throughout the game. The in-game entertainment crew took advantage of the incident by showign a clip of it on the jumbo tron and when the Tribe was up a graphic that said RALLY MIDGE appeared. A little corny for my liking, I don’t think you should be proud of these nuisances that are invading your stadium.

To close off the game Mariano Rivera came in the game and recorded the save. We were sitting right above the bullpen in right field and seeing Rivera warm up was really cool.

This sign graced the bullpen walls and it kept some people in check. When the Sandman entered the game, the NY fans in my area went bezerk.

A classic New Yorker and future hall of famer.

The game concluded at 11:30 very late but the show still went on. A fireworks show graced teh skies of Northeast Ohio. As a whole very lame compared to a Pittsburgh firweorks show. Sorry to citicize and this is strictly unbiased. In Cleveland it was very structured and the scoreboard got in the way of some of the sparks.

As a whole I must say I found a greater respect for the New York Yankees. They take alot of heat but still are always very loyal. Many fans claim they are front runners, they are not. Many claim they are mearly uneducated, they are not. Yankee fans are a strong breed and a corps that loves their team. The history, the pagentry, the legends are all second to none. 26 World Championships dont lie. That being said….

LETS GO BUCS

Famous umpire blowups

The Buccos lost the final 2 games of the series in Wrigley Field. On Wednesday the Bucs lost the rubber match 5-2 at the hands of the Cubs. On the entire roadtrip in Chicago Pittsburgh went 2-4. Really under par and not what I would like to see but hey, we weren’t swept in either series so I guess that is always a plus.

What was more of a plus was the face-time the Pirates got on ESPN. Sportscenter covered teh game very well, mostly because of Carlos Zambrano’s tirade at homeplate umpire Mark Carlson.

big z.jpgBig Z was ticked off by Carlson’s call at homeplate. Zambano had just thrown a wild pitch which got away from catcher Geovanny Soto, the WP allowed Nyjer Morgan an attempt to steal home. Morgan slid gracefully under the tag of Zambrano who was in position tocover the plate. Morgan was called safe, which replay showed he surely was.

 

big z 2.jpgCarlos disagreed and went bezerk. He bumped into, swore at and dissrespected Carlos which led to his ejection. Big Z then took matters into his own hands and tossed the game ball into the crowd. When manager Lou Pinella came out to intervene Zambrano returned to the dugout but his antics weren’t nearly complete.

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Zambrano would then go on to heave his glove into the dugout and slam it on the ground. He had already used a ball and glove in his routine to complete the equipment triple crown Carlos brought out a bat and took his frustrations out on the Gatorade machine in the dugout. He had dented the top and banged up the machine. Now this Gatorade machine was something I had never seen before. It was a fountaine drink dispenser exclusively for Gatorade. That is THE coolest thing I’ve ever heard of. Imagine having that in your kitchen. Gatorade is delicious as it is and now you don’t have to go to the local convienent store to pickup a bottle of the fruity drink. Just get a cup and put it under and push the tab, its ingenious. Why Zambrano would want to destroy this amazing invention is beyond me, if he really didn’t like it he should have just packaged it up and sent it to me.

Watching Carlos go crazy yesterday reminded me of a time way back when, the late ’90’s I believe. Carl Everett, playing for the Red Sox went irate at the umpire for one of the most minor incidents I ever heard of. the ump instructed Everett to move back in the batter’s box because he was crowding the plate a bit too much. Everett disagreed and you know whenever you’re in a disagreement, the only logically solution is to headbutt your opposition, Everett did just that.
carl.jpg Everett also took his frustrations out on dugout beverage dispensers. He busted up the Powerade cooler ripping off the lid and tossing it out on the field. I give Everett the benefit of teh doubt in this one. The cooler did not break, the Cubs Gatorade dispenser however may just be in ruins.

The 1990’s were one of my favorite decades in baseball. Mind you I’ve only been alive for just over 2 decades. I went to my first baseball game then and gathered many of my favorite players from this time period. One of the most notable players from this decade was Roberto Alomar.

Alomar was big aroudn Northeast Ohio in the late 1990’s when he played for the Indians and did very well. He was a fan favorite thanks to his power at the plate. He played with his older brother sandy with the Indians at this time and the two packed a greta punch for Cleveland.

Perhaps Alomar’s most notable performance came before he arrived in Cleveland as a member of the Baltimore Orioles.

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He is indeed spitting in the face of umpire John Hirschbeck. Alomar was aruguing a called third strike and everyone knows when you argue balls and strikes nothing good is going to come out of it. Alomar was indeed ejected and after this game in Spetember of 1996 Hirschbeck and Alomar were in a tustle in the clubhouse fighting over the same issue.

I conclude with my personal favorite incident in terms of blowups at the umpire.

We all know Lou Pinella is the flagship manager when it comes to umpire arguments. His long tenure of dirt kicking, yelling and fighting and base tossing has been well documented. However back in 2001 Pirate manager Lloyd McClendon one upped Pinella.

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Legendary Llyod was perturbed when first base ump Rick Reed called Jason Kendall out on a bang-bang play at first base. We all know the classic phrase “tie gos to the runner” and McClendon surely heard of it too. When he was explaining the age old baseball statement to Reed, Mac believed the ump was off his marbles for calling Kendall out. McClendon showed that maybe he was the one off his marbles when he ripped out first base from the ground and trotted off with it into the dugout. Once in the dugout he slammed it at a wall and made his way to the locker room. 2001 was the opening year for PNC Park and that moment christened the park liek no other stadium has been before. I still remember watching that game at home thinking how great of a scene it was. The crowd was going wild and ESPN flashed it up the next day all over Sportscenter.Llyod never got a chance to really show what he could do with the Pittsburgh ball club. He lit a fire under his squad but they always lacked the necessary talent to even come close to being good.

Zambrano better be suspended and fined for his actions on Wednesday. The above mentioned antagonists all were suspended and fined. I’ve never been a fan of Zambrano. He is a thug and needs to learn how to control his emotions. After his incident on Wednesday he has now earned a spot on my hate list of 2009. Ryan Braun is already on there and now space has been made for Carlos.

PHOTO CREDIT:

espn.com/AP Photos, bostondirtdogs.com, cbsnews.com, espn.com page 2  

Now that’s more like it

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RAISE THE JOLLY ROGER…21-24

Freddy Sanchez went bonkers at the plate going 6-6 with 3 RBI and a homerun. Nate McLouth added a homerun as well and the Pirates beat the Cubs 10-8 at Wrigley. Andy LaRoche also enjoyed contributing to the offensive explosion. He now has a ten game hitting streak with his 3-hit performance on Memorial day.

Paul Maholm started the game for Pittsburgh but Tom Gorzelanny picked up the win. Sean Burnett earned his first career Major League save. Long overdue for a guy who was supposed to be a cornerstone to the Bucs future pitching staff way back in 2003. He only was given the reins last night after Matt Capps was struck with a Geovanny Soto line drive. Capps was pulled from the game and taken to teh hospital for X-rays, they came back negative. (GOOD SIGN).

Just like the rest of the Major League Baseball team the Pirates took part in Memorial Day festivities.

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By adorning the red caps the Bucs did not match at all. The ***** Eye for the Straight Guy folks would have a field day making over this uniform combination. But what matters is that those who fought to serve our country were honored. I for one really like the hate. I’m a sucker for flashy hats and that one that Jack Wilson is wearing in the picture to teh right is just that-flashy. I may have to take a trip to the mall and hit up Lids. It would go well for my summer wardrobe, plus it would come in handy come 4th of July.

The Pirates weren’t the only ones in the patriotic spirit yesterday.

 

mr. t.jpg Although he was the “Southside Slugger” in rocky 3, Clubber Lang appaered on the other side of town. The beloved Mr. T was on hand decked out in perfect Red White and Blue attire to throw out the first pitch in the ballgame. Still looking buff-minus the earings he delievered a perfect strike across the plate.   

Sweet Home Chicago Part Two

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This is not what I hope to see this week. The road trip to Chicago has not been as friendly as hoped for the Bucs. Sunday was an exciting come from behind thriller as the Pirates won 4-3 thanks to a tying homerun by Jack Wilson, his 1st of the season. And the ultimate winning run scored by Nyjer Morgan and hit by Delwyn Young. All the damage was done with the game on the brink in the top of the ninth. 

The Pirates only managed 2 hits against Sox pitcher Gavin Floyd in Fridays 2-0 loss. A different story in the pivital game three. Sunday’s win gave the Pirates 16 hits en route to their 20th win of the season.

Pittsburgh now sits at 20-24 on the year and face the Cubs. I have to applaud whoever does the scheduling of teh season games. To hav ethe Pirates stay in Chicago for a six game stretch was very convienent. I’m sure the players appreciate not having to travel across the country but rather across town. I wonder if they just stayed in the hotel this past week? Doubtful because Chicago is a huge city, but nontheless it is a good move.  

The Pirates now face the Cubs in an interesting crossroads. The Cubbies have lost 7 in a row. This could be both an advantage and disadvantage facing Pittsburgh. Can the Pirates kick Chicago while their down? Or will Chicago be hungry and feeding on the Pirates?

With all these questions upon us lets take a look at some of the images from Sunday’s dramatic victory at U.S. Cellular Field.

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Eric Hinkse filled in at first base for Adam LaRoche. Hinske did things in a big way hitting a ground rule double in the first and a solo homerun in the 8th. The HR was his first of the year. Hinske’s performance should dictate more playing time at first base or anywhere on the diamond.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Starting pitcher Jeff Kaaaaaaarstens had one of his best outings of the year. (I add the aaaaaaar for the dynamic Pirate-sounding effect. Works dont it?) 5.1 innings pitched, 5 hits and 3 earned runs was his stat line. A no-decision but he definately allowed the Bucs to stay in the game.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Jack Wilson connects for his homerun in the top of the ninth. It was his first of the year and it could not have come at a more opportune time. The dinger tied the game at 3 and ultimately boosted the Pirates to score the winning run a few batters latter.

 

 

 

 

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Nyjer Morgan crossed the plate for that winning run thanks to the RBI at the hands of Delwyn Young. The look in Morgan’s eyes and expression on his face sum up the feeling of winning that every player feels after a crucial moment. Morgan, a sprakplug in his own right will help instill the positive and most importantly winning mentality in the minds of the players to continue to win vicoriously.

 

 

 

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Outfielder Nate McClouth, Morgan and Brandon Moss gather to celebrate the 4-3 vicotry after Matt Capps shut down the WHite Sox 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth. Capps struck out the side en route to his 9th save of the year.

 

 

 

 

 

After singing the Blues while witnessing 2 straight losses, I was signing the praises of the Bucs while watching this game on my couch, all part of my ideal lazy Sunday type of afternoon. As this week continues in Chicago I hope to see more jubilation in part to Buc victories, theres nothing like a good win to make your day alot better.

 

PHOTO CREDITS: allposters.com, espn.com

Sweet Home Chicago

chicagoskyline.jpgAin’t no one gonna break our stride, ain’t no one gonna slow us down. O no we got to keep on movin….

Well the Bucs couldn’t bust out the brooms against the Nationals last night as they fell 5-4. The Pirate pen feel apart when holding a lead. Tom Gorzelanny proved that his first few outings were nothing to get used to as he gave up two crucial runs that would ultimately be the dagger in the heart of the Pirates. While it was a nice streak of 5 wins, it was enjoyable while it lasted. With stiffer competition along the way will the momentum of a strong hot streak carry on to Illinois?

The Southside sluggers are up first, the White Sox of Chicago. Currnetly the Sox sit at 17-23 on the year, mediocre for the AL Central. The White Sox are growing progressively older as a unit but still have tenured vetrans who ar eno slouches at their positions. Paul Konerko, Jim Thome and Jermaine Dye continue to be the cornerstones of the team. Carlos Quentin is coming along as a player and a leader. Hot prospect Alexei Ramirez has filled the shortstop position but could be doing better. Right now he is batting .213, very dissapointing for someone with such high aspirations. Not only did he have high expectations for himself, I too believed in the Cuban product. By drafting him fairly high on my fantasy team , he proved to be a huge mistake and I have since dropped him.

The Pirates have not fared well against these guys in year spast. They have a 12-8 advantage over Pittsburgh. The Pirates made a trip to U.S. Cellular last season and were completely overmatched. Chicago outscored the Bucs 37-15. This season the Pirates have a chnace to increase their run production with a spot for the Designated Hitter. Craig Monroe, Delwyn Young and Brandon Moss will all probably rotate in the DH spot. The way these 3 have been playing look for alot of pop to come off the bats. 

U.S. Cellular Field has been spruced up to become a rather nice major league ballpark. The new Comiskey has its been called is a large structure with seating for just over 40,000. At one time it held over 50,000 but thanks to the major re-structuring plan it has become more fan friendly and intimate.

lastscan.jpg The picture to the left is me and my brother, Zach from a game we wnet to at U.S. Cellular back in 2005 when I was 16 years old. I remember fondly that game against the Mariners. The PA announcer is one of the best in baseball and the intro video of the team was very dynamic, as a neautral fan it really pumped me up for some White Sox baseball.  The stadium faces away from the downtown skyline of Chicago. From the upper concourses of the stadium by the concession stands fans are treated to breathtaking views of the windy city. The city is definately windy from that point as you are very high up and the winds blow quite hard. I remember it being a cool August night.

I can only hope a warm May night is upon the Bucs this weekend so they can right the ship and make the roadtrip to Chicago a pivital one that can turn this season around. More importantly, to turn the interleaugue record around. If you read this week’s edition of Sports Illustrated you will see that the Pirates own a winning percentage of right around .300 in interleague play, the league’s worst record. A few wins against the struggling Sox would be great for our Pirates.

PHOTO CREDIT: crsil.com

Keep ‘em coming

5…5 WINS…5 WINS IN A ROW!

 

It was a pitcher’s duel throughout the course of nine innings but the Bucs pull off another win, 2-1 over the Nats.

The Bucs played small ball to move rnners over with Delwyn Young, Freddy Sanchez and Nate McClouth all collected singles in the last frame. The offense was not there for the Pirates or the Nationals all game. Pittsburgh left 13 men on base, 9 times out of ten you lose a game when you leave that many on base. Thank goodness for John Russel’s crew, they were playing Washington.

 The Nats are losing by the pound these days. Alot of the blame needs to be placed on their atrocouis bullpen. The Nats pen is 1-15 when givin the opportunity to win a game. John Hanarahan picked up the L for the Nats yesterday. An era of 6.97 and an 0-2 record just won’t cut it if you’re trying to win ballgames.

The losing tendency is wearing off an outfielder Adam Dunn. The offseason acquisition must really be rethinking signing with the club.

“I’m tired of talking about losses, period,” he said.

“You can only say the same thing over and over and over before you get fed up with it, and that’s kind of what’s going on right now.”

The opposite feeling is abounding over at the Pirates camp.

 “It’s unbelievable. You can just feel the electricity in the clubhouse,” John Grabow said after he picked up his second win of the season to remain undefeated. “It’s so awesome knowing that when you win, how much it changes the mood. Everybody’s a lot more confident. When you come to the field and you’re expecting a win, it makes all the difference.”

With the Buc’s on a brink of a 4-game sweep. Fans are ready but quite hesitant to jump on the bandwagon. The brroms will surely be out in the capital tonight. From watching the series on FSN Pittsburgh there seems to be a large contingency of “Burghers cheering on the Bucs at National’s Park. The drive to D.C. is not very far and fans must be taking advantage of the short trip to take in a game as well as a history lesson about America.

Posters on the Pirates message board on piratec.com claim that a large population from the Steel City migrated to the east for work in the latter part of teh ’70s. After being in Baltimore myself last year for an Orioles-Pirates game I can definately agree. There were many many Buccos fans joining me to cheer on the Pirates. It’s laways nice seein us Pittsburgh fans invading another teams stdium. We surely get enough of them at PNC Park in the summer when Cardinals, Cubs and Philies fans invade the Park.

OH and by the way…

RAISE THE JOLLY ROGER…19-21

 

 

QUOTE CREDIT: espn.com/AP report  

 

La-La-La LaRoche

jolly-roger.gif

RAISE THE JOLLY ROGER…18-21

 

 

A fun game in the nation’s capital. 

This game had it all. Happiness, sadness, despair, but in the end, glory.

It took ten innings but the Pirates prevailed 8-5. The Bucs jumped out to an early 5-0 lead thanks in part to an Andy LaRoche homerun.

andy.jpg LaRoche connected on a pitch and belted it deep into the left field seats. He went just 1-3 but the homer gave the Bucs are nice lead cushion and the best chance to win the game. He now has a 5 game hitting streak and an average of .254. The sky is the  limit for this kid if he can come through liek he did today.

Today’s game was also headlined by the other LaRoche. Adam followed in his bro’s footsteps, not with a homerun but with a pair of RBI.

Adam was hitless on the today and was on the brink of going 0-4. He had other plans and drilled a sharp line drive into right field. 2 runs scored and the jubilation would begin as another run would be added thanks to an RBI by Ramon Vazquez. To put this game away liek the Pirates did was fantastic. Everything came together on the offensive side and that translated to the W.

The Pittsburgh ballclub had their scare. In the sixth inning the Nats threatened and scored 4 runs over the course of the next few innings. The biggest irk came in the ninth with a Nick Johnson triple. Johnson would come in to score after a Sean Burnett wild pitch. Burnett would be replaced by Tom Gorzelanny. Gorzo closed the game out and picked up the win.

Seeing Gorzo warm up was both encouraging and threatening. Watching teh game with my father, we discussed how Tom would fit back into the mix for the Bucs. I believe he will work best in the pen. Thanks to short term work he will be well rested and can easily come in and get the job done, much like he did tonight. My father, his passion is the main reason I am a Pirate fan belives different. He feels Gorzo had his chance and blew it. He was scarry on the mound as a starter and just seeing him up with the club gives my pops the shivers.

Well, Tom did get the job done, but this night belonged to the Brothers LaRoche. There are two more games to be played in Washington against the Nats. A good sign for the Bucs to creep closer and closer to that .500 mark.

 

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PHOTO CREDITS:http://www.mitsyavilaovalles.com/uploaded_images/526234219_17e17f947a-724802.jpg

mvn.com

 

 

Just Like Gorzo and a Pirates winning streak-I’M BACK

Well its been over a week since my last blog entry. Sorry for the delay, I’ve been rather busy these past days. I’m back in my hometown of Youngstown, OH. WVU is out for the summer and I have returned to my roots. This means backyard baseball with my brother and buddies. A favorite past time of mine as we gather neighborhood, high school and grade school friends over to my house for big wiffle ball games. It’s always competitive and as eveyone is growing older the competition level will surely be rising this summer.

I hope you all enjoyed Andrew Schuerholz and Chris Kiernan’s diary of their trip to Fenway Park. They had the time of their life and enjoyed the classic baseball setting. They also witnessed quite the great game as the Red Sox rallyed in the 8th inning thanks to Jason Bay setting the pace. Bay, being a former Pirate, is my favorite player and even though I don’t really like the Red Sox (come on their the Red Sox, who actually like them anyway), I find myslef cheering for Jason.

Me on the other hand I’ve been bust moving back up here and getting things situated at my minimum wage job. But, just last week I enjoyed a mini-vacation of my own. I went to Minnesota for a week to visit some family and friends. The big country landscape with pastures that stretch for miles was a great setting, the perfect for some much needed rest and relaxtion. While I hoped to take in a Twins game that fell through. I hoped to be able to drive through Minneapolis for the game and to catch a glimpse of the building process of their new stadium, Target Field. I hear it is supposed to be beautiful and give PNC Park a run for its money. It is built in the same mindset and structure of PNC but with a few added amenities it could definately be a sight to behold.

I have previously been to the Twin Cities for a game at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodump. Sorry to rag on it like that but it is a dump. From the outside it reminds me of a bounce a round that you would find in the backyard at an 8 year old’s birthday party. On the inside, the large concourses and gaping awkward spaces make it less than ideal for baseball. However, I am very impressed with the Twins fanbase. They show up to games no matter how crappy their stadium may be. They love their baseball, their Twins and their pretty boy Joe Mauer, there is no doubt about that.

I did manage to make a trip to the mall of America.

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It is the ultimate mega-structure and entertainment destination. It is loaded with any type of specialty store you could ever ask for. Being a fan of memorobilla and paraphernalia regarding sports I wa sin heaven. Though I did not buy anything it was cool to see everything offered and presented in the 4 stories of shopping splendor.

The part I enjoyed most about the Mall was reliving scenes from my all-time favoite move.

 

jingle.jpgNow baseball movies are my forte and I have talked about them in the past there is nothing like a good Christmas movie to put you in the spirit. I love this movie so much, starring Arnold Schwarzeneger and Sinbad it is a father’s quest to find the ultimate Christmas gift for his son. His quest takes him to the Mall of America and he runs wild through the mall trying to find that special “TurboMan Doll” for his son.

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In one of my favorite scenes Arnold runs through this Lego area trying to capture a bouncy ball that may say if he won the TurboMan doll. While running through he knocks down lego creations being built by children playing in the area. Seeing kids do the same thing while I was walking by, I was very tempted to cause a rampage just like Arnold did, however, I held off.

It was a great trip and one I will rememebr forever.

One thing I do hope to forget about the trip was the state of teh Pittsburgh Pirates. Not following them may have been a good thing as they lost 8 straight ball games. Howver, since my return home the Bucs have been hot and are currently riding a 3-game winning streak. Jack WIlson has been on fire, last night against teh Nationals he went 4-4 with 2 doubles and a triple. I was surprised to see local media outlets covering Wilson so tightly as there has been speculation that he soon could be traded. I must put my foot down and hope these rumors are false.

Jack has been a tremedous sparkplug over the past two seasons and really he is the glue that holds the Bucs together. To trade him would hurt the chemistry, offense, defense and leadership that this team needs.

While Jack has been back, so has a familiar face in Tom Gorzelanny. Gorzo started the season in Triple A after a horrendous spring. Just like much of our other young pitchers he had a great potential but faltered and never lied up to expectations. Now that RP Tyler Yates is on the DL, Gorzo is back in the Burgh pitching from the bullpen. If he can prove to be back to where we all that he could his future may not totally be tarnished. To have some positive outings in the back end of the pen would be a great confidence booster for the young man.

Well now that I’m back in the groove I hope to update the blog everyday. Get your Pirates fix right here at the Peas.

We Could Go To Boston…

You all know Matt Peaslee and his amazing love for the game of baseball.  Unfortunatly he could not make it to Boston for this trip so he sent me (Andrew Schuerholz) to Boston with Chris Kiernan (whom you all know from “The Look Inside Chris Kiernan”).  Chris is a Rays fan, so he was excited to see his team after the beat down they put on Boston the day before. I myself am a Orioles fan, so a Rays Red Sox game has no good outcome.  So i cheered for a great ball game, and that it was.

 

100_0395 - Copy.JPGChris’ aunt scored tickets on top of the green monster. On the morning of the game we all drove up to Boston. Leaving from south jersey it was only a 6 hour drive. We drove right by New York city which was fairly exciting, and then through Connecticut and part of Mass. which was as boring as it sounds. 

The hotel we stayed at was luckily within walking distance, because parking is not a cheap thing by anymeans.  The lot just outside of Jerome Bettis’ resteraunt is about a quarter mile from PNC and its 5 dollars to park.  This garage was about the same distance from Fenway….

 


100_0393 - Copy.JPGYou could park there or find 1 more dollar and go to 4 pirates games.

Chris and I had never been to Fenway before…and boy is it a dump.  Having spent most of our days in Camden Yards, PNC, and Citizens Bank Park, Fenway was old, battered, and ugly.  But one could feel the energy all around it.  The traditon alone was enough to give me chills.  This was my first game all year not at PNC…and it could not have been more different.  Before the game Yawkey way was flooded with fans and vendors.  There were probably more people on Yawkey way an hour before the game then there will be at PNC park tommorrow. It is ironic that PNC and Camden are beatiful parks…but no one goes. Fenway, a virtual dump is filled every night.  So, by that logic in like 40 years when PNC and Camden   are out of date the pirates and orioles can stop using a promotion every day to draw crowds because they will be winning.  Speaking of which. About a month ago i checked to see if there was a promotion on the day of the game.  The Red Sox have none.  No promotions at all.  PNC really spoils us.  Although, I would trade a hat, a t-shirt, and a NoMit bobble head for a world series any day.

We next went up to our seats atop the Green Monster.  For those wondering how one gets ontop of the monster it is quite dissapointing.  Firemans pole, no. Rope Ladder, no.  Elevator, no.  About 35 cement stepsThumbnail image for 100_0456 - Copy (3).JPG lead one to the top of the monster. I know…how lame is that.  But once you climb the steps and see Fenway from atop the monster you becomed immediatly overwhelmed.

As soon as we reach the top a man checks your icket and stamps your hand with a picture of the mascot.  The first thick boston accent of the night. “Hey guy, can i see ya hand guy. Gotta stamp ya hand guy.”  

The first thing i noticed on top of the monster is the Citgo sign.  On TV it has always looked so close to me…but that sign is like a mile away. Like its not even close at all.

100_0401 - Copy.JPG 

At this point we take our seats and anxiously await the first pitch.

As the first pitch is thrown flash bulbs go off all over the stadium.  It felt like the Super Bowl.  It’s May…and the fans are so into it.  This is what I loved most about Fenway.  130 games left in the season and the Bostonians love it.  Why cant Baltimore and Pittsburgh be like this.  As the Red Sox take the field I notice an awkward patch of grass right under Jason Bay.  Chris’ uncle (a huge Sox fan) tells me that they cut that patch out so Manny knew where to stand in Left Field.  A funny joke…or the truth? 
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Some strang things happen in Boston.  I say that as if 4 grown men running around in Perogie outfits is normal. (Oliver Onion is taking the season crown by the way).  In the 7th Hedeki Okijima is called into the game.  His entrance music is a song about him.  For about 2 minutes japanses lyrics blair through the speakers followed by what sounds like 20 young asian girls screaming O-K-A-J-I-M-A. Awkward.  Another thing that i have never seen before. A girl about 20 seats over from us had a sign that said “PAPI HIT IT HERE”  I think to myslef…what an idiot, Ortiz isn’t going to hit an oppo bomb over the monster.  2 innings later Peaslee texts me asking if i saw the idiot with the hit it here papi sign, expressing the same thought that he would never hit an oppo bomb, or at least not frequently enough to hit a sign.  I look over  at the girl the next at bat and the sign had changed to “JASON HIT IT HERE.”  This girl is a genious.  The names is velcro…and she had every starter.  She had a relevant sign every batter. Brilliant.

 

100_0432.JPGIn the 8th inning during a Pat Burrell at bat, a strange thing happened.  During the Red Sox game the Boston Celtics were playing a crucial game 4 in Orlando.  I was recieving score updates on my phone because i have Pierce on my playoff fantasy team so i knew the game was close.  I recieved a text that the celtics were down by 1 with 11 seconds left.  All off a sudden about 5,000 people cheer.  Pat Burrell was startled as was I.  Apperently Big Baby hit a game winning shot at the buzzer.  I later learned that all of the TVs in the park were showing the game so many fans were watching the celtics game in or around the stadium.

After 2 doubles by Papi and Jay Bay the Red Sox had a 4-3 lead going into the 9th.  Then the Dropkick Murphys-I’m Shipping Off to Boston comes over the loud speakers.  The most intimidating rendition of Riverdance I have ever heard.  It was time for Papelbon. As he ran from the dugout to the mound Fenway errupted.  Somehow the Rays managed to get a runner on first and third with no one out.  Papelbon then went on to strike out the side.  Pena, Upton, Crawford.  3 fantastic hitters, and he strikes them all out.  I was impressed.  I have never heard a ball park as loud as Fenway after Crawford missed the high fastball by Pap. Chris was not happy.  We then met Boston accent number to.  Chris had a dioner navarro jersey shirt on for the game.  As we are leaving a kid yells “Hey Diona.  Hey Diona, nice game Diona” They just cant get to seem to get that er sound down. Which is a shame because they are big Gahnet fans up there.

Speaking of Gahnet.  Remeber 2 weeks ago or so when everyone was saying “Anything is possible!” in Pittsburgh.  The Pirates have lost 8 straight.  The offense has been just brutal.  Something needs to be done.  Mind you I am not the biggest bucs fan but i vote we bring up McCutchen.  I know its to early, but i just want something exciting to watch. When Mahalom is providing his only run support something is seriously wrong.

 

100_0453.JPGI want to thank Peaslee for the oppertunity.  The trip to Fenway was one of the greatest baseball experiences of my life.  It falls second only to meeting Henry Aaron.  I had a great time at the game, and writing this blog afterward.

LETS GO BUCS!

The Peas in Beantown

boston.jpg“The Pittsburgh Peas” correspondents Christ Kiernan and Andrew Schuerholz hit the road to Massachusets. Fenway Park is their destination as these two enthusiats embark on a unique journey at Fenway Park.

 

Stay tuned for a detailed journal describing their time at one of baseball’s most hallowed grounds.

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