May 2009

LETS GO PENS!…?

pittsburgh_penguins.gifWell both Pittsburgh sports teams did it again. The Pirates lost and the Penguins won.

The Bucs fell to the Mets 10-1. Paul Maholm got rocked as he gave up 7 runs. No offense has been the story of the past week and with only 5 hits ammassed by the Bucco bats the incompetence continues.

On the other hand, the Pens won. Moving to 3-2 in the series play against the Washington Capitals. It was an overtime thriller, the game did not dissapoint at all from start to finish. The winning goal by Evgeni Malkin was kind of cheap but hey, a wins a win. The series now shifts back to the burgh where the hometown crowd will be hyped up as ever.

The hypeness somewhat dissapoints me. To tell you the truth I am not the biggest Pens fan. Calling me a fan may even be a stretch. I’ve only seen maybe a handful of games this season and probably only 20 in my two decades of being alive. I enjoy rooting for another Pittsburgh team but come on…its hockey. Half the people that follow and heavily root for the Pens are fair weather. They jumped on the Crosby/Malkin bandwagon and have since fallen in love with the team. A lot of them bought the merchandise, wear the jerseys and say they are die-hard. It kind of makes me mad because alot of these people couldn’t tell you what the blue line rules are, or what makes offsides-offsides. Now don’t get me wrong, I know many Pens fans who are in deed the rare breed, there from the start die-hard. One being my buddy Jared who also fits the bill as a die-hard Indians fan.

What really gets under my skin is the fact that some of these people could care less about the Pirates. While, the really haven’t given the fans much to care about, they are still a major league baseball team. Baseball=American at leats last time I checked. I wish more “Burghers would take advantage of the team they have playin AMERICA’s pasttime. The Pens actually make me upset about this topic because they steal alot of the revenue and publicity that the Bucs would be recieving if the Pens weren’t in the spotlight for actually being a legit NHL team.

It’s just hard for me to get up for a hockey team. I really don’t like the sport, I never played it, let alone ice skated in my life. I can’t relate to it the way I can simply relate to baseball. I have the utmost resepct for hockey players. There’s no possible way I could walk around on concrete and have the same agility and speed that they have on ice

I love mario Lemieux to death, he helps run a fantastic and respectable organization. Something us Pirates fans could only dream about. I would die for the Buc’s ownership group to be beloved by the city much like Mario with the Pens and Rooney with the Steelers.

I would love to see teenage girls and a young generation of Pittsburghers to soon jump on the bandwagon of teh Pirates, I’ve seen the Penguins tranformation and progression and could only hope one day the Pirates will recieve the same attention and fanfare. WIth a record of 12-18 and 7 losses in a row, I can’t see that time happening anytime soon. Untill then….

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                              GO PENS

The skid continues

5….5 losses…5 losses in a row!

 

The Bucs can’t seem to do anything right. In yesterday’s ball game the team only mustered up 4 hits. 2 of which came from the bat of backup catcher Robinzon Diaz and one of which came from pitch Ross Ohlendorf. The incompetence at the plate has to stop. We’re a major league club for crying out loud. It’s tough to see the team get so overmatched by Todd Wellemeyer.

Coming into the game Wellemeyer has the Major League’s most hittable pitcher. Opposing teams possessed a .345 batting avergae against the veteran. Leave it to the makes to make him look liek Sandy Koufax on the mound.

craig.jpgI’ve been an advocate for Craig Monroe all season. I like what he brings to the table in terms of speed, power and leadership. He has a track record of major league experience and he tore it up in Spring Training. While he has been used sparingly in rare spot starts and pinch hitting opportunities he needs consistent time in the lineup to flourish. He got that time yesterday and completely laid an egg. Monroe went 0-4 and bobble a routine fly ball in right field. (pictured to the left). Monore has also faltered recently in his position as a pinch hitter. In his past two experiences he has gone without a hit.

It’s all part of the trials and tribulations of being a reserve player. You’re expected to perform at your best when called upon. The only problem with that is you never know when you will be called upon. No matter if you’ve been swinging the bat well or if you are rusty its hard to tell when the right situation will come up.

For Monroe the road has been long. A starter in Detroit and a reserve in Minnesota he has made the transition to the NL. While Brandon Moss has been anything but spectacular, he gets the nod over Monroe in almost every game.

If this team hopes to salvage the season something needs to be changed now. The offense is attrocious. The pitching staff has been falling apart. The team lacks experience and the talent in order to succeed and win.

Will it ever end?

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The city of Pittsburgh is usually a peaceful place. With an array of architectural landmarks and a breathtaking skyline, the Steel City beems with pomp and pride.

However when the baseball team takes the field, the city is filled with doom and gloom and nerves that hinder the inner momento that is the Pittsburgh Pirates.

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 On an especially gloomy and even more doomy (probably not a word) night, the Brewers owned the Pirates once again. This time the Bucs fell to the Crew 8-5.

What looked to be a turning of the tides the Pirates got out on the Brewers in the bottom of the first scoring a run   thanks to a Freddy Sanchez bomb. The Brewers would get that run back in the top of the 2nd. The 4th, 6th and 8th innings were blown wide open by the Crew as starter Ian Snell got rocked and the bullpen couldn’t help in the least.

The pitching staff was able to hold Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun hitless, but the lower part of their lineup stepped up and got the job done. Former Pirate Jason Kendall scored a run, hit a single and was hit by a pitch. Corey Hart scored three runs with a pair of doubles.

The Pirates were able to muster up 5 runs over the span of the nine inning game but couldn’t come through in clutch situations.

First baseman Adam LaRoche was 0-5 and made the final out in each of his at-bats. Nyjer Morgan has been slipping as of late. His average his falling sharply and he failed to do what a leadoff man does, get on base. He did get a single but also grounded out twice, popped out and struck out swinging on a nasty pitch.

The one bright spot that stood out was bench player Delwyn Young. DY has not been given a legitimate shot with the Bucs but he proved his case for more playing time when he nailed a pinch hit double to right center field. The rocket that rolled to the wall scored two runs and set up a failed Pittsburgh comeback.

The Pirates have now fallen to 12-14 and have lost 7 of their last 8. The losing streak is also in tact as the Brewers have downed the Pirates in the last 17 games. The Bucs won’t even have a chance to redeem themselves until teh middle of summer when the Brewers come to town at the end of July.

O where have you gone Randall Simon.
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At least one Bucco knew how to send a message to those cheese-headed, sausages loving, beer drinking, Milwaukee Brewers

 

PHOTO CREDIT:

homerderby.com

Screwed by the Brew Crew…

…..AGAIN.

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Personally, I can not take it anymore. The Pirates have dropped 16 in a row to the boys from Milwaukee. It’s getting old; it’s getting ridiculous. With the 7-4 come from behind victory the brewers showed once again that they own the Pirates.

Ryan Braun did not get the start in this game and I was pretty excited that their slugger was Missing In Action from the starting lineup. Little did I know he would come back to bite me in the butt. In the 8th inning who else but Braun steps up to the plate and delievers a bloop single that scores two runs and tied the game at 3. Whats more dissapointing is that the ball should have very easily been caught. It floated up in the air for what seemed like forever. When it left his bat I was pumped up for a routine fly ball and an inning ending putout. However, Brandon Moss had other plans as he slowed up and played the ball on a hop. Now I’m no major league rightfielder any mean. Heck, I couldn’t even play for my high school team but I’ll tell you what in little league, I hustled. I wanted to catch everything when I patrolled the outfield. Seeing Moss play the ball way to conservatively makes me question his motivation, drive and also his talent.

What was worse about that sequence of events was seeing the sheepish grin run across Braun’s face. 
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DISGUSTING

He was a bit too jolly for my liking. He did’nt hit a home run or even get good wood on the ball to solidfy a good hit. Just by sure luck was he able to tie the game.

Now the girls of Wisconsin and sports writers across America will gush over his “clutch” performance and steady hands that helped win the game for the Brewers.

What makes matters worse is what he said after the game.

 “Unbelievable game,” said Braun,  “I was not anticipating playing, that’s for sure. It’s kind of a crazy day, something I’ve never experienced before.”

Blah, blah, blah come on man get over yourself. To make matters worse apparently Braun has never been hit by a pitch either. In last weeks series against the Buccos, Braun didn’t have enough kleenex to dry his tears after he was beaned by a pitch from Jeff Karstens.

sadbraun.jpg   Braun wasn’t too happy about the beaning and went on a tirade after the game.

“It’s rare for major league pitchers to miss by that much with the fastball,” Braun said. “We play them about 17 more times. Tell Mr. Selig, we’ll see what happens. It’ll be interesting.” I think Bud has better things to worrsy about man. While if I was Karstens I’d love to send a message to hot head Mc. Gee up there but he is a major league pitcher and he does know better. Braun didn’t stop there with the whining, also saying “that kid should know better.” Referring to Karstens.

Now according to pirates.com, Karstens was born on 9/24/1982 making him 26 years old. Braun on the other hand was born on 11/17/1983. Just a tad younger than Jeff. By calling Karstens a “kid” was a belt-lining blow to a fellow major league collegue. He made himself look like like spoiled, frat boy “kid.”

If you haven’t been able to tell I have lost a lot of respect for the Brewers organization. I’ve kind of admired the franchise over the past few years. I’ve been to Miller Park, it is fantastic. The structure is beautiful and the atmosphere is grand. The current and vintage logo is cool with its bold striking royal blue color. And the players themselves are fun. The orgainzation produced and developed their own young talent and groomed them into premier ballplayers. When a piece or two was needed they go out and add a fixture that is solid and contributes to the team. I’ve supported them in their playoff run and idolized their model of a small market team. Even one of my favorite baseball movies “Mr. 3000″ starring the late Bernie Mac is a Milwaukee item.
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However, the cocky attitude, untucking of the shirts and overall bad mouthing of the Pirates shows the lack of class and respect this team has for a fellow MLB club. 

But in the end it is up to the Bucs to right their own ship. It is a pivital game tonight. Ian Snell takes the mound looking to avoid a 17th straight loss to the Brew Crew. Its historically fitting because the Pirates are also on the brink of their 17 straight losing season. A win tonight would be a nice turnaround as the Bucs would end the Crew streak and reach the .500 plateau once again. Who knows maybe it will even avoid the losing season streak come September, but once again. WHO KNOWS.

Taking a page out of Pedro Martinez’s book-We just have to tip our hats and call the Brewers our daddy.  

 

 

PHOTO CREDIT: Braun-AP Photos

                          Mr. 3000-filmhobbit.com

 

Exploding like the Buc’s Themselves

Well the Pirates dropped another one on Sunday. 5-0 at the hands of the Reds. Jeff Karstens picked up the loss as he served up pitch by pitch to the Reds offense. The Reds are a solid team. With a nice young core and mix of power and speed, I like their development more so than the Pirates.

They had a direction set in place and are carrying the plan out as directly as possible. While the Pittsburgh organization claims they know what they are doing, there is always room for doubt amongst the fans.

We have a core of players no doubt. McLouth, Doumit and either LaRoche rival what CInci has in Votto, Bruce and Encarnacion. Both teams ridded themselves of premium players within the last year. The Pirates got rid of Bay, while the Reds got rid of Dunn. Both teams have smattering of other solid veterans that fill out their lineup. The Pirates have Sanchez and Wilson. The Reds have Dickerson and Hernandez.

While I’ve been known to have the optomistic gene embedded in me I do believe the Reds will top us in the division this year. At the beginning of the year I boldly predicted an 85 win season for the Bucs. Based purely on young talent, anticipation and folowing suit with Tampa Bays impeccable season, I thought, why not?

With 24 games under the belt I know ask, how? How can the Pirates get back on track. We were once 4 games above .500 and a solid second place in the NL Central. After facing inter-divison rivals in the Brewers and Reds, the Bucs may have just fallen back down to earth. While I know were good there is just something missing. We lack a primetime player. McLouth is good, Morgan has been pleasant and the Brothers LaRoche have been progressing. But this past week just everything went south.

No offense at all has de-railed the Bucs. In just 6 games, 18 runs were scored. While it seems liek a decent total in the thick of things, in two of those games 0 runs were scored. One run was scored in a game as well.

It’s tough to watch especially when I need something to get my mind off my studying.

This past week I have not had time to update the blog because I have literally been “exploding”. I have been studying for finals. Here at West Virginia University, it is a hectic time. The Libraries are packed with students in every nook and I’m trying to find my place amongst them. Economic is a killer. While it is a subject that everyone should have a background in, its very confusing. Alot of it is common sense but thrown to together Average Total Costs and Variable Costs all have intertiwned my brain.

One thing that has been decent is the play of the Mountaineer baseball team. They just took 2 of 3 from Rutgers and sit in 4th place in the Big East. On Sunday junior starting pitcher Billy Gross went the full 9 innings only allowing 5 hits.                                                                
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Gross had great command of his pitches and was so effective on the mound, Rutgers did not have any extra base hits. The offense was great too. Designated hitter Vince Belnome went 3-5 with 4 RBI. Leadoff man Justin Parks went yard and 3rd baseman Dan DiBartolomeo also took one deep.

The Pirates should take a page out of the Mountaineers book. While pitching and defense may win championships, offense wins games. A mix of both is ideal, the Mountaineers did just that on Sunday. I can only hope that th Pirates can find their mix this upcoming week. Although it will be difficult when the Brewers come to town tomorrow.

PHOTO CREDIT: msnsportsnet.com

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