August 2009

Wells Watch in Cinci

Remember at the beginning of the season when I documented the resurgence of former Pirate Kip Wells? Wells was one of my least favorite Buccos of the past decade and it seemed that he always wanted out of Pittsburgh so he could have a shot at success. He believed he was bigger than he was and took his cocky act around the league. He has been a journey man reliever and began the year in Washington. He has since been signed by the Reds and actually started today’s game against the visiting Bucs.

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Prior to the game I wanted nothing more than to have the Buccos make an example out of this guy. While no current Pirate players were around when Kip was on the Pittsburgh club, it still would have made an impact for fans, loyal fans, like myself.

However, as John Steinbeck once said in his most famous book…”the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.”

Kip didn’t just go out and pitch wel, he was fairly dominant. He went 6 innings only allowing 2 hits and 2 earned runs. It was pretty depressing. The Pirates only mustered up 5 hits. 4 of which were by Ronny Cedeno and Jason Jaramillo. The other hit came by way of McCutchen. No not Andrew, the potential rookie of the year, in fact the other hit came off the bat of Daniel, Daniel McCutchen.

daniel cutch.jpg He had his teeth gritted and fire in his eyes. It was his major league debut. He did manage one hit-off his own bat. On the other hand, he gave up 5 hits, and 3 earned runs. In just his second major league pitch he surrendered a homerun to leadoff Cincinatti batter Drew Stubbs. After that things were looking better. He settled down and found his groove. He also put the Pirates in a position to win the game, something they haven’t been used to.

Its been a while since I last wrote an entry and when I last left off the Bucs were looking good. They were strong at the plate and recieving excellent starting pitching. 

Then they headed to Milwaukee.

The Pirates were swept over the weekend by the Brewers. The games were not totally ugly losses but the Brewers always have the Pirates number at Miller Park.

 

Like always Ryan Braun killed the Bucs with his bat. He reached base every game against the Bucs and hit a homerun, something he always seems to do when playing against Pitt.

RyanBraun.jpg I post this picture amidst my hurls of hatred but I figured my female readers may appreciate it. I’ve always voiced my dislike of the man. No doubt hes a great player, I just don’t appreciate his style of play on and off the field.

The Pirates have lost 21 straight games at Miller Park. Its downright disheartening, but then again so is the Pirates record away from home. They are 18-47 outside of PNC Park. You might as well make it 18-48 as the Reds are downing them here in game 2 of the doubleheader. Brandon Phillips smashed a home run and Cincinatti holds a 4-0 lead. No matter what is to come…LETS GO BUCS

A Deeper Look Inside…Brandon Moss

 

bmossface.jpgA charasmatic fellow just trying to make his mark on a major league team, that right there is the epitome of Brandon Moss. Moss has been a Pirates since last year when he was part of the Manny Rameriz-Jason Bay-Andy Laroche 3-way. He wa sthe Red Sox contribution to the Pirates in the deal. He had tremendous upside at the time and is overflowing with potential.

His track record in the minors was second to none. Numerous times he wa snamed player of the week and an All Star in the Red Sox organization. Last year he was promoted to the big league squad in Boston. He was relatively unknown, but still people knew the rookie could be something solid. He showed in his first major league game that he had what it takes to make an impact. Over in Japan for the Red Sox-Athletics opening season game, Moss launched a dinger into the left field seats to the delight of thousands of Japanese fans. It was a moment that Red Sox fans will never forget.

bmosssox.jpg He didn’t even play 50 games in that red uniform. His time in the American League was cut short by the time of his trade to Pittsburgh. He flirted with a .300 batting average, hitting .295 at the time of his July package deal. He had the power to hit homeruns, in fact he hit too. But for a corner outfielder that kind of production needs to be upped. Here in Pittsburgh, fans can agree. At the beginning of the year with Nyjer Morgan solidified in left field. Moss and former Buc Craig Monroe were alternating in a platoon postion. Moss was forced to step up to earn playing time while in the competition with the veteran outfielder. Monroe had good power number belting over ten dingers in spring training. He shined in his at bats with the Bucs too. Moss kept the platoon postion even when Monroe was designated for assignemnt. With the promotion of Garrett Jones and Steve Pearce, Moss was still asked to step it up in lieu of the even more heightened competition.

Today, Moss is getting a start in the outfield every other day or so. He is used as the key pinch hitter and bench player when in need. He did exactly what he was asked to do in last nights game.

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He came up to bat in the bottom of the ninth. The Pirates down by one and the Philies looking like their game 2 victory was in the bag. Just a few seconds later this picture was snapped by AP photographer Gene Puskar. It is Moss heading to third base, jogging lightly as he rocked a Ryan Madsen pitch into the left field seats. Very similair to his original dinger over in Japan. Moss tied the game up at one at that point. But just an inning later the Philies’ Ryan Howard would belt a 3-run jack to give Philly a 4-1 win.

bmosswalk off.jpg Brandon is a great fit in the Pittsburgh clubhouse. he gets along with teammates and has a steep interest in his mates. Moss is an avid hunter from the peach state of Georgia. With a handful of other mid-20′s white guys on the team Moss has a full arsenal of buddies to hunt with. The chemistry of the team is most important to success. When Neil Huntington traded away the kitchen sink at the deadline some believed it would be hard for these new bucs to grasp each other and form a common bond. Just a few days before July 31st, Moss interrupted all the negative talk and hit a walkoff homerun to give the Bucs a win over the Brewers. The jubilation of a walkoff is always fun, especially when times are at their darkest.

It is hard to tell where Brandon will end up in a few years. The Bucs are growing collectively as a team. With Jones, Lastings Milledge and Andrew McCutchen etched as the outfield for at least next year, who knows what Moss’s place will be on the team. He will get some spot starts when Jones plays first base. But with the talent that looks to be coming up within the next few year, Moss may be playing second fiddle once again. Gorkys Hernandez, Jose Tabata and Jeff Clement are all future MLB’ers waiting in the wings. Moss has teh potential, but then again so does everyone else.

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CUTCH!

cutch walk off.jpgTell me that isn’t the sweetest walk off arrival at home plate ever. I got goosebumps when I saw it. I smiled, laughed, and just through my hands in the air. Doing his best Nike Jumpman impression Andrew was airborne leaping into the dogpile that was awaiting him.

Jumpman_logo.jpg Air Jordan should be Air McCutchen. This dude’s got ups. He was also a football player in high school but if the devlopment league b-ball team in Pittsburgh needs a shooting guard look no further than Andrew McCutchen.

Cutch went 2 for 4 with a stolen base in the game. Solid numbers for the rookie. He did however promptly blow the game in the top of the ninth inning. He misplayed a ball hit to him and forced two Philly runs to score that inning. I hate when this happens because I never have faith when the Bucs aree behind in the bottom of the ninth. I was proved wrong tonight when McCutchen came through to put a smile on all black nd gold fans in Western Pennsylvania (and northern West Virginia for that matter) as the Pirates top the Phillies 6-4.

doumit hr.jpgMaybe it was J. Quist’s  report on Ryan Doumit, but the catcher went off tonight. He was just 1 for 2 but it took just one swing of the bat to tie the game 1-1 early in the game. He belted a homerun that landed in the right field stands.

ohlendorf.jpgAnother tip of the cap goes out to Ross Ohlendorf. Very quitely the young hurler racked up 10 wins on the year. He gained the no decision in tonight’s game but was very solid and in line for the W. In 6.1 innings pitched Ohlendorf gave up just 5 hits and 2 earned runs. 

I feel so great about this win. It hurts to see so many Philly fans taking over PNC Park. People from the east side of the state come in with their nose up in the air and walk with their chests out since the World Series win last year. I can’t blame em cause I know it happens everywhere with every team but its hard to swallow win baseball supremacy of teh state of Pennsylvania is not in Pittsburgh. However, tomorrow I hope to get the bandwagon rolling once again. I will be walking around the WVU campus with my McCutchen shirt and Bucco hat. Hopefully some other Pittsburgh fans will come out of the woodwork and join my cause.

One last time, thank you Buccos! Lets Go Pittsburgh! 

 

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AP Photos 

Worth the Wait

So after being back at West Virginia for a a weekend I haven’t had time to write an entry as you can tell.

Maybe I should have stopped writing for a few days more during the season.

bucco jump.jpgThe Battling Buccos have been on quite the roll. Pittsburgh swept the Brewers in a 3 game set and over the weekend took 2 of 3 from the Reds. I’ve been folowing itently on this run, much to the dismay of my friends and roomates. I hear a bunch of “Come on, it’s the Pirates”, “who cares” and “Theyre out of it anyway”. But my Friday and Saturday night was fixated watching these players develop in a crucial series in terms of NL Central Standings. The Reds and Pirates flip flopped throughout the weekend in the race for 5th place. The Pirates are now in the cellar with a record of 51-71. 20 games out of a .500 record. When I put it like that it sounds ugly. Attrocious actually. Especially after a prediction of 85 wins after the Home Opener victory against the Astros. My friends called me crazy and comprimised on my prediction. My WVU buddy, Andrew, gave me the benefit of the doubt giving me a 75 win plateau. For every win over 75 he will owe me a dollar, and for every loss under-I owe him a dollar. Fairly innocent and resonable. There is still enough time in the season for a run much like the 5-win run that occured over the weekend. I still watch the games intently for that sole reason and the reason for future development.

jones-cutch.jpgThis is one of my favorite pictures captured throughout the entire season. Maybe its because of teh vintage unis. Which I love by the way, Some say they are disgusting, others say they are pajamas, I say they are classic and they should incorporate them into their combinations, much like the Brewers do with their vintage jerseys. But back to the picture. McCutchen and Jones are the centerpiece of this team now. In his last ten games Cutch has been on base in every game driving in 4 runs in theat span. He holds a .284 batting average and 7 homeruns and 6 triples. He is undoubtebly they best Pirate on the roster and at only 22 years of age you know he is the real deal. There is nobody else touching him in the National League in terms of poise, talent and skill. He should be the runaway favorite for Rookie of the year.

Garret Jones could also be considered a candidate for ROY. He was called up in early June and has been the driving force behind the Pirates power attack. In just over 3 months he has 14 homeruns and flirts with a .300 BA. H ehas trouble getting hits with runners in scoring position-a key stat for individual and team success but no one can complain with his power numbers thus far.

The wildcard in the Pirates offense is Lastings Milledge.

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Milledge has the tools for success and very well could become an impact player. Fans have been down on him in recent weeks in liey of his diminishing performance. Milledge came to the Pirates in exchange for Nyjer Morgan. Everyone loved Nyjer, he was a great person and no one could argue his heart and the effort he put forth on the field. When Lastings took over left field people had a right to get down on him. This weekend, he put on a show which included a homerun and a four hit weekend. He opened some eyes and gained some faith that he is the man for the job.

Tonight it is the battle for Pennsylvania. The Philies come to the Burgh for a series. It could get ugly as the Philies need a strong push as they head for the postseason. It is the big news around the campus of WVU. There is a great population of students from Pittsburgh and Philadelphia so the rivalry extends south to West Virginia as well. To surprise the number of Philly fans and earn bragging rights a series win would be fantastic for the Bucs.

 

Take me home, Country Roads

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So the Pirates have been on a hot streak since my last time blogging. The battling Buccos have just swept the  Brewers and have shown me something that I have been begging for since the firesale and trades-a sign of some encouragement. I got just that in these past few games and have loved every minute of it.

The middle infield combination of Ronny Cedeno and Delwyn Young is turning heads. At the plate the duo has been getting on base and knocking the ball around. Lastings Milledge has been looking good and showing improvement. He belted his first homerun as a Pirate and has been hustling all over the diamond. Pitching has been on key thanks to Ross Ohlendorf and Paul Maholm. This tandem has been mowing down hitters and getting outs. Its great to see them turn around, especially against my most hated team-the Brew Crew.

In the midst of this winning streak I have been longing to go back to school. Its that time of year again where I pack up the Nissan and head back to another year of collegiate education. I am embarking on my junior year of college at West Virginia University. With two years under my belt it is simply amazing how time flies. I can remember moving into my dorm room with my parents by my side. Now I have my own apartment with three good friends ready to accept the challenge of becoming adults once again.

While I am happy to become a seasoned vet of the Moutaineers it is all bittersweet. It’s sad leaving everything I have back home in Youngstown. My family and friends are 2 and a half hours away but I still keep in touch with them. Here is a little taste of what I leave behind each fall when I head to Morgantown.

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We’ll start in the basement. As you as you descened the steps you are welcomed with a staple of all Pittsburgh sports, the Terrible Towel. Coined by legendary announcer Myron Cope, the Terrible Towel is always seen floating around at Steeler games .While it is not necessarily the first rally towel of sorts it is probably the most famous. For years and years people will and will always wave and show off this yellow piece of cloth.

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From Pittsburgh pride to WVU passion. We have a wall dedicated to the blue and gold of West Virginia. With a Fathead as teh centerpiece and programs around it this wall is very special to my family. With a long line of graduates I take great honor in carrying the WVU tradition.

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One of the most memorable sporting events I have ever attended was the MLB All-Star game in 2006. Seeing a collection of the greatest players all on one field was outstanding. The game itself was thrilling. Trevor Hoffman blew the save and Michael Young drove in the winning run with a double off the wall in centerfield. The Homerun Derby was my favorite event of the week. Ryan Howard capped off the exhibition by banging a shot off on eof the “HIT IT HERE” signs. The crowd went nuts. It was the perfect eneding to the great showdown. The celebrity softball game and futures game were cool as well. I’m glad that we have a wall in honor of the week.

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My dad’s favorite player in all of baseball history is Roberto Clemente. A true Pirate fan he stays at home with his honors, however there has always been a special place in his heart for Nolan Ryan. We have a nice set up for him which includes the ever famous 1964 Rookie Card. My father loved his hard throwing abilities and record setting years.

You may be wondering why there is a random pennant of the Twins and Nationals on the wall. However there is a legit reason. We also have 25 other MLB teams along the walls of the basement. Every stadium we go to we buy a pennant of the home team. Just as a way to remember our time with the team.

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From the basement we travel to my room. Over this summer I created this shrine to the Stanley Cup Champion Penguins. I simply fell in love with the team and found a greater apprecitation for the game of hockey. Some may call me a front runner, but the Pens have always been my team. The passion is nowhere near that of the Pirates but they are still black and gold and deserve my support.

oh-wv 012.jpgDidn’t believe me when I said I was a big Ian Snell fan. While now you should. Over the years I have collected these 10 cards of Snell. Whether it was from packs, card stores or ebay I got my hands on them and displayed them proudly.

oh-wv 014.jpgAlong with the Snell cards I also have a display of Pirate cards from all over the histor
y of the team. It took me a while I collect all of these cards but I have some from old players as well as current Bucs.

The picture at the top of the entry is me before taking off to Morgantown. I am now here in Mountaineer country ready to ‘study’ and get back in touch with my college spirt. I will post pictures of my apartment room setting in my next entry.

The Pirates are hosting the Reds this weekend. My dad, brother and some of his friends will be there. It is kind of sad seeing them go off like this. I would love to go with them but I have obligations here now. My life is progressing and my brother and dad will enjoy memories that we shared at one time as well.

100th Post

100.jpgI figured this was a fairly big milestone, not only in this blog, but in my life as well.

I know there are a decent amount of people that read this blog. I have fun writing it and I hope all of you reading it are having fun too. I’ve gotten comments from fans across the country, my neighbors, family, friends, random acquaintainces who say they enjoy it. It makes me feel good, real good. Even though the Pirates really aren’t on the must see list for anyone these days I take great pride in sharing my thoughts and feelings about my favorite team to the world.

In honor of the accomplishment here are a list of some notable milestones in Pirates history.

Most Triples in a season:36

 This feat was completed in 1912 by a guy by the name of Chief Wilson. Very sweet name and possibly what I will name my first born son. I’m sure my future wife will have something to argue about that. But anyway I know absolutely nothing about Wilson from my time studying Pirates lore. The 36 Triples are still a Pirates and major league record.

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Most Homeruns in a season:54; Most Walks in a Season:137

Ralph Kiner is a name not always held that highly in Pittsburgh sports history. The guy was a big bopper back in the 40′s and 50′s. He was a feared hitter at the plate and was always a power threat. I always thought Willie Stargell would be the single season homerun record holder but Kiner owns that accomplishment when he belted 54 in 1949. For being such a strong hitter he was often avoided and pitched around. A unique statue of Kiner stands inside PNC Park near the left field bleachers. It is unique in that there is no bust of body of the Kiner scupure. It is a rendition of his hands gripping the bat.

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Games Played: 2433

This record is held by two players, two players that signify what it means to be a Pittsburgh Pirate. Ralph Kiner and Roberto Clemente. The “Flying Dutchman” is said to be the greatest shortstop to ever play the position. He was a staple as an elite player back in the very early 1900′s. He and Ty Cobb were always in a battle for batting supremacy with Wagner getting the upperhand. Roberto Clemente needs to introduction. He was the first Latin born player to really make an impact in baseball. He was an awesome outfielder with lightning quick speed and a rocket for an arm. At the plate he could hit for power and get on base. He was a rare breed and really the first of many 5 tool players to come.

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Hit By Pitch: 172

One of my first memories of Pirates baseball was going to games at Three Rivers Stadium. It was a large sphereical trash dump located just steps from PNC Park. However, I loved going to games there. I always remember looking up at the jumbotron high above the seating bowl and seeing a billboard advertisement for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Within the ad was a large picture of Jason Kendall. From then on I knew he was high profile and the face of 1990′s Pittsburgh baseball. He was always scrappy and played all out every game. In the backyard I tried to replicate his batting stance leaning over the plate and sticking elbows out. He always wore a pad on his arm for great reason-he would always get plunked.

 

a_kendall.jpg Career Home Runs: 475; Career RBI:1540; Extra Base Hits in a Season; 90

The Pirates “Sultan of Swat” went by the nickname- Pops. Willie Stargell was the Captain of the teams in teh 1970′s. He was a fearless leader and captain of charisma. He was a presecence on the field and off and always felt the love Pittsburghers showed him. At the plate he always knew how to come through in the clutch and give the Bucs the W. It would have been great seeing him play on those legendary Pirate’s clubs of the 70′s. Plus I would have loved to see this. A must have collectible for all Pittsburgh fans. It seems that history does repeat itself. 1979-Steelers and Pirates=World Champs. 2009-Steelers and Penguins=World Champs/

SI cover.jpg Opening up the Pirates vault was a great flashback to the glory days. I can only hope more legends will come about and the storied history of the Pirates will continue in years to come.

In regards to my previous post about becoming a Mariners supporter, progress is being made.

At Gabriel Brothers, the off-price warehouse store for misfit clothing and other appearal I bought a Mariners jacket.

mariners jacket 002.jpgIt was a great purchase for only 15 dollars. It is Stitches brand and looks like great quality. It fits perfectly too and I like the way I look in it. Believe me if they had a Pirates I would have bought it but there was just a Mariners, Cardinals and Tigers in this style. I figured fate must have landed down upon me. The day I bought the jacket the M’s beat the Yankees too. So to all Seattle fans out there, you’re welcome!

My AL team

Since the Pirates are faltering at an alarming rate (they fell 10-1 to the Rockies yesterday only managing 3 hits) I really need another team to support. Not saying I’m dismissing the Bucs, no not at all. I just need a team to root for. I’m not going out and spending money on jerseys, shirts and memorabilia. I’m just saying I would like to find a team in the American League that I can kind of call my own.

I do like other teams. After being to 25 MLB teams home games there are al ot of teams I like. The Rays are one (because come on-who doesnt like the Rays since their Cinderella story of last year). I like the Giants because of the beautiful city of San Francisco and the ballpark is top notch. I own a Red Sox shirt, only because it is Jason Bay-my all-time favorite player. And I also like the Tigers and Twins. Mostly because they are AL Central rivals of my least favorite team, the Indians.

But I want a claer cut-this is my team American League club. After much thought and consideration I’ve decided on the….

seattle-mariners.jpgThe Seattle Mariners

I’ve never been to Seattle and Safeco Field is one of the only five teams that I have not seen at their home field. The mariners have always been in the hunt for the playoffs, save for last year, and that is why I kind of enjoy their style of play. They lost 100 games last year and have gretaly improved to an above .500 record and an outside shot at making the playoffs. When the Pirates lose 100 games one season they may improve and only lose 80 some the next year. Thats is their idea of improvement.

Earlier in the summer for the WVU school newspaper The Daily Athenaeum asked four of the sports writers to come up with the most surprising teams of the first half of the season. I chose the Mariners because of their complete 180 turn around from a year ago. You can read my article, and see what my other colleagues had to say here.MARINERS ARTICLE 

Now I wrote this article before the tradeline just when the Mariners caught my eye. After the trade dealine some of my heart flew to Seattle.

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Ian Snell

AND
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Jack Wilson

Were shipped off to the Space Needle City, sorry I’m not sure of its nickname. It was so sad to see them go. We all know how much I enjoyed Ian Snell. His style of play, fiery attitude, and down to earth comments made him my favorite Pirate. I bought his jersey and have many autographed items from him. When he fell from the good graces of Pirates fan this year I supported him and knew he could come back and become an MLB ballplayer. He has been decent in Seattle, except for last night when he was rocked for 5 runs by the Yankees. I still will always support him, wear the jersey and follow his whole career.

I took Jack Wilson for granted. He was a Pirate for nearly 9 years and showcased some of the best defensive skills in the game of baseball. He was so underrated by not only major league fans but the Pirates as well. Whenever he was out of the lineup, the Pirates truggled mightily. He was always the face of the organization and represented the Pirates everywhere he went. I’m sure he will be a fan favorite in Seattle as well. With all his communtiy involvement and fan friendliness the Mariner faithful better treat him well.

I can’t just let 2 of my favorite Buccos go without cheering for them every step of the way. All the Pirates that have been traded over the year are still always going to be favorite of mine. It just so happened that two of my beloeved Buccos wound up on the same team.

Good Luck Mariners, make up some ground. It will be tough without Adrain Beltre in the lineup, the injury of Erik Bedard and the trade of Jarrod Washburn have hurt. There is still time this season and even next year if they can reload and retian Jack for next year.

But as always…

LETS GO BUCS! 

Billy’s Black and Gold

I’m sure everybodys hometown has a hangout where you like to go to take a break fromt the world around you. Its a familiar place where you know the menu, you know the atmosphere and you enjoy the company around you. Come to think of it…some times you wanna go where everybody knows your name, and they’re always glad you came.

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WHo doesn’t love Cheers. One of my favorite sitcomes of all time, just behind Seinfeld. I have every season on DVD and just love the actors, the comedy and the uniqueness of this show. Juila, I beat you love the Boston themes too.

Today I went to a place sort of like Cheers, excpet with a Pittsburgh twist.

billys 001.jpgThe joint is called Billys black and gold bar and it is located in Sharon, PA-a 30 minute drive from my home in Youngstown, OH. While it is not totally a “Cheers” atmosphere it was one of the most amazing restraunts I have ever been too. Another reason for the non-Cheers theme is the fact that I have never patronized the establishment. I did however go to the bar with two buddies who most certainly do know my name-Andrew and Eric, two of my longest tenured friends.

You may remember Andrew, he was at the Stanley Cup Finals game with me and turned me into a Yankee fan-just for one night. Eric and I went to Pittsburgh for a day this summer. We enjoyed eating Primanti Brothers and causing a ruckus on the campus of my least favorite college-the University of Pittsburgh.

We took the drive for the afternoon to grab a bite to eat and enjoy the spectacle of Billy’s Black and Gold.

Eric has been to the place before and said it is a must see for me. While its only a 30 minute drive I never found the time to make it out there. Mostly because there are so many nice sports bars alot closer. After visiting Billy’s I can vouch that no sports bar can top this one. The place is filled with Pittsburgh memorobilla wall to wall. Pirates, Penguins and Steelers garb decorate the long, tall wals from the bottom up. There are so many cool trinkets and rare items that I have never seen before. There were life sized cutouts of Ben Roethisberger, Hines Ward, Willie Parker, Jerome Bettis, Terry Bradshaw, Franco Harris and other Steelers greats.  There were articles of Pens legends from Darius Kasperitis to Mario Leimeux. Of course my favorite pieces of swag looked somewhat like this.

billys 009.jpgAND THIS….

billys 008.jpg but nothing was greater than the great one himself.

billys 011.jpgI was amazed by the place. You can see my face light up as I was liek a kid in a candy store just gazing around at this metropolis of Pittsburgh sports. It was an amazing place like a museum. Billy’s is a shrine for all die-hrad black and gold clad sports fan. I showed my pride in my script yellow Pittsburgh hat and my “Got Malkin?” shirt. I felt right at home and part of the atmosphere.

As we walked into the place we found that we were the only ones there. It was nice to have the whole restraunt to ourselves and it gave us time to wander around and stare in awe at the collection of stuff. We were seated by a pretty and nice waitress who gave us her undivided attention. Its always nice to be served by someone who seems to truly care, isn;t it?

The menu is unique just like the palce itself. The items are traditional bar faire but also have that stadium selection as well. Pizza, wings, burgers, pretzels and pierogies are the main squeezes. Every item has a special Pittsburgh theme to it. Such as the Polamalu Pierogies, Pops Potatoes and Clementes chowder. I ordered the Willie Parker pretzels and in honor of my Bucs-the Pirates pizza. The food was divine and I devoured each bite. It was great quality food and delicious all the way through.

I loved every minute of the day-except for the Pirates game that I would watch later that night. The Pirates were blanked 8-0. Kevin Hart, recently acquired from the Cubs went 5 innings giving up 8 hits and 2 runs. The bullpen was a let down once again, much like the offense-only 4 hits. The discouraging loss hurts but the main lesson I learned today is that I am so proud to be a Pittsburgh professional sports fan. Seeing all the legends and lore at Billy’s really rejuvinated myself to never give up on my teams. While the Pirates are and will always be number one I do need to be as big of a fan of the Steelers and Penquins as well. After they they have given me 5 total chmapionships in my lifetime- 3 in th epast 4 years. The winning is kind of spoiling but I always long for the day when I see the Pirates capture that World Series trophy.

Ok, before I start crying over my wishful thinking here are some more pictures from Billy’s

billys 002.jpgOne of the most famous and toughest Steelers of all time, Jack Lambert said one of the finest quotes, “if I could start my life all over again I would be a professional football player. And you damn well better believe I would be a Pittsburgh Steeler.” The statement is etched on this banner that fan can see everytime they patronize the bar.

 

 

 

billys 004.jpgAnother beloved Steeler Franco Harris is enshrined at Billys. Eric and Andrew, being proud Italians love Franco and the Italian Army. I remember Andrews family always talking about the days when he played and how they were proud members of the Italian Army. It would have been cool to see him play and convert the ever famous Immaculate Reception.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

billys 003.jpgThis shelf looked like something you would find at your grandparents house. It was in a corner of the restraunt, tucked away behind the more glamorous items but i really liked these the most. I have a lot of the Pirate bobbleheads. PNC Park is famous for their giveaways and always have bobblehead nights. My goal is to get a shelf like this and display them all in ithe rmy parents house or my apartment. Its safe to say I have about 20 of them. They would be dust collectors but would still love to look at them instead of storing them in the box they are in now.

 

billys 007.jpgHow cool is that? You’re probably thinking, “You got to be kidding, you took a picture of trash can? The answer is yes, yes I did.” You can see the Three Rivers Stadium logo down at the bottom and know that this was at one time used at the old stadium in Pittsburgh. I had many greta memories from my childhood at TRS and chances are I threw away some trash in this can at the stadium. I wish it were still standing just so I could walk through the hallowed halls one last time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I put on for my city, on on for my city. On the back wall of Billy’s there is a huge panoramic painting of the downtown Pittsburgh skyline. it was a beautiful work of art and a great touch to the place. Without the city there would be no sports teams and Pittsburgh is a fine city, thanks in part to the sports teams.

So this is what a win feels like

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Before I express my feelings of relief, just got to ask one thing. Whats up with this celebration? I love seeing it. I love the look on the players faces when they are in mid air rejoicing after a win. I just don’t like that every team does it. I feel so proud as a Pirates fan knowing the Jolly Roger has just been raised and my boys are up like this, but every team in the MLB does it. It really rubs me the wrong way. I hope some team, I would love it be the Pirates, to come up with their own victory celebration. I would honestly like some touchdown celebrations of sorts. Nothing too drastic just an after the game dance or diddy out in the outfield. It would be a great marketing tool and players and fans alike can partake in their own jigs.

Now enough about that let me just say that a win is a win. They don’t come often but I surely enjoyed this 7-3 win over the respectable Rockies.

The Pirates owned this game from start to finish. Nearly every player contributed to the win in their own special way.

ross o.jpgStarting pitcher Ross Ohlendorf was outstanding on the mound. He picked up his tenth win and now stands at 10-8. He went 6 innings giving up 6 runs and surrendering 3 earned runs. He was a little shaky as he gave up 2 home runs but still managed to work his way out of jams. He showed that he has the poise to avoid disastorous situations and get the key outs.

 

 

 

ryan doumit.jpgRyan Doumit maneuvered his way out of a deeper funk. He notched a double as he went 2-4 with a walk and run scored. Doumit has been iffy all season. He started out hot, but went down with an injury that kept him out for a few months. On his rehab stints he stunk up the joint in the minor leagues. He failed to get hits and looked like a scrub. He has been equally scrubby since his return to the 25 man roster. He’s had his moments with 2 hit games, such as this one, but he has gone hitless in too many games. A good showing at the plate and a win may boost his confidence.

 

 

 

 

last. m.jpgLastings Milledge is not off the hook either. I love his potential and upside but he still has not proven he is the answer in left field. I still do miss Nyjer Morgan but I honestly believe Milledge will live up to the hype and be a star. You can see he puts in time in the weight room and stretches out those meaty legs. He flashed his hops during the game robbing a homerun and elevating above the outfield wall. It was a sensational grab and earned the number one spot on Baseball Tonight “Web Gems” The hosts ,emtyioned that the Pirates hold the lead for team appearances on the web gem segment. A cool honor and rightfully so as it seems night in and night out there is also a Buc on the spotlight.

 

 

 

cutch run.jpgAndrew McCutchen had another hat trick tonight. Remember 2 weeks ago when he hit 3 homeruns. Well as an encore a few days later he went hog wild again. Cutch stole 3 bases. An amazing feat and something only those special players can perform. He has some outstanding speed in those legs. To get him off and running is a great sign, and a warning sign for opposing teams. Getting him on base and on the move will definately score some run. (3 for him tonite)

 

DY-TB.jpgOne of my favorite faces of the Pirates organization is 3rd base coach Tony Beasley. Not only does his last name rhyme with mine he is a charasmatic fellow, like myself. I sometimes question his decsions about sending and holding runners, but 9 times out of ten he knows how to handle it. Last week his father and aunt dies, just a few days apart from each other. He was on leave to be with his family in these tough times. I love his courage and wish the best to his family. Its great to have him back guiding the Bucs. Here Beasley is with Delwyn Young. DY just laced a triple scoring two runs. He finsihed the game 2-5.

 

 

 

Maybe this game will right the ship and direct the Bucs to more wins. I know its late in the season but I hope they can finish respectably. Like I’ve preached before I want to see hope for the future. Tonight I surely did. My goal for the Bucs is to always finish above the Indians when the season is all said and done. We are a few games back now but if the push continues, watch out Tribe.

A weekend of L’s

So the Cardinals completed a 3 game sweep of the Pirates. On Saturday the Cards downed the Bucs 5-3. What looked to be like a strong pitcher’s duel turned into a nightmare. The Pirates pulled starter Charlie Morton in the fifth inning. Morton had only given up one run but he looked shaky. Twice he had the bases loaded but he still managed to get out of the pickles. I questioned the decision but I though, maybe, just maybe our bullpen could sustain a close game-WRONG. Chris Bootcheck, recently recalled from Triple A Indianapolis was the first reliever put in. He gave up 3 runs and looked horrible. The Pirates were able to claw back in the 9th with a 2 out 2 run home run by Ronny Cedeno. Cedeno also made a Jack Wilson- esque diving play at shortstop which made the top 5 Web Gems on Baseball Tonight. He has truly been a wizard at the position.

Sunday’s game looked promising. The Pirates had a 3-0 lead but the Cardinals chipped away scoring 1 in the 4th and 1 in the 7th. In the 8th inning all hell broke loose. In another questionable decision Matt Capps was called into the game in a completely non save situation. I hate that. Hes a closer, let him close the game. He has underperformed like no other when he comes out early like this. Capps gave up a 2 run home run courtesy of Skip Schumacker. The very next batter was Prince Albert. Capps, whether it was out of frustration or sheer loss of control plunked Pujols dead in the back.

 

plunking pujols.jpgThe home plate umpire truly believed it was intentional and tossed Capps from the game. Pujols was a class act about it and didn’t charge the mound or have any words to say. He just did his duty and walked on down to first.

The streak has now reached 8 games. The Pittsburgh Pirates have now lost 8 in a row. With a road tripe coming up the Pirates have today off. They will need the rest when they land in Denver for a series against the Rockies. This doesn’t help matters much as the Rockies are right in the thick of things and will be scrathcing and clawing for victories.

The weekend wasn’t a total wash though. On Saturday night, Skyblast was held after the game and a sold out crowd was ready to hear some great music and watch some great fireworks.

skyblast 002.jpgThe announced attendance was over 38,000, the largest crowd at PNC Park this season. It was also the 7th largest crowd in the eight year history of PNC Park. Its no secret that all those people were not there to see the Pirates, they were there to see OAR. The crowd was filled with many self proclaimed non-baseball fans. It was hard to see many Pirate jerseys or t-shirts. There were just as many Cardinal clad fans as Pirate fans. Many people were dressed for a club or bar. It wasn’t really my type of crowd, just not at a baseball game.

Pittsburgh at night is a beautiful sight….

skyblast 004.jpgI love the collaboration of the skyscrappers to form a beautiful downtown skyline. Pittsburgh gets a bad rap for being a rough town and a dump. It really isn’t. There are some parts that are underdeveloped and some parts that need sprucing up, but every city has that. Pittsburgh is a gateway for life and revitilization. Outside of Allegheny County there is miles and miles of country land. I know my family in West Virginia thinks the city of Pittsburgh is beautiful. My little cousin looks at some of the buildings and thinks their castles and is just in awe of the architecural masterpieces right there. You add some fireworks to this beautiful city and the result is a picture perfect evening.

 

 

 

 

 

skyblast 005.jpg How beautiful is that? It is a fantastic show. They use the whole city as a stage and stop at nothing to find a place to let off these colorful pyrotechnics. On the field, a barge in the river, on the Clemente bridge, off the scoreboard, downtown, on top of buildings. With so many different launching locations its really like many shows in one. It truly makes Pittsburgh the ultimate destination for a firweorks show.

I just wish Pittsburgh could be a destination for some good baseball. It seems like I can’t do anything to make this team win games, not even my blast from the past look.

 

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Snell jersey and 1979 hat. Its still not enough to get the Pirates to break out of their losing slump. I really like this picture. Should it be my new picture up there in the top right corner? I really like the one I got up there now, not only is it the original it also has Clemnete in it, he’s still the driving force behind Pittsburgh baseball. I’d love to know your thoughts-let me know if I should change it!

 

picture credit- AP photo

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