Not quite Nomar, that title belongs to April and Opening Day. However, come July 31st I think it is safe to say it may be the most exciting.
Another Trade Deadline has come and gone. Heading into August I have a new feeling for the moves made by the Pirates. Joy.
Uncharacteristically the Pirates were not sellers at this trade deadline. But they were the farthest thing from being buyers as the team stands 20.5 games out of first place.
The moves the Pirates made were designed to swap talented players for relatively players of equal skill level.
The first move of the day sent bench players Ryan Church, Bobby Crosby and reliever D.J. Carrasco to the Diamondbacks in exchange for catcher Chris Snyder.
Snyder doesn’t bring much to the table offensively. His .230 batting average is about 20 points lower than normal starting catcher for the Bucs Ryan Doumit. However, Snyder does have more pop with 10 HRs this season. He also has something Doumit infamously lacks, a glove. Snyder has a .career .998 fielding percenatge. That is the most welcomed aspect from the deal. Doumit is widely regarded as “No-Mitt” a clever play on his last name and it surely is true. Pittsburgh has tried to position Doumit at first base on occasions just to take back some of the grunt work of being a major league catcher. That was an experiment gone wrong as Doumit was just as grim at first as he is behind the plate. Doumit is currently on the Disabled List. I anticipate Snyder will get the starting nod and will remain in that capacity even when Doumit returns to the clubhouse.
Pittsburgh also landed minor leaguer Pedro Ciriaco. Look into those eyes, this shortstop looks intimidating and I think I’m going to like it. Ciriaco is probably light years away from the big leagues but he is servicable at the position. He has a respectable average hitting right around the .270 mark. He could make a run at shortstop in a few years. The organization is relatively weak at short in terms of future talent.
Deal two came a few hours later and probably made the biggest splash among fans of both organizations.
The Pirates recieved relief pitcher James McDonald an 21-year old minor league outfielder Andrew Lambo. In order to recieve this pair the Pirates surrendered Octavio Dotel.
I was a big fan of Dotels and will be sad to see him go. He was rented out just for this season and probably was not going to be a Bucco in 2011. I guess it is the best thing to give him up and still get a solid return.
McDonald is long and lanky, much like myself. I don’t want to say I have followed his whole career, that would be a lie. However I have paid attention to what he has done throughout his relative short emergence out in LA. He is just 25 and still has plenty of time to develop into a solid big league player. He has shown flashes of excellence out of the bullpen but still has yet to be even the least bit respectable. I’m glad he is now in Pittsburgh, this will be a great chance for him to revive.
This Lambo guy may be the most intriguing of the bunch.
I can see why they were disapointed.
Lambo is a highly regarded prospect coming out of the 4th round of the 2007 draft. This year in AA he has a solid .270 batting average and maintains a career average of .286. He draws comparrisons by some Pirate bloggers to current rightfielder Jose Tabata. Both players will hit for a high average and provided a spark at the top of the lineup. Tabata is currently riding a ten game hitting streak into tonight’s game at St. Louis.
The Pirates completed the day shipping another relief pitcher to the state of California.
Javier Lopez went to the Giants in exchange for pitcher Joe Martinez and outfielder John Bowker.
Bowker may have the best shot of any player in the whole trade deadline package to make a legitimate impact. He can probably make the team right away but will have to earn a starting spot in the outfield. He has been milling around in the minors recently but does have experience in the majors. I like what he offers. He will push an already talented Bucco outfield for playing time.
There you have the new faces of the freshest crop of players in the Pirates organizaton. Last year the influx of trades made left fans with a wait and see attitude. This year we have a lot of the pieces needed for success and we can watch them develop keenly.
In years past the masses of Pittsburgh have bellyached about the trades made by the Pirates. This year should please everybody. Much of the bullpen was traded away and it was the Buc’s strongest suit. All players from the pen will be replaced and replaced fairly easily. I’m proud of Neil Huntington for making these level headed moves.
Phot Credits: boston.com, beat.bodoglife.com, sbnation.com, latimes.com, baseballbeginnings.com, leftysportsacademy.com, espn.com
Upon returning from Florida I spent a good two days unpacking and reflecting on a great trip. However just a few days later there was only one place I wanted to be. Can you guess where it was?
My brother and me ventured to Pittsburgh on Saturday anticpating the game between the Padres and Pirates. I needed a nice trip to PNC Park, especially after sitting through a game at the ginormous colisuem known as Sun Life Stadium. One of my favorite things to see when driving to Pittsburgh is on the PA Turnpike.
We would soon find out that we were not the only ones who wanted to enjoy a night at the ballpark.
36,000 others packed the park not to see a good baseball game, but to see a Steve Miller Band concert on the field after the final out was recorded. Not going to lie my brother and I had this hidden agenda as well. We love rocking out to hits “The Joker,” “Jet Airliner”, “Take the Money and Run” and our personal favorite “Swingtown.”
The game was running smoothly but the crowd grew restless. It got annoying. They were not there for baseball they were there for the extra circular activities. The crowd was almost as worse as my experiences with uneducated fans in Miami. There were beach balls flying in the stands, nobody paying one bit of attention to the game and more people were whining about the boring game, the hot weather, just nitpicking everything wrong with the Pirates and the sport of baseball.
I was content as always as my brother and I seemed to be the only ones living and breathing on every pitch. Pirates starter Jeff Karstens was really gunning through five innings looking the best he as all year. It was a classic pitcher’s duel as the Padres Matt Latos looked superb as well.
I’m trying to start a new tradition of keeping score at every game I go to.
I’ve done so sporadically over the years and have to at each West Virginia baseball game. However, I’d love to do it at every major league game I go to. Buy a scorebook to keep all my games, notes and memories together. If I get this rolling I’m sure I will not quit. But the people around me looked at me like I was insane by doing this sacred ritual. I took a lap around the stadium during the game just to get a scope on how PNC was sitting since I last left it. I discovered I was one of only three people keeping score and one of maybe 12 that actually cared about the game.
Well I guess baseball gods heard the nonsense and ramblings as rain came pouring down in buckets.
For a good 45 minutes it was some of the worst rain I have ever seen from the stands at a ballgame.
Surpringly alot of people stuck around. It was the 8th inning when the rain started falling and the game was out of reach at 9-2 Padres. But people still remained. Nobody wanted to miss Steve Miller.
Zach and I did not want to either. However, the game eventually ended at 11 and Steve would not come on the field until 11:30. It was getting late and we had to be up early the next day. But we made a pact to stick around for one song, the first one they would play. Lucky for us it was our favorite, Swingtown!
Not lucky for us we still had a good night, very fun. I’m sure the rest of the 30,00 that stuck around enjoyed their night as well. But I’m sure it was just excruciating for them to sit through that baseball game. And it is just a dang shame.
Now it is hard for even the most die hard fans to sit through a seven run beatdown but that may be the only taste of Pirates baseball those fairweather fans will sample this year and it surely came back sour.
I’m back from one of the best weeks I have ever spent in recent memory. If you read my blog entry from last week you would know that I was on vacation in Florida with my family. It was a great break from reality filled with baseball, great Cuban food, white sandy beaches and a boatload of Disney magic. So jump in and hold on tight ya’ll are going to help me relive my seven days in the Sunshine State.
Our main priority of the trip was to visit Sun Life Stadium. Now who in their right mind would make it a priority to go to Sun Life Stadium for a baseball game? The Peaslees! For the past 10 or so years we plan our family vacations around baseball games. We plan to hit each ballpark around the Major Leagues. Sun Life was number 25 in terms of team’s home ballparks we have seen games in. We just need both New Yorks, Toronto and Seatle and we have hit all 30!
We arrived at the stadium at 5:30 right as the gates opened for the 7pm start of the Marlins and Nationals. Stephen Strasburg was on the mound for the Nats and my little brother Zach proudly wore his number 37 Strasburg t-shirt. Parking was not an issue outside the stadium as it was completely empty. It was nice that we somewhat had priority parking as the lot surrounding the stadium was the only place to park for the game and all that is really ever needed.
There is completely no atmosphere building up to the game outside the stadium. The only fun spot was this huge inflatable of Billy the Marlin. In my opinion the second best mascot in the MLB, behind Pittsburgh’s Pirate Parrot of course. We walked up to the ticket booth and purchased a great deal. Upper level behind the plate tickets, four hot dogs and four pops for 68 bucks. Not too shabby. It was a decent promotion on a gloomy Friday night.
Once entering we were greeted by the sound of salsa music.
Quite different than the tradional soft rock you typically hear at PNC Park. From here on out we realized we were in for the most unique baseball experience we have ever experience. Is that a good thing? Maybe, but it this case not really.
Sun Life Stadium is a huge structure. After all it has been home to numerous college bowl games, the Super Bowl and of course the Miami Dolphins. Our seats were right behind home plate buuuuut in the nosebleeds in the 400 level. This escalator escorted us to the tip top of Miami. If you have a serious case of vertigo I recommend splurging on lower level seats.
Once at the top the seats really were not that bad.
As you can see we had a great view perched from our seats. A great view of brightly colored orange seats. A group of business men behind us remarked on how great these seats were. Must have been their first baseball game and they surely have never been to PNC Park. As I told my dad it is a crime baseball is played here.
Since we did make it to the game early, while batting practice was still going on Zach and I
ventured to the outfield in an area called the “Fish Tank” in hopes of retrieving a ball. Because he was wearing his Nationals gear, reliever Joel Peralta tossed a ball up to Zach.
The crowd in th eoutfield had to be the most uneducated group of baseball fans ever. It really was a reflection on the whole crowd at Sun Life that night. These “fans” could care less about the game and are only there for the extra circular activities. And there are a bunch. I will compliment the fans on being the quickest to start a wave, however it happened in the 2nd inning. I hate the wave but these fans ate it up as it went around the park at least a dozen times.
It was a Fiesta Friday! Complete with mariachi bands roaming the outfield stands, four DJ’s spinning tracks on the concourse and a grape soda chugging contest. It was the most random assortment of events I have ever seen at a baseball game. But the crowd ate it up. Everyone on their feet was dancing, screaming and enjoying the culture. It was the most diverse crowd I have ever been involved with at a game. To accomodate the very large Hispanic crowd the PA anouncer announced the batters and lineups and most announcements in English as well as Spanish, first time I have ever heard that at a baseball game. Florida also adorned their “Los Marlins” jerseys.
He looked friendly as we walked towards each other and I simply asked if he was a Pirates fan with my hand extended ready to shake his hand. He looked at perplexed and gave me a stern “No!” Taken aback I said “why the jersey?” In a loud booming voice he goes, “I’m a CLEMENTE fan. I do not like the Pirates anymore.” I told him I still am a Pirates fan, which gave him a good laugh and he reluctantly snapped this photo with me.
Stephen Strasburg earned the win for the Nats. He was shaky to start but still managed seven strikeouts in six innings. The crowd was over 20,000 for the first time since Opening Day one fan told us. In 2012 the Marlins will be awarded one of the most beautiful ballparks in baseball. They waste no time in marketing it. Pictures are plastered all over publications, outfield walls and even in the background of the scoreboard when players are up to bat.
It was a unique experience at the game. I enjoyed myself and really would like to go back when the new stadium is opened. It is needed, baseball should never be played in an outdoor barn like that. But quite frankly the fans and citizens of Miami do not deserve it.
Outside the park there is some even more crazy stuff going on.Artwork like this decorates the
walls of the gates all around the stadium. Like what the heck is it? What does it mean? Nobody could answer my pressing questions.
We milled around all four parks and had a great time as children at heart. My favorite ride at the Magic Kingdom is of course Pirates of the Caribbean. I do like the movies and the musical score as it is often played at PNC Park. After riding the ride multiple times my brother and I had a heyday in the giftshop.
Raise the Jolly Roger!
Since I haven’t been home with my family all summer this week was definitely welcomed and the perfect opportunity to bond and catch up. It was unforgettable with memories I will carry on forever.
I am now ready to make my way back to PNC Park to see my Bucs take on the Padres. In my hiatus the Pirates have been hot, red hot. Everyone is hitting the ball putting up almost 50 runs since the All-Star break. This here is the future of the Pirates and it seems to be shaping up beautifully.
It doesn’t take much to please me. I’m a simple guy who really enjoys just five things.
1. Baseball, specifically Pirates baseball but anything involving the sport excites me.
2. Christmas, my favorite holiday and I love the spirit and good nature of the season.
3. West Virginia University, my school and soon to be alma mater
4. Disney World, happiest place on earth
5. Family, nothing beats the love and compassion we share for each other
This next week I will be checking off three of those five things. Baseball, Disney World and Family.
We’re headed to the Sunshine State for three nights in Miami and three in Orlando.
For the past decade we’ve planned our vacations around baseball. Our goal is to hit all 30 in the near future, very near actually. Friday night we will be at Dolphins Stadium, or Sun Life, or Landshark or Pro Player Stadium, which will be number 27 for the Peaslee family. The Marlins host the Nationals and we will be seeing Stephen Strasburg pitch, my brother and my second time witnessing the phenom.
I love hanginf out in big cities and South Beach will be no exception. I plan on taking the advice of Will Smith and will party in the city where the heat is on. Speaking of Heat, maybe I’ll run into LeBron James, I will be buying his Heat shirt. Not much I love more than sticking it to Cleveland fans.
Our final three days will be spent around the Disney World parks. Even as a 21 year old college dude I love Disney. Anything from the movies (although I did not like Toy Story 3) to the characters but most importantly the amusement park that brings it all together. I feel the enchantment as soon as I walk in the gates. All four parks are special and unique and unlike any other place on Earth.
I will be talking to you all in a week! Pirates fans, hold down the fort and lets try to win one from the Astros this weekend!
I had a checklist with two short requests heading into the 2010 season. The first was to have the Pirates finish the year with thier first winning season since 1992. With an All-Star break record of 30-58 that doesn’t look like a possibility now.
My other note was to have the National League dethrone the American League during the mid-summer classic. My NL boys did just that in last night’s 3-1 victory. Thanks to Brian McCann the Senior Circuit (why has the NL always been called the Senior Circuit? It’s not like the PGA Champions League) won thier first All-Star game since 1996. So check and mate on getting one of my two wishes granted.
The Brave’s catcher’s 3-run double provided the only relative excitment in an otherwise boring game. The only run scored by the AL was un earned.
Not only was this game excruciating to watch, it dissapointed me on two seperate levels.
First off the lone Pirates representative did not even sniff the field. Evan Meek was not even called on to warm up in the bullpen. This has been the second straight year a Pirate’s representative has not seen game action. Last year Freddy Sanchez and Zach Duke went to St. Louis and were held out of the lineup.
Manager Charlie Manuel led the NL squad both years and refused to play a Pirate. Now obviously nobody outside of myself and a handful of others around Pittsburgh cared to see Evan Meek play, but he dang well deserved to be in Anaheim. I still think Andrew McCutchen was the better choice but Meek is having an All-Star caliber year. His ERA is the lowest among MLB relievers. People criticize him because he is a no-name but team’s will be salivating to trade for him around the July 31st trade deadline. He is a nice guy who I had the pleasure of meeting at the Pirate’s Caravan event in the winter. If only Manuel wasn’t bitter at the fact the Pirates recently took 3 of 4 from his Philies he would have given Meek a shot to enjoy his first ever All-Star game.
My other pet peeve about last night can be summed up in two words-Ryan.Braun.
If anybody follows me on twitter I was very critical of my least favorite baseball player calling him out from the very beginning last night. He looked lost and the plate and missed an easy fly ball in right field, I blamed him for not hustling. However, it was Braun who got the last laugh as he pulled off a beauty of a diving catch a few innings later.
I had the pleasure of watching the game with family and good friends at Jerome Bettis Grille in Pittsburgh. It is one of my favorite eateries and bars in the Steel City and reccommed the food and atmosphere to any one passing by.
There my dad, brother and friends Andrew and Ed watched the 81st mid summer classic. We basically stayed until the game was over and the bar shut down at midnight. We anticipated the start as we were anxious in our seats but the real spectacle came in our attire.
On our Spring Break trip to Cooperstown Andrew and I purchased these old umpire hats with the respective leagues on them. We had a friendly competition as I cheered for the National League and Andrew, being a Yankee fan wore his American League emblem proudly.
We were a loud and rambunctious bunch watching the game, seeming to be the only ones in the joint that cared. I was the only one to stand and cheer for Meek when he was introduced. My brother, Zach, answered the pre-game trivia question.The bartender asked who was is the Pirates representative? After crickets sounded Zach went up and won himself a free t-shirt.
With the All-Star break nearing an end the second half brings anticipation and hop for a more successful age of this Pirates Generation. While the Pirates are hosting the Astros this weekend my family and I will be on vacation in the Sunshine State of Florida.
Per my twitter I predicted a sweep in the Astros-Pirates series.
I recieved just that, just not as I predicted. In what was dubbed a “Battle of the Basement” the Astros outscored the Pirates 14-5 to deliever in a three game sweep.
Chalk up the broom company franchises to 11. Yep, the Pirates have been swpet 11 times this season.
Not to quote Rascal Flatts but “what hurts the most, was being so close.”
Close as in close to turning the corner. The Bucs had a great four game series against a much powerful team in the Philies over the weekend. Not that Pittsburgh had a chance to move up in the division but to be swept by a divisional opponent, especially the one that is in a race out of the cellar is anything but good.
The Brewers are up next.
I hate the Brewers much thanks to this man.
No that is not a “***** Eye for the Straight Guy” cast member it is Milwaukee’s own Ryan Braun. His attitude, swagger and downright slummy-ness overshawdows his decent looks and stellar talent. He has called out the Pirates for no good reason on many seperate occasions.
The Pirates and Brewers have had a budding rivalry over the past three or so seasons. Always picking fights and being competitive. Alas, The Brew Crew almost always have the upper hand especially in a 20-0 beatdown of the Bucs earlier in the season in which I could say I had the pleasure of watching live.
To release my disdain of the Brewers my buddies Marc and Andrew assisted me in a ceremonial ritual that would hopefully send up bad omens to those residing in Miller Park.
I did enjoy that hat. It was comfortable and was a great companion to me on the softball field. However, I think we put it to much greater use. I can only hope it pays off and the Pirates can squeak out a win against the hated Brew Crew this weekend.
Now it was a four game series, a series in which I attended two games, but Roy Halladay did not even pitch. Still funny nonetheless, thanks Eric for the blog title.
I helped PNC Park open the series on Thursday with some of my favorite guys; Eric, my brother Zach and my dad.
We got there right as the gates opened in hopes of autographs and balls thrown from batting practice.
Ryan Howard was one of the players signing before the game. Actually just one of two players who we saw signing. The other was pitcher Jose Contreras. Howard was only out for about 30 seconds so neither of us had the chance to get something signed.
This would come back to haunt Howard as he struck out twice, much thanks to Eric, Zach and my chants of “Quiznos, Quiznos, Quiznos” in reference to his sponsorship deal with Subway. To tell you the truth I enjoy Subway more than Quiznos anyway.
The rest of warmups were fun as the players were animated with their stretches.
Raul Ibanez tied his shoes with the Pirate Parrot. The Parrot would also steal the batting gloves and balls from the Philies as they were warming up. I don’t think theres a question that he is the best mascot in all of baseball.
Philies fans easily outnumbered Pirate fans in the crowd of 27,000. A very nice crowd in Pittsburgh especially on a Thursday so I do have to extend a thanks you to the Philies fans who helped pack the yard.
Except this chick in the John Kruk jersey. Now I’m all fro Krukky, I am a big fan, love his personality and he is from West Virginia believe it or not, but she was one annoying brat. Everything out of her mouth was delusional and downright stupid. I don’t want to say typical Philly fan but ehhhh. Compliments on the jersey girl!
The Pirates held on to a 3-2 victory.
The Bucs won on Friday, 2-0, thanks to masterful pitching from Ross Ohlendorf.
I made my PNC Park debut of my Pedro Alvarez t-shirt on Saturday. It brought about much fanfare as Alvarez belted his first major league home run. It was an opposite field blast over the right field wall. Ryan Church would also add a homer but it wasn’t nearly enough as the Philies rolled the Pirates 12-4. The worst part was being serenaded with “Let’s Go Philies” leaving the ballpark. Citizens Bank Park West was what it was like.
However the greatest feeling in the world is being at a baseball game, enjoying a beer and hotdog (in my case a big helping of Quaker Steak and Lube wings) and fireworks.
There is no place in this great country better for fireworks than Pittsburgh, Pa. Put to a grand score of American tunes the post-game firework show was awe-inspiring leaving the sellout crowd breathless.
This weekend brought over 120,000 people to the North Shore. It was much like a playoff atmosphere and the best feeling I have had at a game all season, aside from opening day. It seemed that the whole crowd hinged on every pitch as players and fans alike treated the games as a budding rivalry for state bragging rights.
I only hope I can feel this some October in the near future.
I am a sucker for anything that seems like a good deal. If you got something to sell me chances are I’m going to sit down, listen and bite the bullet. I’m not sure if I feel bad for the salesmen or what but they reap the benefits of my generosity, my bank account does not.
But The MLB Insiders Club is an excpetion. There was nobody yanking my chain or on hands and knees to get me to buy it.
A few months ago I saw an ad online, much like this one. I think it was actually on mlblogs.com. It was a great advertisement and ploy because I was suckered in right away. The offer was for a free issue of the magazine, which in turn was a very quality read with great one on one interviews with players, in-depth coverage of the building of Target Field as well as a retrospective with the Metrodome, and a solid article with Seth Myers, one of my favorite guys on TV and a die-hard baseball fan.
Well I couldn’t just stop there.
Inserted in the magazine was one of those annoying cardboard flyers broadcasting the great deal a subscription would be. Now if this was a Readers Digest or Better Homes and Gardens I would tear it out and throw it on the ground. Come to think of it, why would I be reading those magazines anyway? But the pamphlet that listed the benefits of becoming a member of the club.
- Magazine subscription
- Baseball cap
- Playing Cards
- Club Parking sign
- World Series Program
- “Greatest Games” book
- Fan Guide
- Car decal (3 of them actually!)
- Membership card
- Team bag
Talk about all-inclusive. Well after much though I pulled the trigger. I paid the fee of $24 and within a few weeks I recieved a small shipment of the girfts which included the card, car decal, book, fan guide and blanket. I chose to get the blanket customized with Pirate logos.
In order to get the rest of the booty I had to mail in another round of $24 to get the perks finalized. Of course, I obliged.
It was just today when my roommate knocked on my door and said,
“Do we have an MLB life member in here?”
He dropped off this huge box and upon opening it I was greeted with a plethora of goodies that appeased the heck out of me.
The World Series programs were pretty random and off the wall. 2008 with the Philies and Rays as well as 1997 with the Indians and Marlins.
I’m a big fan of that ’97 series as I do not like the Indians. Jose Mesa was always a favorite of mine.
The 2008 World Series really gave us nothing to ride home about but seeing the Rays and their improbable climb to the pennant was refreshing.
My buddy Chris, a Rays fan and Jared, an Indians fan may have just found their Christmas presents from me.
My favorite item in the oversized box was the parking sign.
Call me a nerd but I’m pumped up to be a Life member of the MLB Insiders club and truly reccomend it to anyone who considers themselves a baseball fan.
If you are in the club let me know your thoughts about it. I am just getting started but enjoy reading the monthly magazines and hope to have a lifetime filled with cool stuff.