From the Pittsburgh Peas to you; Merry Christmas! May this time of year be blessed with great joy and happiness as you all celebrate your own customs and traditions with your families. This is my favorite time of the year and my wish is that everyone can remember the reason for the season and experience all the goodness that comes from it.
The bustling winds, fluffy white snow and bone chilling temperatures do not scream baseball. However, for my brother, Zach and I, a trip to PNC Park was just what we needed to cure our national pastime blues.
The select few of you readers who have stuck it out during my extended leave of absence know I have five passions in life. Three of them were on display last week at the Winter Meetings.
Hurdle comes to the Steel City after being a part of two of the last three World Series. The batting coach for the Rangers, who happened to have the league’s highest team batting average is notoriously known for his tenure as manager of the Colorado Rockies. He was at the helm of the Rockies from 2002 until the beginning of 2009. In that time span he oversaw the development of young prospects such as Brad Hawpe, Troy Tulowitzki, Clint Barmes, Garett Atkins and Matt Holliday. That litany of potential is rivaled by that of the crop of youngsters the Pirates currently have now and the likes that are rising through the system.
Hurdle exudes confidence.
Even the harshest critics of the Pirates buy into the demeaner of Hurdle.
Ahem, Ron Cook.
Cook said, “He’s better than the franchise deserves.”
Hurdle has already implemented catchphrases that the Pirates marketing team needs to play on.
Describing his team as a “wolfpack,” Hurdle said he plans for everyone involved with the organization to go “all in.”
I’ve been all in 21 years of my life, Clint. I’m ready for more to join me.
Aside from his on the field duties, Hurdle is a family man.
His family of four is a tight-knit groupe for good reasons. His daughter suffers from Prader-Willi
syndrome, a disease with 1 in 25,000 probability. Hurdle said a big reason why he chose the Pittsburgh job was to be close to specialized medical facilites in the city that cater especially to patients with the rare syndrome.
All in all, Hurdle took the job to meet objectives. He wante dto get back into managing and had a chance to take the Mets job. Both New York and Pittsburgh are in rebuilding situations but there is just something lucrative about bringing a forgotten team back to prominence. Hurdle sees that and wants to be the man to right the ship.
He has already began a grassroots campaign in Pittsburgh since it was announced he would be hired. Hurdle was seen Sunday at the Steelers game and Monday at the Penguins games. The Pirates play third fiddle in Pittsburgh so its good that Hurdle is petitioning for some noteriety. In the business thats called good public relations.
The Pirates really haven’t seen that in the last three, make the 18 years.
photo credits:postgazette.com, yahoo.com
After the remarkable World Series win, San Francisco seems to be the mecca of baseball these days.
A reported 1.5 million were on hand last week for the parade celebration. Talk about coming in with style. Keeping with the famed cable car tradition of the beautiful city the team rode in on cable cars among ticker tape flowing by the thousands. Without a doubt a lovely display of black and orange.
The honor didn’t stop there.
Probably the most recognizable of all the champions is “The Beard” Brian Wilson.
Always notorious for his outlandish behavior, the playoffs gave him an outlet to let loose and get recognition. Described as a “real life Kenny Powers” by the good folks at TMZ, Wilson found his way into the mainstream after the World Series.
Wilson has helped bring in a new wave of baseball fans to the sport, in my opinion. His mentality and persona is unlike that of any player in the game today, really. It is refreshing to see a Rick Vaughn type “Wild Thing” take the mound to close out a game. Let’s just hope he doesn’t flame out or end up in the California Penal League.
Another hero made his way to late night, my man Freddy Sanchez.
I honestly got chills as I sat watching him take shots of Jameson on Lopez Tonight, with George Lopez. Aside from a cheap latino joke, Sanchez handled himself very well and looked like he embraced the limelight. In nearly every interview I have seen with him he always speaks at length about his time in Pittsburgh. He talked about how much he enjoyed being a Pirate after Lopez took a shot at the club. Lopez’s main objective was to divert attention away from Pittsburgh to talk about Sanchez being a Los Angeles native. Nonetheless, it was a brilliant five minutes and hopefully people begin to relaize once again that a Freddy Sanchez type human being are a dime a dozen.
Another classy Giant has to be MVP Edgar Renteria.
Renteria turned down an offer from his native Columbia. His country had asked to throw a parade for him honoring his MLB achievements. He respectfully turned it down and asked the money, time and effort be put towards that of helping flood victims in the area.
The Giants may not be where they were this year, next year. It will be hard to forget the memories and characters from the improbable victory, though.
photo credits: sacbee.com, yahoo.com
Fellow 21 year old, Madison Bumgarner took his evening to the mound of Rangers Stadium and made it his own.
Bumgarner coasted through the Rangers’ lineup in game 4 en route to a 4-0 blanking thanks to his offense. Hs three hits over eight innings drew the nation’s attention as Bumgarner may have found his spot in the record books as one of the most dominant, youngest pitchers in any postseason.
Hard to believe we are the same age.
Although the Giants lost game 3 on Saturday, they were competitive.
Losing just 4-2 I still feel somewhat responsible because I did not watch the game due to Halloween festivities. I saw many clever costumes out and about, but this little guy in Texas may have taken the cake.
Lil Wash has taken the internet by storm and got his spot in the limelight Sunday with the play ball announcement. Camera crews surrounded him but I was totally impressed by the 7 year olds demeaner. He was enjoying it all.
Great attire and perfect humor. In a series that has drawn some of the lowest ratings in postseason history he provided a dash of entertainment.
Although I strongly disagree with the people who aren’t tuning in.
Developing right in front of us we are seeing a dynasty take place. Buster Posey joins Bumgarner as two of the most talented younger players in the game. Juan Uribe has revived himself and the outfield core is combining speed, power and chemistry.
The most exciting player of the series is non other than Freddy Sanchez.
His bat has been thunderous as well providing key hits out of the two-hole.
Game 5 takes place Tuesday night.
Eric Karros said whoever won Sunday will win it all.
Looks like the trophy is coming to the Bay Area
photocredits:athbaseball.com, deadspin.com, wltx.com
That was well documented.
Matt Cain breezed through the Rangers en route to a 9-0 beatdown.
It was Game 1 that was pictured as a pitches duel but when Cain faced off with C.J. Wilson. Both pitchers looke dominant until WIlson suffered a finger bruise and was forced to sit for the remainder of the contest.
That’s when it went downhill.
The heralded bullpen of Texas went haywire and surrendered seven runs. The wheels successfully fell off.
The left side of the infield was the saving grace for the Giants. Juan Uribe was the hero in game 1 and shorstop Edgar Renteria followed in game 2 with a solo shot to get San Francisco on the board in the fifth inning.
In 1997 he downed the Indians in Game 7 of the World Series with a sharp line drive that brought in Craig Counsel for the winning run.
I love a good walk-off and they just seem more special in the Series.
Renteria finished the game 2-for-4 with 3 RBI.
Nealry every Giant reached base and hero awards could be given to many players.
Aaron Rowand delievered a key, pinch-hit triple that brought in a pair of runs.
Uriber continued to contribute with a double that brought in two as well.
There is no doubt the game ball goes to Cain. He really is in line for playoff MVP after scorching through round by round. He has yet to give up a run.
That’s history book material.
Now not every event that occured by the bay tonight was good.
Freddy Sanchez laid an egg going 0-for-5. A horrific display after garnering four hits and three doubles the night before.
Despite the struggles he was featured in a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette column by Ron Cook.
Transcribing the tribulations throughout his life Sanchez said playing major league baseball was a miracle. He was born with a foot deficiency and overcame the inability to walk, to play professional baseball. Cook concluded the article with a quote from Sanchez that brought tears to my eyes.
Freddy Sanchez has been the Freddy Sanchez I have seen since 2004.
Wednesday’s 11-7 lopsided victory for the Giants was not only dominant, it was nostalgic.
I have been cheering for the Giants all October long. They have been my “second team” for a few years now. After visiting AT&T Park and the city of San Francisco I fell in love with the Northern California mentality.
Not only are the girls warm, the ambiance is as well.
I like to say I’ve adopted San Fran as a place of my own and the Giants followed.
WIth my favorite former Pirates, Freddy Sanchez a key member of the National League champs, my fan hood grows deeper.
Look to the left. That is what I wore this evening, Representing the Bay Area in Morgantown, West Virginia I got chills when the starting lineups were announced and went nuts when I heard the soulful sounds of Tony Bennett sing before the game and God Bless America.
This game was great for baseball and set up for a great World Series. Yes it was a blowout and yes a closer (Brian Wilson) entered with a non-save situation but it was a fun game to watch.
Sought of as a boring World Series or not relevant in some minds I think tonight showed that other teams are deserving and th Giants mean business.
PS How bout Freddy?
3-for-4 and a sparkplug the entire night. FOX gave him player of the game honors. The three doubles were a world series record. If the champagne is bubbling notch up Sanchez for the MVP.
I still miss these days…
I know where i’ll be Wednesday night.
Once I get out of my public relations class I’m heading straight to the nearest televsion and planting myself in front of it for the next three or so hours.
All I want to hear is the voices of Joe Buck and Tim McCarver talking about one of the most anticpated World Series, at least in my mind.
If you follow me on twitter (@pittpeaswv) you’ll know that
I’ve said from the beginning that I wanted the Giants to reach this spot. San Francisco deserved it with their team chemistry, clutch hits and pitching perfection. Plus, Freddy Sanchez. Come on, I love the guy.
The Rangers are an intriguing group as well. Relatively unheard of throughout the season Texas proved doubters wrong all year. WIth one of the lowest payrolls in the game the small-market domination is a great thing to behold.
It wil be an excellent match up for baseball purists.
From America’s standpoint, it won’t be.
I’ve seen tweets, statuses and headlines regarding the series and it doesn’t look to favorable. Without the Yankees, Phillies or Red Sox who will watch these games?
I do know a large baseball contingency that will be hinging on every pitch religiously, even when these two teams really have nothing to do with them. That’s the beauty of baseball. The excitement of October comes full circle and the two best teams are left standing.
Despite his one-of-a-kind relief appearance in NLCS game 6, Tim Lincecum is likely heading to the mound for WS game 1 in San Francisco. He lasted through just one batter but you know how much pitchers are monitored these days. The lincecum-Halladay opposition was the talk of the town for the past two weeks, now it shifts to Lincy-Cliff Lee.
It’s demeaning to call Lee a journeyman, but really, where we he call home next season? He is pretty much pitching his way out of Texas and the postseason spectacle he has put on will all but assure a huge hike in his price tag. He too will pitch on short rest and be ready for teh Giants in game 1.
This will no doubt be an even matched series. Both teams are surging right now and have a palpable chemistry that is well liked.
Whethere its the “claw and antlers” or “pandas” that get you excited this series is for you. I’ll tune in, America won’t, but my goodness they should. These two cinderellas are bursting onto the scene give hope to fans that have not seen their teams reach success recently. It is anything but a mainstream contest, which is good for baseball.
As compliments abound I will give my prediction.
You da man, Freddy!