Results tagged ‘ Freddy Sanchez ’

Middle infielders have always been heart of Pittsburgh

globetrotters.jpgIf you were anything like me growing up there was always a few days throughout the year that we looked forward to most. Christmas, Birthdays and Opening Day go without saying, but there was always a time, usually in mid-January, when Youngstown, OH would get a little nutty. The world famous Harlem Globetrotters would pay a visit to YSU’s Beeghly for their famous act. 


As a kid, it was pure magic. The whole team of characters had their own personality and skills that put butts in the seats, but there was always two players that had me coming back year after year. The “showmen,” as they were called would be mic’d up and come out before the game to kind of warm up the crowd. With many antics and tricks up their sleeves the showmen would have me laughing all night. The game itself was really nothing more than what my friends and I tired to do in our driveway every day after school, but the showmen somehow brought it all together.

Kind of like the recent middle infielders of the Pittsburgh Pirates. 

While everyone has their favorite players, it always seems like the shortstop and second basemen receive a bulk of the attention a majority of the time. The Pirates have tried out many pieces at these two positions. Just like the showmen for the Globetrotters there are some that stick out more than others.

Here is a list of some of the past middle infielders for the Pirates since 2001:

Pat Mears
Warren Morris
Abraham Nunez
Jack Wilson
Enrique Wilson
Pokey Reese
Mike Benjamin
Jeff Reboulet
Bobby Hill
Jose Castillo
Freddy Sanchez
Luis Rivas
Brian Bixler
Neil Walker
Ronny Cedeno
Pedro Ciriaco

Some notable, others not. But everyone on that list made some appearances in Pittsburgh at the two “showmen” positions. Maybe its the flare and flash that is needed to be a quality middle infielders. Quick feet and hands are not the only attribute needed to be a showman. It also takes a vocal persona, intriguing backstory and all around love of Pittsburgh (see its not an easy role). But from the aforementioned core of 16 players, from my judgement only five up the middle players have earned the rite.

Here they are, each with their own personal and specialized title to describe their time in Pittsburgh.
Showman Emeritus: Jack Wilson

jackwilsonshowman.jpg

Still nearly two full years removed from his departure from Pittsburgh, Jack Wilson is regarded as the favorite player of many fair-weather fans. He epitomized what it means to be a major league player. When he rose through the ranks in 2001 to be the opening day starter to open PNC Park nobody could have thought some seven years later he would define Pirates baseball in the decade of the 00’s. It was not only his jaw-dropping skills at shortstop that made him appealing it was his never say die attitude. Though he played in the heart of the Pirates 18-year losing streak, you never would of guessed it. No ball was off limits and he wanted to win night in and night out.
Creative Showman: Pokey Reese
pokeyshowman.jpg
 


He didn’t wear the black and gold long but his time was marked with great happiness. Reese was a unique type of ball player. A hard nosed fielder, who like Wilson, was a human vacuum cleaner. He had one of the highest fielding percentages in the league while he played for the Pirates and was an improbable complement to Wilson. He was his own player, and although quiet, still was able to draw attention. Just look at the guy, he had the flare in his simple appearance with the cornrows and style. The bobble head pictured to the left was, and remains my personal favorite of the many promotional items given out at PNC Park over the years.







International Showman: Jose Castillo
josecastilloshowman.jpg

He was never quite understood in Pittsburgh, but was always consistent. He got lazy, especially at the plate, toward the end of his three year tenure, which overshadowed his solid glove work. Castillo spoke very little, if any English. I remember getting autographs from him throughout his time as a Pirate trying to converse with him, even in his native Spanish. Mind you, I was in my mid teens at the time and probably pretty juvenile with my adaptation of the language, nonetheless, Castillo was mute. He doesn’t exactly feel the love of Pittsburgh notion, but got the job done at second base to get him registered on this list. As his double play partner, Wilson kind of assisted Castillo’s well-being and development. It reminded me of a Michael Jordan-Scottie Pippen tandem. Both made each other better.

Stunning Showman: Freddy Sanchez
FreddySanchezFielding.jpg
When I hear the mere mention of Freddy Sanchez, I get a smile on my face. He wanted to be a Pirate, Jerry Seinfeld, and countless big league ballplayers would never dream of it, but Sanchez yearned to be here. He gave it all. His blood, sweat and tears are still embedded in the PNC Park dirt. He was worth the price of admission and was the centerpiece for many memories for many fans. He was not only a ballplayer, but a quality family man, his kids and wife were as much a part of the club as he was. Always worth respect.
All-American Showman: Neil Walker
neilwalker.jpg
The current showman for this team in ruins is Neil Walker. Known as the “Pittsburgh Kid,” he has something that not even Wilson and Sanchez had, he actually is from Pittsburgh! That fact alone makes him one of the most marketable players on the team, a needed fresh face. In just 127 games he has proven his many doubters that he will be the 2nd baseman for the Pirates for many years. His determination is his driving factor and that will soon give him fans from across the country. He now has a great reputation to carry forth leading a new generation.
It may not be the most notable group you could think of but its what defined Pittsburgh baseball throughout a dark time. Each guy had special attributes and a solid knack for the game of baseball. The past is in the past, but Walker has the chance to be a Wilson or a Sanchez. In fact, he has the opportunity to do what no showman has done before him, lead the Bucs to a winning season.
photo credits: energeticcity.ca, cantstopthebleeding.com, chicago.sbnation.com, postgazette.com, babeslovebaseball.com

Celebrities in the wake of greatness

Giants1.JPG
The Giants are taking the world by storm.

After the remarkable World Series win, San Francisco seems to be the mecca of baseball these days.

Rightfully so.

giants.jpgThese guys sure know how to party.

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.

brian_wilson_fear_the_beard_black_tshirt.jpgAlways 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.

brian wilson.jpegWilson 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.
freddy.jpgI 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.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for er.jpgRenteria 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

Messin with Texas

 

bumgarner2.jpgI spent my Sunday night on my couch, eating popcorn, drinking chocolate milk and eatching TV.

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.

lilron.jpgLil 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.

 

 

freddyyyyy.jpgSanchez has been getting his uniform dirty, climbing the ladder and making plays. His inspired defense has been a sorce of energy for San Francisco.

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

2 out lightning

 

 

caint.jpgPitching was going to be the dominant force in this series.

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.

edgarsi.jpgHe’s been in this position before.

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.

 

freddyhappy.jpgTranscribing 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.  

“I just hope Pittsburgh gets to experience this one day.”

He hasn’t forgotten the little people!

photo credits: espn.com, mccoveychronicles.com, getty images

 

 

Happy Halladays to start the postseason

In a somewhat sarcastic way I proclaimed on October 5th that the Reds would not get a hit throughthe NLDS against the Philies.

 

halladay.jpgSo far so good huh.

There was not a better way to script the opening day of the postseason than the first playoff no hitter since Don Larsen’s perfect game in 1962.

So close to a perfect game too. Unbelievable. And to do it twice in one year simply baffles me. Just imagine if Roy Halladay happened to be out of Toronto for more of his career. He could possibly be one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball history. He still has a lot of gas in the tank and judging by this season alone he has punched his ticket to Cooperstown. A first ballot hall of famer in my book.

One game that may hold him out could very well be May 18, 2010.

He lost to the Pirates.

Zach Duke went toe-to-toe with the Philadelphia ace in a 2-1 ballgame where both pitchers
halladay1.jpg went the complete game. It was one of the most precise games the Pirates put together in 2010 and the best contest of Duke’s wretched year.

As I type this the game in Minnesota is going swimmingly well for the Twins. Something to say that I am pleased to see. Francisco Liriano is pitching masterfully.

Pitching has been a common theme when discussing the highs of the 2010 MLB season. So far it looks like the playoffs are going to be no exception. Cliff Lee shut down the Rays this afternoon. Halladay had a freaking no hitter. Liriano is coasting right now.

Tomorrow presents a new day with two similiar teams pinned against each other. It is sure to be anothers pitchers duel as Tim Lincecum faces Derek Lowe.

When it comes to picking a team to root for in the postseason, it hasn’t been the easiest thing. Last year I chose the Dodgers because of my good blogging friends Emma and Cat were so very kind to me. This season is a bit trickier, but not really. I am sticking with the NL West theme and will be adorning the orange and black.

 

sf.jpgI’ve always liked the logo and color scheme. The city is one of a kind. The ballpark blew me away. Besides those intangibles the Giants also offer something special for the playoff run, one of my favorite players of all time.

FREDDY.jpgFreddy Sanchez.

His time in Pittsburgh was headlined by a batting title in 2006 but what may have been overshadowed was his hospitality. Sanchez is a class act and was always a fan favorite. His work ethic and gritty glove work is topped only by his consistent bat. He is finally overcoming injuries that have haunted his whole career and he is showing he belongs in an everday lineup, especially on a contending team.

Nobody deserves the honor of winning games in the post season than Freddy Sanchez.

Go Giants!

photos: ap, yahoo.com

The streak ends with a mediocre contest

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.

mccanhit.jpg

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.
Thumbnail image for meek.jpg 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.

 

braun catch.jpgI do tip my cap to the pretty boy. It was a heckuva grab.

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.

nlbeeral.jpgOn 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.

AP Photos 

 

Sanchez? Who is Sanchez?

If you are one of my good buddies reading this you will know where I am coming from with that title. If you are not, I will briefly explain.

The year was 2006 and my family and I were on a trip to Washington, D.C. On this one specific day we visited the U.S. Mint. Now I can’t say I remember too much about our tour of the mint but one moment will surely stick out for many years, and it has.

sanchez.jpgI was wearing my Freddy Sanchez All-Star T-Shirt. No big deal right?

But to Julio Martinez, the Mint security guard, it was.

“Sanchez!?! Who is Sanchez?” he excalims to me.

After I explain who the Pittsburgh second baseman was he showed a slight grin and hinted that he hopes to hear more about the solid player. Some four years later I hope he has had his fill of Freddy.

Now that wasn;t the best story in world but shoot it is in my circle of family and friends, we always get a laugh out of it.

While Sanchez’s career in Pittsburgh is over, he has began to make his mark in San Francisco. After battling through injuries at the end of last season after being traded to beginning this season on the disabled list Sanchez has started to turn things around.

After going 3-for-4 against the Pirates Friday night he continued to have a big series and drove in the winning run on Sunday, a sacrifice fly in the 10th inning.

Sanchez is now batting .371 although he has appeared in just 17 games. He was said to have started to wind down in his carrer but still has that knack at the plate. I feel he will be swinging strongly for quite sometime.

 

sanchez1.jpgThere may not be a classier ballplayer than Freddy Sanchez. In interviews after the trade that send him to San Francisco in exchange for minor league pitcher Tim Alderson, Sanchez has been nothing but respectful of his former city and club.

. The way the fans treated me was just awesome,” Sanchez told Post Gazette reporter Dejan Kovacevic, “I can’t wait to be back there and play in that stadium again.”

He recieved loud ovation this weekend and rightfully so, he earned it. While it may have been dissapointing, yet fitting, that he drove in the winning run to break open a 5-5 tie on Sunday what he did the day before is entirely admirable.

After donating much more $50,000 dollars to Western Pennsylvania Charities and other outlets to build baseball fields for special needs children, Sanchez and his family showed up at one of those fields to play ball with those kids. The Post-Gazette and USA Today have picked up on this story and I am sure we will be hearing more of it. Sanchez the humanitarian is a fitting nickname that will stick because of his strong willed attributes. 

How many players, scratch that, how many visiting team players would do that the afternoon before a game, let alone the day after playing a game that did not start until ten o’clock and probably did not finsih until almost 1 a.m.

Sanchez enjoyed his time in Pittsburgh. He was a loser only because of his team’s win-loss
Thumbnail image for 21.jpg record but still through all of it remianed a good sport and wanted to be in the Steel City. He has taken the high road by only talking about the good of Pittsburgh and wanting to come back. Players such as Nate McLouth, Adam LaRoche, Eric Hinske, Sean Burnett and other who have recently been traded have come right out and said they were happy to move on. To quote Frank Sinatra, Sanchez’s vagabond shoes were longing to stray, just not in New York City, but in Pittsburgh, Pa. He now reps the number 21. A shoutout to Clemente and Pittsburgh? Maybe.

photo credits: fansedge.com, postgazette.com, bayareasportsguy.com  

 

 

 

Pirates All Decade Team

Before the ball drops and “Auld Lang Syne” is blared over the speakers it is only right to reflect on what this past year has held. Not to mention just this year, but a whole decade of memories that have played out right before us. These ten years have been special and and happy. The same can not be said for this last decades Pittsburgh Pirates team. Lets just say the 60’s and 70’s will forever remained untouched in terms of Pirate supremacy. These past ten years have been below dismal and hard to bear, but if there was to be a Most Valuable Player throughout the decade, I give it to the fans of Pittsburgh. Yes we remain near dead last in terms of overall attendance year in and year out, but can you blame ‘em? With two championship sports team playing in the same city the Pirates have steadily declined in popularity, however the loyal fans remain. Whether they’re enjoying a $4 bleacher seat on a Sunday afternoon, listening to Bob Walk and Greg Brown on the radio while riding in the car, or raising the jolly roger in their own front yard after a Pirates win, the fans are here, anticipating the next 60’s and 70’s-esque decade. Until then I implore you to reflect on what was the 2000’s in Pittsburgh baseball lore. These fine players made us proud and actually gave us something to cheer about.

STARTING PITCHER: Zach Duke


Zach Duke.jpg

As the lone representative from the current Pirate squad, Zach Duke stumbles into the Ace role of the 2000’s. The hype surrounding Duke back around 2003 was unparalled with nearly every publication ranking him as the Pirates best pitching prospect in quite sometime. He arrived in 2005 and was everything the doctor ordered. Duke went 8-2 with a 1.81 ERA. It looked like his reign was just beginning. However, since then Duke has not had a winning season and has been a mediocre pitcher compared to most in the league. Last year he went 11-16 with an ERA just over 4. Sad to say but it really was his best year since his rookie campaign. He has shown signs of improvements with his fastball and can really be a reliable starter. At just 26, he is still a major part of the Pirates future. There was talks of shopping him around this winter but expect to see him back

Honorable Menions: 1) Kip Wells, 2) Oliver Perez

CATCHER: Jason Kendall

jason kendall.jpg

His trademark scowl and unique batting stance, Kendall was a staple of leadership for the Pirates. He had an image Pittsburghers ate up as he became an all time favorite in the hearts of fans. He hustled and bustled his way around the basepaths and was a brick wall behind the plate. He lacked power but always flirted around and above a .300 batting average. He was one of the longets tenured Pirates having been drafted in 1993 before being traded in 2004. He helped usher in PNC Park and lead hope for the future-a future that never came.

Honorable Mentions: 1) Ryan Doumit, 2) Cody Ross

 

 

FIRST BASEMAN: Craig Wilson

craig wilson.jpg

Probably more famous for his long golden locks of hair than his play on the field, Wilson was a hard-nosed reliable players. Yeah he struck out a lot, 427 times in five seasons in Pittsburgh, but he was a power threat in the lineup (a rarity for the black and gold). Wilson had a monster year at the plate in 2004. The California Crusher belted a career high 29 homers and drove in 82 RBI. He also had 148 hits in that year. He always hit around 15 home runs a year and was versitile having played the outfield and 1B as well.

Honorable Mentions: 1) Adam LaRoche, 2) Sean Casey

SECOND BASEMAN: Freddy Sanchez

freddy-sanchez.jpgOne of the most likeable guys to ever don a Pirates jersey, Sanchez played his heart out everytime he stepped on the field. He is a talented fielder and a star at the plate. He very well could be one of the most well rounded second basemen of the decade in the whole league. Coming over from Boston via trade in 2004, he was a relatively unknown prospect but said to have decent potential. He surely exceeded expectations in 2005 when he stepped right in and batted .291 in his first full season in the league. From there Sanchez took Pirates fan on the ride of their lives. The very next year Sanchez took home the National League batting crown hitting .344. He struggle din his last year as a Pirate but he still has some good years left in San Fran.

Honorable Mentions: 1) Jose Castillo, 2) Pokey Reese

THIRD BASEMAN: Aramis Ramirez

aramis ramirez.jpgOften times criticized, often times praised, Ramirez never could quite find his niche in Pittsburgh. It never did stop him from putting up good numbers. Coming into the league as a scrappy 19 year old in 1998, he was a major performer christening PNC Park in 2001. A-Ram went off batting .300 with 34 HRs and 100 RBI. It looked like the Pirates finally found an uprising star to build around. However he went through slumps the following year with just a 2.34 BA. His trade in 2003 to the Cubs was the first of many “salary dumps” fans would have to endure throughout the decade. 

Honorable Mentions: 1) Jose Hernandez, 2) Andy LaRoche

SHORTSTOP: Jack Wilson

 

jack-wilson.jpg  

Jumpin’ Jack Flash. A name forever synonoumous with the Pittsburgh baseball club. Words simply cannot describe Wilson’s effort, desire and heart. Game in-game out it always was expected to see his uniform dirty. Wilson had tremedous range at SS. Turn on Baseball Tonight and Wilson is seen on Web Gems with his tremendous glove work. Kendall may have been a clubhouse leader at the beginning of the decade but this was Wilson’s team during the waning years. His production is underrated amongst the entire league. He wasn’t the best at the plate with a career .269 but he could do everything asked of him. His presecence was always missed in the lineup when he was injured and now no longer part of the Pirates, he simply can never be replaced. Honorable Mentions: NONE

LEFT FIELDER: Brian Giles

brian giles.jpgNamed to the All-Decade MLB team for a reason, Giles patrols LF for the Pirate’s decade team as well. A dead heat between him and Jason Bay, Giles gets the upper hand due to statistical better seasons with the Pirates. Bay is surely the better player-post Pittsburgh and may have been in the black and gold as well. However, numbers don’t lie and Giles had some of the best out of any Pirates player ever. Four straight seasons of 30+ home runs, three straight .300 batting average season-unheard of numbers for a Pirate. But the best decision the Pirates made during the decade was trading Giles for Bay and Oliver Perez.

Honorable Mentions: 1) Jason Bay, 2) Nyjer Morgan

CENTER FIELDER: Nate McLouth

nate mclouth.jpg

An all star and a gold glover, Nate truly was Great during his four and a half year tenure in Pittsburgh. McLouth was used as a bench player primarily in his first two seasons, he just needed a bit of playing time to show he truly belonged. He was a speedy center fielder who played impeccable defense and was rewarded with the gold glove following the 2008 season. 2008 was really his attention grabbing campaign. McLouth knocked 21 home runs and batted a solid .276. The power shown surprised many fans and notched him a spot on the National League All Star team. In the game he threw out Dioneer Navarro at the plate and his arm surprised the baseball world. He ended up racking up good numbers for the year finishing up in Atlanta in 2009 after hitting nine homeruns in 45 games in Pittsburgh.

Honorable Mention: 1) Andrew McCutchen, 2) Tike Redman

RIGHT FIELDER: Reggie Sanders

reggie sanders.jpgThough he played just one season in Pittsburgh, Sanders patrolled the gaping hole that is RF for the Pirates masterfully. It has been tough to find a solid player to be a right fielder for the Pirates, but Sanders brought fanfare in 2003. He was an off season acquisition along with Kenny Lofton. These two aging vets breathed a new life into the club and brought greater attention to the team. Playing 130 games Sanders hit 31 home runs and hit for a .281 batting average. He had quite the high OPS at .912 and was a threat at the plate at any given time. What really sets Sanders in a class of his own is his own poise. He was a great guy off the field. Having only been in Pittsburgh one season, you would have assumed he was a local citizen all his life.

Honorable Mentions: 1) Xavier Nady, 2) John Vander Wal

RELIEF PITCHER: Mike Williams

mike williams.jpgThe “Cardiac Kid” played with fan’s emotions for five years as a Pirate. He was a reliable closer, but seemed to take forever in mowing down the last three outs of a ball game. It wa sthe way he worked giving up doubles, walking batters, loading the bases. It all came together as a whole mismatch, but he eventually would get the job done. He had two tenures as a Pirate, 1998-2000 and 2002-2003. In 2002 he went down in the Pittsburgh record books with 46 saves in a season, a team record. The flamboyant Virginia Tech grad was infamous for snubbing West Virgnia fans hunting for autographs.

Honorable Mentions: 1) Matt Capps, 2) Mike Fetters

Yep, there ya have it. Some players you have heard of, some you have not. They all do have one thing in common, none of them ever gave the Pirates a winning season. A few of them played together but still couldn’t get the job done. It is hard to tell whether or not this starting lineup would compile a competitve team with a shot at the playoffs, let alone a .500 season. I wouldn’t bet on it.

Defense wins chmapionships, but not a game against the Nats

 

 

 

laroche.jpg
Three “Baseball Tonight” web gems, one of which was by the guy above Andy LaRoche, was not enough to keep the Pirates in the game. Ronny Cedeno’s backhanded grab and diving double play didn’t allow Pittsburgh to put runs on the board. They fell to Washington 8-4. It is tough to swallow a loss like this. One because it was the Nationals, two because it was the Nationals, and three BECAUSE IT WAS THE NATIONALS!

Sorry, but its true. Even though most normal fans would say, “Matt come on its the PIRATES.” But the Bucs had no business losing this game. The bullpen faltered and gave up 4 runs after following starter Charlie Morton. Morton pitched pretty well through 5 innings of work. He shut out the Nationals and struck out 2 batters. The straw that broke the Camel’s back came in the sixth when Adam Dunn belted a homerun. It was tough to swallow and the runs kept coming from hits and a triple by Christian Guzman. It made me very upset to see Charlie let picthes get away from him. After meeting him in Arizona I really have admired his attitude and I know he has it in him to go out and do a solid job night in and night out. I’ll still be rooting hard for him, I just hope the stuffs there longer in the game next time he goes out. The following inning the bullpen came in to give up 4 runs as well. A homerun by Ryan Zimmerman headlined the inning follwed by a bunch of small ball that gave the Nats a good sized lead.

The Bucs offense is not off the hook here either. What started out as a promising game turned ugly and filled with goose-eggs. Andrew McCutchen struck again leading off the first inning with a homerun. He now has 7 on the year and is 2nd on the team with homeruns. It’s great to see that his 3-homerun night was not a fluke and he does have some power built inside.

cutch-milledge.jpgIts a great seeing this sight. The 1-2 punch of McCutchen and Milledge is a match made in heaven. Kind of like and M&M, no pun intended. The charisma they have and established chemistry is great in the clubhouse and at the top of the lineup. Although Milledge did not see the basepaths this game and was 0-5 he still has what the Bucs need. This was the only game Lastings has played in for Pittsburgh without collecting a hit. His failure to reach base may have been a reason for the Bucs failure to put more runs on the board but the rest of the lineup is not off the hook.

3 runs were scored in the first inning and it looked like they were set up nicely to cruise for the W. Steve Pearce, Garrett Jones, Ryan Doumit, set up runs and Delwyn Young scarificed a run in. The rest of the game was dull as the Pirates couldn’t score a run until the bottom of the ninth when Doumit doubled in a run.

On top of Milledge’s o-fer, Ronny Cedeno and Delwyn Young were as well. Ryan Doumit really needed this game to turn his game around. He did not get a hit in the first 3 games of the series. Tonight he was 3-5 with a run and RBI. From the cleanup spot he needs production and he showed it tonight. If he can turn things around quickly and recover from his early season injury he will be a coveted player at the catching position.

The Pirates finished off this series splitting four games with Washington. They start right back up tomorrow hosting the Diamondbacks. I will be attending this game and am very excited to do so. Its kind of funny that of the last three MLB games I’ve been too, the D-Backs have been involved. (Arizona was in Colorado when I was there, at home in Chase Field when I was there, and now here in Pittsburgh.) It is safe to say they are quite familiar. I just hope this result is a little different. The Diamondbacks took 3 of 4 from the Pirates out in the Grand Canyon State.

Tonight, I leave with a great quote from a great player.

“I loved the city of Pittsburgh,” Sanchez said. “I loved going to the ballpark every day and playing for those fans. They’ll always have a special place in my heart for the support they showed after I won that batting title.

“That’s a baseball town in my eyes. I hope all the trades work out, because they deserve a winner there. I’m sure it’s hard for them right now, but I’ll always be watching to see how they’re doing.”

This quote was taken from an ESPN.com article by Jerry Crasnick. It’s greta to see Freddy speaking with such admiration and understanding. I still wish him the best even though he is 3,000 miles away. It does however pain me to see this….                                            freddy giants.jpg  

Anticipation for the 80th All Star game

After a mediocre Home Run Derby took place in St. Louis last night. Sorry to offend Prince Fielder. He had a great showing and earned the win no doubt.

 


prince.jpgMy buddy Andrew came up with a cheesy, yet well defined sentiment in regards to Fielder.

“Cecil’s son is crowned Prince.”

A good way to sum it up and a great journalistic touch. Too bad he is a history major, but nonetheless it would have been a great newspaper headline.

 

Tonights game is sure to be a doosy. The Nl is due for a win, and I truly believe that the National League will pull it off. Lincecum and Halladay will duke it out and have a showdown for teh ages. Although they both will probably be in the game for a mere 2 or 3 innings I’m predicted a handful of strikeouts from each of them.

I’m ready for Jason Bay to have a big game. This will be the second time he will be starting an All-Star game. He did so in 2006 in Pittsburgh and notched a hit. This year in his first ASG as a Red Sock I think he will collect 2 hits, one of them being an RBI double. While I will be watching the game in my favorite Bar and Grille, Jeremiah Bullfrogs. It is a cool place to watch a sporting event with 25 plasma screen TVs and surround sound it will be a great atmosphere. Paying homage to Bay I will be wearing my “Bay” Red Sox shirt. While I feel I techniquely have to cheer for the National League (because of the Pirates) I will be rooting for Bay.

By predicting that the NL will win I have to give a prediction for MVP. At the plate, in playing in front of his home crowd Albert Pujols is going to have a day. He was a bit of a dissapointment in the HR derby. But he will turn things around tonight and will go deep. The crowd will set into a frenzy and rivaling the Disco Demolition of Chicago in 1979, the crowd will go insane. Pujols will go 3-3 with a homer and 2 singles.

Throwing out the first pitch will be a familiar face, our commander and chief, Barack Obama.

barack.jpg Obama will have his arm warm and ready delievering a perfect strike to the catcher. I’m sure those in attendance will give the Pres a warm ovation.

Now onto two guys that will provide me with pride for the evening.

freddy asg.jpg

 

 

 

FREDDY SANCHEZ

 

 

 

 

duke0711_500.jpg

 

 

 

ZACH DUKE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Freddy and Zach are the two representatives from the Bucs. While Freddy will probably get an inning or 2 of playing time I do not think Zach will get into the game. Honestly, I do not feel he deserves to be here in the first place. He is replacing the injured Matt Cain. Duke has a mediocre 8-8 record but has performed well. If he had some health from the offense his record would look alot better. I bet these two had a great week in St. Louis and I know I will be looking for them throughout the game.

As batting practice is occuring on the TV behind me I’m heading out to the restraunt ready for an exciting night of baseball.

 

GO NATIONAL LEAGUE

GO FREDDY

GO ZACH

GO MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.