Results tagged ‘ West Virginia ’

Sour Grapes

grapes.jpgIt has been well documented, by myself, that Nate McLouth is a scum bag.

Harsh words? Maybe he always came off as a nice guy in Pittsburgh, but since his trade last June he has done nothing but trash the team I love.

It hurts to hear one of my favorite players of the last few years go off like that and I agree he does have a point.

Jason Bay too was traded somewhat unexpectedly, he still raves about his playing days in Pittsburgh. I just cannot respect a guy (McLouth) who does not respect the team that brought him up.

 

 

I am bringing this up again because ironically enough the Braves faced the Pirates today. McLouth would not only go up against his former team, but bat against the man he was traded for, pitcher Charlie Morton.

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McLouth wasted no time sending a message. He lit up the scoreboard with a solo homerun to lead off the ball game. The Buccos got the last laugh when they won 7-6 over the Braves.

The win was surely welcomed for a ball club who has lost seven of their last ten. The ‘W’ puts the Pirates at 6-12-1 for the spring training tilt.

With just a mere ten days before Opening Day at beautiful PNC Park, there is something just a little more important along the way. The SWEET 16.

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Tonight West Virginia and Washington do battle at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, NY. The third round of NCAA tournament action tips off. The scene around Morgantown today and all throughout the month of March has been one of anticipation. We want it! A National Championship that is.

The Huskies and Mountaineers are a good matchup in that UDUB instills a run and gun offense while WVU plays lockdown defense. It is an 11th seed (wash.) vs. a 2nd seed (WVU). Many pundits across the country are picking the Huskies for the upset. In fact and ESPN.com poll says 32% are labeling this as the upset of the night.

I respectively disagree.

West Virginia will be without starting point guard Darryl ‘Truck’ Bryant, but that is okay. He has a foot injury and has not been playing his best in the postseason. Joe Mazzulla will step in nicely. He has starting experience and may play the best defense on the team. Mazzulla also has a unique tie-in with the Pirates. He was arrested in PNC Park two summers ago for dissorderly conduct. Not the brightest move and I cannot really stand up for him here but it has shadowed his illustrious Mountaineer career.

joemaz.jpgI hope those of you following the tournament get to tune into this game tonigth at 7:30 on CBS. I hope your brackets are still in tact and that you picked West Virginia to go far. I surely did. Tonight will prove to the country that WVU is for real and that we really will make noise on our way to the Championship game.

photo credits: dontveret.com, i.cdn.turner.com, fromthedugout.com, msnbc.com, cbc.com  

Mountaineer Baseball is underway

 

hawley field.jpgAfter a sloppy start to the 2010 season, West Virginia University’s Baseball game finally was able to get a game in.

Tuesday’s matchup with Duquesne was called due to wet conditions. After being covered in over two feet of snow WVU’s Hawley Field was cleared off thanks to rain and valiant efforts by the coaching staff and players.

Opening Day finally occured Thursday evening against Bryant. Ever heard of them? Don’t worry, I haven’t either.

I asked a family with Bryant gear on where they actually were located. Turns out they are from Rhode Island, very close to Providence. I joked and said “I though it was Kobes school.” The lame joke was actually was recieved by the Bryant faithful, who had a son on the theam, in fact the father even said “It’d be nce to have him nearby, we could use his money.”

From my perch in the pressbox I witnessed a thrilling 7-5 victory for the Mountaineers. At the time it was their fourth victory of the year after playing games in Florida and SOuth Carolina to open the season. SInce then WVU dropped a double header to Manhattan on Friday.

It will be a long year for the Mountaineers especially after losing seven seniors, all of whom had a major impact on offense the last four years, If it hopes to compete West Virginia will rely on Morgantown native Jedd Gyorko.

 

jedd1.jpgGyorko may sound or look familiar, he was on the front page of MLB.com for a draft preview. The shorstop may just be at the top of many draft classes as he is a top player. The junior has two home runs on the year and is batting .333. He leads the Mountaineers is slugging at .571.

He has put on weight and is bulking up to add even more power to drive the ball to all corners of the field. For his draft stock to rise he will need to be better in the field and add speed.

Saturday’s game was rained out but I am hoping to get it in Sunday at 1 pm.

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photo credits: msnsportsnet.com

A 2-0-1 weekend

The Pirates competed in a trio of ballgames this weekend in the Sunshine State.

They did not lose a single game.

 

 

 

 

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The jolly roger was raised for the first time this spring training season on Friday in a 5-3 win over the Orioles.

One of my favorite prospects in the organization is catcher Tony Sanchez.

tony sanchez.jpgI was able to catch one of Sanchez’s very first minor league games in person back in Youngstown, OH. He was with the State College Spikes facing my hometown Mahoning Valley Scrappers.

He is a very likeable fellow coming out of Boston College. 

In his very first spring training at bat, Sanchez belted a solo homerun off Baltimore’s Troy Patton.

Sanchez is just 21 years old, eight months older than me. It is very funny that someone my age is one of the hottest prospects on a major league ballclub. I guess it is really not too much to fathom as I am a year from graduating college surrounded by Division 1 athletes at one of America’s top sports universities.

Sanchez will probably begin the year in AA Altoona, but will find his way in the ‘Burgh by 2011.

On Saturday the jolly roger may have been raised, but just halfway.

The Pirates and Philies played their way to a 3-3 ten inning tie.

The reining National League champs got hot right off the bat with two runs in the first inning. Pirates starter Kevin Hart looked very sloppy. He looks to be the 5th starter in the rotation so he really needs to hone his mechanics for the remainder of March.

The bottom of the first inning let the Pirates match the Phils, in fact they one upped the boys with Brotherly love. The Buccos scored their only three runs of the contest in the first frame. Ryan Church delievered a two run home run.

On Sunday’s day of rest, the Buc’s bats did anything but. Pittsburgh destroyed absolutely destroyed Minnesota 15-5.

Bobby Crosby gave a good audition for the starting shortstop position with a four RBI performance.

Crosby belted a 3-run homerun while going 2-for-3. It was great to see this guy come through. Whether starting or on the bench he will be vital to the team’s success. Garrett Jones also connected for a homerun, his first of the spring.

The weekend was fun filled with Pirates baseball.

On Sunday it was 30 Clubs/30 Days featuring the Pirates on MLB Network. I think the broadcast team led by Matt Vasgersian really brought to light the hope and promise of the Bucs. They were valiant to praise the efforts of Neil Huntington and the restocked minor league system. They also had good interviews with Lastings Milledge, Andrew McCutchen and Paul Maholm. McCutchen also had a “wired-in” segment with him playing around with teammates comparing his speed to Usain Bolt (a stretch) and hitting an opposite field homerun into the Allegheny River at PNC Park (a bigger stretch).

This weekend I also recieved a package I have long been anticipating.

daveparkerposter.jpgMy Dave Parker poster finally came! I saw this on ebay for a nice price of seven bucks and could not pass it up. It is actually a 7-up ad from the early 80’s. I’m sure the cobra will be so proud to know a college id knows who he is and that the Pirates pride is still stemming from the “We Are Family” days.

On Tuesday I will get the opportunity to see live baseball for the first time in a while.

The West Virginia baseball teams hits the recently snow vacated field to do battle with Duquesne. I once again will be the beat writer for the school newspaper covering the team.

photo credits:piratebox.com, AP/sportingnews

 

March 2, 2010- a good day

From embarrassment to back on track the Pirates defeated the State College of Florida 6-1 on Tuesday afternoon. The embarrassment came last year as the community college defeated the Pirates. Yes, that really happened. Although obviously not the entire major league roster an MLB or even minor league club should handily beat any college team.

It did happen today.

There were a handful positives for Bucco fans steaming from the win today.

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1). It is the start of baseball season. What is better than seeing our boys take the field for an official organized game against competition.

 

 

 

 

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2). Pedro Alvarez very well could be the read deal. The “prodigy” went 3-for-4 with three straight hits including a solid double. If it is any sign of things to come, which I’m sure it is, Alavarez will be on a fast track to the hot corner in Pittsburgh.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3). Donnie Veal-remember the name. Veal was a rule 5 pickup last offseason and is said to have killer potential. He was injured for a majority of the year in 2009 but showed promise in a depleted bullpen. He was a part of th Arizona Fall League and tore up the mound last Autumn. Today he went just one inning, but did not allow a hit and struck out a batter. He will begin the year in the Pirate bullpen, but has the talent to make a run at a rotation spot later on in the season.

 

The players in the lineup for the Bucs today were all minor league prospects who will not sniff the big leagues for a while. Alvarez and Jose Tabata are two of the exceptions. However, Brandon Moss too was in the lineup. Moss had a sensational game hitting a home run, but to be playing with these youngsters would have to be pretty demeaning if I were in his shoes. 

moss.jpg Moss has failed to live up to lofty expectations the past two seasons. It is questionable whether or not he will make the big league roster. He surely needs the work in AAA, but there is a fighting chance he will be the last bench spot. He will be in tight competition with Delwyn Young and another rule 5 acquistion, John Rayner. I personally hope Young is part of the opening day 25-man roster

 

 

There are two more reasons why today has been a good day.

Over the weekend I set out with some friends to the Morgantown Mall, anticipating a big purchase. I had my sights set on buying a new hat. I had bought a gray Pirates earlier this year but Saturday I really wanted to be unique with a new team. After much consideration and second guessing I left with this:

SF.jpgYes my friends a San Francisco Giants hat. Odd? Maybe. Unique? Indeed. It is something different and I like being a trend setter here. I have seen these on campus before, but it is very rare. I recieved about three compliments on my new cap and I am proud of my purchase.

Reson number three, last but not least is some big news.

After interviewing for an internship with the West Virginia Power minor league baseball team,
wv power.jpg class A of the Pirates, a few weeks ago I recieved a call back today. I was selected to be an intern. I am overjoyed at this opportunity as it will help further my career and give me a leg up in a field I hope to work in. There are still specifics that need to be worked out, I need some extra cash and a place to stay as the Power makes their home in Charleston, about a three hour drive from Morgantown.

I still have time to think it over, but good news is always welcome.

Everybody who has MLB Network should tune into it tomorrow at 1pm as the Pirates take on the Yankees. I do not pickup the station but my buddy’s girlfriend does. Manager John Russel has said both Paul Maholm and Ross Ohlendorf will pitch in the opening game against NY. Get pumped! Because I am!

phot credits: sarasota.com, zimbio.com, bucsdugout.com, sportsillustrated.com, lids.com,    wowktv.com 

 

Back in Black

The  Pirates

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The Penguins

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and

The Steelers


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are my favorite professional sports teams. They play in the city I love and proudly don the colors black and gold. The tradition and longevity of the colors are synonymous with the Steel City and have been a staple to Pittsburgh’s lifestyle.

This week a new team was on the block, sporting the black and gold.

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The West Virginia basketball team. They announced that a black alternate jersey would be worn during the season earlier in the year and I was very excited. The tri fecta of black and gold expanded to a quadrilateral in terms of my favorite teams.

On Wednesday the Mountaineers busted out the jerseys in a game against Rutgers. WVU bounced back from their first loss of the season on New Years Day to rout the Scarlet Knights 86-52. It was great to see the team come out in sync for the huge victory.

The Mountaineers have a legit shot to make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament. Currently ranked 8th in the country with a 12-1 record, WVU is poised and confident after that win on Wednesday. The road won’t be easy and they will have to play their best game in and game out to get through the rigorous Big East schedule.

The only problem with the Mountaineers making a run at the Final Four is that it will coincide greatly with Spring Training! As I’m watching the development of the Pirates roster the Mountaineers will be lighting up the scoreboard during March Madness. However I do welcome both teams to win win and win. With the NCAA Championship game being played on April 4th and Opening Day baseball on April 5th good things will occur that week. It may be too much for me to handle.

photo credits: sportingnews.com, sportsbusinessdaily.com, steelertribute.com, msnsportsnet.com

 

Let’s Hear It For New York- New York, New York

Fit ti be tied in the Big Apple. The Yankees pulled out the 3-1 victory over the Philies in much better weather Thursday night. The Yankees were more poised and hungry as they pulled out the ‘W’

I am cheering for the Yanks in the series yet I was still dissapointed. I still have not heard Ronan sing God Bless America on TV

However the self proclaimed “new Sinatra” belted out a performance that Frank would sure be proud of.

jayz.jpgRapper Jay-Z performed “Empire State of Mind” along with Alicia Keys before the game. It was a little over the top but I would never expect anything less from Jay-Z. The song was just the inspiration the Yankees needed to pull off this win.

Even though, Jay-Z raps that  he  “makes the Yankee hat more famous than a Yankee can.” Hideki Matsui and Mark Teixeira sure made a name for themselves tonight.

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The Blue Oyster Cult would have loved to hear their song Godzilla played along with other New York anthems. Matsui went deep with a solo shot to take the lead and break the 1-1 ties. He had a solid night going 2-3 with a walk.

While Matsui is the DH, the NY outfield was restructured tonight. Nick Swisher was benched in favor of Jerry Harriston Jr. It was in good taste considering Swisher was batting .111 in the playoffs. Harriston came in and managed a hit, but I feel bad for Swisher. He was West Virginia roots, which already give anybody instant brownie points in my book, but he is a good guy. Andrew (my buddy in North Canton) says the Swish brought this years team to prominence thanks to his pizazz and swagger. He’s played great defense but his arm is in question. There’s no doubt hes slumping, the change was needed.

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Another component of the pizazz and swagger has been possible MVP Tex. Teixeira was 1-3 with his own solo shot to get the Yankees on the board in the 4th inning. Tex is my vote for AL MVP. He has been consistent throughout the regular season flirting with .300 and belting 39 home runs.

Pedro Martinez, othrwise known as the most influential player to set foot in Yankee stadium tipped hit cap once again.

large_pedro_martinez_phillies_return.jpgHe was wearing a new uniform, but Pedro was being Pedro. You may have heard his ridiculous pregame interview, I can’t even begin to recap it because it was too bizarre. But apparently Pedro Martinez is not someone you can eat rice and beans with. Like I said, it is not worth even discussing.

While the Daddy Yankees were not that abusive to their “son” the fans surely were. Pedro was booed from start to finish. he cracked a smile when leaving the mound in the seventh inning showing that he’s all fun and just putting on a show. It may not be the most respectable display, but Martinez proved he may just be baseball’s Chad Ochocinco or Ron Artest-excpet Ron Artest may have hit somebody in the stands if they booed him.

The beginning of the game was the most special part for me. Now I know it was a great game and I loved watching it from start to finish-I’m a baseball fan afterall. But I really appreciated what happened prior to the first pitch.

jeter-clemente.jpgDerek Jeter was the recipient of the Roberto Clemente award. Here is is embracing Roberto’s wife Vera Clemente. Roberto’s son is wacthing over. I love moments when coming to Clemente’s honor. His playing ability was second to none and his off the field kindness was unmatched. He died serving others and is rightfully honored some 40 years later. Jeter is a good guy and deserves the award this season. Of course I can’t wait for the day when the World Series is taking place at PNC Park with someone say Andrew McCutchen is handed the Clemente trophy. Just so fitting.

With a day off Friday the action shifts to Philly. Here in Morgantown, the action shifts to Tampa, Florida.

noel1.jpgThe Mountaineers face the South Florida Bulls in a Big East showdown. The unique Friday night game will be televised on ESPN. I’m already nervous. We have not beaten the Bulls in their house since the two teams have first met. I do feel WVU has the upperhand talent wise, I’m just not sure of our ability to play on the road. Noel Devine is one of the top running backs in the nation and is worth the price of admission. He is a darkhorse for the Heisman Trophy and can shake just about any defender out of their boots. It’ll be a tight contest, but the ‘Eers will prevail 24-20

LETS GOOOOO MOUNTAINEERS

“I hear her voice in the morning as she calls me”

Hello Everybody!

It has been a week since my last post and I regret that. I’ve taken weeks off for vaction on the blog but there has been something missing and different this week. Maybe its because the Pirates have been tanking, but mostly it has been because I’ve been busy at school.

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Because of this current fall semester Pirates baseball has taken a backseat to something more important, West Virginia football.

For you college football fans out there I’m sure you have been aware of the recent success of the Mountaineer football program. West Virginia has been such a big part of my life, even more so than the Pittsburgh Pirates. My family roots run through the Mountaine State with much of my extended family living here. My father, Rick, went to WVU in the 1970’s and with myself as a current junior, I feel so proud to carry on this blue and gold Peaslee family tradition.

For a better part of my 20 years weekend trips to WV were the norm. Whether it was for family reunions or special occasions I enjoyed treking through the wining country roads to see my grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. There was always something else though that made the trips worth the time…West Virginia football.

For nearly 3 decades my family has had football season tickets. I have had great times at Mountaineer Field enjoying exhillarating wins and hard to swallow losses. The pride and passion I have for the Mountaineers is second to none. Being a student makes these feelings escalate even more.

As I drive myself through the winding roads now I always have John Denver’s legendary “Country Roads” song playing on my car CD player. There is another tradition with this song that always gives me goosebumps.

wvu2009 013.JPGThe young 2009 campaign for the Mounatineers has been very rewarding. We are now 2-0 and have wins over Liberty and East Carolina. Not necessarily two marquee schools but after falling to ECU last year it was great to avenge the defeat.

I get chills everytime I am in the stadium surrounded by a sea of blue and gold. IN the opening game against Liberty I sat in the upper deck as you can see. It was a hot day and the heat and sun was irritating. WVU wasn’t winning in a convincing matter as I had hoped but the Mountaineers still pulled out a 33-20 win over the Liberty Flames.

Just this past Saturday I had much better seats for the game.

wvu2009 021.jpgFront row baby! Being on top of the field right there was awesome. I heckled East Carolina players and high fived my Mountaineers after the 35-20 win. The ticketing sytem at WVU allows students to choose a lower level or upper level seat. My friends and I usually like the upper section for a better view of the whole field. However, being there in the lower level, front row specifically was great. Creating a superb atmosphere for college football.

 

 

One of the best parts of Mountaineer football Saturdays is the Pride of West Virginia:The Mountaineer Marching Band.

Thumbnail image for wvu2009 016.JPGThe band plays a great rendition of Country Roads and forms the state of West Virginia in their pregame routine. With everybody signing along to teh tune it is the greatest feeling in the world. A college tradition for many many years.

There is another WVU team that deserves some respect right now, the women’s soccer team.

I cover the Mountaineer women’s soccer team for the school newspaper. They have great potential to be a strong national competitor. Pre-season, the squad was ranked 7th in the nation but have since fallen to 12th after a 2-2-3 start to the season. They are very young and will surely be on the natioanl stage for more years to come.

One of the biggest changes this year for Mountaineer sports is the transition of the rifle. If you’ve ever watched a Mountaineer sporting event on TV you may have seen one of the most distinct mascots in all of sports.

 

 

 

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The Mountaineer is an intimidating fellow who carries a musket on the field. If you are an opposing fan, player and mascot-watch out! He fires after every touchdown and when the Mountaineers are on a roll, be prepared for a loud kaboom all day long.

This year the Mountaineer takes on a different role.

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Indeed that is a woman. She is a junior at WVU and the second female to don the Mountaineer buck skins. Its been very controversial. Because come on look at the guy on the left. He is the spitting image of a Mountaineer. His name is Brady Campbell and the stereotypical West Virginia mascot. Most people feel it should be strictly a man in the uniform. But she has done a fantastic job displaying excellent school spirit.

My classes are going well. I have a fairly loaded schedule with 18 credit hours. I enjoy my journalism, Public Relations and English classes. I take a better interest in these because they are for my major. However, there are some road blocks that come in the form of Accounting and Statistics. Numbers are not my thing. Math is not my thing. These two classes have been interesting thus far. I’m staying on top and not getting behind because I know if I dig a hole for myself theres no way I’ll be able to get back out. Anybody out there with an expertise in these fields? Hit me up!

If you expected a Pirates update here I’m sorry but I really can’t pony up anything positive to say. They were on a 7 game losing skid for the ump teenth time this season. They actually pulled out a 2-1 win on Sunday over the Astros to avoid the sweep. Andrew McCutchen has been on a month long slump. He’s gone o-fer many times this month and seen his batting average drop to .270. The offense as a whole has been sluggish. Only mustering up 17 hits over the 7 day week. It’s ugly and doesn’t seem to get any better. They players don’t seem to give any heart or effort out there. They know the season is over and I can’t blame them for not giving a die hard effort.

In closing-here is something that I get to look at everyday. It is hanging in my room behind my TV. It shows the pride and passion that I will always have for the Pirates-its everlasting no matter how bad it has been or how good it will be in the future.

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Exploding like the Buc’s Themselves

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PHOTO CREDIT: msnsportsnet.com

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