Saturday, June 24, 2006

Game 76: Pirates at Dodgers

Duke vs. Sele, 10:10 PM EST. DK reports: "If they lose again tonight, it will mark the franchise's first 10-game losing streak in nearly four decades: That came with an 0-10 slide July 6-15, 1968." We will ... dust off the record book.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Game 75: Pirates at Dodgers

Ollie vs. Tomko, 10:40 PM EST. No rotting garbage in the showcase. Bucs try to lose their ninth straight and further humiliate everyone involved. What kind of unthinkable disgrace is in store for us tonight? A bench-clearing brawl in which Jason Bay is beat up by the Dodgers ballgirl?

Rock bottom

Probably not yet. The next 16 games leading up to the All-Star break are brutal: we play LAD, CWS, DET, NYM (for 4 games), and PHI, who have a combined record of 211-149 (.586). At this point, I could easily imagine losing ALL of these games, setting up the scenario Billy is hoping for.

DL vs. Bowden

Drunk with bloodlust from annihilating Bavasi 164-34, DL is pulverizing top seed Jim Bowden in Dodger Math's Worst G.M. Finals.

To return to the UFC (ultimate fighting championship) analogy, DL, the Royce Gracie of worst G.M.s, destroyed Bavasi in a lopsided match that looked something like this. "The kung fu representative is totally helpless. Not only is he running out of air, but he cannot stop the blows. It's a terrifying feeling."

The DL vs. Bowden match will probably look more like this. Bowden, although on the surface a more formidable opponent, will submit just like all the others. To witness the carnage and/or vote for DL, look here.

Vote for DL

More on this later, but the much anticipated DL vs. Bowden Worst G.M. Finals just started. If you can wash enough of today's feculence off your hands to touch your keyboard or mouse, click here to vote for DL.


Dejan's Friday Q+A is pretty mild, all things considered. When asked about why RV is still on the team, DK advises:

"... do not let it slip under the radar that the Pirates abruptly changed Josh Sharpless' role in Indianapolis from late relief to long relief three weeks ago. That move was made, quite specifically, because the team wants to find a way to slot him into the major-league bullpen."
Or maybe management has realized that this team needs more than one mop-up man.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Game 74: Pirates at Royals

The daily humiliation ritual starts now with Maholm vs. Elarton. Maholm looks for his first road victory of the year. Craig is starting in RF, batting sixth. Our Fearsome DH, the Mighty Joe Randa, bats seventh, ensuring that CW will get good pitches to hit. Cota is catching. The world itself is only a speck of dust. And the Pirates fan is tiny helpless!

Craiggers to Anaheim?

A little speculation might flavor that burning battery-acid taste in your mouth.

So, who do we get in return? Adam Kennedy? He could play some first base, pinch hit a lot, and even DH now and then.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Game 73: Pirates at Royals

Ian Snell and Ed Wood. Eight pm eastern.

... Bill Toland seeks punchlines (see fifth paragraph) on Nutting's infamous quote: "We would do nothing that would embarrass the Pirates or the sport of baseball."

I had a hard time making funny in response. All I could say is shame on him.

Now I say, "How can you be embarrassed when you have no shame?"

... Smizik is good today, but Bones said said it better, I think. Give Smizik a break, though: they can't use words like "ass" and "shit" in the PG.

Big Green Riding Hood

Roethlisberger is wearing a hood.

In other news, the Steelers still trail the Bengals in crime. The addition of Santonio Holmes has been a big boost to the team's collective rap sheet, but not enough to put them on top.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Game 72: Pirates at Royals

Kip Wells and Tike Redman. If tonight's episode is Choke-a-Rama II: Bases Loaded, No Outs, then we know for sure they have stopped taping new shows. I'd hate to see another half-year of re-runs, but that's what it looks like we'll see. Small-market teams just can't afford to tape a whole season of original material.

We would do nothing that would embarrass the Pirates or the sport of baseball

Robert Nutting said this in response to questions about the propriety of a MLB owner also owning a casino, which he just purchased:

"We would do nothing that would embarrass the Pirates or the sport of baseball," he said.

The owners do not understand thirteen years of losing, culminating in a young team incapable of winning even 40% of their games, as an embarrassment for the Pirates and the sport of baseball.

It is an embarrassment for the Pirates, for the sport of baseball, and, most important to me, for all the fans of the Pirates. My grandfather is rolling in his grave I'm sure. Perhaps the business owners and management have no cause to be embarrassed, but surely the customers are embarrassed.

The quote, though taken out of context, suggests that Robert Nutting disagrees. Those who have argued that the current ownership and front office lack the will to compete are looking more and more right to me. They would rather own ski resorts. There is no other explanation of how these teams, which look mediocre on paper, continue to lose at a horrific pace--as though losing was an acceptable cost of doing business. Where did the players learn that there's no reason to "demoralize themselves" by reading the MLB standings every morning? The ownership ultimately bears responsibility not just for tolerating, but also for teaching such losing habits. They sign the checks; they have considerable influence over the players. If they are not embarrassed, why should the players be embarrassed?

The Tribune-Review's Robin Acton reports the conflict-of-interest created by the Nutting purchase may jeopardize the resort's acquisition of a slots license. Here's to hoping this signals a quick sale of the club. If the Nuttings don't own the club, they will easily get their slots for their ski resort. So maybe they anticipate that conflict-of-interest disappearing soon?

Or maybe not. And of course, it's not hard to imagine a world in which they get their baseball team and their slot machines.

Monday, June 19, 2006

More Matt Peterson in return

Dejan Kovacevic did his Monday chat today. This part stands out:

NiceThrowBarry: Have you heard any rumblings about possible minor league players from other organizations the Pirates might try to plunder at the deadline? I know Colorado has a gem 1B at AAA stuck behind Helton.

Dejan Kovacevic: Do not get your hopes up. The Pirates will be offering rentals, as they do most every summer. That means you will be getting Matt Peterson in return. I know many tend to get their hopes up because they think Craig Wilson should be dealt for a player of equal value. That just is not how it works, except in very rare cases.

We are powerless against the Gracie family jiu-jitsu.

DL vs. Bavasi

Please, take a minute as a true Pirates fan to cast your vote for the one truly deserving Bucco. Although this midsummer competition on the surface might seem meaningless, who knows what the future repercussions of such a symbolic honor might be? Of course this Bucco is Dave Littlefield, and the competition is Dodger Math's Worst G.M. tournament. (Link via Pat.)

Enraged by a disrespectful #2 seed and well rested after a first round bye, DL, the Royce Gracie (mid-90s version) of Worst G.M.s, triangle choked Kevin Towers to the tune of a 134 to 15 tapout. Now the blood-soaked DL looks to rip apart Bill Bavasi to advance to the finals, where he'll face the winner of Jim Bowden and Dan O'Dowd. Stepping into the octagon with DL, Bavasi is in way over his big bald head. Bavasi's Angels from 1994-1999 finished over .500 THREE times. This year, Bavasi's M's are 34-37 and only 5 games back. Bavasi challenging DL for Worst G.M.? Forget about it. Help DL earn what is rightfully his: Vote for DL for Worst G.M. here, as the round 3 DL-Bavasi match just started.

Game 71: D-backs at Pirates

Top of the 7th, Bucs down 4-2. Duke gave up all four runs in 5 IP. Both Bucco runs came on a Bautista jack in the 5th.

UPDATE (bottom of 7th): Don't mind all the losing - KDKA just announced Bay has moved into the starting All-Star lineup.

We are family

Jim points at Jack:

Pirates manager Jim Tracy felt Perez should have gotten out of the eighth with no scoring. Tracy said, "I've seen that play made" when asked about Castillo's infield single -- a comment that dumbfounded (Jack) Wilson.

"Wow, he said that?" Wilson said. "That's his opinion. I did my best to make that play. It was a jam job, a soft line drive and I'm going full bore for that ball. About the only chance you have on that play is if the third baseman can get to it."

Maybe Tracy was just trying to support Ollie here. Jim is coming off a nice week of praising Freddy and Bautista. I've just never seen a manager publicly point so many fingers at people other than himself.