Friday, July 07, 2006

Game 88: Pirates at Phillies

Ian Snell vs. Jon Lieber, 7:05 PM EST. Bucs are 29-58. What will happen first, Win #30 or Loss #60?

Roethlisberger must be feeling better

Although he was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident last month Roethlisberger announced that he will play in a celebrity golf tournament and appear in a music video. He will be playing in the American Century Championship, a tournament in Lake Tahoe, NV, July 14-16. In addition, this upcoming tuesday Roethlisberger will be shooting a music video at Heinz Field for The PovertyNeck Hillbillies, a country music group in Pittsburgh.

And for our entertainment NBC will televise the second and third rounds of the American Century Championship. Hopefully he didn't get any uglier than he already was.

Trial for Holmes

Top Pittsburgh Steelers draft pick Santonio Holmes faces trial next month on domestic violence charges despite the refusal of the alleged victim, the mother of his child, to cooperate with prosecutors.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Game 87: Pirates at Mets

Gorzelanny vs. Trachsel, just underway. Showcase packed full of rotting garbage tonight, as both Randa and Furnitz get starts. Mets are resting Beltran. Freddy batting second, which I like. The Rake seems to like it too, as he just doubled.

Mid-term grades from Rowdy

Here's the All-Star Break approaching. Time to hand out grades.

Owners: F. Gentility does not excuse chiselling; it further condemns it. Have they no sense of honor? Few pro teams are run with such bad faith. The elusiveness of the group testifies to their dishonesty. If they had nothing to hide, they would do more to vindicate their pathetic efforts. Their silence and inaction is damning. So is the evidence of emulation shown in the lower branches of their organization.

The GM: F. A company man who values loyalty above conscience. He has done some good work, I think, but the way he enables this fraud, year after year, far outweighs the good work he's done.

The coaches: F. More company men who value loyalty above conscience. In his shorter stay with the team, Jim Tracy has been less competent and more vain than David Littfield.

The players: F. This group of fakers blame everyone but themselves. They are fully complicit in the fraud which has been this team. They are too talented, individually, to play this poorly, collectively.

The fans: A minus. The fans should get an A for sticking with this team, despite the obviously addictive beauty of the ballpark, which makes it so much easier. I take points off, however, for the profound lack of self-respect which prevents us from developing more productive and rewarding hobbies. We have very little free time, and we squander it inventing new ways to ridicule these losers?

Feel free to leave your grades in the comments. With the All-Star Break approaching, this is a good time to debate and air our sense of the crimes this team commits, almost daily, against the most basic rules of sportsmanship.

Let this be your inspiration.

Tracy jinxes Wall Street

Even if one wanted to make the argument that everything Jim Tracy touched this year turned into shit, there's most likely no causality between Tracy ringing the opening bell at the NYSE and the Dow falling 0.68% today. But I'm curious, why in the world was he asked to perform this ceremonial act? Do other visiting NL managers get asked to do the same? Did Tracy ring the bell in uniform? Were stepsons Jose Hernandez and Mike Edwards present to assist in the bell-ringing?

Just because Tracy tried to take the blame for blocking Freddy with Randa, and the next day throws his hat down to get ejected, should his critics ease up?

One-run game record

DK unearths the ugly truth:

"The Pirates are the first team in baseball history to lose 25 one-run games by the Fourth of July, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The previous high was 24 by the 1971 Houston Astros."

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Game 86: Pirates at Mets

"We" Wells and Orlando Hernandez. Kip will try to lower his 15.19 ERA.

All I hope for is a close game. If the Pirates get a big lead, here's hoping we're not bored with the Mets failing to rally. I also hope we get to see some of the greatest defensive plays we'll ever see. It's OK if the Mets make them. I just want to see them.

I'm also thinking the Pirates could use the All-Star Break to unveil some new uniform details. They could further collect all the undervalued style points the rest of the league (foolishly) neglect in the pursuit of vulgar double-yous.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Game 85: Pirates at Mets

The New Tom Glavine vs. The Old Tom Glavine, 1:10 PM EST.

Which is better: Bengals or Steelers?

Are you not sick to death with all this celebration of Super Bowl victory? Could the Steelers, with all that emphasis on winning, be any less original? After watching the games, purchasing the Big Ben jerseys, the Terrible Towels with the SB score, the t-shirts, the licence plate frames, the beer huggies, etc., are you not feeling empty and unsatisfied? Where is the pleasure? Where is the fun?

The Pirates have me in mind of the 1990s Bengals. Like many fans, I am turning a corner. Winning isn't everything! If we just enjoy the game for what it is, we can achieve a zen-like appreciation of the finer things in life. Like, for example, how Jamey Carroll made one of the greatest defensive plays I'll ever see on radio! Greg Brown was wise beyond his years when he alerted me to the meaning of that excitement.

The 1990s Bengals were characterized by a different attitude. They were original. They did not approach the game the way the other teams approached the game. A come-from-behind victory, they understood in their bones, is worth three or four boring-snoring, "winning ugly" Steeler victories. Fortune favors the brave, they knew. They would bravely spot the opposition seven, fourteen, even twenty-eight points before uncorking the potent beauty of Jeff Blake's dazzling air show.

Such play did not win many games or championships, but that's the point, see. They were above the commonplace, cro-magnon obsession with lofty station and diamond bling. They were different. They were brave!

The Steelers should see the light and adjust their attitude. They need to buck up! Nothing diminishes the beauty and satisfaction of professional sport so thoroughly as this obsession with winning at all costs.

The One-run Losses

Brian O'Neill writes about them.

In addition to the one-run loss record, I wonder if the Bucs are not setting a record for most innings in which they trail. And most runs scored while trailing.

Luck cannot explain the amount of losing the Pirates have done in one-run games. Or the amount of losing they have achieved despite the obvious ability to score 11 runs in a single game.

It is not luck. It is skill. They are magicians!

The Pirates are 29-55 this morning. They have won 34.5% of all games. They are consistently magical! They have won three of the last ten.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Game 84: Pirates at Mets

Paul Maholm vs. John Maine. Starting in fifteen minutes. Maine is starting for Pedro Martinez, who has a sore hip from when he "slipped in the bathroom and fell while changing his shirt during a series in Florida in May". Sounds like something that would happen to the Bucs. Although the Mets are currently the best team in the NL, they've lost five of their last six.

Big Ben almost ready to go

Roethlisberger seems to be recovering nicely. The Post Gazette reports that he is expected to start throwing light passes by the end of this week. Also, his weight has remained nearly the same as this time last year. Looks good folks. He could be ready as early as the second preseason game.

DL feels good

Nevermind the standings, DL feels good:

"Obviously, it's a little clouded right now because our record is not good, and it's been a disappointing season relative to this point and my own expectations," Littlefield said before a 9-8 loss Sunday to Detroit. "But I do feel good in that we've got some talent and I'm confident we'll play better and win more games sooner than later."
More meaningless bullshit from DL. Dave, your Bucs are now 28-55 (.337), the worst team in all of baseball. When I think of the Bucs, I feel terrible. Only the Worst. G.M. would waste his time attempting such turd-polishing. The Pirates are now an unthinkable 8-24 in one-run games. The AP report comments:
However, it also can be argued that one-run losses are indicative merely of a poor team. The expansion 1962 New York Mets, considered the majors' worst team in the last 50 years, had 19 one-run losses at this point of the season. Of those 120 Mets losses, 38 were by one run. They had only two fewer one-run losses than they did victories.
DL has proven himself wholly incompetent, and should be relieved of his duties at once.

All hail the Rake!

Freddy Sanchez, All-Star.

"I'm more thrilled for Freddy," said Bay. "I called my wife and told her Freddy made it. And then I said, 'Oh yeah, I did, too.'"
The Rise of the Rake has been, for me, the most encouraging story of the Pirates this year. All hail Freddy!

Earth stops spinning

In a completely unprecedented move, Tracy uses the words "shame" and "me" in the same sentence:

"Shame on me for saying Freddy Sanchez is a utility player for what this guy has done," said Jim Tracy. "Freddy Sanchez is a winner."
It's ironic that Tracy's first attempt at humility is awkward and undeserved, as he tries to dislodge DL under the wheels on the bus with his own worthless corpus.

(Ed Eagle link via Billy).

All-Star Shame

As much as I'm happy that Freddy and Bay are getting some props, overall I'm ashamed of the Pirates' All-Star game PR blitz. My shame skyrocketed the first time I heard Brownie reading that godawful poetry during a game broadcast, as the game in the background went ignored. Now, DK's Friday Q+A brings the news that Pirates employees have been encouraged to stuff the ballot box while on the clock. I agree that:

"... it's embarrassing to see half of our lineup among the top vote-getters at their position. There is something creepy and disingenuous about teams paying people to vote for their players."
There is also something creepy and disingenuous about the entire McNutting-DL Axis of Evil. I hope that some of the national media attention generated by the All-Star game focuses on why the Bucs have been losers for 14 straight years.

F

In case you missed it, DK handed out midseason grades on Friday to the Bucs. Freddy got an A+, but covered up his answers from cheating losers DL and Tracy, who both earned well-deserved F's.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Game 83: Tigers at Pirates

Zach Minor vs. Ian Snell, 1:35 PM EST.

Ollie bumAAAye!

Despite losing, Flaco got on the good foot in Indy. "He tied a ballpark record with 13 strikeouts in seven innings, but gave up the winning home run to Ryan Ludwick in the seventh as the Indians lost, 2-1 ... His velocity was consistently in the 92-95 mph range."

Jeff Andrews, the pitching coach for the Indianapolis Indians, opined: "If he continues to throw like this, then obviously he won't be here very long ... It was a very encouraging start." Later and off the record, Andrews might have boasted: "I could coach circles around Jim Colborn".

Duffy returns

Duffy speaks.

"The thought of going to Indy the first few days just made me sick. There was no way. Or going back to Pittsburgh, no way. I thought, 'I don't want to do that again. I don't want to feel that way again. And then over time, I started visualizing myself hanging out with the guys and being in the locker room and looking in from center field and it started bringing a smile to my face. ... And that's when I felt it starting to turn around for me."
Welcome back, Chris. Best of luck with the comeback. Duffy will return to CF for Indy tonight, ending his seven week baseball hiatus.