Saturday, March 03, 2007

Queen Anne's Revenge

Pirate story, nyar.

Castillo hurt

According to the Trib, Jose Castillo sprained his foot today sliding into second and left the game. Bucs lost to the Yanks, 4-3. Eldred took Mussina deep.

UPDATE (5:00 PM): Dejan reports that "Tracy said a bone near the front of the foot was tender and that, if that remained the case tomorrow, X-rays will be taken". Why not give him an X-ray today?

Snell impressive

Bucs lose, but not before Snell shows off the improved slider. Funny typo/slip/joke? in Dejan's notebook on Snell and Armas starting strong:

Manager Jim Tracy called the combined work of Snell and Tracy "very impressive."
Pat at WHYGAVS liveblogged his viewing of the game, and wasn't impressed with Armas. Anyone who watched the game have any comments on Armas, Snell, or anything else?

PPR #19

Pirates Roundtable #19 features six answers to two questions: one on the bullpen, and one on the bench. For the second question, I mention six guys (Jose H., Jose C./B., Doumit, Cota, McLouth, and Matos) for five bench spots. Someone has to go. I'd bet Cota. If Jose H. never/very rarely starts, he'll be free to be the emergency catcher. The idea at the end of the distracting gimmick being eyepatches and parrots was all Leeeny.

Friday, March 02, 2007

exhibition: Pirates at Braves

The Pirates' official site schedule says this one will be on ESPN.

Dejan Kovacevic interviews Gonzo here.

Steelers cut Porter

Ed Bouchette describes the move. Note to self: Do not threaten to boycott training camp during the transition from old boss to new boss.

The top 100 prospects

The Pirates have a few on Baseball America's list: McCutchen (#13), Lincoln (#69), Walker (#74). Lillibridge, the guys the Braves got with Gonzo for LaRoche, comes in at #93.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Game on: Reds at Pirates

The Reds and Pirates will play some exhibition ball in an hour. This will be on WPGB (danger: auto-loading Lanny at this link), and this will be on Gameday audio.

... two home runs from Luis Matos. Who knew? I can hear it now. Opening day: now starting in right field ... "Slugger" Matos.

Deserving it

A week or so ago, Jack Wilson made some comments about wanting to win for the fans. Because, he said, the fans deserve to see the Pirates win. At the time I thought that was charming and somewhat commonplace. But the comment has rattled about in the back of my head. Something about it struck me as not right.

I can't speak for all the fans. I can't speak for anyone but myself. But I feel included when people talk about fans enduring the massive losing streaks of the last twenty years.

I don't feel that I deserve anything from the Pirates. The players, the owners, the coaches, etc., they do not owe me. There is no debt to be paid. I have taken the entertainment offered by Pirates baseball, as much and as little as I want, on my own terms. It is mine. I made it from their pathetic to mediocre performances. And much of this fun has been at the team's expense.

So I am very sure of this. I do not deserve to see the Pirates win 90 games.

That said, I want the Pirates to win 90 games.

I want it. I must have it. I will have it. One of these days it will happen.

In the meantime, if I don't get it, I will find some way to amuse myself. That's more or less what I have been doing with the blog all along.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Perfect innings

Cuban defector Yoslan Herrera pitched two perfect innings in the Pirates' 8-1 exhibition-opening rout of Manatee Community College today at McKechnie Field. Herrera, pitching competitively for the first time since 2005, started and struck out two while facing the minimum six batters.

It is good to read about perfect innings.

Shawn Chacon, bionic man

Dejan Kovacevic, something about Jim Colborn, we can rebuild him, better, stronger, faster.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

How Ian Snell rolls

Ian Snell describes his favorite car in this Trib diary.

Check it out.

The man can do no wrong. He does a lot of work on the car himself. "When you get oil and grease on your hands, it's the hardest thing to get off," he says. "Before spring training I was working on my turbo, and it took me about three weeks to get some oil off my hands."

Intersquad action

They played some baseball today.

Brad Eldred hit a two-run home run in his first at-bat off Sean Burnett, a blast off the roof of the clubhouse beyond left-center field. Nate McLouth hit a three-run home run off Shane Youman. Luis Matos made two fine defensive plays in the outfield, including throwing out Andrew McCutchen at the plate when McCutchen tried to score from second on a single.

Neil Walker made no errors in his first game at third base since converting from catcher.

Burnett started but failed to make it through an inning, running up 28 pitches and giving up four consecutive hits before the half-inning was called off.

That's Dejan Kovacevic reporting for the Post-Gazette.

Young starter throws 28 pitches and fails to make it out of the first inning! It's exhilarating. I'm kinda drunk just thinking about it.

$2.3M paid for baseball card

Nice! Congratulations to the new owner.

Nutting speaks

Dejan Kovacevic records some player comments about a twenty-minute speech by Bob Nutting.

None of the players used the phrase "fish tale" when describing the speech.

Sanchez at third, Castillo at second

Dejan Kovacevic has a vibe.

Stats Geek

Jason Bay is good.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Backup catcher

Dejan Kovacevic handicaps the very exciting race to be backup catcher. As expected, the extent to which Doumit will be used elsewhere more or less guarantees the team will carry a third catcher.


... is on track to start on Opening Day, Dejan Kovacevic reports.

The same report says Walker looks good at third. Perhaps this is why Sanchez has been studying second.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Sanchez at second

The Sporting News runs with this AP article.

With Nady slowed, I wonder if we won't see Bautista in right and Castillo at third on Opening Day.

Adjustment period

Rob Biertempfel writes about the "adjustment period" experienced last year.

The adjustment period carried over into the regular season, hampered perhaps by the Pirates' 30-60 start.

The "adjustment period" or "transition period" talk annoys me because it's just an excuse. Whenever there is an ownership change or a managerial change, this excuse will be handy. And excuses are much too tempting for professional athletes and coaches. These people are not so hardy any more. They are soft. Put an excuse within reach, and they will grab it.

There's no excusing the historically bad start. It is possible that the coaches and the team will learn from it. It is not likely they will repeat it. They were that bad.

I understand the need to put a good spin on the end of the season. Everything depends on selling tickets. And it's not deceitful to point out that the team's record in the second half was not bad. I sympathize with Tracy and Littlefield and everyone else who wants to talk pretty about 2007. I hope they sell a lot of tickets. I know I will be buying some.

But I think it's cowardly to say anything less than, "I made mistakes. We made mistakes. We screwed up." And it would be refreshing to say, "We made so many mistakes, we can't be sure exactly which ones caused such losing of epic proportions." The team's owner, for better or worse, has confidence in the manager, the general manager, and the players on the 40-man roster. That's all they need--his confidence. They are not politicians. The people will not vote to keep one or the other before the season begins. If I was partly responsible for the horror of 2006, and people were asking me those questions about "What happened," I'd say, "We did not win games. Obviously, I made a bunch of mistakes. There is plenty of blame to go around when there is so much failure but obviously, when there is that much losing at the start of the season, obviously I made a bunch of mistakes. That said, I am working as hard as I can to not make those same mistakes. I talk to people all the time about those mistakes. I am gathering what I think to be very good advice about those mistakes. I will not make them twice. And I think I know what we need to do to win games. I have a plan for success in 2007. And I am grateful that I still have a job and the oppportunity to execute that plan."

That's the speech I would write.

Meanwhile, when they blame the team's first-half failure - their complete, consistent, and thorough failure - on the turbulence of an "adjustment period," it does not make me, a regular-old, lifelong fan of the team, any more confident in their ability to pull themselves together and win many ballgames in April.

Blogger for hire

Manny Stiles will do anything for charity. Reads to me like he really wants to cover the Yankees.

Peace in the Middle East

That and other things in Dejan Kovacevic's Sunday notebook.

Also note that McCutchen is Mr. Talent.