Friday, March 16, 2007

Honestly Fresh

Once I attained the age of twenty-one years and had my first drop of adult beverages, I was immediately plunged into endless debates about the low quality of Budweiser and other St. Louis beers. If you are going to drink light lagers, I argued, drink local ones or drink cheap ones. Well, I am not here to rehearse the debate, but news that a St. Louis company now presents itself as honoring the great tradition of Rolling Rock strikes my ear a little wrong. It's like the Hatfields promising to take care of the McCoys, or a Houston family promising to rebuild New Orleans.

So the Rolling Rock is dead to me. With that recipe, there's no room for error. And Jersey water plus the loss of ye olde glass-lined Old Latrobe, that's plenty of error. Like a lot of you, I wash my hands of it.

The successor to my summertime lager-loving habits looks worthy: St. Marys, PA's Straub beer advertises itself as "Honestly Fresh." That's a slogan I can applaud. They also claim, legitimately and honestly, it appears, to make the beer "with Pennsylvania Mountain Spring Water." A look at the map suggests they speak true.

So I will be drinking the stuff until the hated St. Louis Cardinals buy Straub Beer and generously, out of the goodness of their heart, honor their great tradition by moving production to Cincinnati, Ohio.

Long live Straub!

Slick Willie

Jack Wilson stood out defensively, yesterday, Paul Meyer reports.

the one player who stood out above all at McKechnie Field was Pirate shortstop Jack Wilson.

Wilson had eight assists, most of them of the highlight reel variety, in the six innings he played in the Pirates' 13-1 win against Cincinnati in the first half of a day/night doubleheader against the Reds, who won the second game, 3-2, in Sarasota.

. . .

"He was awesome," center fielder Chris Duffy said of Wilson. "Last year, he wasn't moving like that, but he was real fluid [yesterday]. And his arm strength was outstanding. You can't play shortstop any better than he did [yesterday]."

"He was great," Maholm said. "That's what I like to see. One of my goals is to get ground balls hit to Jack."

Way to go, Wilson.

Exhibition today with Tampa Bay. Pretty much we've only heard good news this spring. Hopefully the team continues to play well this afternoon.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Rolling Rock not impressive

Well that was quick--we have a winner in the least impressive contest: Rolling Rock. As Hoagieman points out, we now have New Jersey water in what was once Latrobe's great summer beer.

I grew up associating "Jersey Fresh" with Joe Piscopo's Saturday Night Live sketches as the Jersey guy. New Jersey gets a lot of abuse from people in the neighboring states. It's a fine place with great people and maybe the water is good for some things.

But it's not good for Rolling Rock. I could tell something was wrong right away. It tastes different. The difference is subtle but real. And knowing more about how this is probably not just a bad batch, I won't buy it again.

Story here, protest website here.

Not impressing

Every spring, there are a ton of stories about players who are "impressing the brass."

The brass may never tell us if someone is not impressing. So--who is not impressing this Spring? We'd have to figure this out for ourselves. If we made a list of Not Impressive, who would be on it?

We'd have to limit the list to players still with the big club. Some of the early cuts are too obvious candidates.

the Rock

Rolling Rock has a special place in my heart fridge. In ye olde days, I served a lot of this stuff. It's a favorite hot-day adult beverage.

I picked up a twelve-pack tonight, and I'm pouring one down my throat. But I am not feeling it. I have not had an "extra pale" beer since probably last August. It's not so tasty right now.

Perhaps, in my eagerness for all things summer, I am pushing it.

Castillo vs. Bautista

Perrotto writes about this horse race.

I have Castillo to win and Bautista to place.

How are you forecasting this one?

exhibition: Pirates at Red Sox

Game on around one o'clock. It was kinda sad yesterday when there was no game.

Medium man

Mike Henry talks to Candy Maldonado who talks to Jose Castillo. ""I didn't feel heavy last year," Castillo said through an interpreter and fellow Venezuelan, minor-league catcher Carlos Maldonado. "But when I started losing weight, I started feeling a lot better." Story here in the Bradenton Herald.

Matt Capps

He's a pitcher, as Paul Meyer explains.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Sunday, March 11, 2007

exhibition: Pirates at Reds

Game on at "1:05pm." As an early riser and early-to-work person, I do not like daylight savings time.

And speaking of daylight, abundant sun + 50 degrees feels like 70 to me these days. I will be out of doors as much as possible this afternoon.

In this morning's Post Gazette, Dejan Kovacevic has a long biography of Torres as closer. Bones and I are stupefied by the team's decision not to buy this guy's academy. Maybe his price was too high. Elsewhere, John Perrotto has this summary of Yoslan Herrera's prospects as a Cuban defector.

And there is plenty of encouraging news and amusing Tracy quotes in Kovacevic's notebook. I am with Tracy in his evaluation of the risks and rewards of starting Freddy at second base.