Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sunday, December 20, 2009

NFL week 15: Packers at Steelers

National public opinion is clearly behind the Packers with this one.

I would like to see the Steelers commit to the run, as they did in ye olde days. Sure the Packers have the #2 ranked rush defense right now -- that should not matter.

Also expect to see the Steelers getting some turnovers.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

More Hot Stove

The news about the Pirates hardly making a Morris dime depresses me. Not what I wanted to learn. I was holding out a feeble candle of hope for the theory that they were making it hand over fist--and socking the dough away to fund a forthcoming dynasty. Hey, a guy can dream.

I am not sure what will happen to baseball over the next few decades, but if the Pirates string together another ten losing seasons, or lose in eight or nine of the next ten, then it's going to be very hard to explain how it makes sense to field or support the Washington Generals year after year. It's already hard to explain. Things do not appear to be getting better. Even if the front office has incredible luck making trades and developing talent, there's not much hope for regular winning seasons if they can never pay competitive salaries.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Dollar bills

Frank and Bob show Dejan the money. Over the past two years, the Bucs have made barely enough money to employ Matt Morris for a year.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

NFL week 12: Steelers at Ravens

Dennis Dixon Era kicks off tonight. If I'm Tomlin, I lean heavily on Dixon's fake Statue of Liberty when the game gets close.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Tracy wins, bloviates, still intrigued

“What we’re talking about this afternoon, it’s probably as flattering an experience as I’ve come to realize during the course of my professional career in athletics,” Tracy said. “And obviously a new contract is extremely exciting. But what is more intriguing for me is what is still out there for our ballclub.”

Sunday, November 15, 2009

NFL week 10: Bengals at Steelers

Steelers down 6-3 in the first. Not much tackling on special teams so far.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Monday, November 09, 2009

NFL week 9: Steelers at Broncos

Should be a tough spot for the Steelers.

I am curious to see if they will make tackles on special teams. Also wondering if Mendenhall can protect the ball.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009


Jesse Chavez and his Upside traded to the Rays for playoff-minded Akinori Iwamura. Dejan breaks down some of the fallout. Still not clear if Gerut's expensive knee brace can be recycled.

Friday, October 23, 2009

NFL week 7: Vikings at Steelers

Should be a good one on Sunday.

That last comment thread got so big, I thought maybe we should start the new one early.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

NFL Week 6: Browns at Steelers

That was not a pretty win. Steelers appear to have all kinds of problems.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Respect the Towel

Sean Leahy notes for the USA Today that the Titans have not won since the infamous descration.

In other news, Aaron Smith to the IR looks like a wise decision to me. Get well Aaron.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Monday, October 05, 2009

Withdrawal symptoms

Please describe what weirdness, if any, you feel in this week without baseball, 2009 Pirates-style.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Game 160: Pirates at Reds

Pirates need a win to avoid the 100-loss season.

Tonight at seven it is McCutchen and Lehr.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Game 159: Pirates at Cubs

Pirates up 3-0. If my math is trusty, a win today would clinch a no-100-loss season.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Monday, September 28, 2009

Game 155: Dodgers at Pirates

Final home game of the year. The Dodgers will try again to clinch their division with a win today.

Spike said it best: "Not in our empty house!"

Kuroda and Duke at twelve-thirty.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Game 153: Dodgers at Pirates

Maholm and Wolf at seven. After receiving the biggest and shiniest bunting ribbon, the International Bunting Champion gets to sing back-up vocals on a Foreigner set - in their native language! ジュークボックスの英雄!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Game 152: Dodgers at Pirates

Garland and Karstens at seven. To protect the integrity of the travesty and to capitalize on G-20, the Bucs should just start billing the games not as baseball contests, but as stunts such as "The International Bunting Olympics". They could bring up and field a team of Rinku, Dinesh, Gift, Starling, Yoslan, the New Zealander, the North Pole kid, and that Easter Island guy. A resigned Kuwata could pitch. Everybody bunts, whoever gets on base the most wins. In the short term, the Bucs could really benefit by acquiring a market of people who didn't understand the real rules of this game of baseball.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Monday, September 21, 2009

Sunday, September 20, 2009

NFL Week 2: Steelers at Bears

Game on pretty soon.

When I think Steelers at Soldier Field, I remember this game. Chicago is never an easy road game.

Game 147: Padres at Pirates

Correia and Maholm at 1:35. Bucs have won 3 of their last 22 games, so just by random chance should win a game pretty soon.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Friday, September 18, 2009

Game 145: Padres at Pirates

Stauffer and Morton at seven.

G-20 surprise: South Africa volunteers navy to escort ships full of revenue-sharing money.


Three dingers for Pedro. Todd Redmond gets the win.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Game 143: Pirates at Dodgers

Duke and Wolf after ten.

Pirates have won 55 and lost 87. Not sure what good comes of this last month of baseball. #2 pick in each round of the 2010 draft I suppose.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

NFL Week 1: Titans at Steelers

Oh yeah.

If you have one of the 89 accounts in the Honest Wagner NFL pick 'em pool at, you should find yourself still in the pool when you log on next. If you are not in the pool and want to join, use the invite posted in the comments thread.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Game 135: Cardinals at Pirates

Pineiro and Maholm at one or two.

Pirates are 53-81. The winning percentage starts with 3.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Game 133: Cardinals at Pirates

Wainwright and Hart at seven or so.

Next year's beer fort will have a cannon or two and much stouter walls. No fun sleeping in a ditch as I wait for the Steeler Palace to open up and receive the homeless Pirate fans.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Game 132: Pirates at Reds

Another day game. Duke and Bailey.

Probably going to be a sellout for this one.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Game 130: Pirates at Reds

Maholm and Cueto in game 2.

Game 129: Pirates at Reds

Daniel McCutchen and Kip Wells at one.

Kip has made 32 big-league starts since he left the Pirates in 2006. He's played for Texas, St. Louis, Kansas City, Colorado, Washington, and Cincinnati.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Game 126: Pirates at Brewers

Duke and Parra at eight.

The Pirates are 18-43 on the road this year. That's improbably bad.

There should be some hidden vigorish there. Jones and McCutchen can look for it.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Game 126: Phillies at Pirates

ROY candidate Happ and Morton at seven.

Jones and McCutchen have a chance to mess up his hair.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Game 125: Phillies at Pirates

Maholm and Hamels at seven.

For Milledge's next walk-off jack, I'd be entertained if Tony Beasley slipped a trampoline onto the third base line just in time for Lastings to bounce off that and do a flip into a crowd of victorious Bucs waiting to catch him at home.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Monday, August 24, 2009

Off day

Pirates chill and wait for the Phillies.

They are 51-71, in last place, and on pace for 67, maybe 68 wins.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Game 123: Reds at Pirates

Hart and Bailey at 1:35 for the basement.

Game 122: Reds at Pirates

Duke and Lehr at seven. Helpless people on a subway train scream bug-eyed as he looks in on them.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Monday, August 17, 2009

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Game 116: Pirates at Cubs

Duke and Gorzelanny at one. If Duke and Karstens give up 20+ runs, there's no other guy I'd rather see get the win than Gorzo.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Game 114: Pirates at Rockies

Maholm vs. Marquis at 3:10.

"That's the kind of baseball you play to hopefully get yourself to the point where you get a chance to do something very special," says Tracy, who wears a gray T-shirt with one word across the front to describe the team's play: "Sick."

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Game 112: Pirates at Rockies

Bunting practice starts at 8:40. Josh Fogg and Joe Beimel will be there.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Game 111: Cardinals at Pirates

Duke and Pineiro the Stingiest at 1:35.

Upside overflows in Dejan's new top 30 prospect list.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Game 110: Cardinals at Pirates

Wainwright vs. Morton at seven.

Don't miss Gary Smith's piece for SI on Gift. We're rooting for Gift. Even if he doesn't have the stick, we'd pay for Skyblast just to see him dance during Mr. Roboto.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Game 108: Diamondbacks at Pirates

Scherzer and new guy Hart at 7.

Pirates are 45-62 and still own last place in the NL Central. Only the Nats (36-72) and the Padres (44-65) have worse records.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Game 107: Diamondbacks at Pirates

Davis and Ohlendorf tonight.

The Pirates would know Davis from his Milwaukee days, if any these Pirates had been Pirates back when Davis was in his Milwaukee days.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Game 104: Nationals at Pirates

Game 3 of this epic 4-game series.

Balester clowns it for Washington. Maholm will try to be funny for Pittsburgh.

Game on at 1:30.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Game 103: Nationals at Pirates

The battle for laughingstock of the National League continues.

Stammen and Vasquez at 7.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Game 102: Nationals at Pirates

Lannan and Ohlendorf at seven.

First-row fans can welcome Lastings Milledge with a big high five.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

New guys

Here's the list of people acquired by trade in the last year.

... 6pm updated to include the latest Grabow/Gorzelanny trade.

RHP Daniel McCutchen (Marte/Nady trade)
OF Jose Tabata (Marte/Nady trade)
RHP Jeff Karstens (Marte/Nady trade)
RHP Ross Ohlendorf (Marte/Nady trade)
RHP Bryan Morris (Bay trade)
3B Andy LaRoche (Bay trade)
RHP Craig Hansen (Bay trade)
OF Brandon Moss (Bay trade)
C Jason Jaramillo (Ballgame trade)
CF Gorkys Hernandez (McLouth trade)
RHP Charlie Morton (McLouth trade)
LHP Jeffrey Locke (McLouth trade)
OF Lastings Milledge (Morgan/Burnett trade)
RHP Joel Hanrahan (Morgan/Burnett trade)
SS Argenis Diaz (Deerhunter trade)
RHP Hunter Strickland (Deerhunter trade)
1B/C Jeff Clement (Wilson trade)
IF Ronny Cedeno (Wilson trade)
RHP Aaron Pribanic (Wilson trade)
RHP Brett Lorin (Wilson trade)
RHP Nathan Adcock (Wilson trade)
RHP Tim Alderson (Sanchez trade)
RHP Kevin Hart (Grabow/Gorzelanny trade)
RHP Jose Ascanio (Grabow/Gorzelanny trade)
3B Josh Harrison (Grabow/Gorzelanny trade)

Here are the Coonelly/Huntington draft classes.

The 2009 class might still be a work-in-progress. There are a number of unsigned draftees with college plans and large above-slot signing bonus demands.

C Tony Sanchez (2009 draft)
RHP Victor Black (2009 draft)
RHP Brooks Pounders (2009 draft)
CF Evan Chambers (2009 draft)
LHP Nate Baker (2009 draft)
RHP Trent Stevenson (2009 draft)
2B Brock Holt (2009 draft)
1B Aaron Baker (2009 draft)
SS Walker Gourley (2009 draft)
RHP Ryan Beckman (2009 draft)
RHP Phillip Irwin (2009 draft)
OF Jose Hernandez (2009 draft)
RHP Jason Erickson (2009 draft)
SS Ty Summerlin (2009 draft)
OF Pat Irvine (2009 draft)
LHP Zach Fuesser (2009 draft)
RHP Marc Baca (2009 draft)
RHP Teddy Fallon (2009 draft)

3B Pedro Alvarez (2008 draft)
SS Jordy Mercer (2008 draft)
SS Chase D’Arnaud (2008 draft)
LHP Justin Wilson (2008 draft)
CF Robert Grossman (2008 draft)
SS Benjamin Gonzalez (2008 draft)
3B Jeremy Farrell (2008 draft)
3B Matthew Hague (2008 draft)
CF David Rubinstein (2008 draft)
1B Calvin Anderson (2008 draft)
RHP Michael Colla (2008 draft)
LHP Christopher Aure (2008 draft)
CF Wesley Freeman (2008 draft)
SS Jarek Cunningham (2008 draft)
RHP Quinton Miller (2008 draft)
RHP Brent Klinger (2008 draft)
RHP Brian Leach (2008 draft)
CF Edwin Roman (2008 draft)
CF Kyle Saukko (2008 draft)
C Mark Carver (2008 draft)
3B Matthew Payne (2008 draft)
LHP Tyler Cox (2008 draft)
OF Kyle Morgan (2008 draft)
RHP Alan Knotts (2008 draft)
RHP Albert Fagan (2008 draft)
C Chris Simmons (2008 draft)
LHP Mike Williams (2008 draft)
RHP Allen Ponder (2008 draft)
RHP Owen Brolsma (2008 draft)
RHP Zachary Foster (2008 draft)
OF Craig Parry (2008 draft)

(Thanks to WTM for the draft information.)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Giants win baseball game

Game over. Freddy Sanchez trade watch back on.

Duke and Grabow polished up their trade value this afternoon. Capps, not so much.

Pirates do not play until 7pm on Friday, which is July 31.

... Kovacevic tweets Freddy told to stay at the ballpark.

... Tim Alderson for Freddy. Guy is really young and pitches.

... Curious that some Giants fans would be sick about this. The Giants are 9 games over .500, and a pitching prospect is a pitching prospect. Charlie's right to say the majority of these guys do not pan out. But the Pirates were trading Sanchez, did not want him for 2010, and they have to take what they can get for him. It's not exactly a free market out there with only a few teams interested in dealing for the players the team wants to trade.

Also, I like the idea of overloading the minors with talent. Let these young players compete with each other and learn from one another. The team cannot have too many pitching prospects and in a real way, the addition of every one increases the chances that the team develops useful starters out of the minor-league system.

Keep improving your odds, and you will come out ahead. So Young Alderson does not need to be a #3 starter for the Pirates for this strategy to pay off. And if he does not work out and others do, it's not fair to say the Pirates got nothing from the deal. Because they did get something: they get another chance to employ a strategy that is more likely to succeed the more times it is employed.

Game 101: Pirates at Giants

Duke and Cain at 3:45 eastern.

Pirates are 43-57 on the season. 17-38 on the road.

... Pirates trade Jack Wilson and Ian Snell to Seattle for Jeff Clement, Ronny Cedeno, Aaron Pribanic, Brett Lorin, Nathan Adcock.

... first impression: No Romulo! reunion for Snell at Scranton Wilkes-Barres. Jeff Clement is a catcher?? Ronny Cedeno is not like 37 years old? Obviously it's going to take some time to make sense of this.

Mahalo Snell, we were entertained.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Game 98: Pirates at Diamondbacks

Vasquez and Scherzer at four.

Some people could pay more attention. That essay starts OK, but ends with a silly question.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Game 95: Pirates at Diamondbacks

Morton and Haren at 9:30.

After the big series win, the Pirates are 42-52.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Game 94: Brewers at Pirates

Late night in the lean-to.

This game is underway. The Bucs are up 2-1 on a Doumit homer.

Suppan and Maholm were the starting pitchers, and they are still in the game.

... wtf ... Deerhunter traded? Sold him low. What did they get?

... WEEI reports they might get shortstop Argenis Diaz and pitcher Hunter Strickland.

... Dejan Kovacevic confirms the haul on his rarely-loading PBC blog. Pirates have gone up 5-2 after the umps go to replay. The Bucs are pasting Suppan.

... 5:15pm ... after some thought, my reaction to the deal is that it's pretty sad all around. When LaRoche came to the Pirates, the fans had such high expectations and hopes. He did not live up to that standard. The inconsistency of his hitting was maddening as a fan; take that last month, for example, in which he has been nothing but a middle-of-the-order out machine. The highs don't make up for those lows if the highs only come when the team is 12 games under .500. The Pirates did not get much in return, by all accounts, but LaRoche is hardly a blue-chip commodity, esp. with his contract, and waiting any longer to deal him would only sacrifice at-bats which can go to Jones (at his position), Milledge, and maybe Pearce. In the end, this is much more like the Hinske trade than the Bay trade. The stakes are too low to make much of a difference either way for either team.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Friday, July 17, 2009

Game 89: Giants at Pirates

All right, I think we are good to go here. Worked all through the off-season on the beer fort, and I was pretty sure it would provide enough protection for a full season of bunkering down and surviving. But, no. The first half more or less destroyed it completely.

Bones are I are not prepared to give up, so we spent the last few days building a gin lean-to. Any port in a storm, right.

Tonight it's game 89 of the 2009 season. The Pirates are 38-50 and (sigh) in last place.

Tim Lincecum will pitch for the Giants. Paul Maholm will start for the Pirates. Game on at seven.

Thursday, July 09, 2009


No game today. The Pirates have a better win-loss record than Arizona, San Diego, and Washington.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Game 85: Pirates at Astros

Stuffy Morton and Wandy Rodriguez at 2.

Jonezilla batting clean-up, again.

Weather is good for beer-fort repair. Pretty hot in 77002, however. Not sure if they will open the roof on Five Alive Field.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Game 82: Pirates at Fish

Ohlendorf and Nolasco at 1.

At the half-way point, the Pirates are on pace for 74 wins.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Game 80: Pirates at Fish

Morton and Volstad at six. (Six??)

Pirates are 36-43 and well in the cellar, but they still have a slightly plus run differential, which is curious.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Game 77: Cubs at Pirates

Lilly and Ohlendorf at 7.

...adding ... Pirates make two trades today. First Hinske to New York for some minor leaguers and then, as Dejan Kovacevic reports here: Nyjer Morgan and Sean Burnett for Lastings Milledge and Joel Hanrahan.

There will be a cascade effect from this deal. Bottom line is no padded cage for Ryan Doumit. He will have to play the field as the Pirates trade away a key part of the two-outfielder defense we've been perfecting on paper.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Game 76: Cubs at Pirates

Pirates are 35-40, in last place, and host the Cubs, who are 35-37 and 3.5 games out of first.

Harden and Duke at seven.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Game 75: Royals at Pirates

Greinke and maybe some Morton at one.

At 35-39, the Pirates are still in the cellar.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Game 74: Royals at Pirates

Chen and Maholm at seven.

Bucs are 34-39 after a three-game win streak. Still in the cellar and somehow only five games out of first place.

I am entertained by the talk of Nyjer for Milledge.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Game 72: Indians at Pirates

Lee and Ohlendorf at seven.

Pirates are 32-39 after last night's win. In the NL, only Washington, San Diego, and Arizona have fewer wins.

Monday, June 22, 2009

That draft

Finally got around to reading Wilbur Miller's analysis of the draft. I've been looking forward to it since draft day. And I look forward to checking back against his analysis as the picks are signed. (Links to his analysis are at bottom of this page.)

As I followed the early news of the draft, I remembered writing this post some time ago in the foggy past. Very rarely do I read in the Honest Wagner archives. It is always embarrassing to re-read portions of your baseball fan diary when you are a Pirates fan. Over the last 16 years at least. The Pirates really have to do something to fix that, btw. It takes some 90-minute courage, which I happen to have in abundance this afternoon.

I haven't seen any comparison of the Pirates' 2009 draft with what the Tigers were doing in 2007. Did I miss something?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Game 69: Pirates at Rockies

Maholm vs. De La Rosa and a man who I use the phrase "Jim Tracy" to describe at three.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Game 68: Pirates at Rockies

Charlie Morton vs. Jason Hammel at eight. Monroe has been designated for assignment, and Pearce called up.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Game 67: Pirates at Rockies

Ohlendorf vs. Marquis and Jim Tracy at nine. If you're not entertained by that, try Wilbur's 2009 draft notes.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Game 65: Pirates at Twins

Ian Snell vs. the mound, his teammates, his coaches, Randy Marsh, and the entire world, which includes Francisco Liriano.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Game 64: Pirates at Twins

Maholm vs. Perkins at eight. The Twins are 32-33 and in second place. With the Brewers win yesterday, this is a must-win game for the Bucs.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Off day

Four games out, the Bucs have the day off to rest up for their inevitable World Series surge. Playoff odds at 10%.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Game 62: Tigers at Pirates

Duke and Galarraga at seven. If the Bucs are inspired by the Pens to run the table with a WS victory, they need a win tonight.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Game 60: Pirates at Braves

Maholm and Vazquez at one.

Reviewing some deals

I just went back over the Pirates' transactions from the hiring of Huntington at the end of the 2007 season. Here are some highlights bitten from Baseball Reference, who borrows this information from Retrosheet.

July 26, 2008(Standings)

Traded Damaso Marte and Xavier Nady to the New York Yankees. Received Daniel McCutchen (minors), Jose Tabata (minors), Jeff Karstens and Ross Ohlendorf.

July 31, 2008 (Standings)

As part of a 3-team trade, traded Jason Bay to the Boston Red Sox. Received Bryan Morris (minors) and Andy LaRoche from the Los Angeles Dodgers and Craig Hansen and Brandon Moss from the Boston Red Sox. In addition, the Boston Red Sox sent Manny Ramirez to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

December 10, 2008

Traded Ronny Paulino to the Philadelphia Phillies. Received Jason Jaramillo (minors).

If buy low, sell high is the idea, these moves make sense. Whatever you think of Nate McLouth, you can't deny that the Pirates did not sell him high. 5 season 1700 at-bats, 801 career OPS. (770 is average.) At his peak, Nate is a much better option than Rob Mackowiak. But he's not Jason Bay good. He could develop into a Jason Bay-like hitter some day, but his track record suggests that's not likely. Nate is already 27.

Nady has eight seasons, 2500 at-bats, and a 792 career OPS. He has delivered that OPS for the Yankees. He's on the DL right now. Late last year, the Yankees declined Marte's $6M option for 2009 and re-signed him to a three-year, $12 million contract with a club option for 2012. He is also on the DL, which is also tough luck. Still, with Ohlendorf pitching well as a regular starter, that trade looks good this morning.

Other borderline-controversial moves since NH took over involved Shawn Chacon (released), Jose Castillo (released), Salomon Torres (traded for Kevin Roberts and Marino Salas), Doug Mientkiewicz ('07 signed, '08 released), Tyler Yates (acquired for Todd Redmond, a soft-throwing AAA starter still in the Braves' system), Matt Morris (released), Jose Bautista (traded for Robinson Diaz), Franquelis Osoria (released), and Chris Duffy (released). Torres had a good season for the Brewers in 2008. And then he retired. The rest of those moves look good.

It's too early to judge the players acquired in the Nate McLouth trade: RHP Charlie Morton, LHP Jeff Locke and outfielder Gorkys Hernandez. But it looks like the Nady deal (which looks good for Pittsburgh) or the Bay deal (what do you think of Andy LaRoche?)

Putting the McLouth deal aside because it's such recent history, I'll say the only guy that has slipped through NH's fingers that I would want back this morning is Jason Bay. Bay is not a perfect player -- his "arm" was not a good match for left field in PNC Park -- but he's close to as good as it gets as a slugger. With the bad economy, he will get four-five years at $13M-$15M in this coming off season. Even though Bay is far and away the best player the Pirates have lost, the haul for Bay looks reasonable and guess what, Bay will be a free agent at the end of the year.

You know what that means. If the Pirates are serious about winning, they will re-sign Jason Bay. (laughter)

Seriously, I am inclined to give the Pirates the benefit of the doubt on the McLouth deal and the Sanchez pick. To me, the comparisons to the Dave Littlefield era are not compelling. And I don't see how the Pirates would be a big winner this year or next had NH not made all those moves.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Game 59: Pirates at Braves

Charlie Morton debuts against Jurrjens at seven.

Top 10 Reasons to Like Tony Sanchez

10. Can catch-and-throw and block wild throws without hockey stick.
9. Can save a few bucks by recycling Freddy and Duaner jerseys.
8. Slugged .425, .517, .614 as freshman, sophomore, junior.
7. Understands losing atmosphere from early BC years.
6. Hit .346/.443/.614 this season (unadjusted for Character).
5. Ready to learn pitch calling (entertaining Sanchez interview).
4. Puts overdrafts in later rounds in whole new context.
2. Give these guys a chance at least. They haven't failed yet.
1. World Series 2011: Gorkys in LCF, Cutch in RCF. 9th player is Glass Doumit, who safely rests inside a protective bubble in foul territory every time the Bucs take the field. Sanchez, tough as nails, catches. For 25 innings straight. Bucs win!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Game 58: Pirates at Braves

Atlanta just went up 4-3 in the seventh.

Tony Sanchez

Something about signability and financial flexibility.

18 HBP last season too. Leans into the plate.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Game 57: Pirates at Braves

Duke vs. Kawakami and the recently departed Nate McLouth at seven.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Game 55: Pirates at Astros

Maholm and Oswalt at seven.

With Gorkys in LCF and Cutch in RCF, a broad swath of the PNC outfield seats could be removed and that area covered in ice. Push the fence back, and have player #9, Nyjer Morgan, speedily patrol the new warning track on skates.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Game 54: Pirates at Astros

McCutchen II at eight, featuring Mike Hampton and Jeff Karstens.

With a two-man outfield (Nyjer in LCF and Cutch in RCF), where does the ninth player play?

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Game 53: McCutchen!

McCutchen vs. McCutchen at 12:35.

McLouth traded

For Gorkys Hernandez, Morton, and Locke. Looks like a pretty nice haul for Neal and the Bucs, bringing an official end to the Frodo and Sam (McLouth and Duffy) Era. We'll miss Nate and wish him the best.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Game 50: Astros at Pirates

Cy Hampton and Paul Maholm this afternoon.

Don't let Hampton's 1.56 WHIP or his 7 HRs allowed in 48 IP fool you. Bunker down in the southwest corner, and prepare the vats of boiling nacho cheese.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


No game today. Season is 29% complete. Pirates are 21-26.

As a team, the Pirates are 11th in the NL in OPS. They are hitting .264 / .332 / .401. Freddy Sanchez has 60 hits and a .326 / .362 / .505 line. Nate McLouth leads the team with 8 home runs. Andy LaRoche leads the team with a .370 OBP. Nyjer Morgan has a .362 OBP.

Adam LaRoche is hitting .228 / .321 / .449. Brandon Moss has played in 41 games. He has 133 at-bats and .263 / .310 / .376 performance. Hinske, Monroe, and D. Young have combined about equally for 150 at-bats of .730 OPS.

The rotation has been consistent. Duke and Ohlendorf have been pretty good. Maholm has been solid and Snell has been not so good. Snell strikes some people out (6.79 per 9) but he has also posted a 1.58 WHIP, 7 home runs allowed in 53 innings, and not surprisingly a 1-6 record. Jesse Chavez has been good from the bullpen (4 holds, 1.2 WHIP, 7.65 K/9). Sean Burnett has good numbers too. John Grabow has somehow survived a lot of high-pressure situations with good results.

Collectively, the team has a 1.38 WHIP and 5.67 K/9. This WHIP is league-average (8th of 16) and translates into a .750 OPS against (10th of 16). And this K/9 is dead last in the NL. Arr ... the Pirates bring the junk.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Monday, May 25, 2009

Game 45: Pirates at Cubs

The Pirates parade into Wrigley to start a three-game series. Bring your own lawn chair.

Maholm and Dempster at 8. Bucs are 20-24; Cubs are 21-21 after losing 7 in a row.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Game 44: Pirates at White Sox

Karstens and Buehrle at two. One of these days, a scraggly, mangy RUN will come scratching at the Beer Fort's back door.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Game 43: Pirates at White Sox

Ohlendorf and Richard at seven.

In other news, we raise our glass to the speedy recovery of James Harrison III, another reminder that dogs bite.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Game 42: Pirates at White Sox

Duke and Floyd at eight. The White Sox are 17-23, despite having no 2002-2003 Bucs in their bullpen. The Bucs are a sweep away from .500.

Meanwhile, all hail Brad Lincoln and his shutout.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Game 41: Pirates at Nationals

Snell and Stammen at seven. The Bucs are 19-21, have won five straight, and are out of the basement.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Game 40: Pirates at Nationals

Maholm and Lannan at seven. Good chance we see Kip and Julian tonight.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Game 39: Pirates at Nationals

Karstens vs. 5-0 rookie phenom Shairon Martis at seven.

The Nats' bullpen is two young guys, Colome, and four former 2002-2003 Bucs: Beimel, Tavarez, Villone and Wells.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Game 38: Pirates at Nationals

Ohlendorf vs. Detwiler and the hapless Nats at seven.

Busy night here, fortifying the west wall of the Beer Fort with the airlifted surprise from the seventh inning.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Game 36: Rockies at Pirates

Cook and Snell like later on.

After last night, I am digging into the heavy weapons I was hoping to save for, I don't know, July or August. It's May 16 and Red Alert already.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Game 35: Rockies at Pirates

Game in progress. Maholm and de la Rosa. No score after 5 1/2.

Not long ago, I had a little lie-down after a long afternoon re-inforcing the southwest wall of the beer fort with wine boxes. Don't know where the time goes ...

Whoa -- RBI Craig Monroe. Pirates lead 1-0.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Game 34: Cardinals at Pirates

Boggs and Karstens at seven.

Pirates are 14-19 after losing 8 of their last 10.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Game 30: Pirates at Mets

Maholm and Maine at one.

Pirates have scored more than the other teams (125 to 121) but are five games under .500. Either the coaching has not been so good or more likely, the Pirates have run up the score on some bad bullpens in blowout victories. Probably some of both. For sure we've seen the coaches jeopardize the pitcher's next start to get another inning, with bad results, as in the case of Ian Snell. That's a pretty classic example of inefficiently handling your resources. On the other hand, the resources have not been all that impressive and it's hard to understand how they have outscored the other teams in 29 games.

The Pirates are 12-17 and sharing the basement with Houston.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Game 29: Pirates at Mets

Karstens and Niese at seven. If things get out of hand, consider "Can we induce learned helplessness?" for edutainment.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Game 27: Pirates at Cardinals

Zach Duke and Mitchell Boggs at eight. A perfectly healthy but recovering Ankiel patiently awaits his head-first assault on the beer fort.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Monday, May 04, 2009

Game 25: Brewers at Pirates

Gallardo and Maholm at seven.

Pirates have been shut out three of the last four games. Gallardo threw eight scoreless against them last Wednesday; Maholm was hit hard by the Brewers last Tuesday. Despite nine earnies in his last eleven and one-third innings, Maholm is 3-0 with a 3.09 ERA.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Game 24: Reds at Pirates

Cueto and Karstens at 1:30.

Pirates are 12-11, have won 5 of the last 10, and are tied up in second with Chicago and Cincinnati, a half-game ahead of the 12-12 Brewers.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Monday, April 27, 2009

Game 19: Pirates at Brewers

Karstens and Looper at eight. The Bucs have lost 15 straight at Miller Park and have run out of hiding places for the vigorish.

The 11-7 Bucs are in second place, and just 1.5 games out.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Game 18: Pirates at Padres

Ohlendorf and Peavy at 4 our time.

Bucs did major damage to the San Diego beer forts with last night's 10-1 win.

NFL Draft day 2

Steelers just took an OL, Kraig Urbik of Wisconsin, with their second pick of the draft. DL -> OL -> looks right to me.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Game 17: Pirates at Padres

Duke and Hill starting now. Craig Monroe batting third as McLouth rests again. Meek has been called up to replace Hansen, who will have more time to practice his staring on the DL.

Ziggy Hood

Steelers take Biggest Player Available DT Evander "Ziggy" Hood with their first pick. Ziggy's "fast off the line, blades through the gap and quickly locates the ball carrier" and "deftly uses an assortment of rush moves to put consistent pressure on quarterbacks in the pocket." Highlight reel here.

NFL draft

NFL draft going on. I would take an offensive lineman with my first pick. Then maybe a defensive lineman. Or vice versa.

Penguins up 4-3 in the 3rd.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Living the dream

In fifteen games, the Pirates have scored 20 more than they've allowed.

No game today. They play at San Diego this weekend and then at Milwaukee to close the month.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Game 15: Marlins at Pirates

Maholm vs. Ronny (pulling Nolasco's strings) at 12:35.

Doumit will miss 8-10 weeks after having metal added to his right hand. Nyarrgh.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Game 14: Marlins at Pirates

Karstens and Sanchez on Ronny Ballgame's birthday.

The 7-6 Bucs are one game out.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Game 13: Marlins at Pirates

Ohlendorf vs. Andrew Miller and Ronny Ballgame. RBG has led the Marlins to an 11-1 record, and is by some measures an early favorite for NL MVP.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Game 12: Braves at Pirates

Duke and Vazquez in an hour. The 6-5 Bucs are 1 game out of first.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Game 11: Braves at Pirates

Snell and Jo-Jo Reyes starting soon. You have opportunity everywhere you look.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Game 10: Braves at Pirates

Jurrjens and Maholm and hopefully no Randy Marsh at 7.

Pirates are 4-5. The Cards are 8-3 and own first. The Braves are 5-4.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Game 8: Astros at Pirates

Mike Hampton (?!) and Ross Ohlendorf at 7.

Pirates are 4-3 after seven games.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

R.I.P. Kalas and Fidrych

Deep inside the beer fort, we pour some out for two HW favorites, now outta here - Harry Kalas and Mark Fidrych. As kids, Rowdy and I talked to the wiffleball, Fidrych-style.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Game 6: Pirates at Reds

10-2 victories and Wiggy-style baserunning will do a lot to make this team look competitive.

This afternoon it is Snell and Harang at 1pm.

I will bunker down behind a wall of Miller High Life and attempt to decoy the marauders. You know -- let Joey Votto drive Ryan Freel's truck into that end of the beer fort.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Game 4: Pirates at Cardinals

First place again. The hated Cubs have the day off, so the Pirates could leave St. Louis in sole possession of first place with a win. It's early but it counts, and as a fan, you have to enjoy the season while it's good.

Ohlendorf and Carpenter in a day game, starting around 1:30pm.

Monday, April 06, 2009

First place

Woo-hoo Only very minor damage to the beer fort, so far as I can see.

Game 1: Pirates at Cardinals

First place on the line this afternoon. Maholm and Wainwright at 4:15.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Friday, April 03, 2009

HW 2009 Readers' Poll #2

From DK's PBC blog, I copy the pitchers:

Starting pitchers: Paul Maholm, Zach Duke, Ian Snell, Ross Ohlendorf, Jeff Karstens

Relievers: Matt Capps, John Grabow, Tyler Yates, Sean Burnett, Craig Hansen, Donnie Veal, Jesse Chavez

Q. Which starter will finish the season with the most innings? Which reliever?

Thursday, April 02, 2009

HW 2009 Readers' Poll

Deeply entombed in the heavily fortified HW beer fort, we're more than ready to weather out the imminent losing. While the 2009 losing should be epic, in a setting-the-record-for-the-worst-team-ever kind of way, we're hopeful that by September we'll emerge with a breathtaking new lease on life, as some of the kids bum rush the show. For now though, it's 2009 prediction time, so please humor us in the comments:

1. How many games will the Pirates win in 2009?
2. When will the 82nd loss occur?
3. Any other predictions?

I'll start:
1. 62. On paper the team looks awful. Awful pitching in particular.
2. August 30th
3. Andy LaRoche is going to break out offensively. Half of the Opening Day team will stink and be sent down or released.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


McCutchen sent down, Dejan reports. At times we've struggled with Neal's struggles. Now we just don't get why McCutchen needs to learn how to bunt better for struggle-insurance:

"We still have to work on the base-stealing, on the bunting, so that, when he does struggle, he can pull that third baseman in and find his way on base."
All that said, I appreciate Neal's efforts to strategize for 2016 more than 2009.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Getting beat down

Xavier Nady, who played for the Pirates from 2006 to 2008:

When you first got here, what was the most eye-opening aspect of playing with the Yankees?

"For me, it's just the tradition of winning. And in the city, there's a lot of emphasis on winning. When you throw on that Yankees uniform, you're expected to play the game right. Coming from different organizations like Pittsburgh, it was just kind of like, over and over getting beat down. When I came over to Yankee Stadium, it was just an honor to put on that uniform. It was a dream come true."

Ouch. Full interview, by Marc Carig for the New Jersey Star-Ledger, here.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Ronny Ballgame, Marlin

Ronny has been traded twice in a few hours, and will now be calling games from the Marlins' bench. Bad news for the Bucs that RBG will be staying in the NL, as his deep familiarity with the Bucs' signs and ability to steal these at will from the bench could be the difference between 66 and 68 wins.

In other news, Chuck Finder reports that proud father hurt and gullible 20-year-old Jose Tabata honestly believed his 43-year-old wife to be pregnant, and that the snatched baby was his. We raise our glass to this Honest Tabata, and wish him the best in getting through this trying ordeal.

Friday, March 27, 2009

550 feet

This Pedro Alvarez piece from Jayson Stark is a welcome distraction from Cougargate.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Slowly back away from the baby

Confusing, eyebrow-raising news from Bradenton. Basically, 20-year-old Jose Tabata is married to a 43-year-old woman who has many aliases, has been convicted of arson, fraud, and theft, and has just been accused of taking someone else's baby.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Operation Meltdown

Rob Biertempfel twists the knife, revisiting the free agents.

From the mothership, Nyjer's .173/.211/.250 line doesn't seem to stand in the way of Nyjer being named the team's starting left fielder.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Thursday, March 19, 2009


Roster cuts send Gorzo to Indy to work on a more consistent delivery, Chuck Finder reports. Neil Walker also sent down due to the "ugly business side." As opposed to the even uglier baseball side?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Taking root

When I first settled in to read this John Perrotto story on the state of the minor-league system, I mis-read the title and thought the system was "talking rot."

Friday, March 13, 2009

Stopgap gone wild

I was more entertained with the upper right part of this boxscore than this one. Does Monroe-on-fire trump Pearce's achy calf?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

No time for losers

In preparation for the 2009 baseball season, the beer fort is now crenelated with monitors looping this tear-jerking Steelers slideshow.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Pirates and Astros and other exhibition games

Here's a thread for whatever exhibition action you might want to kibitz about. I am taking it easy with these Pirates, and deliberately trying to stay away from the radio these first few weeks. I'm not sure how much patience I am going to have if these guys start the season on the usual losing bender. The beer supply, however, is coming along well and starting to look good. By opening day, I should have a nice fort I can camp behind.

Pirates and Astros are playing now. The Bucs are up 1-0 on a solo shot from the Prison Baller. Maholm is pitching for the Pirates. Scuffy Moehler is out there for Houston.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Honest Moskos

Daniel Moskos has started a blog, where he graciously and honestly humors comments. Despite our immediate worry that Moskie watches way too much TV, we are entertained and applaud his efforts. Daniel sees himself in five years as the #2 starter between Morris and Lincoln, and is not sure Rinku and Dinesh have million dollar arms.

Friday, February 20, 2009

the Torpedo

With March fast approaching, it's time to start the stockpile you'll need to make it through the season.

I am starting with this guy. What are you laying up for the long, hard season ahead?

Thursday, February 19, 2009