Tagged: Andrew McCutchen

War is Over!

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So this is the Brewers

And what have you done?

Took two out of three

It sure was a lot of fun.

Thank you John and Yoko, a great song for a great series.

The Pirates defeated the Brewers ending a 22 game losing streak in Milwaukee on Tuesday with a 7-3 victory.

The man of the hour looked to be Trevor Hoffman.
 

“Hells Bells” resounded and chants of “It’s Trevor Time” could be heard around Miller Park. After all, the MLB saves leader deserves an ovation like that.

Ryan Doumit must have took offense to the fanfare as he took matters into his own hands.
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Hoffman checked into the game with a 3-2 lead. Ronny Cedeno got under his skin launching a solo home run.

A few batters later, with the bases loaded Doumit jacked a grand slam deep into the second deck over the right field wall. That sealed the deal and ended the torment.

It never seemed like it would come.

The series began right where it left off in Pittsburgh following that 20-0 history making contest.
Pittsburgh fell 17-3. It was just an ugly game, something Pirates fans have been used to this past week.

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On a play at the plate that Gregg Zaun was clearly safe, manager John Russell got his butt of the bench for the first time in quite some time. Originally I believed Doumit made the tag and Zaun was out. Russell obviously did not get to see the replay multiple times like I did at one of Morgantown’s famed bars, the Boston Beanery. I was glad to see Russell defending his players and actually talking during a game. He looks like he is going to fall asleep at any time and also can hardly be heard during post game interviews. WVU basketball coach Bob Huggins is the same way in the interviews. A very low talker who is quite soft spoken and talks in “coach speak.” However, Huggins is the most in your face, smash mouthed coach in any sport. Russell needs some lessons from Huggy Bear.

The rubber match on Thursday was big. A win by the Pirates would actually tie the Brewers for fourth place in the Central. Now it is quite an accomplishment considering the beat down the Brewers have laid on the Bucs.

Welcome to fourth place boys!
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Andrew McCutchen teed off for a pair of homeruns and Andy LaRoche kept his big bat hot with a homerun and two hits of his own.

The marathon game went to the 14th inning. It should have been over way before that.

Hoffman came in again. Blew it again. Without saying, Pirates closer Octavio Dotel forfeited his own save a few innings later.

After going hitless the entire game Garrett Jones drove in the winning run to cap off the win and take the series. A great series. There is nothing better than raising the Jolly Roger in Miller Park. After all it was 22 game since it last happened.

photo credits: AP/postgazette.com

A little Buccos magic to beat the Reds

 

reds game 016.jpgThe Pirates may be at .500, but I have yet to lose. In my second trip to PNC Park this Spring the Bucs have not dissapointed winning the pair of games. Not only did the Pirates treat my friends and I to a gem of a ballgame, the city of Pittsburgh did as well.

reds game 003.jpgFrom Morgantown we arrived in Pittsburgh around 4 o’clock. The drive up to the city was probably the worst conditions I have ever had the displeasure of driving through. The winds combined with rain, combined with debris flying from cars was absolutely horrendous. I was legit scared but kept my cool and we made it.

It has been a plan of ours to check out the Andy Warhol Museum sometime before a Pirate game. We got the opportunity on Friday for only 4 bucks. The museum is just a two minute walk from PNC Park right on the North Shore. After paying and walking to the first exhibit I
balloons.jpg realized this was not my scene.

Now I did appreciate the artwork, I guess just not enough. It was trippy, weird and sometimes disturbing. I wouldn’t pay more than four dollars for the experience again. The coolest part was the room with floating metallic ballons. I could have stayed in there for hours.

When we walked through the gates of PNC Park the song “Centerfield” by John Fogerty was playing. The same song that was played in the same exact moment Opening Day. I love this song and really puts me in the mood for baseball!

From the concourse we were greeted with this albatross.

 

reds game 007.jpgThe tarp covered the field as it was lightly drizzling. The clouds parted and it was actually sunny for a good half hour.

 

reds game 017.jpgThe rain eventually picked up to torrential downpour form, we would have to wait out a 70 minute rain delay.

In the meantime the “Milledge People” were setting up shop before the hard rains came.

reds game 004.jpgLast year some buddies and I made a sign for leftfielder Nyjer Morgan. “Morgantown” it read. When Lastings Milledge was acquired we had speculated about doing the same in the form of a “Milledge People” sign. Well, these guys beat us to the punch and sure did pull it off well.

Speaking of Lastings, here is rocking the number 42 jersey.

reds game 011.jpgEven though Jackie Robinson Day was technically yesterday, the Pirates had the day off. I was glad to see the whole team, even the Reds, wearing the number 42. This was my first Jackie Robinson Day I have ever attended. It was also a Lastings Milledge Day.

 

First off, Zach Duke pitched fantastic. Seven innings of not allowing a run and surrendering just six hits, it was a gem. After a leadoff walk in the 7th, he was pulled and the Pirates releievers collectively gave up three runs. It was sad for Zach because he was shooting for his third wn of the season. The win was given to Octavio Dotel after Milledge’s walk off hit to score Andrew McCutchen in the bottom of the 9th.

I as too excited to snap a picture but here is one from the Associated Press and Pittsburgh Post Gazeette showing the team’s jubilation.

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13 runs will do that to ya

It was a beautiful day in Morgantown, West Virginia on Sunday. Low 70 temps mixed with party cloudy skies make for one thing, softball.

softball.jpgTen of my closest friends at WVU make a pact that every nice day we have to attempt to get a game of softball in. Sunday was one of those days where we all were on the same page, we found an open field and it worked.

Part of what made the day so great is that I was not even able to watch the Pirate game today. The Extra Innings package blocks the games out regardless because I am in the Pittsburgh market and Fox Sports Pittsburgh was showing the Penguins game today.

I was however game tracking it on my buddy’s iphone. I was happy and please. Up until the 4th inning. The Pirates were up with a nice 4-2 lead. Andrew McCutchen teed off for his first homerun of the year and pitcher Daniel McCutchen was progressing smoothly. I will say it again-up until the 4th inning.

The Diamondbacks put up a whooping 13 runs in one inning alone to win the ballgame 15-6.

Theres not much to be happy about a 15 run performance but take away that one inning and the Bucs win the game easily.

Daniel McCutchen will be sent down tomorrow because relief pitcher Joel Hanrahan is ready to begin the season after an injury. If I was in charge I would send current relief pitcher Hayden Penn with him. Penn currently has an inflated ERA of 30.80 and has been shelled in both of his appearances this season and does not look like a major league caliber pitcher.

There were some bright spots in Arizona this weekend, most coming on Saturday.

 

Thumbnail image for duuuuuke.jpgDuke looked awesoem, maybe the best since his Opening Day start of 2009, pictured above. He went eight innings and only walked two batters. Duke gave up just a 2-run homer to Mark Reynolds and managed to work out of a handful of tough jams. He stands at 2-0 on the year which not only helps his confidence early on, it also elevates his staff ace status.

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Leadoff man Aki Iwamura belted his first homrun of the year and went 2-for-4. Iwamura has been a gem the past few games after beginning the year 0-for-8. He has been working counts and waiting on his pitches. Hopefully he continues to find his stride and become confortable.

The guy touching Aki on the head has not quite been the guy he was the first two games.

Garrett Jones was 0-for-4 on Sunday striking out and grounding into a double play.  His breakout game and opening day seems so long ago as Jones is batting just .208 right now. It can’t really be said that he will breakout of this slump because he never has had the opportunity before. We know the power is there, but the question remians, can he deliever consistently?

I for one am happy to just be leaving Chase Field. It has not been very welcoming to Pittsburgh in recent years. Thej Pirates have lost 11 of their last 18 in Pheonix and have won just two out of their last six. 

I love Chase Field. I was there for the Pirates series last year and enjoyed the atmosphere, affordability and fans at the stadium. However I cannot say the curse the team or ballpark bestows upon the Pirates is good in anyone, simply because it is not.

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It is a nice place to watch a game, and I am not a big fan of retractable roofs at all!

Anywho, it will be a late night for me tomorrow as I have a paper to write and get to watch the Bucs at ten pm. Its Pirates-Giants in San Francisco. 3-3 right now and I would love to take 2-of-3.

photo credits: Associated Press

 

Tippin’ their hats and callin’ the Pirates their daddy

Sorry Pedro…

 

 

 

pedro-martinez-7001381.jpgAnd sorry Yankees…

 

Thumbnail image for jeter.jpgYa’ll are much better currently and historically than the Pirates, but give me time to enjoy a win.

The Buccos defeated the Yanks 12-7 on Tuesday, but most impressive was what was done in the first inning.

Andrew McCutchen got things started with a single.

Ronny Cedeno…a single also.

Lastings Milledge brought home McCutchen with a double.

Then this guy…

 

GFJ1_edited-2.jpgMade it rain!

Jones blasted a three run homer off none other than CC Sabathia. Sabathia got rocked in two innings pitched giving up seven hits and five earned runs.

It was nice to see us do some damage against Sabathia. The Pirates totaled 15 hits against NY, the most of the spring. It wa salso nice to out hit a team for a change also, the Yanks recorded just eight.

Charlie Morton, anticiapted fourth starter, had a decent outing with a three inning showing on four hit ball. He did give up three runs, but struck out a pair.

By the way, that Garrett Jones picture, photo shopped by yours truly. I got the program for my brithday and have been playing around with it.  

Tomorrow it is Pittsburgh-Baltimore live on FSN Pittsburgh. 

photo credits: nytimes.com, espn.com

 

 

 

 

A 2-0-1 weekend

The Pirates competed in a trio of ballgames this weekend in the Sunshine State.

They did not lose a single game.

 

 

 

 

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The jolly roger was raised for the first time this spring training season on Friday in a 5-3 win over the Orioles.

One of my favorite prospects in the organization is catcher Tony Sanchez.

tony sanchez.jpgI was able to catch one of Sanchez’s very first minor league games in person back in Youngstown, OH. He was with the State College Spikes facing my hometown Mahoning Valley Scrappers.

He is a very likeable fellow coming out of Boston College. 

In his very first spring training at bat, Sanchez belted a solo homerun off Baltimore’s Troy Patton.

Sanchez is just 21 years old, eight months older than me. It is very funny that someone my age is one of the hottest prospects on a major league ballclub. I guess it is really not too much to fathom as I am a year from graduating college surrounded by Division 1 athletes at one of America’s top sports universities.

Sanchez will probably begin the year in AA Altoona, but will find his way in the ‘Burgh by 2011.

On Saturday the jolly roger may have been raised, but just halfway.

The Pirates and Philies played their way to a 3-3 ten inning tie.

The reining National League champs got hot right off the bat with two runs in the first inning. Pirates starter Kevin Hart looked very sloppy. He looks to be the 5th starter in the rotation so he really needs to hone his mechanics for the remainder of March.

The bottom of the first inning let the Pirates match the Phils, in fact they one upped the boys with Brotherly love. The Buccos scored their only three runs of the contest in the first frame. Ryan Church delievered a two run home run.

On Sunday’s day of rest, the Buc’s bats did anything but. Pittsburgh destroyed absolutely destroyed Minnesota 15-5.

Bobby Crosby gave a good audition for the starting shortstop position with a four RBI performance.

Crosby belted a 3-run homerun while going 2-for-3. It was great to see this guy come through. Whether starting or on the bench he will be vital to the team’s success. Garrett Jones also connected for a homerun, his first of the spring.

The weekend was fun filled with Pirates baseball.

On Sunday it was 30 Clubs/30 Days featuring the Pirates on MLB Network. I think the broadcast team led by Matt Vasgersian really brought to light the hope and promise of the Bucs. They were valiant to praise the efforts of Neil Huntington and the restocked minor league system. They also had good interviews with Lastings Milledge, Andrew McCutchen and Paul Maholm. McCutchen also had a “wired-in” segment with him playing around with teammates comparing his speed to Usain Bolt (a stretch) and hitting an opposite field homerun into the Allegheny River at PNC Park (a bigger stretch).

This weekend I also recieved a package I have long been anticipating.

daveparkerposter.jpgMy Dave Parker poster finally came! I saw this on ebay for a nice price of seven bucks and could not pass it up. It is actually a 7-up ad from the early 80’s. I’m sure the cobra will be so proud to know a college id knows who he is and that the Pirates pride is still stemming from the “We Are Family” days.

On Tuesday I will get the opportunity to see live baseball for the first time in a while.

The West Virginia baseball teams hits the recently snow vacated field to do battle with Duquesne. I once again will be the beat writer for the school newspaper covering the team.

photo credits:piratebox.com, AP/sportingnews

 

Colin Curtis pulls off his best Mazeroski impression

 

maz.jpgIn a much more meaningless game, the Yankees defeated the Pirates 6-3. It was however game one of the 2010 Spring Training season.

Sitting in my Economics class I was antsy. I couldn’t listen to the lecture about unemployment, I just wanted to watch my Bucs. As soon as we got out I rushed to my buddy’s girlfriend’s apartment where MLB Network would be on the HD TV. I do not get it at my apartment so I really thank Alyssa for allowing me to crash at her place for a few hours and enjoy a real live baseball game.

mccutch.jpgThe game started out nicely as Andrew McCutchen led off the contest ripping a single through the infield.

After that it was rather uneventful.

The Pirates only totaled three hits in the contest.

THREE HITS!

Now this wasn’t a game against Javier Vazquez, CC Sabathia or AJ Burnett. Rather it was Chad Gaudin, Sergio Mitre and Alfredo Acceves. Now those are guys with major league time, but I would hope some of our young Bucs could sneak some hits in.

The Pirates used a pitcher an inning for nine frames. It was a unique move that made the YES network announcers ponder using that tactic in a regular season game. The unanimous decision, it couldn’t work.

The announcers brought up a good point also. It has to deal with the numbers of baseball.

cutch76.jpg The picture on the right is McCutchen from a 2008 Spring Training game. Notice the astronomical number. 76? Andrew McCutch aint no 76! But players like him, back in 2008, are just marginal prospects with a long shot of making the MLB roster. Being handed a number that high may be a downgrade, but in his case I think it was just a motive to work harder. The TV announcers said anyone wearing over 60 in ST will not make the big leagues that year. No Wayne Gretzkys (99) here is how they put it. It’ll be an interesting stat to look back on come April.

Anyway, back to the game. The nine Pirate pitchers did not do a bad job containing the Yanks. Steven Jackson and Virgil Vazquez were the only ones giving up multiple hits and runs. I was never a big fan of this tandem and found more reason to not support them today.

The game was toed 3-3 in the bottom of the ninth until powerhouse Colin Curtis stepped to the plate.

colin curtis.jpg Curtis ripped the pitch to right field over the head of Jose Tabata and into the stands. A 3-run bomb by the former 4th round pick in the 2006 draft. Curtis was the hero for the day much like Bill Mazeroski was back in October of 1960. Maz’s walk off home run to beat the Yankees is still fondly remembered by baseball fans around the world today, it is doubtful Curtis’s homer will even be though of at the end of March. However, his wikipedia page already remembers the event.

“He hit a 3 run walk off homerun in the Yankees first 2010 spring training game against the Pirates.”

 

Maybe it will be forever etched in Yankeess lore. I doubt it.

The Braves are up next!

photo credit: mlb.com, buccobits.mlblogs.com, flickr.com, baseballprospectus.com    

Pirates Caravan-Morgantown, WV

caravan.jpgIt was the moment I have been waiting for since the date was announced back in December. The Pirates Caravan rolled into Morgantown West Virginia to appease the 125 fans waiting for them at Damons. On top of having a great selection of barbecued items, Damons was gracious enough to host the Morgantown stop for the caravan.

The event began at noon, perfect timing for my 19 credit hour semester. I had a class at 9:30-11 and my next was not until 2:30. There was nothing greater than having my normal lunch break along side some of my favorite players. Manager John Russell, relievers Evan Meek and Kevin Hart, center fielder Andrew McCutchen and broadcasters Greg Brown and Bob Walk and the Pirate Parrot came to the event.

My buddy Andrew and I arrived at the restaurant ten minutes before noon and took our seats. We scouted the crowd and realized we were the only two college students among the fans. Weird considering Morgantown is a full fledged college town, but also understandable because this generation of Pirate fans really ceases to exist. I am of a rare breed and even Andrew (who is a die-hard Orioles fan) considers himself a bigger Pirate fan than most baseball fans in this area. I agree with him whole heartedly.

 

piratescaravan 007.jpgAs we dined on our pulled pork sandwiches we were joined by two familiar faces, fellow WVU students in the journalism school. Although I give them credit for being at the event they were self proclaimed “not Pirates fans.” However, they had a good time and admitted that they would follow along because they do support the Penguins and Steelers.

piratescaravan 008.jpgGreg Brown got the festivities under way by taking the mic and adressing those in attendance.

“Look at this sell out crowd!” he said in a joyous tone. I turned to Andrew and said, “He doesn’t get to say that very often” A reference to the infamous spotty crowds that PNC Park is accustomed to.

However, he got the ball rolling introducing Meek, Hart, McCutchen, Russell and Walk to us all. Each Bucco member gave a minute long introduction and expressed their gratitude along with aspirations for the coming season.

While everyone pretty much sugar coated how great the upcoming season is going to be it did give me up. Hearing John Russell speak is not the most exciting thing in the world. He speaks softly with a monotone voice and it really could put you to sleep. However, he did seem excited with an intimate group of fans in front of him, but still maintained the montotone clarity, or lack there of.

The crowd cheered the loudest for this guy.

 

piratescaravan 013.jpgNo, not Andrew, o wait, yes Andrew. McCutchen that is, not Schuerholz. When his name was announced there were hoops and hollers. Many questions were directed his way including one of my own. I asked a question opened to all on the panel but only Cutch answered. I asked, “Who was the most missed player traded last season?” A genral question without getting too in depth. I was more interested in what Russell had to say, but he did not answer. Meek was hurt most of last season and Hart came to Pittsburgh mid season by way of the Tom Gorzelanny/John Grabow to the Cubs trade. I did not expect them to form too tight of a relationship with the current Bucs. It was obvious that McCutchen said Nyjer Morgan, I knew it was coming. It was well documented back in Spring Training of 2009 that the duo were best buds and forming great chemistry that rubbed off on the rest of the team. I was happy when a large smile grew on Cutch’s face when talking about Morgan.

I ended up collecting many autographs which are displayed below.

 

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Evan Meek, Kevin Hart, Andrew McCutchen, Bob Walk, Greg Brown and John Russell all signed these beautiful picture cards. Each year I have been a Pirate fan these cards are passed out throughout the year. Usually they are just headshots of the players on a small sized card. This year has one of the best sets of these cards I have seen. The McCutchen pose is one of my favorites. He is thrusting his arm towards the air in celebration after one of his home runs.    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Thumbnail image for piratescaravan 019.jpgThe shrine dedicated to McCutchen is one of my favorite. I had him autograph a ball on the sweet spot a picture card that was provided and the November issue of Baseball America which features Andrew on the cover, I had the card signed during a game at PNC Park earlier this year. 

It was an awesome hour and a half, we had a great time. This weekend I have another Pirates event coming my away. Pirates Fest is taking place in Pittsburgh, my WV buddies plan on going up Sunday. The event begins Friday night and concludes Sunday. Talk about an awesome Pirates week!

Here are some more photos from the day:

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The autograph line

 

 

 

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Andrew McCutchen and me. Too bad Andrew Schuerholz couldn’t have taken a better pitcture from a better angle.

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Announcer Greg Brown and myself posing for the camera. I explained to him about my journalism aspirations and that I hope to take his job someday. He was very encouraging and a down to earth fellow.

 

 

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The Pirate Parrot made an appearance and brought laughter to the party.

Thank you all for letting me share this experience with you all!