Last spring the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown welcomed me with open arms for a glorious day.
I was absent from the blog last week, for good reason. It seemed that the Pirate’s were absent from their talent as well.
My beloved Bucs suffered a 12-game losing streak from June 6th through this past Saturday. I think it was all my fault.
I went to that game on the 6th and witnesses a heartbreaking extra inning loss. Delwyn Young belted a pinch hit homerun to send the game to a tenth inning, but Octavio Dotel just could not hang on to the lead.
From that moment Pittsburgh fell to the Cubs in a one game makeup series. Were swept on the road in Washington as well as at home against the White Sox. Then my most most hated professional sports….
The Cleveland Indians. The Indians came into PNC Park on Friday and beat the Pirates 4-3. It was a pitcher’s duel til the seventh inning when the Tribe jumped out to a 4-0 lead. Pittsburgh manufactured runs the very next inning getting their three, but it just couldn’t answer when needed. I attended that game and the most thrilling moment may have come before hand when I met local FSN Pittsburgh reporter Dan Potash.
I honestly think Mr. Potash was more thrilled that I recognized him. He was overjoyed, very friendly and carefree with me. I bet he called his mom and said “Wow, somebody wanted a picture with me!” Ok that may sound a bit harsh, he was top notch and first class.
Take a look at my shirt there. Better yet, i’ll zoom in for you.
It is a hot item in the ‘burgh these days as the Milledge People are taking over. The shirt features the bodies of the famous Village People of the 1970’s with super-imposed faces of Lastings Milledge with a Pirate hat on each of them. It is hysterical I think, plus at some games six college kids sit in teh outfield dressed in Village People fashion. Unfortunately for me, Milledge did not play on Friday.
However, Saturday was a much different story. For one I was not watching. I was in Washington D.C. with some friends representing WVU. It was a fun day and an even funner night, that blog will be coming in the next entry.
But anyway, the Pirates did manage to break the dreaded streak thanks to a 3-for-4, 4 RBI performance from Lasting Milledge.
Milledge has been recieving spotty playing time ever since the arrival of youngster Jose Tabata. Tabata has been holding down the fort in left field, the original position of Milledge, because of that number 85 and Ryan Church have been splitting tim in right field. The lack of playing time must have lit a fire under his butt and hopefully that gave him a spark and a reason to finally deliever how he was expected to do. He has still yet to hit a homerun, a necessity on this team that lacks any power threat
That is until now.
The arrival of highly touted prospect Pedro Alvarez occured this week.
He’s going to be something special, at least that is what Bucco fans have been told. It is no secret that Alvarez has been called the best Pirates prospect since Barry Bonds. Lofty shoes to fill and I know it will take time but it is something, really the only thing that has given Pittsburgh fans hope in quite some time.
He is a lefty, power hitting thrid basemen. The Pirates have lacked all three for many years. To get it all in one package really fills that void.
He has yet to get the ball rolling collecting just one hit in 16 major league at bats. He had a stellar minr league career as he flirted with a .300 avergae while belting 40 homeruns in just two seasons.
I for one do believe the hype.
At Friday’s game I went off the deep end before he even earned his innagural major league hit and dropped $27 bucks on an Alvarez shirt. Way too much for the time being but I do think I am the only one who has bought one yet, I loved being distinctive. However, that was probably trumped on Saturday when he did get his first hit. He has a long career ahead of him, I just hope it is fruitful.
Speaking of fruitful my favorite fruit is pineapple. Sorry for that irrelevant tidbit. I do think I will sign off on that note. Stay tuned for my next entry recapping the Pitt Peas’ visit to Washington D.C. and Nationals Park!
photo credits: horridindian.com, fanball.com, kentucky.com
I hate Cleveland.
I do. The city, the sports teams and the atmosphere. It is weird, a little dumpy and just plain weird.
Progressive Field isn;t bad, but still its weird. Nonetheless I along with my brother Zach, and good friends Eric and Andrew ventured up to the ‘mistake on the lake’ for a Sunday game between the Indians and Nationals.
We were excited to see the baseball world turn their heads on to Cleveland to see if Strasburg could provide and encore performance to last Tuesday’s 14 strikeout spectacle against the Pirates. Going only 5.1 innings, walking five and striking out eight wasn’t exactly the powerful performance we were hoping for but shoot any team’s fans would take an outing like that from their starting pitcher.
Strasburg started out the game masterfully. These numbers were common on the speed gun.
There hasn’t been a crowd this big to watch a young pitcher since Henry Rowengartner made his debut with the Cubs. The Indians even went as fas as selling Strasburg gear inside the park’s souvineer stands.
However, not all Clevelnaders took kindly to the rookie. Now Andrew, Zach and myself were cheering for the Nationals and Strasburg, the other in our group was not. Eric is not that big into baseball but knows how to have a good time at the ballpark. When Strasburg first walked out of the dugout he began an “Overated” chant. He also was ragging on Strasburg the entire day hoping to see the Indians light him up. He wasn’t alone. While there were many Nats fans in the park, many made the trip from the DC-Virginia area, most people were quick to boo Strasburg. There were three seperate occasions where boos were thrown down from the Progessive Field rafters. Twice he requested the mound be looked at forcing groundscrew to touch up his footing area and he was booed loudly as we was taken out of the game in the fifth inninng.
There were many memories made this game with a majority occuring before the game actually started. Seeing Strasburg warm up was a novelty in itself but on top of that we saw and met many cool people.
Number 25 there is Stetson Allie. Former pitcher of St. Edwards High School in Cleveland. Why do I care about Stetson Allie you ask. Well he just so happened to be the second round pick of the Pirates in last week’s draft. His high school team was being honored pre-game for winning the Ohio State Championship. I’m tol he is a hard throwing righty but has control issues, a younger Strasburg perhaps? I hope the Pirates offer him a lucrative deal and he signs. I shouted a “Let’s Go Bucs!” to him and he seemed a little creeeped out.
The national spotlight was still on Strasburg for start number two and ESPN was well represented. Field reporter Pedro Gomez wa son the field pre game trying to avoid our obnoxious calls to him. After he was filming he posed for pictures with all four of us. We were the original spotters, after our pics a throng came down to the field level forcing Pedro to retreat to the dugout. So thanks Mr. Gomez, I hope we made your trip to Cleveland fun as well.
You may be able to tell that I am wearing a San Diego State shirt. It was in honor of Strasburg who went to school there. The only guy in the park to notice it and give me kudos on it was Pete from clevelandfrowns.com. He was a nice guy and was great to have a ten minute conversation with. If you are a Cleveland fan it is a cool blog site to check out.
Andrew also took part in honoring the past in noteable fashion. Rocking the Expos hat he was very vintage in showing he was a die-hard fan of the Nationals franchise (even though he lives and breathes the Yankees.) He also bit the bullet and purchased a Strasburg T-shirt.
And they said Lastings wasn’t loved in Washington. This guy is keeping the funk alive rocking his Milledge jersey.
And if that isn’t a sight for sore eyes in Cleveland I do not know what is. Peeking out on the railing is indeed an Andrew McCutchen jersey and Pirates hat. Just beautiful. I never like to wear an obscure team clothing item to the park when that team isn’t playing but that guy obviously doesn’t follow my rules and I’m frankly okay with it. It was refreshing.
I say farewell on that note. The Pirates lost 4-3 today. My freind Erin was keeping me up to date with all that was happening via text. We were swept by the Tigers as Octavio Dotel gave up a three run home run to Miguel Cabrera. Despite that frustration I will be back at my home, PNC Park on Tuesday as the Bucs host the White Sox. Even though teh Pirates struggle through it, I love interleague play!
In no way shape or form am I a fan of the Evil Empire. For one night, I wanted to experience what life was like in the shoes of a fan of the Bronx Bombers. I am a Pirate fan through and through. I bleed black and gold and could never cheer for the Yankees. On May 29, 2009 I “supported” the club in an effort to be an away fan at a ballpark. I had no intentions of cheering for either team (Yankees/Indians), so why not make the evening fun and tranform into a New Yorker.
Well in my first hours of me becoming a Yankee “supporter” I was greeted with heavy downpours of rain. From 7:00 til 8:30 there was nothing but torrential rain and thunder coming from the Cleveland skies. Maybe it was a fitting entrance, mother nature must have known I did not belong in Yankee attire.
The rain delay was quite shocking because just a few hours earlier the weather looked beautiful. I made my Facebook status read that it is a beautiful night for baseball. You can see from these next pictures that it surely looked that way.
Upon parking at the garage across from Progressive Field and Quicken Loans arena at about 5:30, I saw this towel sitting on a rail by a police officer. I hollered over to the cop and politely asked if it was anybody’s towel. He politely responded with a “no”, tossed it to me and said “its all yours.” Now I am by no stretch of the imagination a Cleveland Cavaliers fan. I liked the team back when they were God-awful but since Lebron has taken over I really don’t like their whole mentality. They are facing elimination in the NBA playoffs and the city is buzzing with Cav-pride. I myself am cheering for teh Orlando Magic in hopes that they will make the Finals against the LA Lakers. I am however a huge fan and collecter of random sports paraphernalia and a Calavliers One Goal Towel fits that bill perfectly.
The picture to the right was taken when we entered the park at 6:00, still bright out and no sign of rain. The kid to my left is Andrew, my good buddy and friend for the longest time. He is a die-hard Yankees fan and has been his whole life. His grandpa can tell you anything about New York and the team from the Mickey Mantle days til now. Andrew supplied me with my Yankees garb. You can see I’m rocking the 2009 innagural season at new Yankee Stdium hat as well as a #13 A-Rod jersey. Andrew is wearing a Derek Jeter jersey, his favorite player. For all 20 years of my life and as long as I’ve known Andrew, very close to that 20 years, I’ve harrased him for his Yankee loyalty. But for one day and one day only I was on his side, root root rooting for his team.
At the scheduled gametime of 7pm the white tarp was thrown onto the field. The skies began to look ominous but still no liquid was falling from the sky. I was shocked that the groundscrew would put the tarp out so prematurally, less than ten minutes later they proved themselves correct. Torrential rain would start to pour, we took shelter under the walkway near a concession stand. We bought hot dogs, peanuts and a pop, classic ballpark fare. Andrew made out like a bandit though. The guy working behind the counter at the stand somehow gave him a free pretzel and a pop upgrade to a large. For 10.50 he got a hotdog, large pop, peanuts and a pretzel. I paid that same 10.50 at a cashier down a ways and got a hotdog, peanuts and small pop. Something fishy, but it made matters a little better when we split the pretzel.
There are 2 things I enjoy about the concessions areas at Progressive Field…
THE LARGE AND SPACIOUS DINING AREAS AND…..
The large dinisng areas are prevalent throughout the park and were perfect in last night’s situation. We were able to stay dry and enjoy our meal during the rain delay. Now the brown ballpark mustard is indeed a special creation. You can notice right away that it is not normal mustard. Normal mustard is yellow. This is brown. It is also thicker and tangier. I think it also adds more of a kick. You can only find it in Cleveland and no trip to the Prog is complete without some on a hot dog.
When we were finished eating we looked out at the jumbo tron and saw this glorious sign.
By this time it was nearly 8pm and we ran to the restroom to get paper towels to dry off our seats. The lines were out the door, everybody had teh same goal: dry seats.
We mosied on down to our seats and were surrounded by “fellow” Yankee fans. It’s also fun to have a meet and greet with fellow fans. We sat next to a family who traveled from Buffalo, NY to cheer on their Yanks. Andrew had a fun time discussing personnel issues with teh club and how they will look for the rest of teh season. I just sat back, nodded my head and whispered “Lets Go Bucs” to myself.
We talked to some more Yankee fans throughout teh game and even some Indians fans were cordial to us and we enjoyed talking about Ohio, the Cavs and our drive from Youngstown. Nobody in attendance last nigth was more vibrant than this guy.
Adorning his Mickey Mantle jersey, official white baseball pants, suspenders and cane his blood was Yankeed blue through and through. The entire game he was spouting off facts and figures from Yankee lore. He downgraded Cleveland like it was his job and made New York seem like heaven. Andrew and I got plenty of kicks from him. He reminded me alot of Andrew’s grandpa they way he told stories of former great baseball players such as Al Kaline, Duke Snider, Mickey Mantle and Cool Papa Bell. Many people were annoyed by him but I knew it was all in good fun, he was a real baseball man.
The game itself was rather boring compared to other games I’ve seen live. The final score was 3-1 in favor of NY. The Yankees put guys on base but couldn’t get them across to score. They left the bases loaded twice. Andy Petitte pitched a decent game only giving up one earned. Andrew was concerend in teh 5th inning when the trainers came out to check on him. Nothing has been reported about his condition so I take it he’ll be fine.
The entire lineup for the Yanks was generally booed by the hometown Cleveland crowd. This guy got the most boos by far.
Proper and well deserved? I’d say so. The A-ROID chants were out in full force and a throng of cheers would go up when strikes were thrown on him. What I feel is great about the Yankees though is that for the entire lineup to be acknowldged like that shows how much of an impact they have on the MLB. Everybody knows them, everybody can name them, they are baseball. While its the front office paints a bad picture of the franchise with the spending sprees the on the field guys are first class when in uniform.
One thing that was annoying about last night was these little boogers.
That is indeed a midge. The little bugs that are famous for getting all up in Joba Chamberlains grill must have known the Yankees were in town. They wer eflying all over the place last night. Like little mosquiots I had to brush them off periodically throughout the game. The in-game entertainment crew took advantage of the incident by showign a clip of it on the jumbo tron and when the Tribe was up a graphic that said RALLY MIDGE appeared. A little corny for my liking, I don’t think you should be proud of these nuisances that are invading your stadium.
To close off the game Mariano Rivera came in the game and recorded the save. We were sitting right above the bullpen in right field and seeing Rivera warm up was really cool.
This sign graced the bullpen walls and it kept some people in check. When the Sandman entered the game, the NY fans in my area went bezerk.
A classic New Yorker and future hall of famer.
The game concluded at 11:30 very late but the show still went on. A fireworks show graced teh skies of Northeast Ohio. As a whole very lame compared to a Pittsburgh firweorks show. Sorry to citicize and this is strictly unbiased. In Cleveland it was very structured and the scoreboard got in the way of some of the sparks.
As a whole I must say I found a greater respect for the New York Yankees. They take alot of heat but still are always very loyal. Many fans claim they are front runners, they are not. Many claim they are mearly uneducated, they are not. Yankee fans are a strong breed and a corps that loves their team. The history, the pagentry, the legends are all second to none. 26 World Championships dont lie. That being said….
LETS GO BUCS