Harsh words? Maybe he always came off as a nice guy in Pittsburgh, but since his trade last June he has done nothing but trash the team I love.
It hurts to hear one of my favorite players of the last few years go off like that and I agree he does have a point.
Jason Bay too was traded somewhat unexpectedly, he still raves about his playing days in Pittsburgh. I just cannot respect a guy (McLouth) who does not respect the team that brought him up.
I am bringing this up again because ironically enough the Braves faced the Pirates today. McLouth would not only go up against his former team, but bat against the man he was traded for, pitcher Charlie Morton.
McLouth wasted no time sending a message. He lit up the scoreboard with a solo homerun to lead off the ball game. The Buccos got the last laugh when they won 7-6 over the Braves.
The win was surely welcomed for a ball club who has lost seven of their last ten. The ‘W’ puts the Pirates at 6-12-1 for the spring training tilt.
With just a mere ten days before Opening Day at beautiful PNC Park, there is something just a little more important along the way. The SWEET 16.
Tonight West Virginia and Washington do battle at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, NY. The third round of NCAA tournament action tips off. The scene around Morgantown today and all throughout the month of March has been one of anticipation. We want it! A National Championship that is.
The Huskies and Mountaineers are a good matchup in that UDUB instills a run and gun offense while WVU plays lockdown defense. It is an 11th seed (wash.) vs. a 2nd seed (WVU). Many pundits across the country are picking the Huskies for the upset. In fact and ESPN.com poll says 32% are labeling this as the upset of the night.
I respectively disagree.
West Virginia will be without starting point guard Darryl ‘Truck’ Bryant, but that is okay. He has a foot injury and has not been playing his best in the postseason. Joe Mazzulla will step in nicely. He has starting experience and may play the best defense on the team. Mazzulla also has a unique tie-in with the Pirates. He was arrested in PNC Park two summers ago for dissorderly conduct. Not the brightest move and I cannot really stand up for him here but it has shadowed his illustrious Mountaineer career.
I hope those of you following the tournament get to tune into this game tonigth at 7:30 on CBS. I hope your brackets are still in tact and that you picked West Virginia to go far. I surely did. Tonight will prove to the country that WVU is for real and that we really will make noise on our way to the Championship game.
photo credits: dontveret.com, i.cdn.turner.com, fromthedugout.com, msnbc.com, cbc.com
Two games in. Two losses
The Pirates lost 2-4 at the hands of Atlanta on Thursday. The Pirates have put up miniscule hits these past two days, recording just four against the Braves. Compared to the five hit by Atlanta, I guess it should not be too big of a talking point.
Two of the Bucs reaching base safely were new additions. Ryan Church and Bobby Crosby.
Church got the start in right field, but should not be too commended for his effort. He struck out twice while getting his single in three at bats. Over the weekend I called in to a local sports talk station. The guys were talking about off-season accquisitions by the Pirates and failed to mention Church. I chimed in expressing my interest in him and that he could be a central part to our team. They agreed and complimented me, a good feeling considering I am not a frequent caller to these type of shows. I normally just like to sit back and listen. The show was Sunday during an intermission of the USA-Canada hockey game and I was lucky enough to be directed straight to the show. I did watch the game and if anybody else did I hope you were listening intently at the very beginning of the first period. Announcer Doc Emerick dropped a Pirates mention saying “I bet the Pittsburgh Pirates are glued intently to this game.” Perplexed I was, but later found out Emerick is a huge Pirates fan. The New Jersey Devils announcer earned major points in my media heroes book.
Crosby had a decent day at the plate. With two outs in third he ripped a single through the infield bringing in a run. It was the first tally mark of the afternoon for the Pirates. It was the only noise he would make in his three at bats.
Andy LaRoche hit the first homerun of the Spring Training season for Pittsburgh. His solo shot in the 7th was the only other productive at bat in the contest.
The underlying storyline heading into this ballgame was the matchup against former Pirate centerfielder Nate McLouth.
The 2008 Gold Glove winner was the first Pirate traded in last summer’s infamous fire sale. A shocking move to the city of Pittsburgh and the entire baseball world as McLouth just inked a long term deal with the club in the offseason.
In an interview with Jennifer Langosch Nate announced his disdain for the Pirates organization. Here is a sample of what he said.
It feels good to be in an organization this year that’s going to be in a playoff hunt and not have to talk about ‘We hope years down the road …’ and things like that. It’s good to have that feeling in Spring Training.
It was tough, but I was kind of lucky that I was the first one to get sent out and I didn’t have to deal with it the whole summer.
If I was in Nate’s position, I certainly would be a bit ticked and I understand what he is saying. At the time I was unsure of the trade, but it can pay big dividends for the Pirates. We got a starting pitcher (Charlie Morton) and a centerfield prospect (Gorkys Hernandez) out of the deal. It makes me happy theat McLouth is not down playing that situation. He truly wanted to be a Pirate and felt betrayed by the organization. Some say it is still a stupid move, but it really was not.
Our outfield now is one of the youngest and most talented in the National League. McLouth refused to move to left field when Andrew McCutchen would be promoted and that may have pre-empted the trade in the first place. McLouth’s numbers also dropped considerably when he was in the ATL.
In 85 games with the Braves, McLouth batted a mediocre .256 and hits 11 home runs, bringing his total up to 20 for the year. His on base percentage dropped a handful of points from the year before and his OPS was .773, the second lowest in his five year career.
It is hard to tell what the short and long term effects of the trade will be. The duo the Pirates recieved from Atlanta has yet to pan out. In sort of a fitting manner, it was Morton that started the game for Pittsburgh. He had control issues walking three batters (including McLouth).
photo credits: piratereport.com, coxnewsweb.com
Baltimore is up next! Bucs-O’s Friday at 7p.m.
Before the ball drops and “Auld Lang Syne” is blared over the speakers it is only right to reflect on what this past year has held. Not to mention just this year, but a whole decade of memories that have played out right before us. These ten years have been special and and happy. The same can not be said for this last decades Pittsburgh Pirates team. Lets just say the 60’s and 70’s will forever remained untouched in terms of Pirate supremacy. These past ten years have been below dismal and hard to bear, but if there was to be a Most Valuable Player throughout the decade, I give it to the fans of Pittsburgh. Yes we remain near dead last in terms of overall attendance year in and year out, but can you blame ’em? With two championship sports team playing in the same city the Pirates have steadily declined in popularity, however the loyal fans remain. Whether they’re enjoying a $4 bleacher seat on a Sunday afternoon, listening to Bob Walk and Greg Brown on the radio while riding in the car, or raising the jolly roger in their own front yard after a Pirates win, the fans are here, anticipating the next 60’s and 70’s-esque decade. Until then I implore you to reflect on what was the 2000’s in Pittsburgh baseball lore. These fine players made us proud and actually gave us something to cheer about.
STARTING PITCHER: Zach Duke
As the lone representative from the current Pirate squad, Zach Duke stumbles into the Ace role of the 2000’s. The hype surrounding Duke back around 2003 was unparalled with nearly every publication ranking him as the Pirates best pitching prospect in quite sometime. He arrived in 2005 and was everything the doctor ordered. Duke went 8-2 with a 1.81 ERA. It looked like his reign was just beginning. However, since then Duke has not had a winning season and has been a mediocre pitcher compared to most in the league. Last year he went 11-16 with an ERA just over 4. Sad to say but it really was his best year since his rookie campaign. He has shown signs of improvements with his fastball and can really be a reliable starter. At just 26, he is still a major part of the Pirates future. There was talks of shopping him around this winter but expect to see him back
Honorable Menions: 1) Kip Wells, 2) Oliver Perez
CATCHER: Jason Kendall
His trademark scowl and unique batting stance, Kendall was a staple of leadership for the Pirates. He had an image Pittsburghers ate up as he became an all time favorite in the hearts of fans. He hustled and bustled his way around the basepaths and was a brick wall behind the plate. He lacked power but always flirted around and above a .300 batting average. He was one of the longets tenured Pirates having been drafted in 1993 before being traded in 2004. He helped usher in PNC Park and lead hope for the future-a future that never came.
Honorable Mentions: 1) Ryan Doumit, 2) Cody Ross
FIRST BASEMAN: Craig Wilson
Probably more famous for his long golden locks of hair than his play on the field, Wilson was a hard-nosed reliable players. Yeah he struck out a lot, 427 times in five seasons in Pittsburgh, but he was a power threat in the lineup (a rarity for the black and gold). Wilson had a monster year at the plate in 2004. The California Crusher belted a career high 29 homers and drove in 82 RBI. He also had 148 hits in that year. He always hit around 15 home runs a year and was versitile having played the outfield and 1B as well.
Honorable Mentions: 1) Adam LaRoche, 2) Sean Casey
SECOND BASEMAN: Freddy Sanchez
One of the most likeable guys to ever don a Pirates jersey, Sanchez played his heart out everytime he stepped on the field. He is a talented fielder and a star at the plate. He very well could be one of the most well rounded second basemen of the decade in the whole league. Coming over from Boston via trade in 2004, he was a relatively unknown prospect but said to have decent potential. He surely exceeded expectations in 2005 when he stepped right in and batted .291 in his first full season in the league. From there Sanchez took Pirates fan on the ride of their lives. The very next year Sanchez took home the National League batting crown hitting .344. He struggle din his last year as a Pirate but he still has some good years left in San Fran.
Honorable Mentions: 1) Jose Castillo, 2) Pokey Reese
THIRD BASEMAN: Aramis Ramirez
Often times criticized, often times praised, Ramirez never could quite find his niche in Pittsburgh. It never did stop him from putting up good numbers. Coming into the league as a scrappy 19 year old in 1998, he was a major performer christening PNC Park in 2001. A-Ram went off batting .300 with 34 HRs and 100 RBI. It looked like the Pirates finally found an uprising star to build around. However he went through slumps the following year with just a 2.34 BA. His trade in 2003 to the Cubs was the first of many “salary dumps” fans would have to endure throughout the decade.
Honorable Mentions: 1) Jose Hernandez, 2) Andy LaRoche
SHORTSTOP: Jack Wilson
Jumpin’ Jack Flash. A name forever synonoumous with the Pittsburgh baseball club. Words simply cannot describe Wilson’s effort, desire and heart. Game in-game out it always was expected to see his uniform dirty. Wilson had tremedous range at SS. Turn on Baseball Tonight and Wilson is seen on Web Gems with his tremendous glove work. Kendall may have been a clubhouse leader at the beginning of the decade but this was Wilson’s team during the waning years. His production is underrated amongst the entire league. He wasn’t the best at the plate with a career .269 but he could do everything asked of him. His presecence was always missed in the lineup when he was injured and now no longer part of the Pirates, he simply can never be replaced. Honorable Mentions: NONE
LEFT FIELDER: Brian Giles
Named to the All-Decade MLB team for a reason, Giles patrols LF for the Pirate’s decade team as well. A dead heat between him and Jason Bay, Giles gets the upper hand due to statistical better seasons with the Pirates. Bay is surely the better player-post Pittsburgh and may have been in the black and gold as well. However, numbers don’t lie and Giles had some of the best out of any Pirates player ever. Four straight seasons of 30+ home runs, three straight .300 batting average season-unheard of numbers for a Pirate. But the best decision the Pirates made during the decade was trading Giles for Bay and Oliver Perez.
Honorable Mentions: 1) Jason Bay, 2) Nyjer Morgan
CENTER FIELDER: Nate McLouth
An all star and a gold glover, Nate truly was Great during his four and a half year tenure in Pittsburgh. McLouth was used as a bench player primarily in his first two seasons, he just needed a bit of playing time to show he truly belonged. He was a speedy center fielder who played impeccable defense and was rewarded with the gold glove following the 2008 season. 2008 was really his attention grabbing campaign. McLouth knocked 21 home runs and batted a solid .276. The power shown surprised many fans and notched him a spot on the National League All Star team. In the game he threw out Dioneer Navarro at the plate and his arm surprised the baseball world. He ended up racking up good numbers for the year finishing up in Atlanta in 2009 after hitting nine homeruns in 45 games in Pittsburgh.
Honorable Mention: 1) Andrew McCutchen, 2) Tike Redman
RIGHT FIELDER: Reggie Sanders
Though he played just one season in Pittsburgh, Sanders patrolled the gaping hole that is RF for the Pirates masterfully. It has been tough to find a solid player to be a right fielder for the Pirates, but Sanders brought fanfare in 2003. He was an off season acquisition along with Kenny Lofton. These two aging vets breathed a new life into the club and brought greater attention to the team. Playing 130 games Sanders hit 31 home runs and hit for a .281 batting average. He had quite the high OPS at .912 and was a threat at the plate at any given time. What really sets Sanders in a class of his own is his own poise. He was a great guy off the field. Having only been in Pittsburgh one season, you would have assumed he was a local citizen all his life.
Honorable Mentions: 1) Xavier Nady, 2) John Vander Wal
RELIEF PITCHER: Mike Williams
The “Cardiac Kid” played with fan’s emotions for five years as a Pirate. He was a reliable closer, but seemed to take forever in mowing down the last three outs of a ball game. It wa sthe way he worked giving up doubles, walking batters, loading the bases. It all came together as a whole mismatch, but he eventually would get the job done. He had two tenures as a Pirate, 1998-2000 and 2002-2003. In 2002 he went down in the Pittsburgh record books with 46 saves in a season, a team record. The flamboyant Virginia Tech grad was infamous for snubbing West Virgnia fans hunting for autographs.
Honorable Mentions: 1) Matt Capps, 2) Mike Fetters
Yep, there ya have it. Some players you have heard of, some you have not. They all do have one thing in common, none of them ever gave the Pirates a winning season. A few of them played together but still couldn’t get the job done. It is hard to tell whether or not this starting lineup would compile a competitve team with a shot at the playoffs, let alone a .500 season. I wouldn’t bet on it.
Words can’t describe how weird it is for me to look at that picture and accept the fact that Nate McLouth is no longer a Pittsburgh Pirate. After 10 years with the Pirates organization, McLouth is now playing centerfield for the Atlanta Braves.
I wish Nate all the best in his tenure in Atlanta, chances are he will be there for quite some time. He is under contract for the next 3 years and when the ATL front office realizes how important he is to their team, they should lock him up for an additional 3 or so years. McLouth has the ability to remain a Brave and become quite the legend. He may never be the best of teh best, but keeping up with his solid all-around style of gameplay he will surely never be forgotten when wearing the Blue and Red.
I might be getting a little ahead of myself here just a bit. It is still very tough to swallow after seeing and getting used to this
for the better part of the last 4 years. His boyish face, sheepish grin, and bleach blonde hair have been a staple in the Pirates clubhouse and Pittsburgh community for nearly half a decade. Nate had a program he ran at every game called “Nate’s Lucky 13” He would bring in 13 underpriveleged kids from the urban areas of the Burgh and allow them to take part in the baseball experience. These kids normally would not have a chance to go see a live MLB game so Nate would take it upon himself to show these youths a good time. He took them behind the scenes at PNC Park and down on the field for pre-game warmups. They also recieved good seats and custom T-shirts. Nate is a great guy and a player that the Atlanta community should warm up to as well.
Well enough is enough, he’s gone and he ain’t coming back. Instead of visiting Western, PA, the Pirates trekked to Georgia to take on the Braves in a 4 game series. The opening game of the series was very thrilling going 15 innings. The Pirates wound up losing the game 7-6 in the bottom of the 15th but nonetheless, they stuck in there and never backed down.
The Pirates-McLouth reunion was overshadowed by the fact that Braves manager Bobby Cox earned his 2,000 win as a Brave. McLouth took advantage of his old team by ripping three hits including his first homerun in Atlanta, his tenth of the year.
For Pittsburgh, McLouth’s replacement Andrew McCutchen had quite the noteworthy game as well. Cutch had 4 hits, 2 of which were doubles. In my last entry I vented about how important he needs to be in regard to the future of the Pirates organization. He showed last night that he can be looked to as a form of support and he will carry the torch. Although the Bucs lost he put up them numbers that should have put them in a position to win. It was pretty fitting that McCutchen went off like he did playing against McLouth.
PHOTO CREDITS: ap photos off espn.com
I’m loving the props on the mlblogs home page. Matt Weiters got some recognition for making his debut and now Andrew McCutchen graces the cover.
As we all know by now Nate McLouth was traded to the Braves in exchange for prospects. The dust has finally settled and the fact that hes gone has set in. Fans and players alike were equally shocked and held in disbelief by the trade. In this article off espn.com, Pirates players vent about their frustrations with the front office.
Its good to see the players have so much dedication for a teammate. It shows that the players here in Pittsburgh strive to do the best they can to give the fans something to cheer about. I think the team will be brought closer together with the events that occured and pull it all together.
But the sun will always rise and it surely did yesterday afternoon in Pittsburgh.
Cutch is here and the future surely is NOW.
McCutchen impressed on his opening day going 2-4 with and RBI. He showcased his speed by stealing a base an scoring two runs. He along with Nyjer Morgan both celebrated the day and showed the Mets that speed definately kills as the Bucs downed the Metropolitans 11-6.
Jon from the Mc Effect was at the game and had the time of his life. He has a nice rundown of the days events over on his blog, be sure to check it out. http://eatsleepmlb.mlblogs.com
The Pirates are now inching closer and closer to that coveted .500 mark. WIth a new sense of identity and Cutch the boy wonder in teh lineup on an everyday basis watch for Pittsburgh to deliever and prove to the baseball world that they can win.
After Day 1 of the McCutchen project PNC Park was able to
RAISE THE JOLLY ROGER…25-28
- 2008 Gold Glove winner
- 2008 All-Star
- 46 doubles in 2008
- 2008 Roberto Clemente Award winner
- Allegheny River splash ball
Shock. I was in complete and udder shock upon hearing the news that Nate McLouth was traded to the Atlanta Braves. Our cornerstone player, fan favorite and all around best player has been dealt away. I just don’t get it.
I’m all for improving the team. I want more than anything for the Pirates to win. I just felt lied to and dissrespected as a Bucco fan for the event that just occured. GM Neil Huntington, pictured to the left of Nate, claimed that he was a part of our winning future. He was a building block for the Pittsburgh turnaround, Not so much anymore. Gorkys Hernanadez, Charlie Morton and Jeff Locke will now be part of that glorious future. Ever heard of them? Me niether.
The Pirates play third fiddel in the city of Pittsburgh. The Steelers come first, the Pens come second, the Pirates come third. Its almost like the world has been turned upside down in the Steel City when the baseball team is brushed off. Now that the most recognizable player has been traded again, who can the casual fans identify with? They abided in Jason Bay-traded away. Brian Giles-traded away. Aramis Rameriz-traded away. While Bay, Giles, and Rameriz were traded away for younger talent, money was also in issue in each of the trades. McLouth is affordable. He was signed through 2011 making just in the low millions. WHile he was probably traded awya for upper-level prospects, we have enough. I guess you can never be too cautious about the future, but when management claims to want to win NOW, how is this move justified? I just don’t see it, and if I can’t see it, the casual fans of Pittsburgh surely wont be able to either.
Well Nate I guess Green Day said it best…
IT’S SOMETHING UNPREDICTABLE, BUT IN THE END ITS RIGHT…
I HOPE YOU HAD THE TIME OF YOUR LIFE
RAISE THE JOLLY ROGER…21-24
Freddy Sanchez went bonkers at the plate going 6-6 with 3 RBI and a homerun. Nate McLouth added a homerun as well and the Pirates beat the Cubs 10-8 at Wrigley. Andy LaRoche also enjoyed contributing to the offensive explosion. He now has a ten game hitting streak with his 3-hit performance on Memorial day.
Paul Maholm started the game for Pittsburgh but Tom Gorzelanny picked up the win. Sean Burnett earned his first career Major League save. Long overdue for a guy who was supposed to be a cornerstone to the Bucs future pitching staff way back in 2003. He only was given the reins last night after Matt Capps was struck with a Geovanny Soto line drive. Capps was pulled from the game and taken to teh hospital for X-rays, they came back negative. (GOOD SIGN).
Just like the rest of the Major League Baseball team the Pirates took part in Memorial Day festivities.
By adorning the red caps the Bucs did not match at all. The ***** Eye for the Straight Guy folks would have a field day making over this uniform combination. But what matters is that those who fought to serve our country were honored. I for one really like the hate. I’m a sucker for flashy hats and that one that Jack Wilson is wearing in the picture to teh right is just that-flashy. I may have to take a trip to the mall and hit up Lids. It would go well for my summer wardrobe, plus it would come in handy come 4th of July.
The Pirates weren’t the only ones in the patriotic spirit yesterday.
Although he was the “Southside Slugger” in rocky 3, Clubber Lang appaered on the other side of town. The beloved Mr. T was on hand decked out in perfect Red White and Blue attire to throw out the first pitch in the ballgame. Still looking buff-minus the earings he delievered a perfect strike across the plate.