Fresh off a four day break from baseball the Pittsburgh Pirates returned from their reunions with family and friends and set up shop back in PNC Park. The Giants were in town and so were the Peaslee men.
My brother, Zach, my father, Rick, and myself went to Pittsburgh for a nice Friday evening of baseball and fun. You’re probably wondering why I would let my brother wear a Giants shirt. After all he too is a die-hard Pirates fan and bleeds black and gold. Once you see the back you may understand the method behind his madness.
You see Zach is a big fan of the Giant’s pithcer and National League All-Star starting pitcher Tim Lincecum, but then again who isn’t? I, too am a big fan. The lanky hurler is a fresh face for the MLB and is turning into the elite name in all of baseball. At just 24 year sold he has been captivating the baseball nation ove rthe past few years. He has been on the cover of countless magazines and is the cover of the video game, MLB 2k9. Lincecum is featured on a commercial for Major League baseball being shown as just a down home guy, my type of baseball player. He is here for strict love of the game and the fact that he plays so well and i so dominating makes his aura even better.
On the ride the park we tuned in to the local sports talk radio station. Ellis Cannon, sports talk personality in Pittsburgh spoke wonders about Lincecum and the entire Giants franchise. He was raving and had every right to. The Giants are so much improved this year. A big part of the success is their home grown talent. Some the Pirates are looking to do—–build from within. Players like pitchers Lincecum and Matt Cain and third baseman Pablo Sandoval have all risen up through the system and are striving over time in the San Francisco clubhouse.
Players like that will continue to shinebecause they are young and have a whole career ahead of them. Who knows what is to come?. The sky is the limit. Maybe sometime Tim Lincecum himself will turn into a bigger international legend than he already is, maybe even have a parking garage floor named after him like this guy…..
Roberto Clemente! The Great One will forever be remembered for his heroics on and off the
field. In Pittsburgh he is highyl regarded in the community with many parks, monuments and even a bridge named for him. In the parking garage right outside PNC Park you too can take part in celebrating his life, by parking on the 7th floor. The ten floor parking garage features ten diffrent Pittsburgh sports legends. For just 12 dollars to park you can honor you rfavorite legend. Players such as Tony Dorsett, Franco Harris, Dan Marino and Andy Van Slyke all are honored. It is my favorite place to park in the city. It is always fun parking on a different floor to see which player you will end up with.
As we walked to the park it was drizzling. Not a heavy rain but enough to suspend play. The game was slated to start at 7:05 but wound up beginning at 7:50. From the gates we passed through we were handed beach towels, it was beach towel night. The perfect give away item on a rainy day. They were perfect to wipe off the damp seats. From the main home plate gate we ran out to center field, our destination was the bullpen. We wanted to catch a glimpse of the freak known as Tim Lincecum as he was warming up. We were greeted with a throng of people out there and Zach even met his match.
The man in the authentic Lincecum jersey had to be in his mid-50s. He was watching Tim warm up, analyzing his throws and capturing it all on his state of the art camcorder. We figured it was either his father (who is shown on that MLB commercial) or a big creep out to follow his every move. Either or he was a die hard fan. There were close to 30 people at the bullpen awaiting Lincy’s arrival. It was pretty cool, everyone was anticpating a big celebrity like the Pope. But it was just Tim Lincecum, but either way he was quite the spectacle.
Once he entered the bullpen many people started flashing their pictures. He had his trademarked crazy windup going all out. He through some nice strikes to the bullpen catcher. He was ready for action looking to improve from his mediocre showing at the All-Star game.
When his name was announced and he enetered the game a large cheer went up from the Pittsburgh crowd. Everybody knows who he is and like I said before you can’t not like this kid. I was surprised with the amount of Giants fans in the crowd. If you’ve ever looked at a map you can see how far San Francisco is from Pittsburgh, a good 3,000 miles. Whether it was actual Northern Californians or just bandwagon fans I won’t know. But I saw double digit numbers of Lincecum shirts and jeresys as well as many Bonds jerseys. I will admit that I have a soft spot for the Giants and the whole Bay Area vicinity, I will explain that later, back to the game last night.
It wa steh definition of a pitcher’s duel. Paul Maholm took the hill for the Pirates and had his most successful outing of the season. Maholm only allowed 4 hits and struck out 7 batters over 7 innings of work. Lincecum duplicated Maholm’s success only allowing 5 hits and striking out 7 of his own. Lincy did get shaken up a bit in the first inning when Garret Jones went deep to straight away center for his 6th dinger of the season. The one nothing score would remain like that until the 7th inning when the Giants tied it thanks to an error on a stolen base attempt. The one-one tie would last beyond the regular nine innings as this one headed to extras.
The extra frames were excruciating No team could do anything. Popouts, groundouts and strikeouts were all wer were able to see, from both teams. Nobody really threatened and the game looked like it would never end. During an inning break we went to the bathroom, and used it as an excuse to stretch our legs. It takes a toll on the body sitting for that long. The entertainment crew took note of that as well and played “Take me out to the Ballgame” AGAIN in the middle of teh 14th. I’ve never heard it twice in a game before.
On our bathroom trip Zach stopped at a souvineer stand and picked up this beauty.
A $27 dollar Andre McCutchen T-shirt. A fabulous item of clothing in my mind. I would die to have one honestly. But at $27 dollars that is a little pricy. Zach made the case that he only has one other Pirate shirt and he wanted to be one of the first people to own a McCutchen shirt. Now as much as I love Cutch, I’m sorry but I just got to save my money. He will most definately enjoy the shirt and wear it proudly. It is just too bad Andrew did not notice as he went 0-5 in the game.
The bottomof teh 14th game and Garret Jones stepped up to the plate and finished what he started. Jones blasted a Bob Howry pitch into the Allegheny River for the walk off win. I couldn’t believe it. As soon as he made contact I knew it was gone. It was a surreal momment. I gradually stood up and just raised my hands in the air. It was the perfect ending to a great night at the ballpark. There’s nothing I love more than a walk off win and the mobbing that comes at home plate.
There have been just 2 Pirate walk off wins this year and I’m proud to say I have been in attendance at both. Jones’ accomplishments at the plate this year have been next to unbelievable. He was 15 hits, 7 of which are home runs. He is an absolute beast. It is great for him, the team and the fans but sooner or later he is bound to cool down. When that happens it will be interesting to see if he can sustain himself at the major league level. The Pirates now stand at 39-50 on the year.
Pirates lose 8-2 at the hands of the Minnesota Twins
- Nyjer Morgan hits 2 run homerun-1st of the 2009 season
- 5 double plays were turned by the Pirates-they lead the MLB in that category
- Paul Maholm had his worst start of the year-8 earned runs and 14 hits
- Joe Mauer is outstanding- he went 4-4 and is currently batting .414
It will be interesting to see how this interleague matchup turns out. The Bucs had a lot of luck in the last series against the Tigers getting 2 out of 3. With the offensive firepower that the Twins posess it will be tough for the Pirates to get out of the Land of Lakes with a decent win.
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.
RAISE THE JOLLY ROGER…3-2
Scrappy, hard-nosed, intrepid—> three words you would used for a football player, James Harrison or Ben Roethisberger perhaps. On Saturday those three adjectives switched sports and fit a baseball player to a T. Nyjer Morgan continued his streak of contingency by going 3-4. Morgan notched a triple and a pair singles while stealing two bases. Perfect fantasy numbers for you gurus out there. Those numbers were quite frankly outstanding and good enough for a 10-2 Pirate win over the Cincinatti Reds. .
The bats of the whole lineup were out in full force. Nate McClouth went 2-3 with 3 RBI and went deep in the top of the first with a 2-run homer, his second of the year.
The big sticks hammered Cinci reliever Mike Lincoln in the top of the ninth innings. Ryan Doumit went deep for a grand slam and Adam LaRoche follwed suit with a solo shot of his own.
Without the ingenious play of Morgan on the base paths the grand slam would have been an after thought. Morgan used a hard slide into second base to break up a would be double play. Earlier in the game the instincts of Morgan shone once again as he topple over Cinci catcher Ramon Hernandez breaking up what could have been a close play at the plate.
I’ve priased Morgan for his opening series heroics but he proved today that hard play will be the norm for our starting left fielder. It’s great to see him giving his all out there and enjoying playing the game.
With all the praise for the offense it should go without saying that the starting pitching really gave the Pirate’s the upper hand. Paul Maholm was sharp, just as he was in his opening day appearance. The Mississippi native went seven innings only allowing three hits. Nasty stuff was thrown from his arm all day and his control was spot on, only walking three batters.
On Easter Sunday the Bucs will battle the Reds agin for the final game of teh rain shortened series. Only 2 days ’til the PNC Park home opener. So Pumped and ready to take in the game at the most beautiful park in all of baseball.
Jolly Roger photo- uts.cc.utexas.edu