There may not be a more refreshing sight that will grace the PNC Park jumbo tron, this year.
es against the Brewers coming up this week, I plan on returning to my summer home to catch some more baseball. We all have a special place where we need to go to take time off, relax and be entertained. For ten years, PNC Park has been my spot. With 78 more home games to go I plan on enjoying every single one I get to go to, win or lose.
Hurdle comes to the Steel City after being a part of two of the last three World Series. The batting coach for the Rangers, who happened to have the league’s highest team batting average is notoriously known for his tenure as manager of the Colorado Rockies. He was at the helm of the Rockies from 2002 until the beginning of 2009. In that time span he oversaw the development of young prospects such as Brad Hawpe, Troy Tulowitzki, Clint Barmes, Garett Atkins and Matt Holliday. That litany of potential is rivaled by that of the crop of youngsters the Pirates currently have now and the likes that are rising through the system.
Hurdle exudes confidence.
Even the harshest critics of the Pirates buy into the demeaner of Hurdle.
Ahem, Ron Cook.
Cook said, “He’s better than the franchise deserves.”
Hurdle has already implemented catchphrases that the Pirates marketing team needs to play on.
Describing his team as a “wolfpack,” Hurdle said he plans for everyone involved with the organization to go “all in.”
I’ve been all in 21 years of my life, Clint. I’m ready for more to join me.
Aside from his on the field duties, Hurdle is a family man.
His family of four is a tight-knit groupe for good reasons. His daughter suffers from Prader-Willi
syndrome, a disease with 1 in 25,000 probability. Hurdle said a big reason why he chose the Pittsburgh job was to be close to specialized medical facilites in the city that cater especially to patients with the rare syndrome.
All in all, Hurdle took the job to meet objectives. He wante dto get back into managing and had a chance to take the Mets job. Both New York and Pittsburgh are in rebuilding situations but there is just something lucrative about bringing a forgotten team back to prominence. Hurdle sees that and wants to be the man to right the ship.
He has already began a grassroots campaign in Pittsburgh since it was announced he would be hired. Hurdle was seen Sunday at the Steelers game and Monday at the Penguins games. The Pirates play third fiddle in Pittsburgh so its good that Hurdle is petitioning for some noteriety. In the business thats called good public relations.
The Pirates really haven’t seen that in the last three, make the 18 years.
photo credits:postgazette.com, yahoo.com
You always hear of the miracles and magic associated with sports.
But how often do we truly believe it?
I admit I have been skeptical, after all my two favorite sports teams always seem to drop the ball; West Virginia football and of course the 17 straight losing season club known as the Pittsburgh Pirates.
However, Saturaday night changed all of that. It took an extra inning baseball game to sell me with the iniative that sports dreams do come true, thanks to a miracle and a sprinkle of magic.
You see it all started Friday.
My brother and I had been looking forward to attending the Friday night Pirate game all season long. It was Andrew McCutchen bobblehead night, the only bobblehead night at PNC Park all year. We had plans to meet up with my best friend Andrew in Pittsburgh to share a nice night at the ballpark.
Instead we shared in what would be the last night with my ailing grandfather. Papaw Peaslee had been diagnosed with cancer earlier this summer and his timetable of life was greatly shortened. He passed away Saturday morning.
As sad and troublesome as it is to lose a loved one you must first celebrate the life and be happy that the suffering is over.
Papaw Peaslee was a hard working man all his life. He was a farmer who raised cattle for a living and he was darn good at it. As a city boy I rarely took interest in this lifestyle but still entrusted in the skills he taught me and the work ethic my father taught me through the hands of his father.
We did share the love of sports and especially Pirates baseball. He would take my dad to many games throughout the years at Forbes Field in the 60’s. I always hear the stories of how he would reach through wire fences to catch foul balls. My father and papaw witnessed the first night World Series game ever at Three Rivers Stadium in 1971. They also shared in the first Opening Day ever at PNC Park in 2001. I unfortubately was unable to attend due to the chicken pox.
When I would visit him this summer we would talk about the Pirate’s struggles and how frustrating it is to see them lose nearly night in and night out. However, through the thick and thin we always remained the most die hard of fans. Although he never got to see a winning season at PNC Park I think he had a little something to do with that Saturday’s dramatic win in Pittsburgh.
Down by two in the bottom of the tenth inning the Pirate began a little rally with Andrew McCutchen lacing a double off the center field wall. Jose Tabata drew a walk. A pair of batters later Pedro Alvarez stepped to the plate.
He drilled a pitch into the right field bleachers. A walk off home run.
Something inside me knew something special was about to happen. My family shared the same sentiments as the Pirate announcers as tears flew down our faces.
“That was for Papaw!” we all said. It was true, Alvarez did that for Papaw. Although we were not at the game I still think that game and that moment will go down as one of if not the most memorable sports moment in my life. After the game manager John Russell even said,
“The heavens must have looked down and said enough is enough.”
We all think Papaw had something to do with it.
Thank you Pedro for making the roughest moment in anyones life a little more tolerable.
James McDonald’s first impression with Pirates fans was as beautiful as his performance on the mound.
Pittsburgh defeated the Rockies 5-1 thanks in part to the Southern Califonia native’s stunning debut.
McDonald went six full innings allowing just four hits and one walk. The golden number for McDonald on Thursday was eight.
The newly acquired Bucco struck out the side to start the first inning. Came out firing in the second mowing down two more and at one point after facing just seven batters McDonald fanned six of them.
I was very excited to turn on FSN Pittsburgh to watch his debut. Las Angeles used him mostly as a reliever but the 25 year old has been fairly touted throughout his career as a future starter. I was proud of the Pirate’s decision to give him the starting nod and all who watched the game cheering for the black and gold were pleased as well.
While I was excited I was also nervous. Listening to the pre game show on TV McDonald seemed very timid and not sure of himself. He was very soft spoken and only talked in that “player speak” giving vague responses.
He let his pitching to the talking.
What is even more impressing is that his battery mate is also new to the club. It’s not like he was throwing to someone he was used to or somebody within the organization who is used to the ways and tendencies of PNC Park.
McDonald solidified himself as the Pirate’s ace with his masterful start tonight. He has earned a spot in a struggling rotation and has the potential to be the leader that trickles strong starts into other pitchers.
PHOTO CREDITS: Gene Puskar, espn.com