Tagged: Yankees

Yankees silenced as Bucs continue Spring fling

billvspaul.jpg

In 2008 actor Bill Crystal got his birthday wish as he signed a one day contract with the New York Yankees. 
In his lone Spring Training at bat he struck out at the hands of Pirates pitcher Paul Maholm. 
Three years later, six actual Yankees struck out against Pittsburgh pitchers. 
On Tuesday the Bucs blanked the Yanks 2-0 at McKechnie Field in Bradenton. 
Although the likes of Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter and Mark Teixiera did not take the field, come one, they’re still the Yankees. 
James McDonald took the hill for the Pirates and lasted two solid innings, allowing just a pair of hits. Curtis Granderson tripled in the first inning and Eric Chavez notched a single in the second. 
Behind McDonald, Aaron Thompson gave up two hits. New York would only reach base those four times. 
Daniel McCutchen earned the win, his first of the Spring. He fanned two batters including Nick Swisher. Former first round pick Daniel Moskos was given the save and did not allow a hit in the 9th inning.
The Pirates now stand at 3-2 in the Grapefruit League. The other two wins came against the Tampa Bay Rays. The win against the Yankees was clearly the best performance from the pitching staff, thus far. 
But, there was bad news in the day.
biemel.jpg
Relief pitcher Joe Beimel was ordered to be shut down due to discomfort in his left arm. He has undergone and MRI with results coming later Tuesday, or Wednesday. The newly acquired lefty was to be a strong hold in the bullpen. Working with Evan Meek and closer Joel Hanrahan, the back end of the pen looks to be one of the strongest in the NL Central. 
Beimel was once a Pirate before this spring. From 2001-04 he was a reliever in Pittsburgh. He was anything but spectacular and has since spent time with the Dodgers, Nationals and Rockies reviving his career. 
Just look at him. 
He brings an edge, a fire of sorts, that will be utilized. His recovery needs to be brisk for his untapped potential to come about.
photo credits: bleacherreport.com, yahoo.com

Building to the model

baseball-salary-cap.jpgI remember seeing a sign at PNC Park in 2002 that read “Small Market Domination.”
The Pirates started out 5-2 that year so obviously that sentiment was a bit premature. It got people excited, though. A winner was in Pittsburgh and to get off on the right foot like that fueled some excitement that has long lacked in the Western Pennsylvania baseball community.
It is still not there today.

mauerslide.jpg

Other small market areas, however, have found their their happy place with baseball. Minnesota, Tampa Bay and this past year, Cincinnati were successful despite the economic restraints placed upon them. Minnesota has one of the best run organizations in the game with their knack for competing year in and year out. It remains to be seen if Tampa Bay will remain with its head above water as key

upton0806.jpg

 departures this past season such as Carl Crawford and Carlos Pena have left to bigger areas. Cincinnati has a nice core in place with Joey Votto and Jay Bruce bolstering the line up. It should see the same post season strides like the Twins and Rays before it. 
These three teams have something in common. Their use of the draft.

Joey Votto.jpg

With lineups predominately filled with players homegrown through the farm system, the Twins, Rays and Reds have all took their rime with a unique path towards the top. All three teams made the playoffs last year thanks to these young players that have risen through the system, but it wasn’t just those players that got the respective teams to prominence. They had to go out and spend some money.
The Twins added Carl Pavano to their pitching staff. He not only got the job done on the mound, he won over the fan base with his phenomenal mustache. Jim Thome also helped in garnering attention. For the Rays it was Pat Burrell and Cliff Floyd that helped anchor a potent offensive threat. Cincinnati, on the other hand remained fairly quiet. Alrodis Chapman was their big money investment, though. It was his stellar pitching that ultimately positioned the Reds for a spot in the 2010 playoffs. 
For the past three years Neil Huntington has been the general manager of the Pirates. During these three tumultuous seasons he has cited the aforementioned teams as being a model for Pittsburgh to build off. 
They have.
With aggressive spending in the draft the Pirates have acquired top talent and could be seen as having some of the youngest players with the most potential compared to any low farm system across the majors. 
stetal.jpg
Keeping with the plan that once the upper level prospects reach the major league level and show signs of success, then the free agent market will be attacked with the few missing pieces the team needs to contend. The Reds, Twins and Rays have all utilized their money properly with sufficient going to free agents, but still remaining loyal to their own homegrown players. The Pirates are taking this route, too with Andrew McCutchen, Neil Walker and Pedro Alvarez all taking great strides at the major league level last year.
One team this off-season has taken a different approach.
The Orioles have one of the best young pitching staffs in the BO.jpg
game, today. As of late, they now have a lineup that mirrors a classic Yankees roster. With its aggressive stance in the Free Agent pool the Orioles have added Vladimir Guerrero, J.J. hardy and Derek Lee to accompany their own Nick Markakis, Adam Jones and Matt Wieters. While this hungry spending spree may pay off, it will be tough to compete, as always in the American League East. While some may argue that they are at least a year from reaching its competitive potential, the Orioles set out to silence the critics by going against the grain and landing some of the hottest free agents this off-season. 
They spent money. 
It is not exactly the plan the Pirates are heading on. As they finished with near identical records last year, the Orioles feel now is their time. It’s different strokes for different folks because Pittsburgh is still premature in its development. 
I applaud the Orioles for their plan, but Huntington will still laud to the Twins, Rays and Reds as the Pirates blueprint towards success.
I don’t blame him. 
photo credits: yublog.com, nodaktwinsfan.com, sportsblog.projo.com, cobf.mlblogs.com, piratesprospects.com, sportslogos.com

50th Anniversary of the real shot heard ’round the world

No dissrespect to Bobby Thompson, but the Giants won the pennant.

In 1960 Bill Mazeroski led the Pirates to win the World Series.

 

 

maz paper.jpgAt exactly 3:35 pm on October 13, 1960 the Pirates were all knotted up 9-9 with the New York Yankees in Game 7 of the World Series.

One minute later the Pittsburgh sports scene would be changed forever.


mazshot.jpgSWUNG ON AND IT IS A HIGH FLY BALL DEEP TO LEFT FIELD, THIS MAY DO IT!!!!!!

Mazeroski’s swing of the bat lifted the ball over Yogi Berra’s head sent the crowd into a frenzy.

Seeing Maz fly around the bases, swinging his helmet around in elation is truly a sight to be hold.

A Wheeling, West Virginia native (another reason why I love him so much) Mazeroski came from humble beginnings along the Ohio River. He said he played the game with the same attitude as he did growing up.

How can you not love that attitude?

As he was flying around the bases Mazeroski is quoted as saying he never felt his feet touch the ground. He was mobbed at homeplate by teammates and fans alike in one of the greatest moments in all of sports.

Whats more remarkable is the Pirates and Yankees were in a David vs. Goalith type battle back then. Much like today, New York was favored to take the series with its star studded lineup that included the likes of Berra, Mickey Mantle, Roger Marris and eventual MVP of the series Bobby Richardson.

Mazeroski was never known as a power hitter. He rarely hit double digit home runs in a season. He was known for his glove with eight Gold Glove awards and still owns the highest fielding percentage among second basemen.

Although Pittsburgh is in the midst of 18 straight losing seasons, the Steel City has not forgotten its icons. Across the town Mazeroski’s memory lives on, particularly in the Oakland section of town.

Oakland is home to the University of Pittsburgh, which I despise. The campus does offer one of the most beuatiful sections in all of Western, Pennsylvania, though.

Portions of the outfield wall still stand where Forbes Field was located.

This summer, I toured the old stomping grounds of the Bucs with my good friend Erin, who happens to be a Pitt student. I don’t hate her too much.

She loves the Pirates just as much as I do and we share memories that I have never before been able to extend to others. They just wouldn’t appreciate it.

She showed me the wall and other historic artifacts.

Thumbnail image for mazwall.jpg

 

 

Forbes Field wall

 

 

 

 

 

 

mazplaque.jpg

 

 

Plaque commemorating that spot at which Mazeroski’s homerun cleared the wall.

 

 

 

 

 

maz plate.jpg
 

 

Forbes Field home plate in its exact location, well almost. It is in the hallway of a Pitt campus building, moved there from just three feet away. If it was in its rightful spot it would be in the women’s restroom. A tourist spot to some maybe? But, the plate deserves to be seen by all

 

 

 

mazphoto.jpg

 

One of the most famous Pittsburgh photos this captures the celebratory moment when Maz was rounding the bases. Shot from the roof of Pitt’s Cathedral of Learning it provided a stunning view of the field and still today, downtown Pittsburgh.

 

 

 

 

mazstatue.jpg
Unvieled by PNC Park just last month the Mazeroski statue is forever implemented along side the most beautful ballpark in America. Afterall, it was one of the most beautiful moments ever.



The national media picked up on Mazeroski today.

Walking through the WVU student unio I sat down to eat lunch in front of the TV that shows ESPN. Bob Ley of Outside the Lines interviewed a Yankees historian, Steve Blass and Tim Kurkjian regarding the legacy Mazeroski possessed. Highlights of the game were shown and Mazeroski himself spoke.

The guy sitting next to me eventually moved as I was tearing up.

I wasn’t the only one.

Thousands of fan convene on that spot this day every year to relieve the precious memories Mazeroski left behind for us. They play the radio broadcast of Game 7 and embrace each other with thoughts of yesteryear.

Game 7 drew national a couple weeks ago as the tape was found in who else, but Bing Crosby’s wince cellar. Who woulda thunk it?

This was a game that will forever be etched in the minds of baseball fans everywhere.

It is all thanks to the best man in all of sports, Bill Mazeroski.

 

 

 

 

Happy Halladays to start the postseason

In a somewhat sarcastic way I proclaimed on October 5th that the Reds would not get a hit throughthe NLDS against the Philies.

 

halladay.jpgSo far so good huh.

There was not a better way to script the opening day of the postseason than the first playoff no hitter since Don Larsen’s perfect game in 1962.

So close to a perfect game too. Unbelievable. And to do it twice in one year simply baffles me. Just imagine if Roy Halladay happened to be out of Toronto for more of his career. He could possibly be one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball history. He still has a lot of gas in the tank and judging by this season alone he has punched his ticket to Cooperstown. A first ballot hall of famer in my book.

One game that may hold him out could very well be May 18, 2010.

He lost to the Pirates.

Zach Duke went toe-to-toe with the Philadelphia ace in a 2-1 ballgame where both pitchers
halladay1.jpg went the complete game. It was one of the most precise games the Pirates put together in 2010 and the best contest of Duke’s wretched year.

As I type this the game in Minnesota is going swimmingly well for the Twins. Something to say that I am pleased to see. Francisco Liriano is pitching masterfully.

Pitching has been a common theme when discussing the highs of the 2010 MLB season. So far it looks like the playoffs are going to be no exception. Cliff Lee shut down the Rays this afternoon. Halladay had a freaking no hitter. Liriano is coasting right now.

Tomorrow presents a new day with two similiar teams pinned against each other. It is sure to be anothers pitchers duel as Tim Lincecum faces Derek Lowe.

When it comes to picking a team to root for in the postseason, it hasn’t been the easiest thing. Last year I chose the Dodgers because of my good blogging friends Emma and Cat were so very kind to me. This season is a bit trickier, but not really. I am sticking with the NL West theme and will be adorning the orange and black.

 

sf.jpgI’ve always liked the logo and color scheme. The city is one of a kind. The ballpark blew me away. Besides those intangibles the Giants also offer something special for the playoff run, one of my favorite players of all time.

FREDDY.jpgFreddy Sanchez.

His time in Pittsburgh was headlined by a batting title in 2006 but what may have been overshadowed was his hospitality. Sanchez is a class act and was always a fan favorite. His work ethic and gritty glove work is topped only by his consistent bat. He is finally overcoming injuries that have haunted his whole career and he is showing he belongs in an everday lineup, especially on a contending team.

Nobody deserves the honor of winning games in the post season than Freddy Sanchez.

Go Giants!

photos: ap, yahoo.com

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 case of the Mondays

For the first time this spring the Buccos held their first split squad games. Both teams were in action today against the Yankees and Rays.

New York and Tampa Bay both defeated the pair of Pittsburgh teams.

The Yanks shut out the Pirates 6-0. Steve Pearce recorded the only hit of the contest for the Bucs, a single.

Thumbnail image for stevepearce.jpgPearce has long been heralded as the next big thing in Pittsburgh, however his time is running short.

In 2007 after just one season in A ball, he made the jump to the majors, swiftly moving through the system. It was just too much too soon as he was overwhelmed at the plate and at first base.

Last season he spent a majority of the season in AAA Indianapolis setting career highs in every offensive category. It was not the same story in the majors. In 60 games in Pittsburgh, Pearce batted six points over the Mendoza Line with just a .206. He lacked power that he showed throughout the minors just hitting four homeruns.

He has a chance to make the team out of camp but that most likely will not happen. There is a heated battle for the last bench spots and Pearce will be one of the odd men out.

 

The Rays and Pirates played their way to 10 innings, but TB outlasted the Bucs 4-3. Brian Friday hit a homerun for Pittsburgh.

In a similar, yet completely different scenario, Friday is in a “Pearce like position.” For about the last two years he has made a name for himself in the minors.

brianfriday.jpg

With the major league roster jammed with infield talent (Ronny Cedeno, Delwyn Young, Akinori Iwamura, Ramon Vazquez) Friday will need at least another year in the minors to develop.

The Rice University product spent last year in AA Altoona. He hit just .265 but is said to have a great glove. By showing pop in his bat today he may just be “the guy” at second in say 2012.

 

 

 

The Bucs will bring the team together tomorrow when they face the Yankees yet again.

Remember me issuing my excitement for Tuesday’s WVU baseball game? Well it was postponed due to the snow still on the field. It is melting rather quickly as temperatures reached the mid-50’s in Morgantown today. But I hear the field is wetter than the Everglades. They may be able to get in Thursday’s game however.

To hold me over these next three days I have Wednesday to look forward to. The Pirates take on the Orioles Wednesday at 7p.m. The game will be televised on FSN Pittsburgh. My buddy Andrew is a big Orioles fan so we will enjoy watching this game together.

photo credits: espn.com, pirates.scout.com

 

 

 

 

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