Sunday, July 26, 2009

Intriguing Storylines of Baseball's 2nd Half

First I’d like to apologize to all of you for such a long hiatus. But as you know life for a non-paid writer sometimes gets hectic in a declining economy. But hopefully I can get back on the writing track and bring you more enjoyable posts to read starting with baseball. After starting off the season towards their 17th and record breaking losing season I couldn’t imagine myself finding much interest in the Pirates this year. Some questionable moves by the management have actually brought more intrigue to me and have got me watching consistently again.

Garret Jones

To start there is a single question about this guy that I have heard everyone not related to him ask: “WHO THE HELL IS GARRET JONES?”
The second question being “Where the hell did he come from?”
Garret Jones is quietly on a tear batting .345 with 10 HR, 15 RBIs, .798 SLG, and 6 2Bs in 84 at bats. That’s a Herculean effort of 1 homerun every 8.4 at bats! To think that this will continue would be crazy (although anybody who still cheers for the beloved Buccos fits that description) but it would be nice to be on the winning side of power hitter. He has the potential to be the type of player that a team builds around. Couple him with McCutchen, Doumit, a possibly better Andy LaRoche, Milledge, and prospects like Pedro Alvarez and we may finally have seen the other side of that 5 year plan that we were promised 16 years ago. Well … as long as the pitching comes to fruition.

Andrew McCutchen

Rookie of the Year …. I don’t care who you are. If he doesn’t win this it’s because the Pirates have fallen that far off the baseball map that Sportswriters aren’t even looking here anymore. McCutchen is batting just under .300 this year with 9 SB over 42 games. He is the prototypical leadoff hitter with speed, average, and enough power to make him dangerous. He also has the potential to win the Gold Glove every year and is the kind of centerfielder you need in PNC Park with it’s deep left center fence.

Albert Pujols

He could be the first Triple Crown winner in 40 years. You may not see it for another 40 years. Think about that. You may be witnessing the only Triple Crown in your lifetime. And if he doesn’t win it he may be the only player in your lifetime to come this close. Nobody is catching him in homeruns. Only one person has a shot to catch him in RBIs and he has a decent shot to take batting average (he currently sits second behind Hanley Ramirez of the Marlins). He is the greatest hitter in this baseball era. Period. Watching him play first base defensively is a joy too. He always seems to be in the right place at the right time. We as Pirate fans are both blessed and cursed to have him in the same division as us. Blessed being that we can watch him play in person many times over the year. Cursed being the obvious: He destroys our pitching on a regular basis.

Stephen Strasburg

What is this guy thinking. He’s probably just letting Scott Boras handle that for him actually. Boras ’ strong suit is not his thinking it’s his negotiating. But right now he’s not trying to do that. He’s trying to strong arm the Nat’s the same way he did with the Pirates last year with Pedro Alvarez. You remember how well that didn’t work. Hopefully the Nat’s follow suit and stand firm against the Super Duper agent and his idiot client. Hey Strasburg …. Little advice for you. If the Nats don’t sign you because of your agent and your refusal, what happens? That’s right. You go back into the draft next year. And then guess what? The Washington Nationals are so awful this year that it is damn near impossible for any team to do worse than them unless they intentionally lose. So if the Nats end up with the worst record they also get the first pick in the draft next year. Who do you think they’ll pick number one? My guess is the pitcher everyone called a ‘Can’t Miss Prospect’ named …. That’s right ... the one named Stephen Strasburg.

Red Sox – Yankees

Both of these teams are playing well enough to where they should both get into the playoffs and I love watching them square off on primetime TV. Not because I’m a fan of either one of them but for a few other reasons. One it’s good baseball. Strip away the names on the front of the uniforms and you have a bunch of future hall of famers battling it out against each other. Two there are former Buccos on each side. It’s nice to see what your boys do when they grow up and play in the Major League. Three they’ll battle it out so furiously that it will give the Rangers or the Rays a chance to sneak up and snatch a Wild Card spot from one of them thus giving me one of those little pleasures in life knowing that an American League Baseball team from New York or Boston is sitting at home, drinking a beer, and watching playoff baseball just like me!

Saying Goodbye

After Nine years we will finally be saying goodbye to the beloved Jack Wilson. #2 was Number one in many Pirate fans hearts with his constant effort and spectacular highlight reel defensive play. Many people will be sad to see Jack Wilson, the staple of the Pittsburgh Pirates, leave. He was the one thing you could count on every season for the last decade. His Accomplishments include: 9 Losing Seasons, 0 Gold Gloves, 0 titles in any batting category. He won the Silver Slugger in 2004 and was the Pirates All-Star representative … but he only batted .308 (his only season over .300 batting average). His career BA is .269. So basically we have been so awful that we are finding it hard to say goodbye to a below average, mediocre shortstop whose only real value was his defense? I’d rather say ‘Love you Jack but Good Riddance!’

Starting the New

Enjoy it! We now start a new Century of Title-less Cubs! This makes 101! (I hope I didn’t just jinx it).

Admitting We Might Be Wrong

For the first time in 17 seasons we may have to say we’re wrong for questioning the front office. All the recent trades and signings and we actually do have a bright future with current players like McCutchen, Jones, Doumit, (the younger) LaRoche, Duke, Maholm, and players in the waiting like Milledge and Alvarez. However small there is a ray of light. Let’s just hope it’s the end of the tunnel and not an on coming train.

Who the hell are these guys?

Record Breaking season

The Pirates are on their way to breaking the professional sports record for most consecutive losing seasons by a franchise. If they continue they will achieve the 17th straight loser and go down in Sports infamy. But they can avoid that. At this point if they win one more game than they lose every week for the rest of the season they will end up a winner. They have 68 games left and they need to finish 38-26 to break even. The likelihood of that happening is slim but you never know. This could be the year .... of course it's probably more likely that Marian Hossa will win a cup.


Anonymous said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Irish Road said...

Some lovin from the female readers! Always a plus!