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Wakeup Call: A tribute to sports’ toughest fans

Some sporting thoughts before sunrise …

>> My Monday column is a tribute to sports’ toughest fans, meaning those of you lunatics who persevered through two decades of losing. You know who you are, you know why you did it, and you know how much you deserve to see the Pirates succeeding now.

Been thinking about this one for a bit, and this seemed like the right time with the team touching first place and now coming home for a Monday night against the Reds. Only the diehards can truly appreciate the sense of duty that accompanied going to the ballpark for a Monday night against the Reds for so, so long.

Do you qualify for this tribute?

My simple answer is this: If you think you do, then you do.

But if you really want to know for sure, then feel free to answer these five simple questions on our highly unofficial test:

1. Which hurt more, the day the Pirates drafted Daniel Moskos, the night they rained out a game with the Red Sox even though it barely rained, that game they played against the Brewers (take your pick), or the installation of what now is the Pirates Charities sign that defiled the architectural symmetry of the ballpark from the Downtown side? (Sorry, you didn’t think I’d skip that one, did you?)

2. Name one personnel evaluation worse than sending Brant Brown to center field.

3. When the Phillies’ Pat Burrell got really mad at a fan in the left-field bleachers, what did he throw in one’s face?

4. Most symbolic choice for a No. 3 hitter over all these 18 years?

5. Do you purposely leave the ballpark before fireworks start just to show that’s not why you came?

Actually, forget the rest. If you answer yes to No. 5, you’re in.

>> I’ll be at the ballpark tonight, producing a Pirates feature for Tuesday.

>> This was KDKA-TV’s Sports Showdown late last night.

Comments

  1. DavedigsDKsBlog says:

    I think the lowest of low points was after a game last year when we were trying to come up with new words to describe how awful they were.

  2. buccos since '04 says:

    Daniel Moskos and for DK’s sake the Pirates charity sign are a tie.

  3. buccos since '04 says:

    Can Dave Littlefield take the blame for both.

  4. DrewRit21 says:

    3.Tike Redman. That computer simulation! Bucs were apparently still using Windows 3.1 while everyone else had a MacBook!

  5. Reading says:

    Trading Bautista for an outfield fungo bat, eye black, and an R. Clemens “Rocket Arm” door jam device might be the worst personnel evaluation. Didn’t Hyzdu bat third?

  6. pghboyinca says:

    I have lived inCa for the last 30 years and have been home and attended 5 firework nights during that time. I have never been in hte stadium when one went off and am very proud of that.

    The Pirates ahd Andy LaRoche bat third for a stretch and I alomst gave up on them. Worst example of player evaluation? How about Andy laRocheas the centerpiece of the Bay deal? And for those who may mention hindsight I posted the day the trade was made on D.K.’s PG blog that he was a complete stiff and woujld be out of Major league baseball by 2013. I was tortured by the front office supporters and told I was dead wrong, I was, he is gone and it is ony 2011.

    The Moskos pick was shocking on so many levels that it is still hard to fathom. The trade for Morris thoughis the all time idiotic move, you have to be on heroin to make that trade.

    With all the good vibes that this season is bringing there is a sobering thought. The only 3 positon players who look like legitimate big leaguers are Walker, Cutch, and Pressley and Huntington did not acquire any of them. Look at Pedro and Sanchez and you start wondering if this guy just can’t recognize a position player with talent.

    Bullpen seems to be his strength but maholm, was holdover, Karstens he DFA’d, the other 3 were good acquisitions but you take away maholm and Karstens and the pitching is a mess. I am loving this year and think they wil stay strong but I am not convinced that after 18 years the pirates were not due for a year when things came together. I am not sold on Huntington yet, I need to see if this is the start of soemthing or a little aberration.

  7. TheFlick says:

    @Reading

    People often forget that Bautista didn’t realize his potential until he got to Toronto. The Pirates weren’t the only team he faltered with. If he were still with the Pirates, who knows? He may be averaging .240 and 13 HR every year still.

  8. Ed says:

    #5 is perfect.

  9. Clappy_Brass says:

    Most symbolic choice for a No. 3 hitter over all these 18 years?

    Unquestionably — Julian Jawann “Tike” Redman.

  10. DarkAudit says:

    Did you ever, even for a moment, feel assured that Russell truly had the players’ backs? Was it any surprise, then, that news of his extension was kept under wraps for all those months?

  11. Dejan Kovacevic says:

    @Clappy: Welcome!

    @Audit: Had their backs? Yes, in a quiet way. Maybe too quiet.

  12. Ryan76 says:

    I was definitely a Pirate Fan before it was cool, like it is now. It’s gonna take me awhile to embrace all the bandwagoners. Took too much abuse, particularly over the last 5 years, to go easy on them. I’ll be at the game tonight with my brother, my dad, my uncle and best friend. We’ve never given up hope even if none was ever offered to us. Although I’ve moved around from Pittsburgh to Atlantic City to Vegas to the Gulf Coast, currently, I could never turn my back on anything Pittsburgh. Ive watched every game, religiously, for as long as I can remember. And that will never change.

    Great column DK. Been waiting for this one…

  13. Sec.143RowMSeat24 says:

    5.) Yes

  14. Dave says:

    1. Moskos (though I kinda feel bad for the guy. Not his fault)

    2.Worst player evaluation: There’s too many of these to go around, but I’ll put my money on offering Derek Bell or Raul Mondesi a contract at all.

    @ Dark Audit- Ask Andrew McCutchen if he thought Russell had his back when Ramon Ortiz threw at his head twice last year and the Buccos did nothing.

  15. DarkAudit says:

    Skyblast? O.A.R.? Meh. I came for McCutchen’s 3 home runs.

  16. Jay Geyer says:

    1) Moskos. I’m sure he’s a great guy, but what a kick in the gut.

    2) Deciding Derek Bell would be a perfect fit for Pittsburgh.

    I’m done, talking about Operation Shutdown has made me a bit ill.

  17. Andy says:

    I used to go to great lengths just to hear Bob Prince’s voice pop and crackle, and fade in and out on KDKA radio from 400 miles away. Through all the years, I never gave up, and never will. People in Rescue Va have been poking fun at me for years, because I never gave up wearing my Pirates caps. I post very little but, when I do please do not mistake me for a bandwagoner. I have been to Pirate Heaven, and now may see the end of Pirate purgatory. GO BUCS!

  18. TheSaltyRogue says:

    Thoroughly enjoyed the column, DK. Buuuut….

    1a.) Reading – in now the second paper – about a sign in right field that means nothing. As strongly as you feel it needs to come down, I’ve always found it to be irrelevant. Oh well.

    About the “Showdown” last night… who made the call for 20 minutes of Steelers talk and commercials followed by 6 minutes of Pirates talk? I’d like a name so I can add them to my “people I’m going to write to one day and let them know about my frustration” list. The Pirates are .5 game back and “you” talk about a blowhard LB’er who plays in a league that’s been locked out for 4 months or so for 20 minutes? Ridiculous.

    GO BUCS.

  19. rvfcprez says:

    Great article DK!!! Being a fan since 1973, I remember all of those awful things you talk about, but also remember many many great times! I’m hoping for alot more of the great times, and alot less of the bad! Let’s Go Bucs!!!

  20. JAL says:

    A Few Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind? Morning Links

    Pirates Prospects

    A lone memory of meaningful baseball in Pittsburgh

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2011/07/a-lone-memory-of-meaningful-baseball-in-pittsburgh.html

    Pirates Have Also Checked on Conor Jackson

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2011/07/pirates-have-also-checked-on-conor-jackson.html

    Game 93 Recap: Bucs Lose Late Lead, Win in 11

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2011/07/game-93-recap-bucs-lose-late-lead-win-in-11.html

  21. JAL says:

    Raise the Jolly Roger

    Bucs give away lead…and first place

    http://raisethejollyroger.com/2011/07/bucs-give-away-lead-and-first-place/

    Bucs Dugout

    Pirates 7, Astros 5, 11 Innings: Alex Presley Comes Up Big Yet Again

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2011/7/17/2280292/pirates-7-astros-5-11-innings-alex-presley-comes-up-big-yet-again

    <b The Green Weenie

    Bucs Grind, Astros Fumble In Extras; Pirates Win 7-5

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2011/07/bucs-grind-astros-fumble-in-extras.html

  22. JAL says:

    Rumbunter

    Notes from Pittsburgh Pirates GM Neal Huntington Show

    http://rumbunter.com/2011/07/17/notes-from-pittsburgh-pirates-gm-neal-huntington-show-2/

    Three Rivers Burgh Blog

    Game 93 Recap – Pirates 7, Astros 5 (11 innings)

    http://threeriversburghblog.blogspot.com/2011/07/game-93-recap-pirates-7-astros-5-11.html

  23. JAL says:

    Houston Chronicle

    Pirates 7, Astros 5 (11 innings): From beginning to end, just a mess

    http://blog.chron.com/ultimateastros/2011/07/17/pirates-7-astros-5-11-innings-from-beginning-to-end-just-a-mess/

    Hardball Times Times

    Surprise central

    http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/nlc-2011-2/

    Indiana Daily Student

    Dickerson leaves IU, signs with Pittsburgh Pirates

    http://www.idsnews.com/news/story.aspx?id=82154

  24. leefoo says:

    5) I have never seen fireworks in a stadium, both minor or major. If you’ve seen one set of fireworks, you’ve seen them all. Borrrrrrrrrrrrrrring.

    As for #1, yes, I’d love Matt Wieters, but that seemed to be the final straw for Littlefield, so it was worth it? Better to have NH and Radar McFort, than Littleyield and Wieters.

    I’ve never seen that Pirate Charities sign. Where is it? :) :) :) :)

  25. Curt says:

    I’m driving over for the Pirates game tonight. Looking forward to seeing their first game home from the break.
    #1. Since I live close to Baltimore and get all their games on t.v. I get to see Wieters on a daily basis and that still hurts.
    #4. I’m going to throw out two names: Jose Guillen (Remember the hype) I grew up in Erie, PA and when he was here in the minors, he tore it up and hit some major bombs. Everyone thought he was a can’t miss.
    My other choice is Al Martin. He was one of my favorite players for some odd reason. I did get to meet him once and he was a real nice guy. No need to bring up that whole wife mess he had years later.
    #5. That made me laugh b/c I have done that several times before. For some reason those type of giveaways used to tick me off that the stadium would be full of people who were there for the entertainment but not for purely watching baseball. I am much more mellow now that I am coming close to 30. Lol.

  26. Justin says:

    Matt Morris.

  27. SouthSideBucsFan says:

    For #2, you could go through a long list of the Pirates’ opening-day center fielders over the past 18 years. Jacob Brumfield? Mike Kingery? Jermaine Allensworth? Brant Brown? Chad Hermansen? Adrian Brown? Tike Redman? Chris Duffy? Then, finally, they hit lightning in a bottle with McLouth and got McCutchen right after that.

    I guess the ironic thing is now they have seemingly a glut of players who can handle center field.

  28. T.J. says:

    Thanks for the kudos to us fans that have stuck around, DK. Appreciate it.

    I am a big fireworks fan, but, that is for another time and place and NOT at the ballyard. One of the best games I can recall was in 2003 when the Red Sox were here and there was the celebration of the 1903 World Series. That game featured no scoreboard silliness and if memory serves me no P.A. system, and so on It was old time baseball from back in the day. Beautiful! Friends I went with…we loved it…purists…but oh, did we hear the grumbling. Always have said…if the Pirates could get this thing turned around…THAT should be the ONLY reason the go the the yard…no “promotional” events…just pure, good old fashioned baseball. Yea, I realize and am realistic we live in a world of marketing and sell that product…I know that…but again…good old fashined baseball is all we should ned to go to the yard.

    Have a great day everyone! And, Let’s Go Bucs!

  29. CFJohnsn says:

    I’d say that my proof was ponying up the $125/yr for the MLB.tv package so I could watch every game played by a team that was more assured of losing 100 than they ever were of winning 82 and, at the beginning of each of those years, thinking that this year is going to be different!

    Did I mention that I still believe in Santa Claus too?!

  30. Nahcllib says:

    leiber for Brown was when I first realized the conspiracy was happening…I think Brant had like 3 errors in one very bad game…
    Why was I faithful? I remember sitting coming home from 3 rivers in 1978 (?) after we swept the Phils, now down a game with only 2 left in the season…and then sitting by the radio when stargell hit a grand slam, then when pitcher Lerch hit two HR for the Phils…oh how that hurt. that weekend was more intense than all the steeler super bowls combined…it’s baseball

  31. Curt says:

    @CFJohnson Glad I’m not the only one who has had to pay to watch the Pirates! That was tough to admit the last several seasons, but worth it this year.

  32. Drew71 says:

    1) The Wieters pass (THAT to me is the way to look at it) was the ONE issue among all others that came THIS close {} to making me move on. And frankly what kept me around was reading from Dejan that THAT may have been the ultimate move (and the attendant fan reaction) that did in David Littlefield.

    2) Derek Bell, and now after those two, I have to stop to go cry for a bit.

  33. Fat Jimmy says:

    I think the true measure of us being fans (and those of us who have been around on the blog for the past few years should get a little “Diehard” icon or something) is that — come spring — we all talked ourselves into so many of these players over the years.

  34. JAL says:

    Hurt most–the 20-0 beatdown by the Brewers

    Worse personnel evaluation than Brown, Aki–couldn’t field and couldn’t hit.

  35. bdubb says:

    Drafting Moskos and Bullington #1 overall with the statement: “We project him as a #3 starter!” Wow. Those are my 2 biggest hurts

    I would have to agree with the masses that Tike Redman was the most symbolic 3rd hitter.

    Did Doumit get any practice time at 1b before he was thrown out there in Arizona that one year and his error opened the door to an L?

    Don’t know if Burrell threw a ball at a fan but I remember someone did. Was it Joey Bell before he became Albert Bell?

    Now living in Charlotte I used to get the MLB Package for years when I moved down here until 2010 when I couldn’t take it anymore. I would say that is part lunacy that it took until 2010 for me to give it up. I still don’t have it but will be getting the internet package this week.

    I was actually in town last weekend for the Cubs series and left before the fireworks started…but that was so I could get a table at the casino!

  36. Drew71 says:

    Slim Jim – I had the distinct DISadvantage of seeing some of these gonif schmendricks try to play in Spring Training and could see just how awful they were gonna be.

    In recent years, Kevin Hart, Aki, Jeff Clement, Ramon Vazquez, Craig Hansen, Ryan Church, Brandon Moss, Robinzon Diaz, Jose Ascanio, Brian Bixler, Yoslan Herrera.

    See? You don’t even HAVE to go all the way back to the Famous Derek Bell Blue Period.

  37. Drew71 says:

    That said, i MISS Yosli Bear and his 79 MPH fastball.

    To be fair, he KNEW how to pitch, and therefore could fool minor leaguers into outs. But man, nothing on it. Almost funny to watch (Almost) a guy that had to throw his fastball with an arc to get it to the plate.

  38. Rocco says:

    Worst personnel move had to be Aki – too old, too slow, too chubby and too injured to play at the major league level.

    And for who was the symbolic 3 hitter…wow, so many to choose from, but obviously you could put anyone from 1995-2010 inclusive onto that list (besides McCutcheon, of course).

    Oh, and we’re always gone before the fireworks – you can get a nice view (if you’re so inclined) while driving away, free from all the mini vans and never-come-outters who just stay for the show.

  39. ImagineWieters says:

    Drafting Moskos tested my fanaticism the most. By the way, what is the Pittsburghers fascination w/ fireworks? All I know is that my two children don’t even want to stay for fireworks. What’s sad is that on the night of the Collective Soul Skyblast last year, two rows of people (the same party) didn’t show up until the 7th inning because they only came for Skyblast! What’s up w/ that?!?!?

  40. ImagineWieters says:

    By the way, I still don’t understand the faction of Pirate fans who let Nutting off the hook for the Moskos debacle. They act like he did not play a role in it. He still controlled the purse strings back then. No GM, even Littlefield, would take Moskos over Wieters without $$$ being the issue. As my new moniker suggests, imagine having Wieters behind the plate on this team. Ok, I’m still fuming!

  41. JMB says:

    I will look to the future and say the worst thing that can happen to fans is the Pirates standing pat at the trade deadline in 2011. The FO owes it to the fan base to go for it with one caveat: These next 13 games over 14 days will decide the 2011 season. If the team flounders (3-10, etc.), then standing pat is ALMOST excusable, but if they a least go 7-6 then the FO must make a real move — NOT a Willingham or CJax deal.

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2011/07/pirates-eyeing-hunter-pence.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

  42. Bizrow says:

    Why am I a Pirates fan?

    1960, and one William Mazeroski

    Oh yeah, a guy named Roberto, Willie, Mr Blass, Bob Prince, too many to mention

    Welcome all new lunatics

    There are other folks than us that leave before the fireworks??

    I see a lot of new logins here, if you haven’t yet, please list your current home so I can put it on the list of Bucco Nation, as of last night, we had 95 signed in.

  43. JClare says:

    Dejan,

    Great article! Love the new blog by the way! I totally agree about the Steelers and Penguins success. While I always enjoyed it and always will, there is NOTHING like the Pirates being a contender. Especially considering how messed up baseball is. It’s easy to be be a Steelers fan, they’re always good and they play in a system that’s set up so that anyone can be good! IT TAKES HEART TO BE A PIRATES FAN! Keep up the good work!

    JClare

  44. Steve R says:

    DK, you forgot about all of the loyal Pirates fans that moved away from Pittsburgh and followed you over the years as a great source of information about our Buccos. I did, however, temporarily stop following you when that other website starting charging. I’m glad you’re on here.

    1. One thing that really hurts me was our wonderful talent evaluation the year Freddie Sanchez won the Batting Title. For those who remember, DL brought in Joe Randa to start at third and Freddie started that year in AAA.

    2. I’d also like to commend the Pirates fans that travel to see their team play still. I’ve lived on the IL/WI border for 5 years now and have always seen folks that make the 9+ hour trip to Milwaukee.

  45. leefoo says:

    I have to pay $12 a month to get Root out here in Haarisburg. Amazingly, the Phils, O’s and Nats aren’t blacked out (but i’ve noted that stupidity before, so…….)

    I also get the MLB TV package, but will not probably re-up after this year. Always watched other teams when the Bucs were ‘hapless’.

    I only occasionally watch other teams now.

    A co-worker and myself are headed to a Businessman’s special on Wed. Unfortunately it’s the O’s/Bosox (he’s an Oriole fan) AND it’s gonna be 97 degree. I can’t wait. :(
    I’ve recorded the Bucs’ game.

    Foo

    ……….

  46. JoeBucco says:

    Worst player evaluation? I don’t know for sure. All I know is that Chad Hermansen could walk on water.

  47. JoeBucco says:

    @JMB – 3-10? Blasphemy. There will be no talk of that kind of nonsense around these parts.

    Besides, we own the Reds.

  48. Rocco says:

    Hey Bizrow – I know it’s not a baseball post, but how do I “list my current home?”…lol I’m in Pittsburgh, and would love to sign up fully, just not sure how,,,lemme know bud, thanks!

  49. pipecock says:

    It’s kind of amazing, despite having followed the Bucs through all of the 18 years of losing, I have almost no memories of any of those teams. Even the 97 team barely has names that run a bell, and I attended and watched many games that year. Perhaps this is what my brain had to do in order to continue following them?!

    Particular moments that have stood out in PNC Park for me were mostly good, all the losses seem to fade away. The 20-0 loss last year was the worst, but I figured it could only go up from there.

    The opposite of props to Derek Bell for Operation Shutdown and to Pat Meares and Jason Kendall for signing contracts they never came close to giving value for. Those last two have to be the worst talent evaluations because they were way too much money tied up in guys giving little, and caused payroll problems for years.

  50. Fat Jimmy says:

    I think the worst evaluation was Pat Meares, because it was a failure on both a baseball and medical level.

    They gave him a 4 year extension in spring training AFTER he broke his wrist. For his Pirates career, the Pirates paid him $16 million for -1.2 WAR.

    The Pirates paid $9 million for -1.1 WAR from Derek Bell, by comparison.

  51. DanW says:

    I think only a diehard would ask you to lay off of Kevin Young. Some of his homers may have been meaningless, but I recall some meaningful hits during the freak show year, and I think his thumb injury was one of the biggest reasons they didn’t win the division that year. Plus I remember him being very upset about not being able to help the club, which puts him miles ahead of Derek Bell, Jeromy Burnitz, et al.

  52. Fat Jimmy says:

    Dan, Kevin Young may not have been a villan in the same respect as Derek Bell, but in many senses he epitomizes the Pirates 18 year losing streak.

    In his 11 year career, KY had an OPS+ of over 100 only THREE times!!! That means he was worse than league average 1B the vast majority of his career. He had a negative WAR in 7 of those seasons. In an era defined by steroids in which every team had a masher at 1B, the Pirates suffered through sub-par Kevin Young seasons and — had they not committed to him — we may very well not have an 18-year losing streak. For his career, the Pirates paid him nearly $30 million.

  53. Drew71 says:

    Good point James.

    I jumped to Bell because of, well, Bell. His attitude and statements.

    Meares was worse because they made TWO mistakes on him. Acquisition then extension. And as you note, medical failure…when they HAD him. He wasn’t a free agent when they made the BIG mistake. They had him on their roster and, despite the evidence, extended him.

    Going back to Dejan’s original question, remember that it was NOT just a question of OVERevaluating Brant Brown. It was also a question of UNDERevaluating Jon Lieber. A guy who in the three years following his trade pitched 683 innings for the Cubs, starting 100 games, and going 42-28. Had the Cubs not STUPIDLY pitched Lieber 251 innings in 2000 and 232 innings in 2001, which broke him down, he might have continued to be as solid in the following years.

    So remember in some of these comparative bonehead signings or trades, there are TWO names to consider…
    - Brant Brown and Jon Lieber
    - Daniel Moskos and Matt Wieters
    - The exception, as noted, Pat Meares the ACQUISITION and Pat Meares the EXTENSION, who in my book counts as two mistakes.

  54. Curt says:

    I know its just a rumor. But I love it and am pumped that they are checking!
    I say get it done! Lets Go Bucs!
    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2011/07/pirates-eyeing-hunter-pence.html

  55. Mosca says:

    @ Nahcllib: I was there, too, for every game that series in ’78, remember the one day was a double header? I’m always trying to tell people that the ’78 team and season was also awesome, every bit as good as the ’79 team; we were seemingly completely out of it at the All Star break, and then almost won the division. As good as any Steelers game I went to in the ’70s (ie, almost all of them).

  56. dillonerd says:

    If we leave the game before the fireworks because they terrify my 5 year old daughter does that count?

  57. Fat Jimmy says:

    I loved Lieber. He actually may be my favorite Pirate of the last 18 years. I was devastated when they traded him, and — I try not to do this too often — I knew he was going to be great.

    I suppose you could add Jason Schmidt + Ryan Vogelsong to that list of double oops?

  58. Blaine says:

    1. Moskos? Howsabout Van Benschoten? Not just in retrospect of the implosion that was his MLB career, but that the Pirates drafted the number one home run hitter in Div I and immediately stated he’d be used only as a pitcher.

    2. Rushing Hermansen to the majors after he put up season of 121, 136, 152, and 119 K’s in the minors. Somebody should have taught him pitch selection before he got thrown in front of major leaguers.

  59. JMB says:

    There are many ways to look at “die-hard” fans. As others have posted, we PAY for our viewing pain over the years via Root Sports or the MLBEI package from our cable/satellite provider. We spend our $ on game tickets either @ PNC or wherever we live in the country (I finally broke down and bought four for one of the games in LA in Sept.).

    But, I think being a die hard is boiled down to watching McKenry’s 3-run homer a couple of weeks back. If you got a little misty as that ball left the yard, you, IMHO, are a die hard. That AB was the moment, for me at least, that symbolized the end of almost two decades of putrid-osity.

  60. Hal Smith says:

    I can’t answer YES to #5. But I am 63 and remember the good times. At least back to 1960. But before that I remember the Cubs and Bucs fighting for last place in the National League. I was a fan then. I have a brick from Forbes field in my den next to a model of the stadium. Does that count. I listen to the Kitten pitch a great game in Milwaukee only to lose. I watch Friend have issues in the World Series. My screen name is the person who set up Maz’s home run. I watched Tony get hit in the neck to break up a double play that allowed Hal to hit that home run. But I’ve watched fireworks in PNC and Three Rivers. I’ve spent my 2nd honeymoon at Three Rivers. How much more do you need. I own a replica jersey from 1960 purchased a Cooperstown. Let me know.

  61. Fat Jimmy says:

    Jose Tabata + Justin Wilson + Victor Black = Hunter Pence

    That combo gets a deal done. And I’d make it.

    Presley LF
    Cedeno SS
    McCutchen CF
    Walker 2B
    Pence RF
    Jones 1B
    Doumit C
    Alvarez/D’Arnaud 3B

  62. JMB says:

    @FJ

    I’d make that deal too, but I also want A-Ram (low-grade prospect / taking on the contract) to give the team a legit shot at winning the division.

    A-Ram and Pence in the middle of line-up?! Goosebumps!!

  63. Rocco says:

    OK JMB, now you’re just getting people excited lol! That’d be quite a lineup with A-Ram and Pence – especially if Pedro gets his game together and can make a successful transition to 1st base. I’d venture to say adding those 3 (as long of a shot as it may be) would give us one of the best lineup’s in the NL.

  64. Arriba Wilver says:

    Yes to # 5.

    # 2 Morris was a worse player evaluation, but part of it, to me, is it was such a crass, throw money to the wall, attempt by someone who had left the farm system mainly bare, to save his job.

    # 4—Merced?

  65. JMB says:

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2011/07/do-the-pirates-need-to-add-at-the-deadline.html

    Do the Pirates need to make a move?

    Very enjoyable article from Tim Williams.

  66. Bizrow says:

    @Rocco, what part of Pittsburgh? Lawrenceville? Oakland? Thats all it takes, I’ll log it in

    @FJ Trading Tabata would be a gutsy move, but if Pressley is the real deal, why not?

  67. Absolute59 says:

    DK: I loved this line.

    Those who were flummoxed by Lloyd McClendon’s incessant usage of the word “flummoxed.”

    FJ: I’m with you on the Meares thing. Had a couple good weeks in ST before the broken wrist and they felt they had to lock him up because if he had a good year then they couldn’t afford him.

    Also I would do the Pence deal you proposed from PBC standpoint but I think from Astros standpoint they are going to want a better upside than Wilson and Black. Let them take whoever they want other than Tallion, Heredia and Allie.

    Blaine: On VanBen..Not only was he power hitter, but his college pitching was as a closer. Leave it to PBC to think they were smarter than everyone else and draft him with 8th overall pick with the intention of turning him into a starter.

    How about a low point when we traded Schmidt for Vogelsong and Rios and about 10 AB’s into his Pirate career Rios tears up his knee and is never the same player. Plus Vogelsong sucks as a Pirate. That one is still haunting us as Vogelsong has now turned into an All Star pitcher.

  68. Absolute59 says:

    Bizrow: Not really that gutsy. Bucs would be getting best player in the deal with 2.5 years of control.

    Bucs have too many of the same types of OF in Tabata Pressly,Marte Gorgys and to a lesser extent Cutch (as he has shown some power this year) Need to move a speed guy for more of a traditional corner OFer.

    By the way add Bradfordwoods PA

  69. Rocco says:

    @Biz – you must have the ESP, I’m in Lawerenceville for now…haha Thanks bud!

  70. Rocco says:

    can’t spell, Lawrenceville, sorry!

  71. Matt says:

    I think to me the worst moments were some of the stupid out of game antics by the team and franchise in the past decade… i.e. Randall Simon taking batting practice to one of those sausages. 100% an awww come on moment! Then the firing of the pierogy that spoke his mind, to cap it off with the flack over a local bar’s promotion commemorating our misery of 18 long years. However I’m always a Buccos fan, no matter the flack I got in the past! It’s a Pittsburgh team, and I’m always 100% pro Pittsburgh!!

  72. David says:

    DK, I submit to you my name for us fans who have stuck around. We aren’t die-hards those guys went away. We are never-die fans.

  73. JMB says:

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/2011-trade-value-10-1/

    Cutch #6 on the Fangraphs trade value chart! Please, FO, pay this man and make him the face of the franchise for the next 10yrs! I just got my ‘hair-itage’ shirt the other day from mlb.

    It is still amazing to see Joey Bats at #2.

  74. Drew71 says:

    Does this give me partial credit for #5?

    When I lived in Pittsburgh, while attending MANY games, I studiously avoided fireworks night.

    And one time when in town visiting, staying in a downtown hotel and walking across the bridge for every game of a series, the only game I skipped was fireworks night. Then my wife said, let’s head down to the bridge and watch the fireworks. Seriously. Sorta makes me a two-time loser. But I TRIED to avoid it.

    Three times loser. It was last year. And I believe it was the famous Pedro walkoff HR game. If memory serves. So the game I missed was THEE game of the year. Along with the fireworks. Which I was forced to watch anyway. With my wife.

    Loser.

  75. TC says:

    I think Pressley has done tremendous so far but KDPomp re-tweeted yesterday about how this is eerily similar to Chris Duffy/Nate McClouth praisings.
    #cautiouslyoptimistic?

  76. Every year that I’d get excited about the Pirates again only to have the thrill beat out of me by another 9-game losing streek, bullpen implosion, or Randall Simon sighting. So I’m really soaking in this new and improved version, even if every day I hold my breath waiting for something terrible to happen. I don’t want to do that, but every loss makes me think “Well, it was nice while it lasted.”

  77. * streak not streek.

  78. Bob from Mt Lebo says:

    What about signing Pedro’s over the hill brother Ramon Martinez. Did he even play in any regular season games?

  79. dcpinpgh says:

    The only thing with Moskos is that the Pirates could have drafted other players and paid them slot.

    @ DK, what beat guy always said littlefield liked Moskos the best anyway?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2007_MLB_Draft

    The question about Tabata is, what is the Pirates opinion of his age?

  80. BenderHeel says:

    @Dejan: Regarding the Clemente jerseys, an additional reason that you see so many of those that should be taken into consideration: they are much cheaper than a personalized current player t-shirt. Just look at the official site’s store or the one at Dick’s Sporting Goods, and you’ll see that a Clemente t-shirt is like $23 while a t-shirt personalized for a current player is $37.

  81. DanW says:

    FJ, I agree KY had a long way to go to be considered even an average 1B, I was just pointing out that there was a point in his career with the Pirates where he produced decently and lacked apathy. Sure they may have had a winning season or 2 in the 2000s had they never committed to the Young (and Meares, and Kendall) contracts, but I still think they may have had one in 97 if Young doesn’t get hurt.

  82. Fat Jimmy says:

    JMB, Tim Williams is filling a need with his site, but I haven’t been very impressed by his logic recently.

    This comment, in particular, summarizes the piece and is flat out dumb.

    //////
    But the idea that they “need” to make a big move suggests that the current performance is a fluke that can’t be sustained (and we’ll find out more about that over the next two weeks).

    //////

    This is dumb on a number of levels:

    1) This is like saying that Brock Lesnar is ripped, therefore he doesn’t need to keep working out. You always need to keep trying to improve. The Pirates have done well to get where they are, but to sit on their laurels is silly. You keep trying to improve.

    2) Part of the reason why these moves are “necessary” for contenders is because everyone else is going to get better. The water level gets higher. We competed against a Brewers team without KRod for 3 months — we’ll have to compete against a Brewers team WITH KRod the final 3 months. The Brewers and the Cards will make additional moves to get better. Will the Pirates make moves so that they can rise with water level, or will they stand pat and sink?

    An additional argument here is similar to a Tweet DK made over the weekend, in which he lamented why SABR fans constantly look at sabermetrics as predictive rather than reflective. You can point to ALL of the Pirates stats for the season (including the very mundane Win/Loss record) and say “Hey, this team got here, why change?” But the right way to look at it is: we did what we need to do in the first half, now it is even more worth the investment to finish the job.

  83. Fat Jimmy says:

    Dan, I don’t think it’s just the Young contract that hurt them — from a fiscal perspective. But rather their insistance on sticking with him at 1B. Just giving that roster spot to him year-in-year-out was killer.

  84. vandelay industries says:

    I always left the ballpark early on fireworks night because it was the best way to beat the traffic.

    Here’s another way to spot a diehard:

    - Declines taking that night’s giveaway item because you’re there to watch baseball and hate carrying around extra crap at the ballgame.

  85. Sarcastro says:

    Benito Santaigo

  86. Drew71 says:

    Vandy – That’s not a requirement but it is serious extra credit.

  87. JMB says:

    @vandelay

    I hear you, but I always like a good beach towel day / night.

    I used the one from Oakland to cover my head from the sun and the embarrassment during last year’s debacle by the Bay.

    I still have the one from a game @PNC vs. Colorado on Sat. July 23, 2005.

    Viva la beach towels!
    ;-)

  88. Drew71 says:

    But if it was a bobblehead, that was a very very bad decision. Sorta like turning down Cliff Lee.

    Oh right. Already done.

  89. vandelay industries says:

    @Drew

    I turned down bobbleheads (yes even the legendary Duke, Duffy, and Doumit three-headed monster bobblehead), some damn Mazeroski plate thing, figurines that say ‘Highmark’ in bigger print than the figurine player itself. I left my crappy orange camo hat in the seats once. I mean honestly, orange camo? Where am I planning to hide, in a vat of cheese doodles?

    @JMB

    I stand corrected, you’re right I do keep my beachtowels. In fact, when I go to the beach in the summer I use them proudly. I feel that for certain I’m the only one on the beach with a West Penn Allegheny Pirates beachtowel haha.

  90. ExileInDC says:

    Despite all the nostalgia for the Leyland Era, the good years were relatively short (’88- 2nd place, ’90, ’91 ’92 – 1st), so I feel like the pain goes back to the around ’83, when we started to realize the ’70s teams just weren’t simply going to be restocked. The sports world’s view of this franchise hasn’t been the same since the three consecutive last-place finishes beginning in ’84, the ugly departure of Dave Parker (who was on track for a statue at one point), the drug trials, the tragically brief Bob Prince comeback, the parade of jokes like Joggin’ George Hendrick and Johnnie LeMaster stopping by to become trivia questions in Pirates’ lore, etc. etc.

    For me, there was a moment somewhere early in that decade where the Three Rivers Tartan Turf suddenly appeared worn and discolored like an old couch, when we went from pride in our new modern concrete ballpark to the realization that it was . . . a football stadium.

    In short, there is more history to be undone than just the past 18 seasons, and I am just hopeful that respectability — not just the yaddayadda about “championships” — can take hold once again.

  91. JAL says:

    Nolan Ryan has been hospitalized for heart tests, something that he has problems with before

  92. Baywatch says:

    Drew, you’ve been crying, your wife made you go watch those fireworks: a self-proclaimed LOSER … “but you’re not what you appear to be! ALTHOUGH I LAUGH AND I ACT LIKE A CLOWN, BEHIND THIS MASK I AM WEARING A FROWN.” (Beatles, 1965)

  93. Drew71 says:

    Nice lyrics, but there is another set of lyrics from 1965 that my wife would say more accurately apply to me:

    I wish that for just one time
    You could stand inside my shoes
    And just for that one moment
    I could be you

    Yes, I wish that for just one time
    You could stand inside my shoes
    You’d know what a drag it is
    To see you

    (Bob Dylan, Positively 4th Street)

  94. Drew71 says:

    Vandy – the vat of cheese doodles line was the post of the day. things flew out of my mouth when i read that. (ewww)

  95. vandelay industries says:

    @drew

    Thanks for the compliment.

    Hopefully it wasn’t cheese doodles that flew out of your mouth… :)

  96. JMB says:

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/how-hunter-pence-fits-in-pittsburgh/

    In the end, the fangraphs article is against any big trades for the Pirates.

    So the title should have been – “How Hunter Pence DOESN’T fit for Pitt”.
    ————————–

    a ditty from SI’s Heyman–

    SI_JonHeyman
    rivals believe Reds equipped to trade for top reliever and/or jimenez. ubaldo package could be: alonso/wood/volquez

  97. Jim S says:

    @Bizrow – York, PA checking in (formerly fom Altoona)

  98. Thundercrack says:

    Oh Matt Morris.
    That trade makes me hate myself for this reason. Right after it was made, Greg Brown went on the radio and defended the trade and the amount of money they would have to pay Morris. He said that everyone has been waiting for them to trade for a top notch pitcher and that is the going rate for them. They are spending money.

    He had me convinced.

    But it didn’t take me long to realize that even EYE could see that Morris was washed up!!

  99. Drew71 says:

    you nose how to spell better than that

  100. chrisb says:

    great article live in phill and been a hard 20 years i even found myself rooting for the phillies for awhile(although never the eagles or flyers) would love to see the bucs in first place when they come to town soon

  101. Dejan Kovacevic says:

    @ChrisB: The Sax Man loves the Phils!

  102. chrisb says:

    the sax man and myself need to change our priorities

  103. SterlingCooperDraperPrice says:

    How about the slow trickle of news outlets that reported when the Buccos signed two Indian pitchers…ugh.

  104. diehard says:

    Seeing that you wrote “personell” and not “player”, can I say #2 may have been John Russell and Joe Kerrigan?

  105. DFlash02 says:

    Biggest hurts as a Pirate fan?

    As a kid, not understanding free agency, and watching my baseball idol slip the Giants logo over his head.

    Next biggest? Watching Aramis go to the Cubs, resulting in the retirement of one of the returns (Hernandez).

    I always stayed for the fireworks because that was the only way to convince my family to watch baseball. That alone was painful.

    Personnel evaluation? Esteban Loiza for Bryan Morris.

  106. DFlash02 says:

    Shoot me… I knew I was wrong as soon as I hit submit. Sheesh.

    Ricardo Rincon for Morris

    Loiza for Van Poppel (Still awful)

  107. Ben says:

    Worst player evaluation? 25 year old Aramis Ramirez (along with Kenny Lofton) to the cubs for Matt Bruback, Jose Hernandez, and Bobby Hill. 230 Ramirez Home Runs later, we are trying to re-acquire Aramis at the end of his career while 3B at PNC park has been a revolving door for 10 years.

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