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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Wakeup Call: How many will show tonight?

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Brief and to the Point …

>> The Wednesday column chronicles a wild 24 hours that began in the wee hours with word of Erik Bedard’s release, to Mike Wallace’s showing up on the South Side, to the Pirates’ fine effort in the evening.

Tried this in the spirit of the Olympic decathlon pieces, mostly for fun.

>> Longtime readers might know I’ve forever answered criticisms about the attendance — any team’s attendance — with a simple question: Were you there?

If not, I can’t begin to see how it’s right to criticize.

In that context, then, there should be an awful lot of people ripping the attendance this morning … just as there should be the same amount of people changing that tonight.

As I write at the close of the column, this game is as big as it gets around here for baseball in 20 years. It’s one thing to sell out all three games of the weekend set with the Brewers. It’s another thing to show up on a Wednesday night when the team’s season — no drama here — might pivot in one direction or the other.

I’ve maintained even through the darkest years that Pittsburgh is a baseball town, one with a 126-year history now, one that essentially threw away a generation, but one that always was capable of getting it back.

Still believe that, but tonight will be telling.


>> It’s difficult to top Pedro Alvarez’s two monster home runs, double and single, but it could prove no less important to the Pirates that James McDonald found his fastball command. The curve had already been coming back, but Clint Hurdle told us before the game McDonald needed to start pinpointing that fastball again. He did, with 66 of 97 pitches for strikes.

If A.J. Burnett, Jeff Karstens and (maybe) Wandy Rodriguez keep going, 4 of 5 in the rotation will mean more than anything.

>> Brief chat with Chase d’Arnaud on his recall …


>> Much more on Wallace’s return.

>> While awaiting the royal return of Wallace, I asked some of the Steelers about their most pressing concern the rest of this preseason.

Overwhelming answer: Short-yardage offense.

“We know Ben can do what he did in the two-minute offense. That’s Ben magic there,” Ramon Foster said. “But we’re hoping we get some chances Thursday to turn it up a notch near the goal line, punch a couple in. That’s the one place we feel we really haven’t gotten it done, and that’s got to happen.”

Unclear if they’ll get the chance Thursday against the Panthers. Mike Tomlin sure made it sound like the regulars won’t play much.

>> Would love to hear from anyone who has unusual or late plans to attend this series finale. Please feel free to share below, and thanks in advance.


  1. RobertoForever says:

    Kelly vs Rodriguez – doesn’t sound like a playoff pitching matchup. Might be an offensive night again.

    Weather seems to be good for Wed night. Wonder if the Bucs have any leftover bobbleheads in the back they can give out for a last minute promotion?

  2. Spotswoode says:

    Made the decision to drive out tomorrow after my son gets out of school from VA to see the game. Go Bucs!

  3. j says:

    After reading your tweets I texted my friend and we decided to go to the game after school tomorrow.

  4. Zack says:

    All over my college’s Facebook page are people trying to find rides down, I’d say at least 100 making last minute plans. That’s in the past hour alone.

  5. Matt Gajtka says:

    My family and I are planning on walking up for tickets tomorrow…I’m in from out of town so I gotta catch a game. I figure the crowds have been light this series so we should be OK to grab a few together.

    Either way, looking forward to being in the park for a game of significance!

  6. Marty Caridi says:

    Dejan, I don’t worry too much about midweek attendance, no matter who the opponent is. I think that this year is all about turning people into new baseball fans, as well as strengthening the hold on casual fans. And I really think this is all done on the weekends. Look at the Milwaukee series as an example. Friday night, you had what has easily become the most popular promotion, a free shirt Friday. Saturday, it was fireworks night. Sunday afternoon, was a free gym bag giveaway. The casual fan is going to look at Friday or Saturday night, and think, “Let’s round up the gang, go to the game, and then hit the bars afterward.”. As for Sunday, it was a kids day. Parents with kids have to make a decision, “Do I take my children on Sunday afternoon, or on what is now a school night?”. Couple all of this with the declining play of the team over the past month, and you’ve got 17,000 on a Tuesday night against the rival Cardinals. I think Wednesday’s crowd should top 20,000. The weekends will continue to sell out for the most part, and as long as the team stays in it, the weekday crowds will hover around 20,000. After the past two decades, the Pirates have to be ecstatic by this.

  7. TDB1977 says:

    Unfortunately, I have no plans at being at the game tomorrow night. I just did 3 out of 4 from Friday through Monday of this week. My next games will be Monday and Tuesday of next week. My wife and I bought a 10 game package this year, but I think we are going to end up going to close to 20 games this year. As I mentioned in the game thread, during the rain delay last night (Monday night), I walked down to the ticket booth and purchased tickets for Sept 9th’s game and Sept 29th’s game. I don’t know if we are crazy or just plan lost our minds, but we leave to go to the OBX very early on the 30th. It won’t be the first time that we go to a game, a mere few hours before going on vacation.

  8. JMB says:

    I give big props to this guy since that’s probably a $2k trip if he stays at a hotel and bought 11 tickets at $50 a pop:

    Chris Mariani ‏@freeskier428
    @Dejan_Kovacevic Bought 11 tickets for tomorrow, flying in from Salt Lake City. Recruited PGH friends to come along. #Bucn

    I just spent some decent coin on the SD trip, so while I would love to come back for tomorrow, I just can’t afford it.

    When DK challenges the fan base to show up, I never know if he is only talking to the locals or if he is saying we should all go into debt from all over the country to come out.

    DK: Not saying, either, really. More just a case of being interested in how many do.

  9. Tim says:

    I’m in one of the emergency ops centers in New Orleans. I’ll be following the game via Gamecast and Twitter unless something bad is happening.

    DK: Be well, my friend. In our thoughts.

  10. Reading says:

    The only people who need to show up Wednesday are the 25 Pirates in the dugout- show up, that is, ready to play and WIN the most important game in PNC Park history.

  11. BurghJay says:

    @Dejan_Kovacevic: I bought tickets tonight for #BucsSocial media night tomorrow and am looking forward to the game.

  12. MGR says:

    I live 300 miles away but used two days of vacation to make it to Monday’s game when I realized a week out it would be the first true home “showdown series” since… ’97 vs Houston? I had thought the crowd would be larger but despite miserable weather and a mostly demoralizing game, I was impressed with how into the game the diehards who showed up were – drowning out the “Yadi” chants in the 8th when things looked totally bleak with a Lets go Bucs chant. And exploded for the 9th inning break video montage to the point where I even fully believed a comeback was going to happen despite seeing “Barajas, Barmes, Watson” on the scoreboard.

    Hopefully the same spirit will be there tomorrow night only multiplied several times with more people. If I could pull off making another trip across the state (and not going to work), I would be there in a heartbeat but I hope the locals will have my back. I intend to return the favor by representing at Citi Field in the last road series of the year – (if they’re sitting on 81 wins for any of those Mets games, I will definitely be there!!)

  13. Dave says:

    Using a prizewheel voucher for tomorrows game. Got tickets after Sundays 7-0 loss hoping for redemption. Price spent doesn’t equal loyalty, I buy tickets
    To 100 loss years. Happens to be I had an expensive summer and have been to 8 or so games already (I live an hour away, it’s an all day/night commitment). Still thinking I might buy an upgrade when I get there if anythings available.

  14. Jay G -Jacksonville FL via New Castle says:

    Working all day…Kept track of the game on Iphone….Great showing….Glad to see Chase back….Hope the starting pitching can get on track….Wishing Bedard well….Someone mentioned earlier about us giving our next years first round (33rd-ish) compensation pick for G Sanchez……Seems like a horrible, horrible move at this point….Did I say horrible???………….

  15. diehard says:

    I’d love to be there tomorrow, but finances dictate only one more game this season. My 14 year old nephew is visiting from Iasi starting next weekend and has never seen a baseball game. Looking forward to that for the thrill of taking a kid to his first game, as well as knowing that the games will be increasingly more important as we go through the month.

  16. Devyn Duffy says:

    I work evenings so I can’t go to the game. Have to save time off for the postseason if it comes.

    Come on, Pirates. The first baseball game I remember is the Pirates winning Game Seven of the ’79 World Series when I was four years old. They haven’t won a playoff round since. I’m just one fan but 82-80 doesn’t cut it for me. I want more.

  17. Boise Bucco says:

    @DK, couple thoughts:

    1. Haha you made it through three complete thoughts before coffee, and none of them had anything to do with letting the dog out–for that I commend you.

    2. “Of the 16 free agents Neal Huntington has signed for $750,000 or more, an astounding 10 — Byung-Hyun Kim, Ramon Vazquez, Eric Hinske, Craig Monroe, Ryan Church, Bobby Crosby, Lyle Overbay, Matt Diaz, Nate McLouth and now Bedard — were released or dumped in negligible midseason trades.” The six that you didn’t mention–Kevin Correia, Rod Barajas, Clint Barmes, Garrett Jones, Jason Grilli, and Jose Veras–ended up being not half bad. Veras begat McGehee who begat Qualls, so I guess you could probably count him in your 16, but still, Veras had his moments too. But the main thing I wanted to point out is, when these guys were signed–Hinske, Crosby, Church, etc., no one looked at the ticker and expected the next Texiera to walk through the door. Lol at least he didn’t sign them to some Carl Crawford deal or something.

    My internet’s about to die out (and I really need to go to bed), but I’d really like to take a look at the success rate of GM’s around the league–Doug Melvin in Milwaukee 2 years ago springs to mind–and take a good look at how their free agent WAR stacks up to the Bucs’ free agency WAR. Free Agency in general seems like it’s (finally) beginning to catch up to football, in that teams are finally beginning to see free agency as a way to plug holes, instead of a way to remake a team into stardom a la the Yankees. There’s only one Yankees, as the Dodgers are about to find out, and as the Red Sox finally figured out. I think that comparing the Dodgers to “the Yankees of the West” is a busted comparison; I think that comparing them to “the Redskins of the MLB” would be more appropriate, at least in a year or two. Anyway, great column as always, and LET’S GO BUCS.

  18. Ed says:

    Not going tomorrow. Had tickets to Monday’s game but didn’t go because of a combination of weather, illness and recent suckitude of the team.

    Because of how I work, it’s hard for me to make it to many games. Mondays and Thursdays are best but those are off days frequently during the season. So, a lot of times, I have to schedule off in advance to be able to make it down there.

    That said, I’ve been to several weekday games so far this season, the most since ’97, and I still have tickets for one of the Brewers and one of the Reds games next month. I just hope they’re still playing for something by then.

    Nice win all around last night but the Jolly Roger is gonna have to be raised more than once or twice a week to have any chance at a postseason.

  19. Thundercrack says:

    It seems to me that a big portion of the fan base has turned into Fri-Sun fans. Meaning that is most likely when they will go to the game —-no matter if there is a promotion or not. Even with saying that I was surprised that there wasn’t more than 20K there last night.

    I don’t have kids but it amazes me -the stories I hear from coworker about their kids going back to school. They all sound complicated and very time consuming.

    DK, will you and your kids be going to tonight’s game?

    I have been buying extra discounted tickets and giving them to my clients/customers.
    I hope my customer enjoyed last night’s game :-)

  20. Doug says:

    Bought 2 tickets last night after the 5th innings… Decided maybe at least he players were all in.

  21. Thundercrack says:

    “the biggest baseball game in these parts in two decades?” Really?

    “The next 24 hours loom even larger than these.”
    Wow, how dramatic. Who taught you that dramatic writing style, James Harrison? :-)

  22. Thundercrack says:

    Just read some quotes in the St Louis Dispatch. Doesn’t really sound like the Cardinals are all that fine with that play at the plate.
    Asked if the play was legitimate, Matheny said, “What do you mean by legitimate? Everybody has the option to slide. He had an option to slide and he didn’t.”

    One Cardinals player said, “He probably would have been safe if he had slid. That was not the play.”

  23. Jandy says:

    Marty, post your hometown on Dejan’s Lunatics Asylum…Biz will record you so you’re added to the list =)

  24. Jandy says:

    No way Josh would have been safe if he slid, danced, or did the Macarena into home. Only way he would have been safe is if he managed to knock the ball loose. Josh did his best to do that…no doubt the Cardinals would have done the same had they had a runner trying to score…but they never got that far last night. Nuff said.

  25. Drew71 says:

    Hey Thunder. Let’s reinact the play. I’ll be Harrison.

  26. Jandy says:

    Hey! It’s Drew, and he’s still happy (insert appropriate emoticon)

  27. Matt says:

    Anyone else impressed with Brock Holt at Indy? His defense is very solid and he is batting .415!! Call him up and stick him in. He may be a real shot in the arm.

  28. Drew71 says:

    And by the way.

    Every stinking night. Good game or bad. Good team or bad. Angry, happy or bitter.

    We’re here. We’re all here. We’re always here.

  29. Drew71 says:

    I’m gonna “Harrison” your emoticon.

  30. JAL says:

    JAL’s Missing Missouri Morning Links


    1- MLB Transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    3 Go Buccos- Pirate News (from external sources)


    4—Pirates Prospects

    Pirates Notebook: Alvarez Locked in at the Plate; McDonald Needs to Seek Greatness

    Irwin Pitches Six Scoreless Innings As Indians Shut Out Toledo

    DSL Pirates1 Advance to Second Round of DSL Playoffs

    Prospect Watch: Six Shutout Innings for Irwin; Howard Has a Birthday Blast

    First Pitch: An Alvarez Hot Streak Would Be Great Right Now

    5 Bucs Dugout

    Pedro Alvarez Has 11 Total Bases In Pirates’ Best Performance This Year

    6 Rumbunter

    Pittsburgh Pirates Trade Rumors: Waiver Claim for Shaun Marcum?

    7 McEffect

    8/28 Recap | Pirates 9 Cardinals 0

    8 The Green Weenie

    J-Mick, Pedro Overwhelm Cards 9-0

    9 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Pirates Pound Cardinals

    10 WHY GAVS

    Game 129: Pirates 9 Cardinals 0

  31. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 CBS Sports

    Pirates-Cardinals Game Preview

    12 St Louis Post Dispatch

    Molina hurt as Cards lose 9-0 to Pirates—to-pirates/article_fb47cd40-96a0-562d-ba51-e1442b1bfe5a.html

    Bernie Bytes: In praise of Motte, Skip, M. Carpenter

    13 Chicago Tribune

    Pirates Report,0,7191668.story

    14 Long Beach Gazette

    Long Beach In The Show

    15 Washington Observer

    Steve Blass, a lawyer and a squirrel

    16 KDKA

    Hurdle On Bedard: ‘Inconsistency Wasn’t Getting Us Where We Wanted To Go’

    17 Sports Business Daily

    ESPN Signs New Deal With MLB Through ’21 Worth An Average Of $700M Annually


    18 PBC Site

    Message sent: Alvarez, Bucs clobber Cards

    Bucs move starters up to compensate for move

    19 Baseball Prospectus

    What You Need to Know

    20 Fangraphs

    Erik Bedard Walks the Plank

  32. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Mike Wallace Contract Extension: Some Re-Work of the Roster Would Make It Possible

    Steelers 53-Man Roster Projection After First Round of Cuts

    22 Steelers Depot

    - Mike Wallace Hopes To Get New Contract, Wants To Stay In Pittsburgh

    23 Steelers Gab

    Wallace Finally Arrives; Won’t Play Till Season Opener

    24 Nice Pick Cower

    Two Young Steelers Who Deserve To Make Roster

    Pitt Blogs

    25 Pitt Blather

    Two-Deep for YSU Announced

    26 Cardiac Hill

    Coachspeak: Top Ten Paul Chryst Quotes For Youngstown State Game

    WVU Blogs

    27 Metro News

    As Luck Would Have It …

    28 WV Illustrated

    Dana Holgorsen Press Conference Marshall Week


    29 Sky Sports

    Transfer Clockwatch

    30 Daily Telegraph

    Premier League action: in pictures

    31 World Soccer Daily

    10 stories you need to read, 28th August, 2012

    Democracy rules in the Premier League, for the time being

  33. JAL says:

    Missing Missouri, Sara Evans Contemporary country singer. Sang the National Anthem at the 2009 All Star Game in St. Louis. This is off her 2005 album Real Fine Place.

  34. JAL says:

    Tom Singer, first article in Link 18, has a nice lead sentence.

  35. Thundercrack says:

    I just watched the replay again.
    No way Josh can slide and be safe.
    Josh led with his shoulder, but it looked like Molina led with his head.

    Drew, you have the bigger head. You be Molina.

  36. Milo Hamilton says:

    Love Sara Evans. Thanks JAL.

  37. Drew71 says:

    You’re right. But that’s not my head.

  38. Thundercrack says:

    Nice story about former Pirate reliever Craig Hansen

  39. Jandy says:

    Drew ~ woah, baby, don’t get me excited ;)

  40. Jandy says:

    Milo, hubby likes Sara too. Her ex is a douchebag.

  41. NMR says:

    Came in to say Dejan talked me into getting tickets last night when he posted that on Sulia. May as well get off my butt and walk over to the stadium before summer is over.

    Now, someone please present an argument I don’t agree with so I can call it a strawhominem. Bravo, DK!

  42. diehard says:

    Interesting takes on Harrison’s slide – ESPN was whiny about it. (Was it controversial? Because we like controversial! And it was a Molina, and we love the Molinas!) Then there was MLB – wish everyone could watch the 10MINUTE dissection of the collision and why it was the proper play done by Harold Reynolds and Mike Lowell. Harrison took a line that would have given him the outside line to the plate, but when Molina short hopped the ball his momentum carried him from the inside on the baseline directly into Harrison’s path. Harrison was correct in continuing his line (if he had tried to go around at that point, he would have been well out of the legal baseline) and in dropping his shoulder – as opposed to the Prince Fielder/Wilbur Marshall method of delivering a forearm to the catcher’s head. I couldn’t believe how much time they spent on it – really thought the segment was going to end 3 times, but it kept going – angles, diagrams, graphics, 360 views, studio reenactment – they really didn’t want to talk about Pedro’s blasts or Verander giving up 7 runs…

  43. pattonbb says:

    There wasn’t anywhere for Harrison to slide to. If he slides, he doesn’t even come close to getting to the plate. Yes, he lead with his shoulder, but that’s exactly what you’re supposed to do in that situation.

    Methany needs to get over it. I understand he wants to defend his guy, but what was Harrison supposed to do? Just pull up, stand there, and wait for Molina to tag him?

  44. The Gunner says:

    @ Jandy – 39

    Ha ha, love your description of Sara’s ex. Pedro & JMac put on an extraordinary performance last night. I have my rosary beads out in the hopes the magic continues.

    How about you?

  45. Joe D says:

    I guess my theory about Pedro not being able to see at night was incorrect. We need him to go on a 5 week hot streak. Go Bucs!

  46. Jandy says:

    Gunner, I find myself praying, “Please, Lord, help him hit the ball.” Then I catch myself and think I’m a nut for praying for something like that. Know what I mean? lol I have to admit, I haven’t said the rosary in a long time…I ad-lib a lot when talking to God. What can I say?

    pattonbb ~ That’s what I said last night. Both guys were doing their job. Harrison lost his bid to be safe/knock the ball lose…but Molina took the brunt of it. I bet he wishes he lost the ball instead.

  47. diehard says:

    Interview with Harrison on MLB network – unfortunately, the dissertation on the slide is not on the site.

  48. bdubb says:

    Did the Pirates really have to let Bedard go at this point? I know he has struggled (mostly the 2nd time around in lineups) but with rosters expanding before his next start did they have to do that? Was it a message NH was sending? If so then he should look in the mirror.

    Oh, good job by Greg Brown last night to describe the game as if this were the 2010 Pirates and last night was the biggest crowd of the year. The Bucs have struggled lately but no reason to make one game out to be such an attraction.

    Good for J Mac last night but I caution his only other real good start since the break was also against the Cardinals. J Mac is to St Louis as Jason Marquis is to the Pirate.s.

  49. David says:

    I really don’t care how many people come out to the game but I do think the attendance the last two days show quite definitively that Pittsburgh is not a baseball town. Two biggest games ever at PNC and both nights the stadium is less than half full. There is nothing wrong with that though. Some cities just aren’t baseball, footbal, hockey, basektball, etc towns.

    Pittsburgh is a good sports town and they are willing to embrace a lot of things including baseball but its passion is singular and that is football and the Steelers. Hockey has made good strides but I still recall the half filled Mellon Arena. So yes Pittsburgh may embrace baseball but it isn’t baseball town, there is a meaningful distinction there.

    As a side note didn’t Cooperstown a few years ago refuse a minor league team because they weren’t a baseball town per se.

  50. With Namath like precision, my girlfriend guaranteed a win last night. We were there. Afterwards she said she guaranteed a win tonight. Bought Tix! #Believe #BooYa

  51. David says:

    Oh and one more thing does anyone else think Harrison might have been safe at the play at the plate. When the collision occurred Molina’s glove was clearly away from his body and I did not see one angle that made me think conclusively that he managed to pull the glove in and actually tag Harrison. Since there was no argument from the Pirates and very little mention of it afterwards by anyone I might be alone in this but it looked very close. I understand no umpire is ever going to call that but still I’m not sure there was ever an actual tag.

  52. Michael Firda says:

    So ill be listening from my blackberry, in my barn in south jersey, the audio fed through a boom box. Cannot wait!

    If there was ever a time for Wandy to show a little dominance, it would be tonight. He has been disappointing to say the least.

  53. diehard says:

    @David #51- Molina’s glove hit Harrison and the right elbow and dragged up his arm, across his chest, and ended up on his left shoulder. I think that qualifies as a tag. (replay on Pirates’ site show it very clearly) It was a great play by Molina, and amazing he held onto the ball.

  54. pattonbb says:

    I agree with diehard. Harrison was definitely out. Still can’t believe Molina held on to that ball.

  55. JAL, thanks for the heads-up on Tom Singer’s article. It was a great lead sentence. Cool analogy!

    GREAT ball game, great characters, and the major point on Sulia is attendance? Come on!! COME ON!!

    Everybody is all hep on Pedro’s two monster homeruns, but I thought the most significant occurrence in the game was James McDonald’s 7 inning, 2-hit shutout performance. If the Bucs have a chance in these last 30+ games, McDonald must be a monster from the mound!

    Harrison’s crash, Pedro’s monsters, JMac’s magnificance . . . . . . . . which did YOU think was most significant?

    Or, we could focus on empty seats . . . . . . . .

  56. Jandy says:

    G2M2S…hear, hear! Well said!

  57. CWalton_67 says:

    Tim in #9–God Bless and keep you and your family.

    Enjoyed the column today, Dejan. A fun and entertaining read.

    On another note, I’d like to leave you all with a reminder that the best and the brightest Americans are not on our athletic fields, they are on our battlefields. Five years ago today, Army CPT Erick Foster of Wexford, and a graduate of Duquesne University gave his life for your freedom.

    I know, because he was one of my students in Army ROTC. I recruited him, trained him, and commissioned him as an officer into the Army. He volunteered, on three separate occasions, to serve this country–first to join the Army, second to become a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division, and third, to serve in Iraq.

    He was, unquestionably, one of the finest young Americans with whom I have had the privilege of serving and calling a friend. No day passes that I do not remember his permanent smile and boundless enthusiasm for whatever he was doing.

    Please forgive me for veering off the course of this blog, but while we are debating the merits of the Pirates bench players today, please take a moment to remember a Erick’s sacrifice, and say a small prayer for his family if you can.

    Dejan, I hope I have not offended you with my post here, just thought that some great people on the blog should know of the sacrifice of a fellow Pittsburgher.

  58. Macchamp74 says:

    Is Baltimore a baseball town? Take a look at the attendance for Monday and Tuesday at Camden Yards. Pittsburgh crowds much better than a city thought to be a good baseball town.

  59. Jandy says:

    CWalton, touching. I will be sure to send up prayers for his family. RIP, Erick, soar high!

  60. LuckyNKentucky says:


    Excellent post.

  61. E. Nist says:

    I live in Alabama. It’s a bit much of a commute. That and we’re still trying to get this stupid Hurricane Isaac to move on through. It should be safe by midday, but that certainly doesn’t give me enough time to get to the park. I’ll be watching on espn and on twitter @alabamabuccofan
    I’ve loved every second of this season and can’t wait for the tonight’s game and the stretch run. Screw the wild card, I want to catch the Reds!

  62. Vette60 says:

    Hi All.

    I haven’t posted in a while…but a couple of things.

    CWalton_67 – consider it done. Thank you for that post and certainly will be thinking of Erick today.

    Certainly good to see JMac get things rolling – only game I had it to this year was 7.7 game against the Giants when JMac was in similar form. Nice to see.

    Hope the Pirates can string some wins together and get back on track…August was a rough month to say the least.

    As far as Wallace goes – overblown is his return. Get back, get ready and we’ll see what happens 9.9.

    As far as the whole NHL thing – if they really go to a lockout and miss a significant portion of the season, both sides are shooting themselves in the foot. Really shortsighted in my opinion…


  63. Milo Hamilton says:

    Back to being criticized for not enough of us going ? I was still trying to figure out how to react to the criticism that too many of us were going. You know, Bob Nutting was never going to get the message until the ballpark was empty. When someone comes up with the exact right amount of fans that should be showing up for each game, please let me know.

  64. Thundercrack says:

    Milo (#62)
    I’m with you on that!

  65. JohninOshkosh says:



    Besides it is how many who watch a game that matters. Money is made through media contracts, And the big money made at actual attendance comes from suite revenue. Not the walk up sitting in the bleachers buying a hot dog and Pepsi.

  66. Jandy says:

    Milo and TC ~ are you guys saying that you find something distasteful in the title to this column????

  67. Thundercrack says:

    No, not me.

    I think the attendance has been disappointing. And I do think this a very good baseball town. But as far as going to the games, it has turned into a Fri-Sun town.

    It is a big game against a division rival, but far from “telling”.

    And I will predict that if there is a very big crowd there tonight, someone will say that it is because the Pirate broadcasters spent to much time telling people to attend the game because it is going to be broadcast nationally. Someone will do it – with snark.

  68. Karen22 says:

    “9:48: Clint Hurdle, as only he can, sums it up with perspective: “It’s the most important game we’ll play all day.”‘

    HAHA! Channeling Yogi! Requote today…

    And may Wandy wave his magic wand.

  69. Jandy says:

    TC, I can’t say, as it would be hypocritical of me. I just can’t travel 2+ hours to and from on a work/week night. 4 am comes early!!

  70. Chuck says:

    As of this writing, tickets are as cheap as $1 on Stubhub. Prices typically go down day of game, but I don’t think that bodes well for tonight’s crowd. On the flip side, cost of tickets is not a good excuse – can get a family of 5 in the door for $5.

  71. bobhasis says:

    When Pedro performs like a major leaguer – as he did on Tuesday – I wonder what he did differently than other times.
    He was fantastic, he was right on every pitch as though he knew what was coming and counted the stitches before he swung, ala Ted Williams. It was a pleasure to enjoy. His last at bat he became indifferent, did not concentrate and whiffed badly on three bad pitches.

    Last night could be used as a barometer for future games as the good the bad and the ugly of Pedro.

    In this space I have said several times, he can hit the ball into the next area code (as he did last night), but he must concentrate. The last at bat, the pitcher threw those filthy curve balls, down and out of the zone, which Pedro has exhibited all too often as a weakness and bites on.

    Let the coaching staff and Pedro review every pitch to him last night – maybe over and over again – for him to see the difference in his concentration level. It would be a revelation.

    For last night – GREAT JOB PEDRO AND KEEP IT UP!!!

  72. —> bought tix for me and me lil wifelett for this big ole finale. Hyde Park for libations and a dry-aged filet (medium rare), then plopping down in section… i forgot. I think it’s on the third-base side in the 100’s. Given their recent slump, I thought the high point this evening might be the steak, but after last night, perhaps tonight’s game will make for a splendid dessert and 18-yr JW Blue Label.

    I really drink too much…

  73. Ex-Pat Pittsburgh Girl says:

    I keep going back and forth about coming to tonight’s game. I really want to be there, but that would entail leaving work at 3:00 p.m. (requiring me to move a meeting), driving 200 miles and then driving back 200 miles after the game because of an 8:00 a.m. meeting tomorrow. It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve done something like that to see the Bucs (or for a sporting event), but I’m also in the middle of packing for a permanent move back to SWPA next week. I’m also rationalizing it (poorly) in my head that this will actually be the last weekday Pirates home game that I will be missing, so it may be best for my sanity (and for the safety of me and the rest of the drivers on the PA Turnpike) to e-mail my tickets to someone back in Pittsburgh. Let’s go Bucs!

  74. Must win, great baseball plays, especially at the plate, drama with the foolish ump warning, monsterous blasts by Pedro, essential performance by McDonald, which, since AJ has become human, might be the most important key to the rest of the season, the return of line drives from McCutch and Tabata . . . . . . . . and the headline above plus a national Sulia article devoted to attendance.

    Methinks our esteemed writer is still groggy from jet lag of London time!

  75. Jandy says:

    Ex-Pat Pittsburgh Girl, save your sanity and good luck with the moving!

  76. Ex Pittsburgh Chick,

    We welcome you back home to Southwest Pa next week!

  77. Milo Hamilton says:

    What’s the applicable sabermetric for what Josh Harrison did last night ?

  78. Thundercrack says:

    What would be awesome is if they could get Mike Tomlin to describe Harrison’s play at the plate. Imagine the words he would use!

  79. Hasty Bob,

    My guess is, last night’s hitting display by Pedro has nothing to do with reality, other than to display his power.

    I still play ball. I arrived at a game 2 weeks ago and the ball looked looked like a cantaloupe. I don’t know why——but I had 4 hits, 3 for extra bases.

    Two games later, the ball looked like an aspirin, and I lucked out 2 infield singles.

    Pedro watching last night’s tape will make him smile broadly, but I doubt there will be one thing in that tape for him to hold onto for future swings.

  80. If the Cardinals don’t want their catcher to run into, they should pick up Ronnie Paulino.

    He would have never been in the position that Molina put himself into.

  81. Milo Hamilton says:

    Another reason tonight’s game is so important other than the obvious. The winner of tonight’s game wins the season series, it’s currently tied 7-7. Head to head is a tiebreaker for home field down the road.

  82. buggee says:

    @Ex-Pat Pittsburgh Girl: http://www.GoToMeeting-dot-com

    @Pedro (El Toro): http://www.lastnightshomerunisstilltravelingthruthestratosphere-dot-com

    @DK: splendid read Dejan. Is there any better way to portray yesterday’s events? Well done sir!

    DK: I appreciate that. Thank you.

  83. Cracker,

    Great get on the Craig Hansen article.

    The last sentence is p-e-r-f-e-c-t!!

  84. JHadar says:

    I agree. The real question is not the mid-week attendance being down with the aura of the collapse hanging over it.

    The real question is did they flip the switch last night?

    Haven’t been able to post for a few days, but for those who were including Alvarez with Barmes and Barajas in the “why are these guys still playing” discussion(s) — Not only has he reached 25 HRs with a month to go. I’ll take an .811 OPS even with a lot of strikeouts.

    This may be his third year, but it’s his first full season.

  85. JohninOshkosh says:


    To quote the great NMR:


  86. bobhasis says:

    Groat, are you saying that you and Pedro are guess hitters?

    Seriously, Pedro went to the plate almost with a planned purpose and was inordinately successful. He was (ugh) focused in his first four at bats.

    The last at bat was what we have all seen way too much of; so was he simply guessing fastball when he first spotted the ball then – whoosh – a sharp breaking curve which he did not see. He didn’t even try to check his swing as the ball dropped out of the zone, as though he predetermined fast ball and was already making a swing, which says to me, a guess.

    I suppose I’m contrasting only his last at bat with the spectacular success of the first four.
    However he can give me these kind of games say, 5 times a week or so. I for one am more than satisfied with his defense – ESPECIALLY the arm.

  87. Milo (not the laconic, rug-covered baseball announcer),

    “What’s the applicable sabermetric for what Josh Harrison did last night?”

    Nice shot at the non-baseball geeks with their blackberry calculators——the same geeks who got Bert Blyleven undeservedly in to the Hall of Fame!!

    May I stand in line with you? Will it negatively effect your fWAR?

  88. Milo Hamilton says:


    It would be my pleasure.

  89. LuckyNKentucky says:


    Groat’s slow-pitch, arching softballs should always look like cantelopes. No guessing involved.

  90. bobhasis says:

    Lucky, do you mean a bar league slo-pitch softball player is attempting to compare himself to Pedro? Ina league like that two singles (or safe hits) per game should be the minimum.

    Heck I was doing that at the age of 55!

  91. Jandy says:

    Lucky, high five to ya!

  92. LuckyNKentucky says:

    He hasn’t responded, so it must be correct! :)

  93. Krissy says:

    I wish I could but I work for every week ight game (Monday through Thursday). But I always listen to the game, and so do a bunch of my co-workers. I haven’t been to a weekday Pirates game since I started the 2 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. shift, but I would love to be there.

  94. Baywatch says:

    Another great column, DK … that was a lot of fun!

    DK: Thanks, Bay.

  95. JHadar says:

    Sheriff Bay! Is that you?

  96. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Should be a commission paid to DK for all tix sold after 11:00 PM last evening.

    DK: No.

  97. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    I’d be there in a heartbeat if I could. Probably all 3 of the Cards games and any other home games that I could.

    Easier said than done I guess.

  98. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:


    Hitters good days are usually because of poor pitching.

    Pedro showed last night what all the fuss was about, as he has shown other nights this season. This kid is something special.

    And I don’t mean because he covers his ears with his hat. BTW, JHay does as well.

  99. albatross says:

    @Tim – “I’m in one of the emergency ops centers in New Orleans.”

    It’s nice to keep things in perspective sometimes…

    I would certainly drive in from Jersey for tonight’s game if I could, but alas it’s not to be.

  100. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    OK, so I’ve seen this question asked somewhere else.

    Do the Pirates retaliate against the Cards hitters tonight with a plunking?

    I don’t see a need for it. In my view, that whole thing should be over and done with. JHay got hit last night for blowing up their catcher. I agree with the way Westbrook handled it and then, gave us a nice fat inning.

    I don’t think the Pirates need to respond to that.

    Anybody have a take on this?

  101. TDB1977 says:

    Looks like I’m in the process of upgrading my ticket package from a 10 game pack this year to a 20 game pack next year. In using that logic, I should go from a 20 game pack next year to a half season pack in 2 years…and from a half season pack in 2 years to a full season pack in 3 years.

  102. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:


    I like that logic. I wish I could move back sometimes, I really do.

  103. JMB says:


    I mostly agree with your take, but if the Cards come out plunkin’ again today, then we won’t get a chance to retaliate since the warnings will come.

    After some of the comments from the Cards, I dunno if it’s over.

  104. Jandy says:

    Ryan, as much as I’d like to say we should plunk one of their guys, I have to be honest and admit, the butt whooping we gave them was enough retribution.

  105. albatross says:

    I’m guessing if we act first, ejections will be immediate, so we end up on the losing end. Someday, maybe they’ll end this stupid policy of warnings.

  106. JohninOshkosh says:


    Depends on the course of the game. If the Cardinals break out to a big lead, then there might be fireworks. Otherwise, wait until next spring training like Zito and the Giants did in retaliation for Fielder’s obnoxious “bowling pin” homerun celebration.

  107. JohninOshkosh says:

    I should add that IMO the Pirates should not respond tonight or later. Like Jandy said they did their talking on the field.

  108. pattonbb says:


    If we win tonight, that will be the best retaliation. I’m not usually that fan that thinks every hit Bucco should result in a hit opposing player. I realize it’s part of the game, but those things usually have a way of working themselves out. I don’t see a need to initiate things tonight. Harrison took out their best player. Westbrook plunked Harrison for it, in the leg I might add. We’re even. If he had thrown up at his head, i’m sure my opinion would be different, but I think it’s a dead issue. .

    Now the Reds? That’s a different story altogether. I can’t imagine Votto won’t catch one in the ribs next time we see them.

  109. Milo Hamilton says:

    Still waiting for Brian Sabean to comment on last night’s collision.

  110. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    So it seems we’re on the same page. Of course, it depends on how the Cards respond.

    I think its a done deal.

    I like Mike Matheny as a manager and had great respect for him as a catcher.

  111. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Why Brian Sabean?

    Because his best nonpitching asset got railroaded last year by some bum now in AAA that could’ve avoided the collision?

  112. Mosca says:

    Regarding attendance and pennant races… it has ALWAYS been like this. Everyone remembers the ’79 Bucs (if you’re old enough, anyhow), but no one seems to remember the ’78 team that had to sweep the Phillies on the final series to win the NL East title.

    On August 12th 1978, the Buccos were 51-61, and seemed completely out of the running.

    Sept 26th, Bucs were 84-72, playing the Cubs @ Three Rivers: they won 5-2, in front of 6,500 fans. Stargell hit is 26th. Weather was 65* with a light breeze. Phils lost to Montreal.

    Sept 27th, Bucs now 85-72, beat the Cubs 8-3, in front of SEVENTY FIVE HUNDRED fans. Parker went 2-3 and hit his 30th. Weather was 65* with a 2mph breeze. Phils beat the Expos 5-4.

    The stage was set. Fri-Sat-Sun, Sept 29/30/Oct 1, last games of the season, if we sweep, we win! DOUBLE HEADER Friday night! FOUR games! And…

    Friday, FORTY FIVE THOUSAND showed up in Three Rivers, to see the Pirates beat the Phils 5-4, with Stargell hitting his 27th in the 6th, and Ed Ott tripling in the winning run in the bottom of the 9th! Second game… AWESOME! Bruce Kison, with help from Grant Jackson and Teke, outduel STEVE CARLTON 2-1, again Bucs scoring in the bottom of the 9th.. .get this… Parker doubles and goes to 3rd on an error… Robinson and Stargell are intentionally walked… and with Phil Garner at the plate, CARLTON BALKS IN THE WINNING RUN.

    In my opinion, this was the single most exciting day of baseball I’ve ever seen. And I was at every single playoff and World Series game of that era. (I left Western PA in 1987.)

    So, 2 games left, all we have to do is win 2, Saturday start time 3PM, do you think the Bucs would fill Three Rivers…? NOPE. 28,905 was the reported paid attendance. With the season on the line, the day after we swept the Phils in dramatic fashion.

    And it was a good game, Stargell hit a grand slam in the 1st. But Luzinski homered, pitcher Randy Lerch hit TWO home runs, and the Pirates scored 4 in the bottom of the 9th, but it wasn’t to be, and we lost 10-8.

    The following day, Sunday, the Bucs won a meaningless game in front of 30,000, most of whom came out to show their appreciation for one hell of a gutsy team. Overall, the Pirates declared paid attendance of 964,000 for 1978, with over 10% of that being in those last 3 days! Most games there were under 10,000, and many games were under 5,000! I know; I was at about 75% of them.

    Anyhow. It’s a baseball town… maybe. My opinion is that it can be, but it’s time to stop mimicking Charle Brown and Lucy and the football.

  113. Baywatch says:

    JHadar, yeah Buddy, it’s me! :-)

  114. Jandy says:

    Mosca, love the last line…

  115. Drew71 says:

    Whole different feel and tone in here today.

    Funny how beating the living tar out of a rival makes you feel better.

    So. Maybe I should “visit” Thunder.

  116. Jandy says:

    Drew, where should we send donations for bail money?

  117. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:


    I can remember the NLCS’s from 90-92 having empty seats as well.

    I’m not about to do the research that you just did, but if my memory is accurate, those season’s they didn’t do all that well in attendance either.

  118. mayhay22 says:

    I don’t think they would have “retailated” last night, even without the warning. Hurdle was just making the case to the umpire that they should have had the right to retaliate if they wanted to. He took that call out of the players hands. The warnings were really the only thing wrong with the whole chain of events last night.

  119. Foo,

    Where are you?!?

    You went back to that woman across the river who charges, didn’t you?
    I should have known your sweet whisperings were too good to be true.

    Use me to make her jealous and then cast me aside. I don’t care.
    I hope it was as good for you as it was for me.

  120. JohninOshkosh says:

    I enjoyed those pictures of Mike Wallace arriving at camp that some outlets ran yesterday. Wearing his T-shirt and backpack, he looked like a disaffected teen on his first day of senior year.

  121. JHadar says:

    Bay — Well I;ll be a blue nosed gopher. Good to “see” you again. I don’t have the time I used to, but I come by every few days.

  122. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    The difference in the ball game could very well have been that plunking of JHay. Very inappropriate time to do so and, look what happened after. Was it 9 men sent to the plate?

  123. Jandy says:

    G2M2s…you’re killing me, man!

  124. bobhasis says:

    Ryan @#98

    You get an A+ for your entry.

    Hitters good days are because of poor pitching is correct – it had better be. That has always been my point about Pedro. But great hitters hit everyone (certainly not all of the time) and are able to distinguish themselves as such.

    Why are they great? Maybe because they are not guess hitters, but technicians who read the pitch, time the swing to the varying speeds, watch the ball all the way and are ever mindful of the strike zone.

    Pedro’s game last night will stick with me for quite a while to remind of what he can actually accomplish – sometimes. I will say further that he really displayed well above average (OK awesome) power.

  125. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:


    He went about this thing the wrong way. He won’t be a Steeler much longer. They do have his rights for next year as well.

    I do hope he gets an extension, but that’s not how you do it.

    He may get paid one day with another team, but it won’t be a consensus SB team like the Steelers and that has everything to do with the Rooney’s.

  126. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:


    I didn’t know we were handing out grades. That’s awesome. Can I go home early?

    If Pedro can do that once or twice a week, I’ll take it. I dont mean 2 HR’s a game, that’s asking a little much.

    All hitters at one point or another are guess hitters. Maybe not every AB, but at some point they are…unless they’re in that “zone.”

    Pujols guesses at times too. He to me, is the best hitter in the league for at least the last 10 years.

  127. buggee says:

    @Milo re #77: New Sabremetric: POW Pounds-per-square-inch times Overland-foot-per-second speed times player-Weight. If JHEY checks in at 200 lbs, his POW equates to 1,417.625 (at estimated top speed of 9.0 mph)

    Compare that to JMAC’s potential POW of 987.077. John Kruk’s potential POW, by comparison, would be approximately 1,766.861 (estimated body weight of 415 lbs with maximum foot speed of 2.8 mph)

    Hope that helps

  128. Jandy says:

    buggee, sell THAT to Money Ball!

  129. NMR says:


    Everyone knows xPOW (adjusted for the specific gravitational pull per park) is a much better predictor of future POW potential…

  130. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    And assuming John Kruk’s foot speed would actually reach 2.8mph, is a stretch. Unless he’s chasing a hot dog.

  131. Mosca says:

    @Ryan, I had to look up the actual weather and attendance numbers. The rest of it, I’ll never forget. I was there.

    All the data, including attendance and weather, are at Baseball Reference.

    Attendance for the NLCS of

    1990: 45,000/50,000/48,000
    1991: 57,000/57,000/55,000/46,000
    1992: 57,000/57,000/53,000

    In baseball configuration, Three Rivers at that time seated about 58,000. In the ’70s it was about 50,000. The Pirates drew capacity for every World Series game in ’79. They drew 42,000 for the one NLCS game, which I remember being cold, with a light rain/sleet during the day.

    Just as an aside, Three Rivers was a truly miserable place to watch a baseball game. The field boxes and red bleacher/outfield seats were OK, but anything over field level, you needed binoculars. The orange upper deck was laughably far from the action. Access, parking, and concessions were pathetic, and at the time there was nothing else on the North Side other than the stadium so there was nothing to draw you there before the game, or keep you there after it.

  132. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    Here are the comparison’s of the two collisions.

    1st one is the hit Buster Posey took last year by Scott Cousins and the 2nd one is the one from last night.

    2 totally different situations, one could’ve been avoided and the other not so much.

    But that’s baseball. Milo’s suggestion of Brian Sabean made me want to look up last years collision.

  133. RobertoForever says:

    Lineup out.

    Its the A team minus Walker

  134. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:


    Oh not doubt about Three Rivers Stadium.

    I know where the references are, just didn’t feel like looking it up.

    I’m even lazy at google.

  135. RobertoForever says:

    Tabata LF, Snider RF, Cutch CF, Jones 1B, Alvarez 3B, Harrison 2B, Barajas C, Barmes SS

  136. Milo Hamilton says:


    The “A” lineup would include McKenry.

  137. Jandy says:

    Roberto, do you have the report on Walker’s back? How long is he expected to be out?

  138. Jandy says:

    I second that, Milo

  139. RobertoForever says:


    ok, lazy bones. Here is the place to see the attendance for each Pirates game in 1992.

    Just change the 1992 in the web address to whatever year you want to see.

    FYI – late Aug/early Sept in 1992. Pirates drew around 12,000 for a midweek game. AND they only drew 20-25K for a WEEKEND series vs the Phillies in the first week in Sept.

  140. bobhasis says:

    Ryan, the only time they should be guess hitters is on a 3-0 or 3-1 pitch (actually that’s probably a narrow grouping – there would be other times) and be looking for a dead red fastball groin high down the middle, and then send it.

    No, you cannot go home yet. Class is still in session

  141. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    day to day Jandy

  142. RobertoForever says:


    Maybe your A lineup, but not the Pirates.

  143. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:


    There’s no guessing in those situations. You’re right, that’s what they should be looking for, but IMO looking for and guessing are 2 different things.

    Are you sure I can’t go yet? I could be fishing the California Delta!!!!!!

  144. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:

    ants marching BTW

  145. RobertoForever says:


    Last two weeks

    Player A – .240 BA, .400 SLG, .745 OPS
    Player B – .080 BA, .120 SLG, .230 OPS

    Who do you want catching?

  146. Jandy says:

    Ryn, thanks, I guess RF is ticked at me…or something ;)

    OO0< OO0< OO0< OO0< OO0< OO0< OO0< OO0< OO0< OO0<

  147. JohninOshkosh says:

    Does anyone know if tonight’s game is being televised?

  148. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    I know Pedro hasn’t had the best year, but I hope we don’t give up on him. Not even so much just because of last night, which it’s hard to argue there was a better performance out there, but because PBC has a peculiar habit of dumping 3B and them going elsewhere and doing really well (Ramirez and Bautista, not Joe Randa). Both sides of his game are suspect at times, but he does some pretty amazing things, too. That diving stop and throw early in the game were just ridiculous- runner was out comfortably- and those HR’s were pretty impressive. Ok, they were mammoth. I’d keep him around for a while at .260 (some improvement needed yet), 30 HR and 75 RBI.

  149. Milo Hamilton says:


    Whichever one is named McKenry.

  150. buggee says:

    Molina is considering that Sabremetric as fPOW

  151. buggee says:

    Excellent posts Mosca. I get the impression that you were there. Were you there?

  152. Milo Hamilton says:


    Or fOUCH.

  153. Ryan (Nor-Cal Stlrfanrc) says:


    It will be at my house!!

  154. Jandy says:

    It will be at my house too!!!

  155. buggee says:

    Who cares about fCRAP attendence figures anyhoo? Shuttlecocks with nuttin better to do? Hang on, I just described Brahas the Fiery-Latino-No-Stick-Catcher.

    oh clint? CLINT? WHY IS THAT SCHLEP STARTING? Urk. Meh. in the words of Ratt; “Ya can’t start a fire without a flame.” Pure genius

  156. albatross says:

    @ Mosca

    “…Three Rivers was a truly miserable place to watch a baseball game. The field boxes and red bleacher/outfield seats were OK, but anything over field level, you needed binoculars.”

    You said it. I remember when I was in 3rd grade and we went on a school trip which meant upper-deck seats, of course. I was so afraid to get out of my seat, I paid the kid next to me to go get a hot dog for me.

  157. Brad, Indiana PA says:

    Just have to say, thought the whole Harrison HBP was pathetic on the Cards’ part. Anyone watching could see it was a good, hard baseball play. JHay didn’t leave his feet, didn’t go at Molina’s head, didn’t change direction just to hit him. Guy blocked the plate, what did they expect? I get the whole protect our guys mentality, but save it for when it’s deserved. JHay didn’t laugh at him or talk smack. I know Cards couldn’t see it but he clapped when Molina was helped off the field, and not in a negative way. It’s not like it was Randall Simon coming round third base with a bat and a mascot in front of the plate. Both players gave an awesome effort. Cards should have left it at that.

  158. Jandy says:

    Brad, well said.

  159. JHadar says:


    I’ve still got Pedro in the “learning the game” category. I really don’t know how you can tell from the stands or TV whether he was guessing or not. He needs a little more work on pitch recognition, but honestly it’s hard to argue with the results so far. His improvement this year has been steady. Power hitters strike out a lot.

    For some reason the whole discussion calls to mind a couple of old stories. One was the conversation between Williams and DiMaggio, where Ted asked Joe about a number of technicalities about his swing, and DiMaggio said in essence he never thought about stuff like that he just went up and hit.

    The other was the time that Cobb got tired of Ruth getting all the publicity for hitting homeruns, so he shortened his grip for a couple weeks and hit five or six homers. In response Ruth hit singles for a couple weeks and his batting average was around .700.

    I’m not comparing Pedro to any of those four. My point is that there have been and there are but there are more than one successful approach to major league hitting (see Clemente, Roberto). More importantly, there are nuances to this game that can only be mastered with years of play at the major league level. Pedro isn’t going to hit his ceiling for another few years or even more.

    In the meantime if you want to talk about ugly swings, I cringe every time Barmes lunges at the ball, and I’m genuinely (and pleasantly) surprised each time he hits one. But Clint is a .220 hitter with the potential to hit .240 — his swing works that way for him. Pedro is on his way through his first April-to-October season and he’s already better than that with power to boot. His fielding has been a pleasant surprise, too. He’s astonishingly graceful for a man his size.

  160. Mosca says:

    @buggee, my brother and I saw about 75% of the games during that period, maybe ’77 through ’80. We had a season ticket package (row 1 behind the Buc’s dugout) that we shared with about 8 other people, and the rest of the games we paid GA and sat in the red outfield seats mostly, and sometimes bribed a gate attendant to get into the field boxes. We saw all the playoff and World Series games from the first row behind the Pirates dugout, and we made the Pirates’ 100th Anniversary Yearbook (in a crowd shot, but still), on the Willie Stargell page. That is game 4 of the ’79 World Series. My brother Jim (RIP) is the hairy guy front and center, I’m right behind Willie’s hand.


  161. buggee says:

    Thank you for that Mosca! (And I do appreciate the POV perspective too). Not quite as good as being there but first-hand impressions are often gold

  162. Forbes Field Bob says:

    Dejan…..I live in Erie and have been down for 13 games incl last night. I have tickets for two more. I was not surprised crowds lower. When kids go back to school weekday attenance drops. Saw first Pirate game Aug,1958. Approaching 300 games coming from Erie. Usually at least 10 in competitive years. Not as much during the bad years.

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