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Morning Java: 81 … one to go

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

Today’s TribLIVE Radio show — 2-3 p.m. — will feature special guest Jack Wilson to talk about the imminent end of the Streak. There might not be anyone who knows it better, given his 1,159 games with the team, all during the PNC Park era.

We’ll also talk with John Glennon, the Titans beat writer for the Tennessean in Nashville, and an old friend I got know well when the Penguins and Predators opened their season in Tokyo about a decade ago. Great guy.

But the show will open with the Pirates and, specifically, your calls on this question: Going back to that fateful night in 1992 and right through today, what one individual do you blame the most for the Streak?

Don’t hold back, either. Call me at 412-320-7925.

If you can’t call, email me at

To listen, just click on the link above. It’s free, easy, no signup. If you’re mobile, try the TribLIVE Radio app.


>> Eighty-one. Travis Sawchik reports from Milwaukee. One to go, with Francisco Liriano pitching.

As something of a primer, here’s my column from last year’s 82 game, with an unforgettable quote from Roberto Clemente Jr. to round it out.

Here’s the rest of our Pirates coverage. Here’s Brewers news from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. And here are official game highlights from

>> Jarvis Jones and Le’Veon Bell will figure prominently in the Steelers’ present, Mike Tomlin made clear in his weekly news conference yesterday. Alan Robinson was there.

That and more is in our Steelers coverage. And here’s Titans news from the Tennessean.

>> When will Paul Chryst find an elite QB like Jameis Winston? Joe Starkey columnizes.

Here’s our full Pitt coverage, by Jerry DiPaola.

>> I’ll be with the Steelers this afternoon, leading up to the show. (Hope to hear from you.) After that, I’ll put the finishing touches on the 82 column I’ve been working on for … oh, I don’t even want to admit.

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

Dejan Kovacevic, a lifelong Pittsburgher, is an award-winning sports columnist for Trib Total Media covering the Steelers, Penguins, Pirates, Pitt and more, including his fourth Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He also appears on WPXI-TV's 'Subway Final Word’ and hosts a weekly show on TribLIVE Radio. For 2011, he was named one of the top four columnists in the country -- highest circulation category -- by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the top three columnists in the country by the National Headliners Awards. For 2013, he was named top columnist in the state by the Keystone Awards and second-place by the Pennsylvania AP Managing Editors.


  1. Title: A Lost Generation Ready to be All In

    As a Pittsburgh native, try saying October 14, 1992.

    A very simple date spoken as if your heart was ripped out and your mind numb from the pain that comes with a collapse so epic, you can’t eloquently described the feeling that was October 14, 1992.

    For most fans, living a virtual fish bowl of pain is short term as American sports have gone from promoting dynasties to begging for mediocrity. The length of time between painful experiences and emotional highs is usually shorter than serving a term as President in the White House unless of course, you are a Pittsburgh Pirates fan.

    Prior to October 14, 1992 fans in other cities viewed the Pirates as a baseball organization rich in tradition featuring the greats from Honus Wagner and Ralph Kiner to Roberto Clemente and Willie Stargell.

    No one felt bad for the Pirates heading into that season, the team was coming off two consecutive National League Eastern Division Championships and even though they had lost third baseman Bobby Bonilla as a free agent to the New York Mets and had to trade John Smiley to the Minnesota Twins for Denny Neagle and Midre Cummings, the Pirates were still loaded and expected to win a third straight division title.

    Watching the final inning of the last Pirates team to have a winning record was tough for this former 14-year old kid from Kittanning Pennsylvania that still had dreams of playing professional baseball and little understanding of what was about to happen to his favorite team that night.

    Doug Drabek starts the 9th inning with a 2-0 lead and ready to face the Braves 3-4-5 hitters in Terry Pendleton, David Justice, and Sid Bream.

    On a 1-1 pitch, Pendleton hits a line drive to right-field deep into the corner for a leadoff double.

    Then to the shock of many in Pittsburgh, a ground ball hit by Justice to second baseman Jose Lind’s backhand was booted and the Braves had runners at first and third and nobody out.

    It was at this moment, an uneasy feel to the game erupted in the pit of everyone’s stomach as the Atlanta crowd started to chant “Sid, Sid, Sid” and unfortunately for the Pirates, Drabek pitched like it by walking Bream on four pitches to load the bases with no outs.

    Pirates’ manager Jim Leyland had seen enough from the team’s ace and made the call to the bullpen to bring in reliever Stan Belinda. It was Drabek’s third start in eight days and after 129 pitches, it was the right move to bring in Belinda.

    Belinda was able to record the first out of the inning on a Ron Gant sacrifice fly to deep left-field in front of the wall that scored Pendleton and cut the Pirates’ lead to 2-1 and catcher Damon Berryhill to the plate.

    First pitch is up the in zone and Berryhill fouls it off for strike one.

    Second pitch drops in mid-thigh on Berryhill and inside but home plate umpire Randy Marsh called it ball one.

    Third pitch again drops middle of the zone and down to mid-thigh on Berryhill, Marsh fails to call a strike and Belinda falls behind 2-1.

    Fourth pitch misses low and inside for ball three.

    Fifth pitch is almost down middle of plate and Marsh calls ball four on Belinda.

    It would be this sequence of pitches that have frustrated Pirates fans for years as Belinda had essentially struck out Berryhill but got squeezed by Marsh.

    This would bring Brian Hunter to the plate with the bases loaded and one out.

    After Hunter pulls a foul ball down the third base line, you can see Pirates pitcher Bob Walk warming up in the bullpen. On the 0-1 pitch, Hunter would hit a pop fly to Lind behind second base.

    Now two outs, bottom of the 9th inning and bases are loaded, of course Braves Manager Bobby Cox would be left to pick Francisco Cabrera to tie or win the game for Atlanta. He had one plate appearance previously in the series and during the regular season only had 11 plate appearances.

    He was the most unlikely of pinch-hitters in the most important at-bat of the season for the Braves but was the last remaining hitter on the bench for Cox.

    And here’s the call on the 2-1 pitch from Belinda to Cabrera by CBS’ Sean McDonough

    “He doesn’t walk much, he walked only 17 times in 300 at-bats in Triple-A this year. He hacked at the 2-0, now the 2-1… line drive and a base hit. Justice has scored the tying run, Bream to the plate and he is…. safe! Safe at the plate! The Braves go to the World Series!”

    It would be the last time the Pittsburgh Pirates played in a game with a winning record and over the next TWENTY seasons, the team would be the laughingstock of Major League Baseball and all of professional sports in North America (National Football League, National Basketball Association and National Hockey League).

    The Pirates would go through multiple ownership changes, almost moved out of town, a stadium vote vetoed by Western Pennsylvanians, and an embarrassing $9 million payroll in 1997 that would be dubbed ‘The Freak Show’ because their rag-tag bandits of underpaid ball players competed to the final week of the season.

    Sadly, 1997 was the last time this baseball really took to the city and had generated some excitement for the fans until Clint Hurdle came aboard this tattered Pirates ship and took his “All In” approach to change the culture in 2011, started to make the team believe in 2012 and finally a winner in 2013.

    In Milwaukee, the losing finally stopped on September 3, 2013 in just another typical Pirates win off the bat of pinch-hitter Travis Snider in the top of the ninth inning against the Brewers closer Jim Henderson.

    And now, we enter the great unknown… a moment a whole generation of kids and adults have no idea what it feels like to lean forward toward the television on each pitch and hang in the balance waiting for the umpire to call a ball or strike.

    Or worse, some nobody pinch-hitter smacks a base hit to break your heart.

    That’s the stage we’re entering Pirates fans, so buckle up because it is going to be a crazy rollercoaster of a ride and for that, I’m “all in”.

  2. I blame Curt Flood

  3. “As something of a primer, here’s my column from last year’s 82 game, with an unforgettable quote from Roberto Clemente Jr. to round it out.”

    so the moral of the story is that after 20 years, the ghost of roberto said “enough already” to the curse of francisco and sid?

  4. Aww, what a great guest to have, tomorrow. Jack will always be one of my all time favorite Buccos and a guy who deserved both better times while here, and certainly a better farewell than the way he and Freddy were shown the door. Won’t dwell on Neal’s dastardly, early days (which continued through last year… Okay, I dwelt just a teensy bit), because 2013 is the Year of Neal. I have to work during the day, but DK — please pass on to JW that he was a bright light for both this middle-aged fan and for his then, two young kids during otherwise very dark times. I defended him A LOT (in my previous incarnation).

    As for Thunder: Don’t say it! Ah! AH!! Whatever Drew most recently said to you, ditto! ;)

  5. Been away for a while (too long), just haven’t had the time to post in a while with some new work related responsibilities. But I had to come over and say hello to some old friends on a day of celebration. An what better place to end it than the house of horrors that I had to watch to many ugly ones during my work travel to Milwaukee. It sucks a bit that my work schedule changed since the last time the Buccos were in town and I was not in Milwaukee to see this one in person.

    Enjoy it friends, this one was special. No matter what happens in October, tonight is a great night. That being said, I can’t wait for October!

    Go Buccos!

  6. I don’t want to blame anybody tonight. Just closed on my first house, Bucs hit 81, today is a good day. Congratulations Lunatics! Burn those Earth Day caps!!

  7. Hoka Hey everyone,

    Pirates win….Pirates win! …there are LXXXI down and just I to go. :-)

    …..and no matter what ownership and management sez, getting PAST THIS CURSE/STREAK is a big deal to the long suffering Pirate fans in the city, tri state area, and all around the country.
    BEAT ‘EM BUCS !!!

  8. “Travis Snider HR helps Pirates end string of 20 straight losing seasons”
    Associated Press

    Somebody didnt get the memo-cevic.

  9. “Oh, and let’s clear this up: Eighty-one means nothing.”

    Let’s speak for ourselves.

    Means something to me.

    • Meant something to me. Now, 82 means something to me.

      I blame Joel Johnston and Dave Clark for the losing streak. Tony Menendez honorable mention.

      Ruining probably the only decent start John Hope had in his career. Losing to a Mets team that had already lost 100 games? Unacceptable.

      • Not to correct DK, but there can not be a play in game at 81 wins. The Cards are at 79 wins. If we lose the rest of ours, they would win the three games left against us and end with 82. The Reds are at 78. If we lose the rest, the Reds wind up at 84. We can not, mathematically, finish with an 81-82 record this year. Can’t happen, period.

        So yea, 81 does mean something. The streak is over.

        Go Buccos!

    • I see Mike & Mike didn’t get the memo either.

      • It seems NO ONE has gotten the memo. It seems like 81 wins and the streak is over. Come on people – 82 and 80 means the streak is over. Or else if there is a play in game because of a tie – 83 wins mean the streak is over.

        • You didn’t get the memo either.

        • Depends on the streak. 20 strait losing seasons vs. 20 strait seasons without a winning record. The first is broken. the second requires one more win. To me the second is more important as I want a winner but no one on the radio today that I heard said anything about a winning season. Just said the 20 strait losing seasons is done.

    • ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    • Philosophically.

    • 80, 81, 82 mean nothing to me.
      A MLB club should be able to hit .500 once in a while.
      When we clinch a playoff berth, now that will mean something to me.

      But I am not saying that others cant celebrate.
      I will just wait a bit longer.

  10. Larry Doughty for letting the greatest player to ever wear a Pirate uniform leave and go to San Francisco.

  11. Who to blame most for the streak?

    I don’t think you can fully blame any one person, given numerous ownership and management changes over 20 years. But Dave Littlefield is most responsible for laying the groundwork, if you will, for really setting back the franchise a number of years and ensuring that the streak became a record breaking one.

    Cam Bonifay deserves much of the blame as well, but at least the team had that one magical season in 1997, under his watch, and a couple other seasons where they came close to .500.

    DK: Call me!

  12. With 24 games left, the Pirates magic number to clinch the second wild card is 14 (vs. Arizona and Washington), to host the wild card game is 21 (vs. Reds), and to win the division is 23 (vs. Cardinals).

  13. I blame ownership who butt heads with Syd Thrift pushed him out in 1988, and the clowns they put in charge immediately after: GM Larry Doughty, president Mark Sauer, who replaced Doughty with (wait for it) banker Ted Simmons.

    This was during the playoff run. And yet. These gentlemen lay the eggs that other unworthies scrambled for 20 years.

    During the Cleveland Indians’ run of prominence if not quite dominance of the mid to late 1990s, Cleveland’s organizational leadership often pointed to the Pirates of the late 80s and early 90s. The Indians said they built an anti-Pirates organizational model. Extend EARLY (for less money) or if the player is unwilling, trade early (for more value). The opposite of what they claimed a winning, talent laden Pirates organization did.

    This is not just my observation. Indians’ leadership repeatedly said this.

    So is there some blame for Bonifay, Littlefield or others? Sure.

    But I agree with the Indians. The rotten eggs were laid when the Pirates were last WINNING.

  14. Jack Wilson to talk about the imminent end of the Streak.

    Well we know who to blame if we don’t win another game the rest of the season.

  15. Attendance at last night’s games:

    Pirates vs Brewers: 25558 nice, the Brewers are out of it and what do they care about our streak

    Cardinals vs Reds: 20219 someone didn’t get the memo about a pennant race, school must be back in Ohio too

    • Wow.

      Whole buncha people missing memos round here.

    • Only 9,000 at Indians game.

      • Not a great baseball town. Only time they drew big numbers was, coincidentally, when they had a great baseball team and had lost their NFL franchise. People, rightfully so, rallied around the Tribe.

    • Heard a TON of let’s go bucs in the stands on ROOT audio last night as well

    • 25,558 may be the official count at Miller Park for last night’s game, but there were definitely not that many in attendance. Just a look at the wide shots of the stands showed well over a majority of the seats were empty. They must have counted everybody twice.

    • Marketing department clearly has never heard of Groupon.

    • You weren’t necessarily going in this direction, but I would add, TC, that both of those towns are 2 pro sport towns (or, 2.5 in Milwaukee, if you want to attribute a chunk of Packers attendance to them). On the other hand, Pittsburgh has 3 pro teams. I definitely think that impacts attendance for a team with 81 home games. The Reds, for instance, do not need to compete with a Stanley Cup-contending team every year until June, as the Bucs do. I know some would have us believe the fan bases are totally separate, but I think there is at least 80% crossover fandom in Pittsburgh. Many Pirates fans cannot allocate money to both sports in the spring.

      That said, Milwaukee is a terrific baseball town, and continued strong attendance now proves it. Cincinnati is and has been a good baseball town as well. Both are outdrawing the Bucs this year, as they pretty much do every year. I do believe the presence of hockey in part causes the Bucs to fall behind the Reds in attendance every spring.

    • cincy must not have ‘chapman-mania’… but i hear several Northern Kentucky strip clubs have Chapman mania.

  16. JAL’s September Morn Morning Links


    1- MLB Transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    3 Pittsburgh Pirates Stats

    BLOGS and such

    4—Pirates Prospects

    Pirates End the Losing Streak on Travis Snider’s Home Run

    First Pitch: What Has the Losing Streak Meant to You?

    Prospect Watch: Meadows With Two More Hits; Dickson Goes Five Shutout

    5 Bucs Dugout

    Pirates beat Brewers, clinch non-losing season

    How the Pirates’ rotation shapes up the rest of the season

    6 Rumbunter

    Why Do You Hate Jose Tabata?


    81 wins

    Game 138: Pirates 4 Brewers 3

    8 The Green Weenie

    Snider Delivers 4-3 Bucco Win

    9 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Pirates 4, Brewers 3

    10 City of Champions

    Pittsburgh Pirates aiming beyond the wild card this time

  17. NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 USA Today

    The Pirates haven’t finished above .500 since Bryce Harper was born

    12 KDKA

    Warnings Issued Over Fake Pirates’ Ticket Scams

    13 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

    inch-hit home run takes toll in Brewers loss

    14 Cincinnati Enquirer

    Offense stalls, Leake falters and Reds lose to Rockies 7-4

    15 IS Sports Times

    Is a Winning Season All that Matters for the Buccos?

    16 CBS Sports

    Brewers-Pirates Game Preview

    17 St Louis Post Dispatch

    Wacha dazzles, but offense fizzles

    Strauss: Cardinals are scrambling to find a rotation

    18 PBC Site

    Pirates avoid 21-year burden on Clemente family

    Notebook: Among five Bucs callups, Grilli set to reclaim closer role


    19 Baseball Prospectus

    What You Need to Know The Pittsburgh Pirates: No Longer a Losing Team

    20 Fangraphs

    Classifying the Last Trades of August

  18. Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Titans vs. Steelers: The importance of Jason Worilds’ opportunity to start this weekend

    Matt Spaeth placed in IR-Designation to Return, Steelers activate OLB Terence Garvin from Practice Squad

    22 Steelers Depot

    Steelers Likely To Use Running Back By Committee System Against Titans


    23 London Evening Standard

    Transfer window: More spent than ever before but did clubs get good value?

    24 World Soccer Daily

    Brian Glanville: Deep doubts about Qatar… and England’s centre-backs


    25 Pensburgh

    Pens Points 9/3: Rookie Tourney, Training Camp News

  19. I also blame The Media.

  20. Mark Cuban…should have bought the team from McClatchy. Before Nutting got a hold of it. Nothing against Nutting, a smart business guy but Cuban and his deep pockets…who knows. plus it would have been fun watching him cus out umpires.

  21. Apparently 81 means a lot to a lot of people outside of Pittsburgh. (MLB network, ESPN, etc).

    How bout our new pirates generating the offense last night??? Morneau was 3-for-3 + a walk. Byrd scored cutch twice going 2-for-3 + a walk. Those two and Cutch Were the only guys with hits until Snyders pinch smash in the ninth.

  22. I write this morning with great respect for all who want to put the achievements of the 2013 Pirates in perspective by reviewing the last twenty years, but I cannot go there with them today.

    Last night, and hopefully tonight, is for me about the present and the new future for the team – a future that we get to enjoy now and for twenty four more games plus the playoffs ahead.

    To say it more simply, I want to smell the roses that are blooming right in front of me.

    The 2013 Pirates are winners; are we prepared to handle that?

  23. Here is to 21 years of World Series Championships.

    What? That’s putting the cart before the Hippo? I see.

    Sorry. EYE didn’t get the memo! ;)

  24. Travis Effin Snyder…

    Dripping With Powder!

  25. I also blame the lack of presence in Latin America for the Pirates long rise back to mediocrity.

    Look, get that 82nd win and beyond. 81 is a stop, a very important one. But, let’s face it, the 50+ win seasons were so below mediocrity, and to sustain that non existent level of for 20 years commitment even makes Cubs fans blush.

    The door of respectability and beyond was slammed shut for so long. Here’s to blasting that Son Of Gun open, and, more importantly, leaving it open!

    Good Morning, Drew-natic.

    Good Morning Romper Room!

    Good Morning Everybody Everywhere!

  26. Good Morning DK! Do me a favor. Play James Brown’s Big Payback! Play it loud and put your boogie shoes on! Get ready to dance, dance, dance! :-)

  27. I blame Dave Kurwin.

  28. Enjoy the Great Milestone Debate. I have to check out for the morning.

    Which means Thunder is turning over in his crypt.

  29. I blame Mayor Tom Murphy for hand-picking McClatchy as the next owner when Larry Lucchino — a native Pittsburgher — was coming off the sale of the Orioles and ripe for a return to Pittsburgh. Larry, the first to build an “old school” ballpark in Camden Yards, had financial backing and should have been the choice. Instead, it appeared politics got in the way (a bitter mayoral primary a few years earlier involving Larry’s brother, Frank) so McClatchy, a person with zero baseball experience and little in the way of actual cash, was instead courted and got the nod. All Larry Lucchino then did was move to San Diego, build Petco Field, move to the Red Sox with John Henry, win two world championships and re-establish the Sox as a perennial contender.

    • That is an interesting angle.

      • From my vantage point, it appeared “the field” of viable buyer candidates was arbitrarily narrowed to just one — McClatchy. I recall McClatchy had to “partner” with like 20 other investors (might be a bit of an exaggeration) just to come up with the sale price, which should have been the first sign of a bad outcome (and years of frustration) just waiting to happen. McClatchy was a very nice guy but he had no business owning a baseball team, in my opinion. I do thank him, however, and the public’s tax dollars, for building PNC Park, an absolute civic gem.

    • If accurate, that’s powerful stuff, DJ.

    • Interesting take. His nephew who I know quite well has a completely different set of facts.

      Yes TC, I name dropped again.

  30. 82

    In the 1984 movie Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Indie watches as a priest chanting “Kali ma” rips the living heart out of a victim. Who knew that eight years later, Francisco Cabrera would reprise the role of the priest and rip the collective hearts out of Pittsburgh and her Pirates fans? So we have wandered, zombie-like, for twenty years, searching for that part of us that was ripped away.

    Old enough to remember that night? Then you know the feeling. My wife and I sat stunned, not knowing what to say. We called her father, a lifelong Pirates fan who was nearly late to his own wedding because he was listening to the Gunner call a game in September 1959. Yep, he’s a fan. We sat on opposite ends of the phone line, saying nothing to each other yet speaking volumes. Kali ma.

    But on the cusp of 82, I’m not thinking about me, my wife, my father-in-law, any of us who have memories of good or great Pirates teams. We have a conscious memory of the Killer B’s, or we have can recall “We Are Family,” or in my case, I can recall riding in the back of my Uncle Lou’s truck after Maz hit The Home Run: I was five and sang “The Bucs Are Going All the Way” ad nauseum. We have those memories. Today I think about all those kids like my sixteen-year-old who have known nothing but dashed hopes for their rooting lifetime.

    Nick’s first memory was the year they opened PNC. We took him to “kids” opening day to see the Cubs. The give-away was a Jason “Kid” Kendal t-shirt; “Kid” hit a walk-off home run; there were fireworks; Nick was hooked. Nick plays high school baseball. His default number when they hand out uniforms is still 18; if he can’t get that, then he shoots for 21. I think of kids like Nick.

    My mind’s eye sees a kid who tried to be Mike Fetters, of all people, because he thought that attitude would bring Pittsburgh a winner. I see a kid who was certain that Rob Mackowiak would spark the Bucs to the top. I rode with that kid on a subway car to the Bronx when he, wearing his Pirates shirt, got into an argument with a bunch of drunken Yankees fans. Kali ma.

    So we wait. The sixteen-year-old is hoping 82 happens tonight. He has a football game Friday night: after tweeting a countdown since April, he wants to see history made. He feels a need to participate.

    They never had their hearts ripped out. Contrary to those who predicted a lost-generation of Pirates fans, they’ve never been lost. They’ve been there. Their hearts have been there. And they’ll still be there, beating, for 82 and beyond.

    Kali ma? Nah. Not for them, and no longer for the rest of us.

    Beat ‘em Bucs!

  31. Good Morning Everyone! Question: Which is better – do the Pirates get #82 tonight in the “House of Horrors” or in Game one of their head to head with St. Louis?

  32. What a giddy bunch of coconuts!

  33. I blame Bud Selig. Just because.

  34. Max Starks got released by the Chargers.

    Let’s pick him up!

  35. Great conversation today. Amazing what a winning season/record can do. The language sure is different than a few years back. Gotta get back to work. Have a good day Loonies!

  36. This has probably been mentioned, but the Brewers won their 81st game at PNC in 2005 on September 30, which ended their mini-streak of futility. 12 years I think. And the media, and probably plenty of fans, mocked their celebration. (If memory serves, they broke out champagne, if so they deserved to be mocked.)

  37. Good Morning Hipposter. Waiting for #82!

  38. When the Bucs win game ’82, I hope the TV director at ROOT Sports has the presence of mind to take a good shot of the coaches’ reaction in the dugout–especially that of JAY BELL who played on the last three winning teams and the first four of the 20 losers. Bell has had something to do with this year’s success. Though the team’s batting has been anemic all season, it has been good enough to get itself this far, and lately the team average has slowly crept up a little to .247. Adding the bats of Byrd and Morneau may make a difference.
    Last night, looking into the dugout as the game ended, I thought I saw a few hugs between Hurdle and his coaches.

  39. It looks like Morneau in that picture of Snider returning to the dugout after his home run. Looks elated. Good for him. He looked a little shell-shocked in the first interview I saw after coming over, which is understandable. Byrd was used to being traded. Not Morneau, of course. The three hits last night had to help, too. Seems like a good guy.

    • He probably feels like he is wearing somebody elses skin. He played 9 years for one team and was well liked in Minnasota. That is a great baseball city and I’m sure it felt weird for him to play for any other team.

    • The good news is that he wanted to come here. The Twins apparently weren’t going to trade him if he didn’t agree to it. Classy on their part. I was at the game Saturday when he showed up in the dugout & he seemed genuinely happy to see some old friends. I guess he & Martin have known each other since they were 16.

      • Didn’t know that about Martin. Good stuff.

      • Nice to hear he wants to be here. I said all along I thought they would treat him that way and if he didn’t come here it may not have anything to do with effort from the Pirates end but instead Morneau wanting to finish this year with that team in that city.

        I was never a fan of trading for him but for what they gave up I was happy with the trade. Early returns put egg on my face. Hopefully there are a lot more eggs coming my way.

      • Morneau’s wife was interviewed at the game on Monday. She said they are all very excited. Seemed very genuine to me. Had lots of great things to say about Pittsburgh, including that first glimpse of the city from the FPT coming from the airport.

    • Professional hitters, both Morneau and Byrd.

    • Just to be clear, I was not complaining about Morneau’s reaction. Just observing.

      Plus, the guy who shoved the mic in his face was that Kovachovak guy. That’d be enough to shell shock anyone. Ask Bettman.

      And I find liking Pittsburgh a bonus, not a qualification. I just want him to perform, and early returns are good. And, like I said, he seems like a good guy, and I’m happy for him if he likes Pittsburgh.

  40. Any talk in the Burgh about pushing Frankie L back a day to face St L? Still to early out here to find things about that or not.

  41. Hi Kids!

    I was so wound up not celebrating (philosophically) 81 last night that I didn’t go to bed until one a.m. ;)

    My guess is there will be no snoozing tonight when I toast, mathematically, farewell to losing!

    CHEERS!! :)

  42. Good morning all –

    Just wanted to express how happy I am not just for myself as a Pirates fan but for all those that have never seen the Pirates have anything but a losing season. We still have plenty to go but my what a mountain this has been to climb. From Cam Bonifay to Dave Littefield; from Gene Lamont, to Lloyd McClendon, to Jim Tracy, to John Russell. We’ve seen it all. Operation shut down, Raul Mondesi walking out on the Pirates only to sign with the Angels. We’ve seen bad trade look like good trades because of even worse trades that were made during these years.

    From Jon Lieber for Brant Brown, to Kenny Lofton and Aramis Ramirez for nothing to Rajai Davis for Matt Morris. Its been a truly unbelievable story. And in all honesty one I could easily see turning into a movie some day as no one years from now would possibly believe it was all true.

    Its impossible to describe my feelings this morning. I refused to watch one pitch from the game last night; probably won’t watch many more this year. Not that I don’t want to watch but for some reason I feel like I want this season to never end and hope that by not watching it will go that much slower.

    I am reminded of a story about a man that grew up with 2 totally different parents. He had a tremendous relationship with his mother while having a hate and resentment towards his father for everything he put him through during his life. His mom passed away and at the funeral the man was as peace; he knew her time had come and he was content with his relationship he had with his mother and knew she knew how he felt about her. Not long after his father also passed away; but for some reason at the funeral the son was an emotional train wreck. He could not compose himself, he was a mess.

    When the father passed away; everything he had been holding inside and everything he knew growing up went with it. There was nothing more to hate.

    While I’m not going to profess that we celebrate this as the be all that ends all I must admit I feel at a loss today. Almost like I’m watching something I never thought I’d see. I think about all the kids in Pittsburgh that have never had this moment. Never had a real team to root for. I’m so happy that the Pirates have been able to fill a void in the lives of some young Pittsburgh sports fans even if its just the first step; its still a step we have not taken in 20 years.

    I hope the Pirates keep on rolling; they deserve it; the city deserves it, the fans deserve it.

  43. Links 1-10 finally got moderated and appeared.

  44. 5 facts on a great September morn:

    1. The long nightmare is no more. The beast is dead!

    2. This proud franchise has been so good for a large % of it’s history that it has endured 20 years of losing and remains well over .500 all-time.

    3. We are not now, nor have we ever been lovable losers. We endured the losing, but we never accepted it as part of our fabric.

    4. The Pirates are poised to contend for the foreseeable future.

    5. The next 4 weeks are very important, and the remainder of the season after that is even more important.

    Go Bucs!

    • VERY IMPORTANT, indeed!

    • Jim whats up with the avatar? You finally gave in.

      Your fourth point is the best one of them all. I beleive as well that they have what it takes to compete every year going forward in the near future. They have been able to go “all-in” this year without giving up any key componants to the long term strengths of this team.

      • While sitting at my desk, I’m looking at 5 different autographed Al Oliver photos. I love his avatar. :)

        • Thank you, Milo! He’s still my all-time favorite Bucco. As a lefty hitter myself, I thought his swing was a thing of beauty. He never got his due. 2,700+ hits.

        • +16 on the Scoops avatar. My enduring memory of him is hitting the three run homer in game 4 of the 1971 NLCS to beat the Giants in a cloud of confetti… That and a career of ringing line drives…..

      • Actually, Nate, I had been planning the Al Oliver avatar for win #81 for a long time. So, as I started getting it set up yesterday, I inadvertently launched it. It was meant to be this morning, but my timing has never been great – nor have my technical skills.

        But, I support your continued snowman-dom, Nate. Don’t let a little hot weather deter you. Just keep refreezing yourself every night!

  45. Did Clint ever say why he didn’t use Grilli instead of a second inning for Vin?

    He may not have been available, as he had 3 K’s and gave up a hit for Altoona the other day. Maybe he threw too many pitches and he’s still being careful.

    That’s a philosophical view, not a mathematical one.

    • Or ANYONE? Rosters expanded, remember?? Holy Frijoles, that was sooo bizarre!

      • this was a victory, no? keep calm folks, there will be ample opportunity to second guess the manager (a favorite American Sports pastime to be sure) in actual losses and other situations more obvious than last night over the next 6-8 weeks (how cool is it to think of October Bucco Baseball!)….

    • I didn’t hear, but I thought that was one weird 8th inning from CH. I think he has been a great strategist all season. Maybe the curse got hold of him in the 8th and caused an odd sequence of pinch hitters, followed by forgetting to tell Vin to get a shower. But, thankfully, CH regained his mojo in the 9th and sent Lunch Box to the plate just in the nick of time.

      In all seriousness, without CH’s leadership and brains this season, I don’t think the Bucs sit atop the division at this point. He’s my Manager of the Year. Of course, I don’t get a vote.

    • You know, I was about to post how glad I was to see Vin Mazzaro come out for a second inning with a one run lead on the day Jason Grilli was activated, but didn’t wanna rain on anyones parade.

      Small suggestion for Hurdle today: light some candles in the dugout. burn some incense. play a soothing recording of whale calls. run a hot bath in the clubhouse. Let Grilli start the game and pitch only one inning.

      Then maybe we can get back to using our best players where they belong.

    • Revvie’s on a roll ;)

  46. And one last time, despite it impacting the timing of DK’s column, :) the rest of the country, who didn’t get the memo, is actually right.

    If we were to lose the rest of the games this year, then some other team would have to win them. Such as St. Louis, who could then finish with no less then 82 wins, since we play them three times this weekend. The Reds no less than 84 (since we play them 6 times). Not to mention, those two teams play each other two more times as well, so one of them have to win those games as well.

    So it is literally 100% IMPOSSIBLE to have a play in game this year with only 81 wins.

    The streak is over. Clinched. Kaput. There are no one in a million technicalities. It is done.

    Consider this your memo. :)

  47. By the way did anyone notice who the first player to meet Snider at the steps was?

    I would say the chemistry is going to be just fine.

  48. Last night was a night I have been waiting for.

    But we’ve done nothing yet.

    Many miles to reach the goal we all want ;-)

  49. What Streak?

    Aldous Huxley, famous for writing Animal Farm, also wrote a book “Island” about a utopian society on an island. The residents of this fictional paradise could be described as happy all of the time. One of the things the residents did to insure this happiness, as I remember, was to train the crows on the island to repeat a certain phrase whenever they saw a human. The phrase was “Here and now boys, here and now”. The source of the happy attitude of the islanders was said to be their proclivity for living in the present, not the past.

    Lacking speaking crows, we all might benefit from enjoying the present with our favorite team, and letting go of the past. That was then, this is now.


  50. Ding Dong! The Streak is dead. Which old Streak? The Losin’ Streak!
    Ding Dong! The Freakin’ Streak is dead.
    Wake up – sleepy head, rub your eyes, get out of bed.
    Wake up, the Losin’ Streak is dead. It’s gone where the Cubbies go,
    Below – below – below. Yo-ho, let’s open up and sing and ring the bells out.
    Ding Dong’ the merry-oh, sing it high, sing it low.
    Let them know
    The Losin’ Streak is dead!

  51. I am beginning to get the impression that more than a few Yinzers are feeling sorry for all the poor, deprived teenagers who “never got to root for a winning team” in their (miserable, therefore) young lives. And all of us adults who didn’t get to cheer the Bucs on in the postseason for twenty years? Boo, hoo.
    Well, ask yourselves: How many times at the end of the season since 1992 did we consciously mourn the fact that the Pirates had had another losing season? Consciously. Even after winning 79 games, as they did in 1997? Or 78 games, as they did in 1999? Or 75 games, as in 1993 and 2003?
    The truth is, we had usually given up making it to the post season playoffs well before the season ended, so we didn’t cry about it when it was over. Only when it became apparent that the Pirates were on their way to setting a new record for consecutive seasons of losing the majority of games did we become so intensely aware of the humiliation of it. And, it was humiliating to support a team that could not play .500 ball for six months.
    But, consider this. It was day by day, one game after another, and some days we won and some days we lost. In fact, in those 20 tortuous years, our kids and our fans got to witness 1,374 Pirate victories (Source: Those wins must have been worth something. Don’t you remember going home from PNC Park feeling good about the game you had just witnessed once or twice?
    The cumulative winning percentage over 20 years was .424, which meant those Bucco teams won an average of over 4+ out of every 10 games, or 69 a year. In 9 of those 20 years, the team won 72 or more games, giving them an average of .488, not far from even.
    And look at what the fans of some of the other NL teams had to go through. Cincinnati, Miami, Colorado and Washington/Montreal had 14 losing seasons out of those same 20. San Diego was a loser in 13 of those years; Chicago 12; New York 11; Milwaukee 10; Houston and Philadelphia 8; San Francisco 7; Los Angeles 6; St. Louis 5. Only the most dominant team in the NL, Atlanta, suffered only two losing seasons out of 20. And they’ve already won a majority of games for this year. Bully for them.
    If we didn’t have an entry in the post-season baseball dramas for all that time, it wasn’t like the end of the world. There were plenty of winning games (1,374) to balance the unpleasantness of the losses. We just weren’t good enough, back in the day, to do any better.
    (Thank you for reading. End of sermon)

  52. I won’t be on the game thread tonight. So, I thought I would get this in now.

    A few years ago, the blog was reminiscing about “that night” in October, 1992. I wrote that I was alone in my apartment in East Lansing, Michigan. My future wife was going to graduate school in Ann Arbor so my existence that fall was basically working, following the Pirates and sleeping. After that game, my late mother called me to ask if I was all right. I didn’t think of that as being significant at the time. After she passed away, my brother and I were recalling my wacky, wonderful mother. It occurred to me that was the only time my mother had ever called me after a sporting event. Further, she did not even care for baseball which meant she was watching the game only because of me. It meant so much to me when I thought about it more carefully!

    So I will be watching alone tonight. Just like 21 years ago.

    But I also want to thank the blog. I started following everyone years ago at that other place. I did not post until Dejan moved, but I knew many of you before that. The streak started to get serious for me when Pittsburgh started moving past former losing streaks by Detroit, Kansas City and Milwaukee. It was so great to have this resource to go to through those years. It’s difficult enough to be a Pirates fan, but even more so when you are never around any other ones. It was so great to debate and joke with everyone here. Just like I was in Pittsburgh. I know Lucky once wrote that he couldn’t say enough about Dejan for this blog. Absolutely agree.

    I appreciate Dejan’s new job requirements. And I appreciate he likes to hear from newbies about the other sports. Heck, I like it too. Happy that he is not restricted to the beat and writes about Pitt, for example. But I’ll always be a softie for the Pirate bloggers. They were there with me for the years of losing, and will be with me for the upcoming 20 year winning streak.

  53. So I guess we’re all gonna have to get used to this notion that Huntingdon isn’t Littlefield or Bonifay and we can’t make fun of every single thing he does anymore. That’ll be weird for a bit

  54. First let me say that I am thrilled with the Pirates success. I’ve been a “Die Hard” since around 1968. The ’80′s were tough but the past 20 years have been numbing.

    I blame GREED!!!

    Greedy owners, greedy players, greedy agents (lawyers), and greedy baseball execs (Bud Selig, Marvin Miller).

    Not a regular poster here, but that’s my take.

    • If I were to blame one particular individual for the lack of a winning season in two decades, I’d go with DL.

      His trade record was bad but worse was his drafts and ignoring Latin America. In six years he drafted Cutch, Walker, Maholm, Nyger Morgan, and that’s really it in regards to starting lineup and rotation starters.

      Under his time in power, just two Latin American signings made it to the majors. One was Marte and the other was Yoslan Herrera, who’s time in the majors was brief to say the least.

    • Bucs, 1979, welcome aboard! We hope to hear more from you. :)

  55. Some Random Observations

    Other than just a chance to vent why try to figure out who the one person most responsible for the streak is? It took twenty years to play out, seems to me that to goof something up that bad requires a committee.

    Not to mention that I want to celebrate, not ruminate.

    It ain’t over ’til it’s over. I think it’s highly fitting (said so yesterday) that the streak end in Milwaukee and in first place.

    After that of course a World Series win would be nice.

    Byrd and Morneau are contributing. But it was nice for Travis to have his moment in the sun.

    Six of our last nine games are with the Reds, who may pass the Cardinals by the time we get to them.

    I spent too long yesterday trying to figure out a scenario where the Bucs could go 81-81 and tie for the wild card with the possibility of a losing season because the playoff game counted. (It would mean that only four teams in the NL could finish with winning records.)

    Many of us older fans still think Bob Moose’s wild pitch was the worst moment in Pirate history even though it was not followed by 20 years of futility.

    In the responses about the single person most responsible above no one named Nutting, Huntington, or Coonelly! Unthinkable as little as a year ago. (Disclaimer: I may have missed it if they did or someone might still even as I type.)

    Even if the streak would have gone to 21 years, it would not have diminished Clemente one iota. In fact it would probably have drawn attention to him.

  56. Just realized that we still have a streak of no post season appearances since 1992. Oh no.

    Well, I’m looking forward to celebrating the end of that one, all on the same night and without controversy, with all of my Bucco friends! After all, in my opinion, that is a much better streak to end!

  57. Lively morning on the reliably ‘liveliest’ blog there is…don’t know if y’all saw it, but right after the last out, Hurdle and Bannister embraced, it seems to me, a little more enthusiastically than I’ve seen after other wins. I do think 81 mattered to those 2 gentlemen. I’ll leave others to arguing over minutia… yes, 81 does not officially clinch a non-winning season technically, but the average bear thinks it is a special win for this franchise (headliners from across the Web, talk radio, etc.).

    I think we can all agree 82 will be especially meaningful to all of us that can vividly remember 1992, and all the years where this team was known for something other than being a perennial loser. Back before I had the MLB satellite package, I used to so look forward to catching the Bucs on WGN and TBS (the only places you could catch them from out of town), watched every game even those in empty 3Rivers on cold September evenings…and had to endure the announcers, especially the snide, nasally Steve Stone, talk down to the Pirates, their fan support, etc. Win 82 will be a special one for me, there can be noooo doubt about it.

    DK, since you asked, really hard to single out ONE person most responsible for the streak which yes was 20 years but can be broken into several 4-5 year ‘eras’… I guess I’d nominate Donald Fehr and the most unreasonable players union in sports…. the economic system, though better today than 20 years ago, was probably the most responsible for this city/team not being able to better compete over the years.

    Honorable mention to Dave Littlefield who did not follow the known blueprint for smaller markets to succeed in this more recent economic system — it can be done and NH has, after a few misssteps, applied the right model for success…Littlefield could have done this sooner.

  58. 81 was important. It guarantees a non-losing season for the first time in 20 years. DK, ignore the tie-breaker possibility.. that’s not even realistic. An 81-81 team will not be competing for the wild card this year. 81 should be recognized along the same lines as 82 should be recognized. Recognize it and move on.

    More importantly, the pirates are in FIRST PLACE on SEPTEMBER 4th!

  59. It’s all Jagr’s fault.

  60. Details will be lost in time, but it should be noted that this Pirates team ended the streak during a year in which their division was the best in the league AND they lost the worst team in baseball, the Houston Astros, as a punching bag. Two points many offered prior to the season as evidence that the streak will continue.

    Every player, Clint Hurdle, Neal Huntington, Bob Nutting has EARNED every bit of this. They did not get lucky, they did not catch lightning in a bottle.

    This team could stumble next year to a losing record, trade away their stars, and go on another 20 year losing streak. But the 2013 season will not be a fluke.

    They’ve earned it.

  61. Lost in all of the Pirates Love today………………

    Tomlin had his presser yesterday. Did anyone question him on Dwyer being cut?
    DK, can you shed some light on this???

    If no one questioned Tomlin, sad day for Pittsburgh journalism.

    DK: He was questioned very specifically on it. Would say nothing more than that all the other guys were better. That was it.

    No need for hyperbole about journalism. We can’t put people in orange jumpsuits and coax them to talk.

  62. How do you blame any one person for circumstances that pay a self-centered twit more than the GDP of Guatemala to play a game? I think I recall Andy Van Slyke commenting on an offer of (I think it was) $12 million to one of his teammates, which was turned down: “Show it to me, I’ll sign it in blood.” I blame Cash . . . or maybe Don Money???

  63. *****ATTENTION*****
    I’m sure on this, the eve of win #82, there are many, many lurkers, and those who we have not heard from on the blog. They’ve suffered along with us, maybe in silence, or maybe not so silent.
    Lurkers and newbies, we want to chat with you, reminisce with you, and celebrate with you!
    If you post your hometown, Bizrow will add it to the list of Dejan’s Lunatics’ Asylum.

    Pirate fans, come together!!!!!

  64. Has Perry Hill checked in yet to clarify what his role in the streak was?

  65. I find it amazing that Andrew McCutchen has been with the team longer than anyone else and he is still a rising star.

    • isn’t it great?

      • Indeed . . . and has Ray Searage been acknowledged today?

        • Just did that below ;)

        • A column I’d love to see written would be on who gets the credit for what seems to be two team philosophies:

          -Reliance on the sinker. Everyone from AJ to Vin is throwing it more than they ever have in their careers, to great success.

          -Reliance on middle relievers. This is likely a slam dunk for Hurdle, but it seems clear from the start that he has preferred to go to a reliever instead of pushing the starter an extra inning when their pitch count is elevated or facing the lineup a third time.

          DK: Doesn’t really sound like a column.

          • We’ve heard about the vague “changes” made in the offseason.

            Well, these seem to be two of them.

            Could just be me, but I’d be interested in hearing the baseball smarts behind the decisions.

            DK: I can appreciate that. It’s not really a column topic. Where’s the opinion in that?

            • Ah, that was your point. Understood.

              I love your work for the stories you uncover as part of your opinion pieces (Rene Gayo comes to mind), and that was the angle I was taking.

              And fwiw, I wasn’t veiling that “column” comment as a knock on you. I can imagine a topic that specific probably doesn’t fit into your current role, regardless of whether or not you’re the perfect guy to write it. Better suited for the baseball-specific audience.

              DK: No, no, I got it the first time. And you’re right, I can find a way to incorporate that sort of thing into making a case. Just in this specific instance, that sounds much better suited to a straight story.

  66. Speaking as a fan of the game first and a fan of the Pirates second, Billy Hamilton’s debut last night for the Reds was just awesome.

    Inserted as a pinch runner in the 7th inning of a tie game, Hamilton took off on the very first pitch and easily stole second on the best defensive catcher in baseball before scoring the game winning run on a hit by Todd Frazier.

    “I didn’t send him out there to paint,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “It’s not a secret.”

  67. Glad to see the afternoon group arrived…good to hear from everyone on this wonderful afternoon. I was sitting in my office having lunch a bit ago and taking a good look at the schedule for the final 24 games. HUGE series’ looms ahead with the Cardinals and Rangers. If the Bucs can come out of that fairly unscathed…then we are back home for yes, I’ll say it…on paper…a schedule that favors the Black and Gold. But, one never knows. And you know what else is interesting….after the off day tomorrow…we start a 20 game stretch before the next off day. 20 games in a row…breaking the 20 year streak. Ok a little weird…but baseball is weird with all its stats anyways. Have a good rest of the day everyone!

    • Oh one more thing and this has always been a beef of mine: I know why, (interleague),but I’ll still ask anyways: Why on earth are we playing the Padres (NL West) and the Rangers (AL West) THIS LATE in the season? I am such a purist…it should be nothing but your division foes the last 3 to 4 weeks.

      • I tend to agree with you in theory, but all those years of being in a six-team division while there was a four-team division in the other league was something that would also upset a purist — although in a different way.

        Expansion to 16 teams might seem appealing, but it would mean eight team divisions (with six or maybe eight wildcard teams), and expansion to eighteen teams would mean six new major league cities/ (Las Vegas, Brooklyn, Charlotte, Salt Lake City, New Orleans, Indianapolis???)

        It would be more acceptable if the American League would get rid of the DH of course.

        • Amen on the DH. Good points all the way around. I see your argument. Still…

        • not sure i follow… you can simply expand by 2 teams, making 4 divisions of 4 teams each… you can simply go back to division winners only, and no wild cards OR you can still go with 2 wild cards and only give the 2 best division winners byes out of the first round.

          Or you can also do what should be done anyway — shorten the season to 156 games and allow true wild card rounds of the playoffs…. which would take away the 1-game sting that it is now.

          • Four team divisions for 162 games = fewer interesting division races. (I had actually meant to put that in parentheses above, but was interrupted in the middle of writing.)

      • Now you have to play an interdivision game every stinking day of the season. So thats the reason for the latter

        • I actually like this better than when the entire Major Leagues played interleague games at the same time. Now it seems almost invisible.

        • Sure, so the 2 NY teams and 2 Chicago teams and 2 LA teams and Yankees/Braves and well you get the point…

          • That seems like a practical solution. Let the interleague series for the end of the year be an intercity series every year.

            One thing I like about the schedule is that we play all four Central teams a lot in August and September and that everyone in the division is playing pretty much the same schedule against the non-divisional clubs.

      • now that there are 15 teams in each league and 3 divisions per league, you cannot avoid interleague play all year long, including Septembers, as well as games outside the division all year long, including September.

        I think the balanced approach is the right way to go, didn’t like the Bucs having to be in a 6-team division while one AL division had only 4 teams…. so you get one thing fixed and it breaks the schedule a little bit.

      • 5 teams per division would make that impossible, TJA. But, I get your general point. We should be playing more relevant teams.

  68. Two interesting pop culture bits today:

    1. Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi will be on the new season of “Dancing With the Stars.” Personally, I am looking forward to an old fashion smack down cat fight between those old “Saved by the Bell” vixens, Elizabeth Berkley and ex- scientologist Leah Remini.

    2. Pittsburgh’s Duquesne University will not allow Geraldo Rivera to be on a discussion panel at the school because of a half naked selfie he tweeted. Where’s one of those of Blondie, Queen of the Selfies (thanks, Milo) ?

    So let this be a lesson to you tweeters, careful what you tweet.

  69. Was wondering something today. Where are all the people that criticized those of us that continued to go to the games during the lean years ? You know, the ones that actually blamed us for lining Bob Nutting’s pockets and therefore removing any incentive for the Pirates to try to be competitive.

    Well, on behalf of those poor misguided souls that lined Nutting’s pockets, I’m waiting to accept congratulations for this year’s turnaround. I mean, if it was our fault we sucked all those years, then we obviously deserve the credit for this year’s success.

    I know you’re out there, I’ll be here all afternoon.

    • Those people are exactly where we knew they’d be when this day finally came.

      Hiding under the bridge upon which they troll.

    • Also proves their whole I-want-the-team-to-win-so-I-dont-go logic to be as phony as it sounded all along.

    • I remember saying maybe we as fans should just stop going. But I had a quick, major change of heart after listening to the logic yinz guys heaped on me. I admit it.
      I also admit, I drive hubby crazy turning the games on nearly every night lol.
      But ya know, he’s coming around…he was so excited LunchBox hit the homer last night, you’d swear it was his own son :)

    • My name is TJA and I have been a Pirates fan for all 51 of my years! I have never been ashamed to admit it and damn proud of it!. I went to games when there were 700 people in the ball yard on a Monday or Tuesday night in September.

    • I was going to post something along these lines earlier. Glad I didn’t. Yours is much better.

      And don’t forget about the “I burned all of my Pirate gear” and “I’ll never spend another dollar at PNC again” crowds.

      • Thank you, Patton. Appreciate it. Milo asked a GREAT question today. I also think that those of us that have indeed stuck it out all these years, should get first crack at post season tix. Yea, right…I know that will never happen, but still…

    • Some of us here were born Pirate fans and as such, its in our genes and we will die as one.

      I’ve died a lot of times ;-)

      But I honestly don’t blame anyone for getting sick of the long lonely nuclear winter.

      Had moments of disallusionment myself at times, hard not to feel that way.

      Wasn’t sure if this day would ever come

    • They’re with the people that didn’t go to Pens games back when they had the Dance Crew and that stupid band next to the E bowl in Mellon.

      In all honesty, great post. Wondered the same thing myself.

    • probably on smizik’s blog and/or sharing a vat of tapioca pudding under a bridge.

    • No truer words have ever been written on this blog, Milo.

      One can be frustrated, upset and critical with the state of things, yet remain in the fold and hope for better days. That doesn’t make that person a lacky for the owner.

      Loyalty and the promise that better days would eventually come, no matter how long it took, kept me in the fold.

  70. Oh dear. Jack is coaching soccer now.

  71. Liriano’s ERA when you take out the 10 earned run game he had is sub 2.00. Is there another pitcher besided Kershaw this year that has been even close to that consistantly dominant. This guy is doing something special this year and we are fortunate enough to witness it. Even as a NH supporter I can’t give him credit for this. Nobody could have seen this coming.

    • Why wouldn’t NH get credit for this? The blueprint for smaller markets is to take chances on high upside FA signings, even though only a small percentage will pay off and be productive…. Liriano, and to a lesser extent that no one talks about, Melancon (and before that Hanrahan) are exactly the types of things NH needs to remain focused on…. now, I know you are saying that no one, including NH, could have projected a Cy Young-type season, but I don’t think ‘wild-ass’ success means the FO gets no credit for the signing.

      • Yeah, that logic never made any sense at all to me.

      • Using the inverse, thats like saying Huntington would deserve no blame if Gerrit Cole turned out a bust because nobody saw it coming.

        Just doesn’t work that way.

        You make the call and live with the results, good and bad.

      • I don’t give him anymore credit for making this signing then I give him blame for some of the other FA signings that failed. It’s as you pointed out taking a chance.

        I do give him credit for always appropriately making decisions based on the market the team he runs is in. He has been very consistant in this area. He has had a plan and has stuck to it during almost every decision he has made. He wanted to build through the draft by allocating money towards that instead of free agents and he did that until this year when a little money was spent on Liriano and Martin

        He wanted to draft and aquire young power arm pitchers and has done that consistantly. He has put a premium on starting pitchers and a low priority on the bullpen at the major league level knowing that he could fill in as needed.

        He wanted to identify young building blocks and sign them through their free agent years when appropriate at a reasonable financial risk. He has done a little of this and continues to try and do this.

        He has not panicked when marginal players such as Freddy Sanchez and Jack Wilson wanted more money then what the team thought was warranted. They didn’t get much in those trades but the money they saved was allocated in other ways. Signing either of those players to a 4 year deal would have been a mistake.

        He has picked up dozens of players that couldn’t stick with other teams because they where blocked or failed to live up to expectations. This hasn’t worked very often but it has a few times. It also doesn’t cost the team much money and no prospects.

        I’ve defended the guy much more then some would like. Many times defending him when I knew it would be the unpopular thing to do. Trust me I would love to give him a lot of credit for the Liriano signing but I just don’t see it as being that much different then some of his failed signings. I do give him credit for the plan which he has stayed with.

        DK: Yes! Front-office debates! Awesome! Too late to chime in?

        • I want to work for you.

          • Why??? Because I give less credit then you would think when you do something good and less fault when you do something bad?

            I feel the same about NH now as I did a year ago. My opinion of him has not went up or down in that amount of time. I have always thought he had a good plan in place and had mixed results at actually implementing that plan. The plan to me was always more important then the execution and I always thought he would learn from his past mistakes. I also would have been fine with him being let go after last season because he had made some mistakes. I thought he would have been leaving this team in much better shape then before he started as GM and if the new GM stuck to the same plan and made good decision the team would be successful.

            • “I have always thought he had a good plan in place and had mixed results at actually implementing that plan.”

              My stock price doesn’t go up when I write a good proposal.

              It goes up when I WIN the contract.

              Excecuting is the only thing that matters.

              • If you start with a bad plan you have no chance. You lose for 15 straight years because you sign a catcher that hits for average and does nothing else to a contract that is way to big.

                I didn’t say his implementation was always bad. It was mixed. I also didn’t say it didn’t matter at all. I actually said because of those mixed results I would have been fine with him being replaced after last year. That is harldy saying that the plan is the only thing that matters.

        • No, DK, it is never too late to chime into any popular arguments, including every single decision Clint Hurdle makes every game, why Clint Barmes is even on the team, much less starting, why Alex Presley never got a single chance to claim an everyday job, Nick Leyva’s blindasabat 3B coaching, and how Nutting is a cheap loser of an owner…plenty of time to get your thoughts in….. don’t be shy.

        • I honestly wasn’t trying to start a debate about the front office. I was simply stating how awesome Liriano has been and how nobody could have seen this coming.

          Please do chime in. I would love to be on the other end of this debate since for the last 3 years I have been slightly pro NH and remain in that same exact place while others (not you) have done a 180 and somehow ended up on the other side of me.

    • It would be nice to score some runs early tonight so he can cruise. I want to see a serious hurting put on the B***ers.

      • The worst day of all the 20 years was when the Brewers put that epic beatdown on our Buccos in PNC. I recall they really enjoyed themselves that day. What was it, 20-0? They were so freaking arrogant, and they remained that way vs. the Bucs up until this year. The tables have turned in our favor, but not yet enough for me to be satisfied. Their 20-0 is coming at the hands of the Bucs … eventually.

    • I give Ray Searage more credit.

    • Matt Harvey was arguably more dominant than Kershaw, so him.

  72. Presley hit a 3 run homer after a 13 pitch at-bat. Gotta find that one when the highlights come out.

  73. Have a good afternoon, All. IT needs to do some work on my computer (hot conversation on here today! :)) and I need to close down. Go Bucs! Bring “82″ home!

  74. Presley goes deep for a 3 run blast for Twins

    Good for him

  75. Milo touched on a great point, above. It was about people telling us we should not have been supporting the Bucs all these years because of their many problems. Well, no one knew all of their problems more than US. But, we all knew they were worth holding on to and supporting in what ever way made sense for each of us.

    Before this season, my wife asked me why, when I have not lived in Pittsburgh for over 20 years, would I keep rooting so passionately for the Pirates. She said she understood my faithfulness to the Steelers and the Penguins because that was a no-brainer. “But, what is the attraction with the Pirates?” she asked. “Why put yourself through this?” She also asked why I stubbornly insisted on forcing our kids into this life, especially when I am constantly complaining about how they lose every year. She wanted to know why an otherwise sane person would be checking the Pirates score on his phone every night in mid-September of a 100 loss season year after year.

    I could not really put it into words very well for her. It didn’t really make complete sense to me. But, I just knew the Bucs were part of me, and it had to remain that way. I am just not the type to throw away things I love so easily. I don’t quit just because the seas get a little rough. I am more the type who fights to salvage a good thing and restore it. I just knew it was going to be so sweet when they finally turned it around.

    My kids have hung in there with me, through thick and thin. I have to say, living in the Chicago area, the Cubs always make it easy to keep the kids from jumping ship. The collapses of the last 2 years were tough, but I promised the kids it was going to be different this year, that I knew they were on the right path for the future, and that they should hang in one more season.

    Fortunately, I was lucky to have gotten it right. This has been a magical season. I am closer to my kids than ever before, and the Bucs have helped those relationships an awful lot. Whenever we are able, we sit down together and watch the games as a family. We talk baseball an awful lot in our house. We have seen the Bucs play 4 games in Pittsburgh, 2 games in Cincinnati, 1 game in Milwaukee, and 3 games in Chicago this season. My wife has become a big supporter as well. She recently told me how much fun the Bucs are to watch. She says she gets it now.

    Mission accomplished! Thank you, Buccos, for 2013! It took a long time coming, but I never gave in to the naysayers. I complained and moaned, but I never gave in. I feel we have all been rewarded for our loyalty, however it came about. People can continue to say what they want about us. That just means they don’t get it.

  76. Anybody who thinks Dejan is too hard on Pirates management should read the column by Joe Strauss in JAL’s link #17.

    Betcha DK will never insinuate that a management team who owns two World Championships is more interested in keeping the #1 farm system in baseball than winning games.

  77. Just read that Andrew McCutchen will be on National cover of SI for its September 9th issue with a feature article on Bucs fans having a September to remember. It will mark the second cover for the Pirates this year (Grilli was a regional cover spread).

    I was talking the other day about how often I get stopped if I am wearing a Pirate hat or shirt and hear I’m pulling for you guys. This team is quickly becoming America’s darlings, and I would imagine there are about to be a lot more Pirate fans the rest of the way.

  78. Lineup tonight

    1. Jose Tabata (R) LF
    2. Neil Walker (S) 2B
    3. Andrew McCutchen (R) CF
    4. Justin Morneau (L) 1B
    5. Marlon Byrd (R) RF
    6. Pedro Alvarez (L) 3B
    7. John Buck (R) C
    8. Jordy Mercer (R) SS
    9. Francisco Liriano (L) P

    Love seeing Petey bumped down to 6th… can’t take too many more nonproductive atbats with Cutch on base. Wow how this lineup has been lengthened…. before when Martin was out, the lineup got plenty weak after 4 or 5. Now we have good hitters all the way down to Frankie.

    • Agree on Pedro. He has been the most productive from that spot in the order. We now have others capable of batting in the 4 and 5 spots so let them do it.

    • Agreed, except on Buck. Has he seen a pitch yet he didn’t like enough to swing at?

      • He can swing at every pitch he sees for the next 24 games as long as during those 30 or so at bats he will get he hits 2 or 3 home runs.

        • I guess you are more optimistic with him than I am, Nate. I see a guy who has had virtually no power since very early in the season, and his average dropped below .220 with an OBP of .285-ish.

          I understand that he adds a veteran catching presence, and that Martin could go down at any time and need replaced. So, I get why they acquired him. I just don’t expect much in the way of offense from him. But, I’ll be pulling for him when he’s in the lineup.

          • I’m with you, Jim.

            Can’t imagine Buck is any improvement, offensively, over Kelly Shoppach who was already signed.

          • Actually I think we are on the same page on him. I was just saying he will start maybe 7 or 8 games the rest of the year and if he can give us those 2 home runs that would be awesome. I’m not exactly expecting it. It was more of a hope comment then anything.

      • Of course Clemente would hit a lot of those pitches he would swing at — but I wonder if the modern (re: OBP) approach would have helped or hurt him.

        “Oh boy, here comes a baseball.”

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