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Morning Java: Let’s talk Ishikawa

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> The Tuesday video is a brief interview I did with Travis Ishikawa, the Pirates’ not-really-but-maybe-the-starting first baseman:

Also this morning, Ishikawa’s swing is Travis Sawchik’s feature.

Here’s TribLIVE’s Pirates page and our Bucco Blog, where you’ll find all you need to prepare for the series that opens tonight at Wrigley.

Here’s Cubs news from the Chicago Tribune.

Here are official game highlights on MLB.com.

And here are John Fedko and John Steigerwald getting kind of intense when talking baseball on TribLIVE Radio yesterday:

>> The Penguins still need to christen Consol in some ways. Chris Adamski reports.

Here’s TribLIVE’s Penguins page and our Chipped Ice blog.

Here’s Red Wings news from the Detroit Free Press.

Here are official game highlights on NHL.com.

Our panel on WPXI-TV’s Subway Final Word addressed whether these final few games mean much:

>> Here’s TribLIVE’s Steelers page and our Steel Mill blog.

>> Thank you, as always, for reading.

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, recently, 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 country's top four columnists by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the country's top three columnists by the National Headliners. For 2013, he was named the state's top columnist by the Keystone Press Awards and top columnist in Western Pennsylvania by the Golden Quills.

Comments

  1. Ghost says:

    Way early, but the Ishikawa stuff is fun following. The $64K question (which would be how much in today’s dollars?) is whether a light bulb really has turned on, or if Ishikawa has just been hot for the last month and is about to return to his mean. A lot of people feel batters “are what they are” even well before they reach Ishikawa’s age. On the other hand, there are always guys like Jose Bautista or Mike Easler who put it together only after many years. Clint Hurdle is an old batting coach and surely knows his stuff. But I’m especially intrigued by that “proprietary system” mentioned by Travis Sawchick — the one that the Pirates have which projects a batter’s results against comparable pitchers. Jonah Hill is going to have to play Dan Fox in Moneyball II. Ron Howard with a a toupee can still play Neal. :-D

  2. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    If you look at the career stats of Travis Ishikawa, it’s clear that it would be next to impossible for him to have any kind of real impact on the Pirate season.
    He’s gotten off to a decent start…..Six games into the season.
    I will say that he excites me “at least” as much as his platoon partner Gaby Sanchez.
    Sanchez brings next to nothing to the table.

    Though it apparently doesn’t bother some…I remain baffled how a playoff contender could go into a season with no legit 1st baseman, and not much better in RF.
    Once again, consider the source….The Nutting Regime.
    This is an ownership and FO that continues to show no real effort in supporting a Pirate team with potential.

  3. Ghost says:

    Daq, though I am eternally optimistic, it’s probably true that Ishikawa is going to come down to earth. But I just can’t get that “proprietary system” thing out of my head. Some of the out-of-the-box things the Pirates have been doing in lieu of opening their wallets have actually been brilliant these last few years. If anybody has figured out a way to take a guy like Ishikawa and plug him in when he has better than his usual odds of succeeding, it’s probably the Bucs.

  4. bpn8pitt says:

    I’m very happy Ishikawa and Volquez have started out well. I hope the Pirates have figured something out with each of them.

    That being said, I’m gonna reserve judgement for awhile. Its April 8th. We play in division all month. Our foes are going to get a good look at everybody through advance scouting and video. Then make their adjustments.

    If they are both still playing well in June, I’ll give credit where its due.

    Sorry but there was a reason, those guys were available to begin with. I’m getting better at admitting the Pirates are smart. But smarter than other teams is gonna take a bit more longer for me….Interesting stuff by both writers nonetheless.

  5. JAL says:

    JAL’s We Ain’t Got Nothin’ Yet Morning Links

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hclPPseW93o

    GENERAL DAILY UPDATED BASEBALL SITES

    1- MLB Transactions

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/pittsburgh_pirates/

    3 BFFL’s 2014 Pirates Stats Spreadsheet

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AsjN0zO-DxI0dDNkaWxFNWIwNDVUQzEwYXp5SlpGNkE&usp=drive_web#gid=0

    4 Pirates Prospects

    Pittsburgh Pirates Organizational Probable Pitching Chart

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/probable-pitchers

    BLOGS and such

    5—Pirates Prospects

    First Pitch: The Pirates Farm System Getting Hammered With Injuries

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/04/first-pitch-the-pirates-farm-system-getting-hammered-with-injuries.html

    Tony Sanchez, Chris Stewart, and the Depth vs Best 25 Debate

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/04/tony-sanchez-chris-stewart-and-the-depth-vs-best-25-debate.html

    Prospect Highlights: Polanco Crushes a HR, McGuire Shows Off a Cannon

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/04/prospect-highlights-polanco-crushes-a-hr-mcguire-shows-off-a-cannon.html

    6 Bucs Dugout

    Neal Huntington, Clint Hurdle extensions are well deserved

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2014/4/7/5587440/neal-huntington-clint-hurdle-extensions-are-well-deserved

    7 Rumbunter

    PNC Park Photo Hunt Results

    http://rumbunter.com/2014/04/07/photo/

    8 Green Weenie

    Travis Ishikawa

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2014/04/travis-ishikawa.html

    9 Saber Bucs

    The ERA/xFIP of a Strike Throwing Edinson Volquez

    http://saberbucs.net/2014/04/07/if-volquez/

    10 Pirates 101

    Edinson Volquez Tosses Gem, Leads Pittsburgh Pirates Over St. Louis Cardinals

    http://www.sportsmedia101.com/pittsburghpirates/2014/04/06/edinson-volquez-tosses-gem-leads-pittsburgh-pirates-over-st-louis-cardinals/

  6. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 CBS Sports

    Pirates vs Cubs Game Preview

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/gametracker/preview/MLB_20140408_PIT@CHC/pirates-cubs-preview

    12 Chicago Tribune

    Series preview: Pirates at Cubs

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/cubs/ct-spt-0408-cubs-series-20140408,0,823195.story

    13 Beaver County Times

    Pirates’ lefties are more than all right

    http://www.timesonline.com/sports/pirates/pirates-lefties-are-more-than-all-right/article_083056db-c913-5508-94c3-9c1caefdd75e.html

    14 Pirates Site

    With Morton, appearances can be deceiving

    http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/news/article/pit/with-pirates-charlie-morton-appearances-can-be-deceiving?ymd=20140407&content_id=71276288

    15 SB Nation

    The U.S. through presidential first pitches

    http://www.sbnation.com/mlb/2014/4/7/5589542/presidential-first-pitches-franklin-roosevelt-babe-ruth-hooverball

    16 Cincinnati Enquirer

    Reds can’t finish comeback, fall to Cardinals 5-3

    http://www.cincinnati.com/story/sports/mlb/reds/2014/04/07/reds-comeback-fails-falls-st-louis-cardinals-5-3/7441825/

    17 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

    Brewers’ rotation has dominated over first six games

    http://www.jsonline.com/sports/brewers/brewers-rotation-has-dominated-over-first-six-games-b99242279z1-254292271.html

    18 St. Louis Post Dispatch

    Cards make home opener a winner

    http://www.stltoday.com/sports/baseball/professional/cards-make-home-opener-a-winner/article_00f2c79c-d4ba-5352-a681-94d4cc99de68.html

    Bernie: Rain doesn’t spoil opening day fun

    http://www.stltoday.com/sports/columns/bernie-miklasz/bernie-rain-doesn-t-spoil-opening-day-fun/article_5f62c64b-5a82-5f97-8f64-a8f76fd63541.html

    19 Fangraphs

    Yunel Escobar and the Value of Chemistry Revisited

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/yunel-escobar-and-the-value-of-chemistry-revisited/

    20 Baseball Prospectus

    The Week In Quotes

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=23236

  7. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Eddie George compares Le’Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount to Earnest Byner and Kevin Mack

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2014/4/7/5590044/eddie-george-compares-leveon-bell-and-legarrette-blount-to-earnest

    Steelers pre-draft visits: Louisville S Calvin Pryor

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2014-nfl-draft/2014/4/7/5590806/steelers-pre-draft-visits-calvin-pryor

    Soccer(football)

    22 Bloomberg Stats Insight

    The Pep Guardiola Effect

    https://www.bsports.com/statsinsights/football/pep-guardiola-effect

    23 BBC Football

    Premier League: Garth Crooks’s Team of the Week

    http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/football/26911599

    24 World Soccer

    Stat of the day: which club sells the most replica shirts?

    http://www.worldsoccer.com/features/replica-shirts

    PENGUIN BLOGS and NHL Links

    25 Pensburgh

    Monday Pens Points: Sutter, Fleury Answer the Bell

    http://www.pensburgh.com/2014/4/7/5589788/monday-pens-points-sutter-fleury-answer-the-bell

  8. Nate83 says:

    Well stated bpn. I have to imagine that is about where the majority of us stand at this point. I know I was thrilled with the first base solution or fifth starter this off season but I’m personally willing to let it play out.

  9. Jandy says:

    From the Bucco Blog:

    5. If Ray Searage can fix Volquez he deserves a spot in the Hall of Fame and statue commissioned in Market Square.

    Read more: http://blog.triblive.com/bucco-blog/2014/04/07/monday-mop-up-duty-the-confounding-tj-for-jt-outcome/#ixzz2yICZPER6
    Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

  10. Brandie says:

    Great to see spirited intelligent discussion on the Buccos. I will reserve judgement on Gabykawa and The Folk Legend Edinson Volquez for a while. It is awesome that the Pirates are off to a good start as I have said before it is incumbent upon the team to prove that last year was no fluke.

    I missed you guys yesterday. Dom asking if I was with Drew? Hysterical.

  11. Jandy says:

    LOL! Domski is so cute, I could just :* him!

    Good to see you, Sistah! Hope the job is going well :)

  12. Wild Bill says:

    I was pleased to be incorrect about last night’s hoops game. Didn’t think UConn could hold Kentucky off, especially inside. Kentucky really hurt themselves at the foul line. All in all, not the best played championship game. The UConn guards made all the difference.

  13. Sarah says:

    B!!

  14. Sarah says:

    J!!!

  15. NMR says:

    But but but I thought the NL Central already had the book on Volquez? ;)

    Ha, seriously though, good post. Just jagging you around a little bit.

  16. Nate83 says:

    Oops. That was supposed to be wasn’t thrilled. Early morning Jandy typo.

  17. Brandie says:

    Sarahpova! Jandy-Rose! Untamed William! Planny Sarmiento!

  18. Wild Bill says:

    Ah, Brandie! Got a day off today?

  19. Jandy says:

    Sarahpova!!!!!

  20. Jandy says:

    haha I’m catching ;)

  21. bpn8pitt says:

    He’s thrown a lot of strikes early, which I guess is good.

    But I was surprised St Louis didn’t start pulling the trigger earlier, after the first go around in the lineup.

    We’ll see. For him, anyone, no free passes is good.

  22. Sarah says:

    Yah how’s work??

  23. TK says:

    The $64K question (which would be how much in today’s dollars?)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_$64,000_Question

    $560,000.00

  24. Jandy says:

    sign me up!

  25. Leo Walter says:

    You just can’t let that ” regime ” thing go,can you ? Meanwhile you continue to show your complete lack of knowledge of how MLB works in the 21st century.

  26. TK says:

    And Ray Romano will play sports columnist Dejan Kovacevic.

  27. Nastynate82 says:

    Wrong on Sanchez. He crushes lefties. Maybe you should focus on what a player can do rather than what he can’t do.

  28. NMR says:

    Fine work by Travis (Sawchick) on Travis (Ishikawa).

    However, I give this about as much of a chance at succeeding as Gaby’s best-shape-of-his-life routine this winter. Hard for me to really buy into a swing change when the hitter himself admits it may just be a placebo.

    Interesting little tid-bit on the Pirates proprietary match-up system or whatever. Still would like to know if it was Dan Fox’s computer or Clint Hurdle’s gut that said matching Gaby up against against Adam Wainwright and the best right-handed curveball in baseball was a good iea.

  29. Dom says:

    Today is the 40 year anniversary of the day Hank Aaron hit his 715th home run.

    He’d hold that record for 33 years until Pirate and Giant Barry Bonds took care of that!

  30. NMR says:

    I watched the replay and while he was throwing strikes, he wasn’t actually locating his fastball very well. Baby steps, I suppose, but I doubt he’ll get away with leaving fastballs up in the zone and over the plate for very long.

    For now, we take what we can get.

  31. NMR says:

    But but but only when the game doesn’t matter or something like that.

    I try stay stay abreast on Daq narratives.

  32. DJ says:

    Maybe we should have sent Gaby off to see Wallenbrock this off season.

    Never liked his exaggerated stance which appears out of proper balance, resulting in too many pop-ups.

  33. Nastynate82 says:

    You’re right. But the Sanchez one is so false it bothered me.

  34. Jandy says:

    As far as I’m concerned, Hank still owns it.

  35. DJ says:

    . . . and yeah, I know, he “mashes” lefties, blah, blah.

  36. Nate83 says:

    It is good because he has good velocity and movement. There is no such thing as throwing too many strikes when you have multiple plus pitches which he does. His pure stuff and talent is better then a lot of other pitchers signed to be 5th starters or even 4th starters. He has never lacked the talent.

    The key is location and I do agree with NMR that it could have been better. I wasn’t able to watch the game live but on MLB gamecast he did seem to get a number of fastballs up and over the plate more then you would like. I will still take him throwing strikes over falling behind in counts every time even if the location isn’t the greatest.

  37. Nate83 says:

    It definitely seemed like an odd place to give Gaby his first start against a right hander. Maybe the could have tied one hand behind his back and given him a wiffle ball bat to hit with to make it a little more difficult.

  38. Nate83 says:

    Very underrated hitter all around. That record has actually diminished how well he played the entire game.

  39. NMR says:

    I mentioned this to Andrew the other day, but I wonder if it would be wise to have him take a Liriano-lite approach, as in pitch off his secondary stuff more than his fastball?

    I’m no scout. I can’t tell you what a 60 curveball or 60 changeup looks like compared to a 50-grade pitch. But Volquez had some very good Cardinal hitters swinging through his secondary pitches. Gotta believe the come as advertised.

  40. NMR says:

    I’ve fought that battle as well, Nate.

  41. Dom says:

    And the single season home run record still belongs to Roger Maris.

  42. Tom P. says:

    And he hit it in an early inning before this then-third grader had to go to bed.

  43. NMR says:

    Haha, yeah, who cares about performance. He looks silly!!!

  44. Jim S. says:

    “Ron Howard with a toupee can still play Neal.”

    I love it, Biz.

  45. Nate83 says:

    Looking good is important. If you can’t win you should at least look good doing it. For 20 years that was all this team had. Just because they have started winning doesn’t mean they should just start looking like fools up there.

  46. Nate83 says:

    Oh, I thought DK was playing Ray Romano this entire time. I’m so confused.

  47. Jim S. says:

    I believe just about everyone here has shown a willingness to criticize this organization over a host of issues. But, we also try to be balanced and recognize the positive things as well.

    I think some people have built up such a hatred for the organization that, even though they are long time fans, they would almost rather see the team lose and be able to b*tch about it than to see them do well and have anyone connected to the front office get even a sliver of credit for it.

  48. NMR says:

    This is literally how I approach my golf game.

    A nice pair of slacks and a polo shirt can usually distract clients for at least six holes from the fact that I’m swinging 20 year old Wilson’s and my handicap tops 30.

  49. Jim S. says:

    I was wondering that also, NMR.

    Do you think his supposed improved deception played a part?

    If St. Louis was used to seeing him a certain way, and now he has a different delivery does that maybe throw them off a bit? That’s a team that does a good job of watching balls and swinging at strikes. He was doing something to stifle them.

  50. 21sthebest says:

    I saw just snippets of Volquez’ start and it looked to me like his breaking ball was very effective. So maybe that’s why he got away with some poorly located fastballs.

  51. 21sthebest says:

    I find that picking up the round distracts my clients away from my golf game.

  52. Jim S. says:

    Well said, Wild Bill. UK could not keep the UCONN guards in front of them, either in the half court or open court.

    I thought experience trumped inexperience. Boatright and Napier are such heady players.

    I am not a fan of UCONN, but I have to give them credit for pulling off two of the most amazing championship runs in NCAA history in the space of 4 years. We talk all the time about whether Pitt or some other good, but not consistently great program has a chance to ever win a title. Well, UCONN is pretty consistently a contender, but they have also won titles twice now in years where they were not even supposed to contend for the Final 4. They have a mindset of winning championships.

  53. bpn8pitt says:

    Hockey people:

    Tristan Jarry? Threat to Flower? Heard him being talked about on the radio the other day.

  54. Nate83 says:

    Our golf games are very similar. 100 is the goal for me when I dust off my 20 year old clubs. I’m OK with it. If I was any better the game would be more frustrating. I can’t understand why most other sports come pretty naturally to me but golf I just can’t figure out.

    I actually make it over closer to Pittsburgh once a year for a memorial day weekend golf trip every year. We play 6 rounds of golf in 4 days which accounts for probably about half the golf I play for the year. We play at Scottish Heights in Brockport. Not the greatest course but it fits our style. Good food, and not many rules except have fun.

  55. Jandy says:

    later rather than sooner….

    Monster mash?

  56. Jim S. says:

    I think that decision might tell us as much about Hurdle’s confidence in Ishikawa as anything else. He trusted a righty who has struggled with all RHP over his career to a lefty hitter when facing maybe the best veteran RHP in the league.

    I remain unconvinced Ishikawa is going to be productive in a high number of at bats this season.

    I remain very disappointed that the GM has not secured a better alternative. But, I still think he’s a good GM. His job has so many components to it, and I think he has done well in most of them.

    I remain opposed to the manager’s ongoing curious sacrifice bunt decisions, too. But, I still think he’s a good Manager. His job has so many components to it, and I think he has done well in most of them.

  57. Nate83 says:

    I find having a few rounds actually helps my golf game. I seem to overthink the game and play better when I just walk up and hit the ball. Although there is a swift decline in performance if I have too many rounds.

  58. Jim S. says:

    Good call, Tom. I was in 2nd grade, I think. I remember him hitting it, off Al Downing, and Tom House catching it in the bullpen. I think I have that right.

    I remember Milo’s call.

  59. Jim S. says:

    Buying drinks afterward is a nice touch as well.

  60. Jim S. says:

    That’s a good point, 21.

    The guy on the other team pitching that day gets away with not having the greatest fastball in the world, and I think a lot of it is that wipeout curveball.

  61. Nate83 says:

    I agree. Plan A was obviously Josh Johnson and James Loney and by all accounts it sounds like they made competitive offers. In Johnson’s case it sounded like he wanted to stay on the west coast. Loney sounds like he was happy with Tampa the Pirates would have had to substantially beat the Rays offer which they where not willing to do.

    I do not believe the men we ended up with Ishikawa and Volquez where Plan B. Maybe Volquez was but I doubt it. I’ve said it before money has been left on the table and that is not a good thing but I’m not one to say spend money just to spend it. There is plenty of time to improve this team throughout this season. In the mean time lets see if we hit the jackpot with 1 or 2 of these options C or D or whatever they might be.

  62. Nate83 says:

    Well he also has a history of walking a ton of batters. They may have went in with the strategy of not swinging until Volquez got at least one ball over. His bad control reputation may have helped him.

  63. 21sthebest says:

    Going after a pitcher at that price coming off of arm problems of Johnson’s type is not something I’ve ever been an advocate of. And I was shocked Huntington went after him.

  64. Jim S. says:

    I’m with you, Nate. No sense in crying over spilt milk. Keep exploring options. There’s money available.

  65. Nate83 says:

    Good. I wouldn’t think it would be for another 2 or 3 years. I probably like Flower more then most on this blog but he hardly has been solid. I don’t think his teammates have done him many favors in the playoffs but he has not played well. They need options done the road. Jarry was drafted high and he is young. Hopefully he continues to develop.

  66. NMR says:

    I’m confused, Jim. It appears like you believe you can constructively criticize one’s performance while still approving of their overall ability.

    Please explain further, preferably resolving these difficult and conflicting ideas into one general assessment of whether or not they are the worst possible GM and Manager in baseball.

  67. Where it the Monstrosity lately? Since Putin got his divorce, HM has disappeared to blogoblivion with Drew and Playoffs.

  68. Thank God they won. It’s been quiet and deflated around here. Arrogance on the back burner for a while.

  69. Naje says:

    Placebo or not, I’m all for results and if Ishikawa’s results are born out of a tangible change or one that is purely imagined, doesn’t matter. When hitting a baseball, especially off of a major league pitcher, eliminating extraneous thoughts is always good. He’ll come back to earth…or not. But the ride so far has helped the team and I’ve got no problem with the club riding out his semi-hot bat.

  70. Andrew says:

    bpn I agree, especially with Ishikawa, this front office has never really shown an ability make good decisions with or find underrated offensive players, outside Garret Jones. I’m more optimistic with Volquez, but it is early, and if I starting looking at April stat lines I will get sad.

  71. Jim S. says:

    I was driving home yesterday and was listening to the Cards broadcast vs. the Reds on XM. Then, I caught the very end of the game on TV (again the Cards broadcast team).

    I would say anyone who thinks the Pirates announcers are effusive in their “homerism” and praise for the Bucs should listen to the Cards announcers a few times, as I have already this year. After you have caught their act a few times, you almost know what they will say at every point in every game about every player. They don’t stray from the playbook very often.

  72. Nastynate82 says:

    I don’t think I could say that any better. Whether it’s hatred for the FO or just a permanent rain cloud over their head. Many fans just like to complain and can’t really say anything else.

  73. 21sthebest says:

    I was 11 and it’s one of those things I can visualize like it was yesterday. I remember feeling so fortunate that I was able to see it live and how cool it was that it happened to be a Monday night nationally televised game.

  74. Thundercrack says:

    Is there a Regime in St Louis and are the broadcasters a part of the Regime?

  75. Andrew says:

    NMR are you saying use offspeed earlier in counts? If so I can see that, but interplay between pitches is a tough thing to pin down. If Volquez cannot at least get near the zone with his fastball I’m not sure how competent he can be, especially because his out pitch has been the change up.

    Liriano last year only threw his fastball 38% of the time against RHH, but still used it 52% on the first pitch, and a plurality when the batter was ahead. Here is Volquez Pitch/Fx plot from Sunday, there is a definitely some hard stuff left up in the zone.

    http://www.brooksbaseball.net/pfxVB/cache/location.php-pitchSel=450172&game=gid_2014_04_06_slnmlb_pitmlb_1&batterX=&innings=yyyyyyyyy&sp_type=1&s_type=2&league=mlb&cache=1.gif

  76. NMR says:

    No question they have been better finding pitchers than hitters, but I feel like they should be given credit for Jones, Gaby, Russell Martin(.211 BAATING AVERAGELDFB!), and McKenry.

    That’s really not a terrible track record for only three years of effort.

  77. Baywatch says:

    Morning, All! I enjoyed the little video with Ishy! First time I’d heard him talk. Really impressed with his before-the-camera approach! And, NO BRANDIE: His real name is NOT Ishy-Bishy Spider!

  78. Andrew says:

    Agreed not the best played game, Kentucky ran into some quicker more athletic guards, it is hard to dribble drive when the oppositions beats you to spots. Kentucky’s switch to zone was a bit of concession that they couldn’t not handle the quickness.

  79. NMR says:

    No doubt about it, 21.

    But I think Wano’s fastball was the best one we’ve seen this year, Gerrit Cole included. Nobody has come close to combining the movement and command he showed on Sunday.

  80. theplanisworking says:

    You might want to see if Ashley Judd needs consoling, Reverend. ;)

  81. Andrew says:

    The guys who did the game on MLB network Saturday were insufferable, I assume most announcers will be homers but at least provide some information, they just kept talking about the mental toughness of Joe Kelly.

  82. Jandy says:

    Dunno…APB out on one Monster Mash. Did he crash doing the graveyard smash???

  83. Good to see you, Naje. Was wondering if you were enjoying college hoops, but believing you probably weren’t as much as last season. Hope you enjoyed last night’s game.

  84. :D

    I never did dance, but I remember the video on that one. Back in a time when videos weren’t that common.

  85. Nate83 says:

    It’s kind of like giving them 2 snaps in Z formation instead of 3 snaps.

  86. Jim S. says:

    It would appear so. The difference is they have a long track record of success.

  87. Andrew says:

    I forgot Sanchez, and you could include McKenry, I viewed Martin as a big free agent signing. Still Overbay, Matt Daiz, Lasting Milldege, bringing back McLouth and while I don’t fault the front office for Bautista and Moss, they did find success elsewhere, I think it is more bad than good.

  88. Nate83 says:

    I agree it is more bad then good but more recently they have had marginally better success or luck.

  89. chethejet1 says:

    NCAA Tournament is starting to look like the regular season and seedings just don’t matter. No way a 7 and 8 seed play for the NC unless the seeding were just so wrong. The landscape of college basketball is no longer about programs and excellence. Seems that the good news is anyone can win, and anyone can be beat. Be careful what you wish for Cinderella.

  90. Jim S. says:

    Don’t forget he had the 3rd highest average MPH on his fastball in MLB last year, Andrew. That was said about 5 times, and followed up with the on-screen graphic in case it didn’t sink in. They truly do have an impressive group of arms in their organization. I’m not denying that. In all honesty, I have no idea how they managed to assemble this much pitching talent.

    But, there’s a lot to talk about. Give me Vin Scully. Give me the guys in the Giants TV booth. Give me a lot of other crews around MLB. I just think the Cards guys are contractually obligated to say the exact same things about the exact same guys every night. If they stray away from it, I think they get rapped on the knuckles.

  91. Jim S. says:

    +++. It was cool.

  92. Nate83 says:

    I’m not sure how you would justify either team being seeded higher with what they did during the regular season in average conferences at best. The game has changed with the one and done players. Young teams do struggle during the year and then start figuring it out around tournament time. I don’t know how the seeding committee can account for that. Kansas was very young and seeded number 2 and lost early. You can’t reward teams on potential.

    Kentucky could have lost almost any of the games they played during the tournament because almost all of them came down to the last minute. It definitely doesn’t find the best team. I’m convinced if they played the entire thing over again neither of these teams would have made it to the championship game. It does make for good TV. So I’m not complaining just observing.

  93. Jim S. says:

    I’m on my meds today. I believe that gives an occasional ability to provide “balance.” :-)

  94. Jim S. says:

    I was starting to think the state of KY was just going to pass the NC trophy back and forth.

  95. Ghost says:

    Let’s Talk Ishikawa… a Salt N Pepa song.

  96. Dom says:

    A certain someone on this blog is not going to be too fond of your new avatar…

  97. NMR says:

    Earlier in counts, and more frequently, generally speaking.

    It seems like Liriano has better control of his secondary stuff than fastball at times, and Volquez has seemed similar in that regard.

    Now obviously his secondary stuff plays off the fastball, and both need to be working in order for him to reach his peak. But those two secondary pitches are still plus offerings from a RH pitcher in a league with a majority of RH hitters.

  98. 21sthebest says:

    A woman on the early news this morning said, “And Connecticut has won the N Double A C P Championship.

    I’m not kidding.

  99. NMR says:

    I guess, generally speaking, I think Huntington gets more flack than he deserves over signings that were really intended to be filler.

    I don’t see anyone questioning Jeff Luhnow’s free agent track record, for instance, and he’s in a similar position as the 08′-11′ Bucs.

  100. NMR says:

    Take one and pass ‘em around, buddy!

  101. Naterosboro says:

    Gregory Polonco (barring injury or unforeseen circumstances) will be playing RF by June (sometime). Why would they go out and sign someone in the offseason when: a) they had 2 options for the position already in Tabata & Snider and b) an upgrade at the position would then block Polonco? I think they would’ve maybe liked to bring Byrd back on a 1 year deal, but Philly went to 2, and the Pirates were right to end their pursuit of the player.

    I think criticism of the handling of 1B (and the 5th starter to an extent) is fair, but not RF. I don’t see how management could’ve played it any other way.

  102. Jandy says:

    You should dance more, Spunky, it’s invigorating ;)

  103. NMR says:

    L’ville Naje!

    I agree, Ish could put on one of those silly balance bracelets, think it made him Hank Freaking Aaron and I could care less. Whatever gets the job done.

  104. NMR says:

    I don’t want to read the article because the thoughts that the link text gives me are too awesome to spoil.

  105. Slow dancing is one thing, but invigorating dancing is another.

  106. Jandy says:

    This is so ridiculous it’s beyond words

  107. Jandy says:

    LOL!

  108. Baywatch says:

    I know it’s early yet, but Lambo is hitless in 8 at-bats. Wonder if he’ll heat up this week. Even the “Hit Machine,” Hague is only 1 for 9. Nice to see Polanco is stroking it, though, 6 for 15, a home run, 4 RBIS, 10 total bases.

  109. Bizrow says:

    I was on my honeymoon in New Orleans, we saw it

  110. Yeah, my youngest grand daughter is 11 months and she just started walking. Can’t say she stoned too many people, though.

    I think the people who charged a 9-month old were stoned. That Pakistan weed can be strong or so I’ve heard.

  111. Jandy says:

    sure seems that way, Spunky!

  112. Andrew says:

    What got me was stating Allen Craig has no error in his career in right. This is guy coming off an injury that ends careers in football and basketball and let a ball roll to the wall for a triple, but no errors. I understand there is a lot of time to talk but for me less in more, tell the occasional story, give some insight about pitch grips, swing mechanics, and could we get some shots of the fielders moving around the field instead of fan shots.

  113. Jandy says:

    Nate, Fleury has been their best player for probably the last 10 games.
    What does that say about the rest of the team?
    Heck, he keeps them in games when they positively suck.

  114. 21sthebest says:

    And outside of his group would be good.

  115. Jim S. says:

    That HR on Sunday was a bomb, Bay. I don’t know if you have seen the video or not.

    I hope he keeps progressing well, and we see him in a couple of months.

  116. Andrew says:

    I can see that, and for a non-contender you certainly get scarps for free agents, remember Edwin Jackson did turn down $30 million, in the end it worked out well for him.

  117. Jim S. says:

    Allen Craig personifies defensive excellence in RF, doesn’t he?

    With the new technology becoming available to track the range of fielders, I wonder how long it will take before GGs are actually given only to deserving players?

  118. Jim S. says:

    He could eat chicken every day, a la Wade Boggs, and that would be ok for me if it makes him perform well.

    I will say, though, that if Travis goes 0/4 tonight, he will be hitting .235.

  119. Wild Bill says:

    Jim, you’re making me ill. I was about to graduate from high school!

  120. Jim S. says:

    And Jamieson Taillon needs surgery to repair his UCLA.

  121. Wild Bill says:

    I’m not that someone but seeing that sign is like hearing fingernails on a chalkboard.

    At half the size it might be tolerable, and placed somewhere else even better.

  122. Tom P. says:

    Jim,

    You are correct. I thought about adding those same details.

    Tom

  123. Wild Bill says:

    Hey Bay! If Polanco keeps going like that for a month it will be painfully obvious why he’s not already with the Pirates. Neal and Frank will hide until July.

  124. I saw it in my wife and I’s mobile home. (our first “house”)

  125. NMR says:

    I don’t know, Jim.

    Managers and coaches are still doing the voting. I really can’t see the Dusty Baker’s and Ron Washington’s of the world giving a sh*t.

    Until they are eventually fired and replaced with competent people willing to learn and adjust, that is.

  126. NMR says:

    Then I’m sure they’ll simply blame their own deficiencies on the egg heads ruinging the game.

  127. Baywatch says:

    Snibata has until July! (From the makers of Gabykawa)

  128. NMR says:

    Like they did with Co…you know what, I don’t even know why I try…

  129. Jim S. says:

    Why do I do this all the time to you, Ghost? I call you Biz and Biz Ghost. Sorry about that. I think the dogs in the avatars throw me off.

  130. Jim S. says:

    Sorry for calling you Biz again up above, Ghost! I wish I could actually blame it on meds.

  131. Nate83 says:

    They just have to wait until early June to clear Super 2. In the past that has fallen around June 5th-15th. It’s a moving number and isn’t even decided until all the dust settles. The Pirates to be safe will probably wait about a week after the projected date passes. Really a silly rule and they should just get rid of it.

  132. Naterosboro says:

    Let’s talk about Ishi-ka-wa
    Let’s talk about Hunt-ing-ton
    Let’s talk about all the good things and the bad things
    The Pirates may be.
    Let’s talk abouuuuut Ish….
    Let’s talk about Ish.

  133. Nate83 says:

    I don’t know what’s more sad. That you typed it, that I liked it or that I read it how you intended it to be read. Like Spinderella was sitting right next to me scratching the record. I think it’s a three way tie but blame you for giving me the opportunity.

  134. Wild Bill says:

    A digression: was just looking at the bald eagle cam on the P-G web site. So cool; three chicks. Mom and dad are gonna be busy!

  135. NMR says:

    This is exactly the kind of situation the Pirates should be looking to capitalize on…

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2014/04/the-implications-of-ryan-zimmermans-shoulder-issue.html

    Nats budget is maxed out and Zimmerman will hurt them more than he helps at 3B. C+ prospects and taking on all salary might get it done.

  136. NMR says:

    You turned me onto this a couple weeks ago and now I’m hooked…

  137. Jandy says:

    Link!

  138. Jandy says:

    I was wondering about that, Jim, but I took meds for sneezing and scratchy throat and my head isn’t exactly clear either lol

  139. War_Horse says:

    What Hurdle was doing on Sunday was not matching up hitters against pitchers but giving four of his position players their first starts of the season: Tabata in RF, T. Sanchez at C, G. Sanchez at 1B and C. Barmes at SS. They had sat on the bench for the first five games of the season while Snider, Ishikawa, Martin and Mercer got the starts. It was a kind of a day off for them, too. Simple as that. They came through nicely by getting 3 of the Bucs’ 6 hits and one of the two RBIs.

  140. Jandy says:

    lol

  141. Jim S. says:

    I just read that article, too. Do you think Zimmerman’s shoulder arthritis is so bad that they will have to move him to 1b during this season?

  142. Jim S. says:

    There is something mesmerizing to me about the avatars of Biz and Ghost that makes me get them crossed up. Maybe the dogs?

  143. 21sthebest says:

    They added a SABR component last year as I’m sure you remember. It accounts for about 25% of the vote.

  144. Nate83 says:

    Interesting thought NMR. His contract is probably about the amount they left on the table this off season. I’m not sure the Nats won’t try to get him out of the NL and trade him to an AL team that may be interested in using LaRouch as a DH/1B option. However maybe they won’t be able to find a trade partner. It will be an interesting story to watch develop.

    They talked about Zimmerman on MLB Network the other night. It sounds like it is extremely painful for him to throw the ball when his body is not squared up to the base he is throwing to. Bad break for the guy. If I remember correctly he was an above average 3rd baseman his first few years in the league.

  145. Nate83 says:

    Based on what I heard them talking about on MLB network I don’t think they can have him play 3rd Jim. It’s already extremely painful and it won’t get better with time. I’m not sure that he can play period for that much longer. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him out of the game in 3 or 4 years like the outfielder for the Rays that had the degenerative bone problem. I can’t remember his name at this time.

  146. JohninOshkosh says:

    It is remarkable footage although I hesitate to get hooked on and attached to it.

    I grew up on a farm until I went off to college. Saw firsthand on a yearly basis the cold capriciousness of nature. Be forewarned: these things often do not end up with happy endings.

  147. NMR says:

    What in the heck do you think I’m watching for? ;)

    Still waiting for the bloody trout hanging from talons as mother eagle lands in nest.

  148. NMR says:

    So which game Hurdle chose to start his players who hadn’t started is not worthy of discussion? Just the way it is? No logic at all?

    Got it.

  149. pants-n-at says:

    Although its early, I think Ishakawa has a sweet swing. He looks very relaxed at the plate. Gabby, on the other hand looks like he’s pressing……..

    Just my observation

  150. NMR says:

    It is painful to watch Zimmerman throw the ball, Nate.

    Take the jersey off his back and nobody would believe he’s a major leaguer.

  151. Yeah, Jim. With a UConn here and a UConn there.

    I can’t wait for football season. UK might as well not even have a team. Western KY has beaten them 2 years in a row. Funny, but you never hear a word about it in here. Or how Louisville is good year after year.

  152. NMR says:

    Ha, let’s see Ish face Kershaw before talking about who is pressing.

    But I do agree, Ish has that Chase Utley-like short, inside out path to the ball. It’s a shame he strikes out so much, or else I think he’d be a perfect compliment to Gaby. This is a huge ask, but cut his K rate in half and there’d be no difference between him and James Loney.

  153. NMR says:

    Baldelli?

  154. Bizrow says:

    Woof ;-)

  155. pants-n-at says:

    I could listen to Vin Scully any day…..

  156. JohninOshkosh says:

    Ha!

    When I was a kid I was fishing with my Dad. A bald eagle came swooping down and attempted to pickoff a perch swimming near the surface. It failed and the fish got away. I said to my Dad, “That was lucky.” My Dad paused for a moment and said, “How do you mean lucky ? Good luck for the fish or bad luck for the eagle. There is no morality in nature.”

    I’ve always remembered that.

  157. Jim S. says:

    NYY have to be trolling.

  158. Jim S. says:

    He looks awful throwing the ball.

  159. Jim S. says:

    I was surprised they put him back at 3b this year.

    6/$100M from this year on. Sometimes you get burned on extensions. I hope he can play 1b reasonably well. Catching the ball there is more important than throwing it, I would say.

  160. Thundercrack says:

    I thought I read that the Yankees probably are not going to trade for a first baseman.

    ( Ike Davis is heartbroken )

  161. Jim S. says:

    I suggest they start saving for college now. ;-)

  162. Nate83 says:

    That’s right. Rocco Baldelli.

  163. 21sthebest says:

    I wonder what kind of insurance the Nats were able to get when they signed Zimmerman.

  164. Jim S. says:

    A Hilltoppers reference! :-)

  165. 21sthebest says:

    Ishtar is going to face Kershaw?

  166. 21sthebest says:

    The guys on MLB Network think it’s going to be later in June this year.

  167. Jim S. says:

    Wait for the others to post that they only saw it long after the fact, as they weren’t born yet.

  168. Jim S. says:

    Well, maybe it’s changing. Dusty is gone now, and as 21 says, they have added a SABR component. I just think in the next few years it is going to be pretty obvious which fielders are the best at what they do, and it will be hard to argue. Of course, I know that won’t stop some guys.

  169. Jim S. says:

    +++

  170. Jim S. says:

    Then, maybe they’ll trade Zimmerman and plug him in at 3b. :-)

  171. Baywatch says:

    I enjoy the Yankees broadcasts – Michael Kay and I really like their color guy, Ken Singleton: Liked him as a player, too. All that being said, glad the O’s are beating the Yankees, 4-1, headed to the bottom of the 3rd! Yankees threw their backup catcher Cervelli out on first base today, first time he’s played first since he was 15! No reps in spring training, either!

  172. Thundercrack says:

    I think Baldelli’s condition was different than this.

    His condition was more along the lines of chronic fatigue and he had problems with his muscles (fatigue)

  173. Thundercrack says:

    The Yankees know that ST doesn’t count, Bay.

  174. Naje says:

    Hey Lucky… like you, pleased as a peach in the morning sunshine that UK fans are a bit humbled today. College hoops was fun this year, but the Behanan thing was a real setback for UL. Team had to reinvent itself mid-season… not to mention the odd schedule and the AAC competition.

    That said, can’t wait for football season and the move to the ACC. Not sure your feelings on UK football, but I think Stoops has them headed in the right direction. They’re going to be appreciably quicker, stronger and more effective this coming season. Just not sure about their QB and RBs and the durability of them.

  175. Baywatch says:

    I know, right? And ANYBODY can play first base!

  176. Nate83 says:

    That’s interesting. At the end of June you are 80 games in. I really don’t understand why the rule exist. Why does the last guy to qualify for Super 2 get more money then the first guy who doesn’t. It’s a considerable amount of money we are talking about and literally the two players could be separated by 1 service day. Why not just prorate it if the players union wants to keep it or just get rid of it if they don’t want to fight for it because there are other important things they want?

  177. Thundercrack says:

    Per Travis S – on his blog

    UPDATE: Vin Mazzaro has cleared outright waivers and has been out righted to AAA-Indy. Has three days to accept or reject assignment, per Pirates

  178. theplanisworking says:

    I am certainly glad to see Mr. Ishy-kawa take full advantage of the opportunity given to him. I certainly hope he does well for the rest of the season also…… tweaks in his swing, and anything else that can achieve that goal.

    I also don’t blame Mr. Huntington for this dumpster dive. Every team does it to an extent ……….. if they work out, great. If they don’t work out, the team looks a bit foolish, but oh well.

    The thing I continue to criticize the Pirates for is the fact that 1B does not seem to be important to them. Huntington badly misjudged the 1B situation in the offseason, would not make Loney a fair offer (by refusing to go 3 years, his offer could not be considered fair …… knowing full well that Loney would reject a 2-year offer). Then, the job was given to Lambo, until he utterly failed to even get close to claiming it. So, the Pirates are on their 3rd or 4th choice for Gaby’s platoon partner. Gaby mashes lefties …… too bad the Pirates only see one a week.

    Just hope Mr. Ishy-kawa continues to do adequate work at 1B for the resty of the time he is with the Pirates.

  179. Nate83 says:

    Ha, it’s just temporary. I will eventually put something more meaningful to me as my avatar. I went without one for the longest time I just thought it would be fun to put something like that.

  180. Naje says:

    NMR – coming to town for Forecastle Festival this year? Great lineup of acts and performers…

    Note: recent weeks we’ve had some issues downtown at the Waterfront with large packs of young kids randomly assaulting whomever may be in their way. Sad. Good news is that the community is up in arms over this and a lot of attention is being paid to the problems.

    We have Thunder Over Louisville this weekend… the Zambelli’s string up the 2nd Street Bridge with fireworks and bring two barges into the middle of the Ohio River and set off a show that lasts about 30 minutes… about 500,000 to 750,000 people attend. It’s pretty spectacular.

  181. Nate83 says:

    That seems crazy. I can’t imagine another team not being able to make room on their team for him. Maybe his career before last year scared them away. That is great news for the Pirates.

  182. theplanisworking says:

    With the dreck that is pitching in some teams bullpens, I am surprised Mazzaro was not claimed by another team. Hope he goes to Indy ….. with the way injuries go, look for him to be back up in Pittsburgh later in the year.

  183. Dom says:

    I know I have something or should I say, someone, meaningful as my avatar.

  184. Thundercrack says:

    The thing I wonder about with the Loney free agent market is that maybe all of the offers he received were for a max of 2 years. Not only didn’t the Pirates want to give him a third year but they certainly didn’t want to grossly over-pay for him. So maybe their offer was fair compared to all of the other offers…and Loney told everyone that it would take 3 years, and Tampa was the one that offered it.

  185. Thundercrack says:

    He did pitch well last year. But he is a mid to long reliever.
    Maybe the ‘market’ for those types is ‘flooded’

    ‘flooded’ is completely different than ‘dripping’. What the ………….?

  186. Nate83 says:

    I mentioned it a few times but I personally think you are right. 1B is not that important to them. Given the option of fielding a good team at other positions 1B is the lowest on their list of everyday players. It’s one of the most overpriced commodities in baseball. Usually a “good” first baseman hits for power. Power is expensive. For a team that is constantly trying to find value on the dollar they spend elsewhere. Obviously they want to field a solid team at every position but they are often outbid or just don’t go after first baseman because it’s not something they are willing or able to pay for.

  187. NMR says:

    Your dad is a boss.

  188. theplanisworking says:

    That may be, but it doesn’t matter if all the offers were for 2 years. Loney made it known 3 years was the goal, and the other teams decided to not meet those terms. Hence, only one offer was deemed fair.

  189. JohninOshkosh says:

    I was watching that over lunch as well. Singleton said back in the day Charlie Hayes was asked to play first base. He balked at it and complained to Coach Jose Cardenal that he had never played the position and didn’t have a glove. Cardenal looked at him and said. “What’s the matter, you are a ballplayer arn’t you ?”

    Love it. The good old days. Just give a first base mitt to someone and put him in. As Elaine said to Keith Hernandez on Seinfeld, “I mean you played first base. I mean they always put the worst player on first base. That’s were they put me and I stunk.”

  190. JohninOshkosh says:

    This was intended as a reply to Bay’s 2:04 post!

  191. theplanisworking says:

    Nate, I have mentioned this before, but I can remember growing up, 1B was a very valued position. Now, it is clearly an afterthought. When any team waves the white flag on a position, it makes it harder to achieve success, no matter where you allocate the dollars.

  192. NMR says:

    I sure as hell hope not, but that would be the lefty on lefty equivalent of Gaby v. Wano.

  193. Thundercrack says:

    A lot of free agents state their ‘goal’ but don’t get it.

    But in the end the Pirates didn’t get their man.

  194. NMR says:

    Wow. Teams clearly are not buying the Searage magic.

  195. JohninOshkosh says:

    I mentioned when he was DFA’d that I would trade a 12 pack of PBR for him to play on my softball team! I always thought this blog has overvalued him for some reason. Dude has flushed out of three organizations including the Royals, who at the time, needed pitching badly.

    Glad, but not surprised. Glad, if he doesn’t reject the assignment that is.

  196. NMR says:

    I wouldn’t imagine the Nats OR Pirates are looking to do anything before June. Very, very rare, and not really a ton of reason.

  197. Bizrow says:

    Vin will still make what his contract is for, right? Thats probably more than another club would offer him, or he would have been claimed.

    Just thinking out loud

  198. NMR says:

    He was a better starter than Jeanmar Gomez before coming to the Pirates.

    Then again, you may think Jeanmar stinks, and you may be correct.

  199. Baywatch says:

    With you, John! I heard Singleton say that, too, about Charlie Hayes. For some reason, JHay reminds me of Charlie Hayes, but with much less pop.

  200. 21sthebest says:

    I guess the Red Sox don’t think center field is important.

  201. 21sthebest says:

    Economics have changed significantly since we were kids.

  202. NMR says:

    Again, you’re comparing apples to oranges. The salary structures aren’t even close to being the same.

    And before you mention trades, remember the Pirates gave up a supplementary 1st rd pick for Gaby.

    If Garrett Jones did not immediately decide to suck at baseball, nobody would be questioning the Pirates commitment to 1B for the next two years.

  203. Thundercrack says:

    Bay, you’ll eat those words when JHay catches the final out – a foul pop up down the third base line – for the Bucs!!

  204. NMR says:

    Hmm, interesting point, Biz. Never thought of that.

  205. Thundercrack says:

    Oh…I’m sure some would be questioning it

  206. Jandy says:

    If he accepts, he can be recalled, correct?

  207. Jim S. says:

    I agree, plan. The waiver cost is virtually nothing, and he makes a little less than $1M. Their loss could be our gain if he doesn’t find a home in the next 3 days. I think someone will have some sort of a performance or health setback in our bullpen, as always happens, and he could be right back in Pittsburgh pretty quickly.

    Hard for me to understand there are 200 or so better relievers on MLB rosters right now.

  208. Thundercrack says:

    JohninO, there were a couple of times last season that Vin stunk, but I think all-in-all he was pretty good.

  209. NMR says:

    Correct, but after being added back on to the 40-man roster.

  210. Dom says:

    Is Honus Wagner the greatest ShortStop of all time?

  211. Nate83 says:

    Phil Coke is taking up a spot in the Tigers bullpen and they just paid Cabrera 300 million. Really shocking a team like that wouldn’t pick up Mazzaro. To be honest I have a goal of mentioning the Tigers bullpen once a week. That is the only reason I posted this.

  212. theplanisworking says:

    This is a response to Jim, and NastyNate82 from waaaaayyyy up above ……. regarding people who criticize the FO ……..

    You said ……. “I think some people have built up such a hatred for the organization that, even though they are long time fans, they would almost rather see the team lose and be able to b*tch about it than to see them do well and have anyone connected to the front office get even a sliver of credit for it. ”

    ^^^^ This is true in some cases, I will agree. However, keep in mind 2 things here ….
    1) People like me, who criticize AND give credit where credit is due, get lumped into your “hate the FO” category. Completely and totally unfair. Last year, Naje decided to come out of hibernation to lie, and attack me about Hurdle, saying I never, ever gave Hurdle any credit, and I constantly criticized him. You, and a score of other posters came to my defense, but it was just another example of people just wanting to lump any criticism into the hate the FO category.

    2) “People just like to complain and can’t say anything else”. This one is a head scratcher. Again, there are some people who do this, but deep down we are all Pirate fans. We all want the team to do well. I am sure there is some masochist on a deserted island that wants the Pirates to utterly fail, but I haven’t witnessed that here. Again, offering criticism seems to be equated to “hating” the Pirates. If we want sunshine, rainbows and unicorns 24/7, there are other places for that.

    Some people won’t see the good with the FO.
    Some people won’t see the bad with the FO.
    It definitely works both ways.

    Just surprised, and disappointed to see you, of all people write this Jim.
    I always considered you the most fair poster here.
    I didn’t think this morning’s post was fair, for the reasons I just listed.

  213. Jim S. says:

    Or, they think the magic only works when Searage applies it. ;-)

  214. Nate83 says:

    Jones did decide to suddenly suck. Really not fair of him to do that to the Pirates.

    Josh Bell in 2016. Yippie!!!!!!!!!!!!

  215. NMR says:

    Love you, Dom.

  216. JohninOshkosh says:

    I’m being unnecessarily hard on the kid, I guess. Actually, I thought when the Royals got him from Oakland that was a good move for KC.

    It’s early in the season, though. Bullpens are still fresh and sustaining :). Awful lot to ask a club to add a no options guy to their 25 just one week into the shooting match. A little later in the year when pens are thin, its a no doubter.

  217. theplanisworking says:

    I would think the Mets or Cubs could have had him, being they would be some of the first teams to claim him. Just wondering what goes through some teams minds when these waiver deals come around. Like Jim said, I can’t believe there are 200 better relievers than Mazzaro, or no team could use him for insurance/depth.

  218. 21sthebest says:

    I just thought Hurle figured it was time to give Gaby a start. He has talked before about not letting guys get stale.

  219. NMR says:

    Please let me believe that the same logic applies to Francisco Liriano and the Pirates will be unopposed in his upcoming free agent negotiations.

    Lie to me, Jim. I need this.

  220. Thundercrack says:

    Phil Coke is a lefty.

    And thanks for mentioning the Tigers’ bullpen.

  221. NMR says:

    Again, is that really a legitimate reason?

    16 hours or so earlier the Pirates played Joe Kelly. Joe Kelly is significantly less of a right handed pitcher than Adam Wainwright, one of the best in the game.

    I get the stale/fresh thing, but do we have to throw all logic out the window?

  222. Jandy says:

    Jones got married, I thought that was the narrative ;)

  223. Jandy says:

    Well, that makes sense. So it might be a silver lining for the Bucs, then.

  224. Jandy says:

    I think Jeanmar excels where they put him in. He’s no ace, but he gets the job done.

  225. Jandy says:

    Don’t do it, Jim, your nose will grrrroooowwwww ;)

  226. 21sthebest says:

    I had a great year the year after I got married! I didn’t make a single out!

  227. Jandy says:

    Aha! A home run every game???

  228. 21sthebest says:

    Well I wouldn’t go that far. But I tried!

  229. Jandy says:

    LOL. Yinz are killin me!

  230. 21sthebest says:

    If NH had picked up Mazzaro on the waiver wire? Dumpster dive.

  231. I’ll root for UK football along with Louisville, Pitt and my beloved OSU. Different fandom for UK football. I’d like to see them at least be representative.

  232. NMR says:

    Assuming the softball thing was at least partial hyperbole, I don’t think we can say definitively that you are incorrect, John.

    Reliever variability and all.

  233. Nate83 says:

    The worse decline I have ever seen in sports after getting married was Pete Sampras. Can’t say I can blame the guy. His wife was not to shabby.

  234. Two of my sons gradeeated from there, Jim. I couldn’t root for them last season with Petrino there. I like Louisville football, but just have to look by their coach this season.

  235. NMR says:

    That Pinochio-motivational speaker commercial gets me every time.

  236. 21sthebest says:

    I’m not going to say that because I disagree with Hurdle I’m right and he’s wrong or that logic went out of the window. Especially after the fact. Ishtar kept having good at bats through the first 5 games. I probably would have started Gaby 4 or 5 of the first 6 games depending on how his at bats went.

  237. NMR says:

    I’m a lefty. Can I has big league jobs?

  238. NMR says:

    Oh, absolutely.

  239. Nate83 says:

    That is a good point about him being a lefty. At this point he is barely a pitcher and doesn’t belong on any legitimate baseball team. I went to the Tigers game on Saturday and the entire crowd collectively groaned when he came in the game in the 9th inning. They had a 7-1 lead and Coke gave up 2 runs and a base runner before being pulled. They ended up winning 7-6.

  240. NMR says:

    BTW, that is a ridiculously astute comment from someone who claims to be new to baseball.

    There’s like three people in America who actually understand all the roster rules, and JAL is one.

  241. Naje says:

    I lied? Really? Ok… if you say so.

    You were johnny-one-note in your constant attacks of Hurdle. I got sick of it and let you know. There was no lying and I don’t hibernate. I comment here about baseball and other sports. Your attacks of Hurdle got overbearing and tiresome.

    I’ve put it way behind me.

  242. 21sthebest says:

    I bet in High School you got a roster spot over 3 RHP’s that were better than you.

  243. 21sthebest says:

    Yeah but have you ever heard him give an interview? He’s awesome! I couldn’t even begin to describe it. He’ll even go into an impression of Jim Leyland which is precious.

  244. Jandy says:

    me?

  245. Nate83 says:

    Plan, Jim is fair and I think he was just calling it how he see’s it. I don’t think it was directed at anyone in particular. Especially not you since you had not commented on the FO at that time. If you remember last year at the end of the year there where two or three new people posting comments that was non stop Pirate bashing with no stats or evidence to back it up. They where not debating but instead instigating. I think those are the people Jim was referring to.

    You have always been reasonable with your opinion and nothing you say is outlandish in my opinion. At the end of the day we know you want them to win and you do give credit to many players. I don’t like JHay. That’s my thing. He could hit 3 walk-offs in a week and I still would want him demoted the next day. It not reasonable I just will never see his value that others do. It’s OK not to like certain people that other do and have healthy debate.

  246. theplanisworking says:

    You directly stated that I never ever gave Hurdle any credit.
    That is a lie. Sorry you can’t understand that.

    I was not a Johnny-one note. Others criticized him also. I also gave Hurdle props when due, as others who came to my defense pointed out to you. But then, just as quickly as you came at me, you disappeared again. Own up to your actions.

  247. Nate83 says:

    I’ll take your word on that but he sure hasn’t endeared himself to the Tiger fans.

  248. Jandy says:

    +++ Nate, thank you.

    I, too, think Planimal gives credit when it’s due.

    I also think Jim S. is the nicest, sweetest poster on this blog.

    Thanks for speaking up.

    I also think some of us (myself included) go overboard at times with criticism. it’s the nature of being a fan.
    Bottom line is, we want our team to win.

  249. Sarah says:

    So the Pens are actually practicing today!

    In related news, hell froze over!!!

  250. Jandy says:

    Better hell than here!

    :D

  251. NMR says:

    Yes you!

  252. Jandy says:

    Well, dayum, I dunno what to say. Coming from you that’s quite a compliment :)
    Thanks, friend!

  253. theplanisworking says:

    Nate, I know Jim is fair. I was just taken off-guard by his post this morning.
    Jim was one of my biggest defenders last year, when others came after me with truly outlandish statements, like I never gave Hurdle any credit and johnny one-noted with the criticisms.
    I also agree with you that a few trolls showed up, but they were easily dismissed, because like you said, they couldn’t produce any real fatcs to back them up.

    And please don’t say I am reasonable in my opinions, or that I don’t say anything outlandish. Don’t want to ruin some peoples view of me, now do we???? ;)

  254. NMR says:

    I lied, I’m not really left handed. But coincidentally WAS passed up on my Legion team by a southpaw.

  255. theplanisworking says:

    You mean their curling match was cancelled?
    I wanted to see DK with video of that! ;)

  256. Dejan Kovacevic says:

    That’s the expectation at some point. But right now, just a long, skinny kid with little experience. He’ll have to get it done at WBS first.

  257. theplanisworking says:

    Jandy, I am a little short on cash this week.
    I will mail you a check next week. ;)

  258. Jandy says:

    A Boss sighting!

    Starbucks for everyone!

  259. Jandy says:

    I’ll put it on your account of you not having any money ;)

    My Dad used to say that…his birthday was yesterday, he would have been 89.
    Oh, the one liners that man had!
    :D

  260. bpn8pitt says:

    Plan, we got a long way to go buddy. 156 games. Don’t get frustrated a week out of spring training. With anyone or anything.

  261. Thundercrack says:

    I’m not exactly what sure what ‘johnny one note’ means.

    But I think posting “be prepared to underwhelmed” 700 times last year around the trading deadline may have been construed as a ‘johnny one note criticism’ of the FO.

    Leading off a bunch of posts with “I know we’re not allowed to criticize Clint on this blog, but…” may be considered a back-handed johnny one note criticism of Clint…or the people who like Clint.

    And I am hurt that Jandy doesn’t think I am the nicest, sweetest poster on this blog and can’t see through Jim S’ charade.

  262. Nate83 says:

    Well I do know some former Pirate fans that are jaded and jumped ship years ago. They followed the team last year but didn’t want to admit it. It’s almost like they left Microsoft before it became the company it did and then wanted back in after the fact. So now they hate everything Microsoft and bad mouth them constantly. That’s not you so Jim wasn’t directing his comment at you. Continue to be tougher on the FO then some and we will continue to defend them. If that dynamic stops then something is wrong with the world and this blog no longer exist :)

  263. Jandy says:

    hey hey, it’s bpn :)

    Good advice.

  264. Nate83 says:

    It is definitely a charade. We saw his true colors during the Greinke debate. His claws came out and he was foaming at the mouth :)

  265. Jandy says:

    Awwww poor Uncle Cracker. Need a :* for your boo-boo? ;)

    Plan WAS underwhelmed. As were a lot of us….for a time…
    then the Bucs worked their magic, with Uncle Ray and Clint and broke the evil spell that made them losers for 20 long seasons.
    No wonder we aren’t sure how to act or re-act this season following that magic.
    let’s all just take a deep breath…and root for our boys.

  266. Jandy says:

    Seconded!

  267. Jim S. says:

    Plan,

    I was not referring to you at all in that post. You are here everyday, and I know you are a passionate Pirates fan who enjoyed last season’s amazing run as much as anyone. I know you want this team to win as much as anyone else here. You probably have a less positive attitude toward the front office than I do, but I don’t have a problem with that. I try to see things objectively, and I believe you do as well.

    My post was aimed more at Daq. And, truthfully, I don’t have a problem with Daq having the position that the front office or ownership can never do anything right. If that is his opinion, fine. But, that is all he ever posts here. He just swoops in and drops a bomb, lumps everyone who might not be 100% on board wth him into the same “pro-Nutting” group, or whatever he wants to call us, then leaves for a few days – only to come back and do it all over again. He doesn’t seem to want to stick around and argue the relative merits of his positions.

    Having said that, I don’t have anything personal against Daq, or anyone for that matter. Life is too short for petty stuff like that, IMO. We all have real problems outside of this blog. I stupidly lose my cool from time to time here, and I wish I didn’t. But, I always try to make amends if I think I have offended someone. I don’t want anyone ever thinking I have something personal against them just because they don’t agree with me regarding sports talk on a blog.

    I apologize for not being clear when I wrote that. That was wrong of me to leave it open-ended.

  268. Jandy says:

    me too! <3

  269. Jandy says:

    haha me too!

  270. Jim S. says:

    And, I thought I had everyone fooled.

  271. Jandy says:

    See??? See Uncle Cracker? THIS is why Jim is the sweetest ;)

  272. Jandy says:

    Not me, sweetie :*

  273. Nate83 says:

    Perfect post from the perfect person. You obviously had a different opinion about a certain free agent pick up that will remain nameless (to prevent harm to any bloggers) then some others on this blog. Since then I agree with a lot of things you have posted and can tell you are genuinely a fan of the Pirates that wants them to win. For the most part I think me and you agree on a majority of things relating to the Pirates. Passion isn’t a bad thing if kept in perspective.

  274. Jim S. says:

    Milo does, too.

    I think he can recite them backwards … in his sleep.

  275. Jandy says:

    Mine was a lucky, logical guess. Imagine that! Logic from a female ;)

  276. Jim S. says:

    You are obviously correct, NMR.

  277. theplanisworking says:

    Apology not accepted because you certainly don’t need to ever offer one. :)

    I appreciate what you bring here every day. I certainly don’t want you to think I was slamming you in any way about this morning. Just caught me off guard ……. like seeing a cat chase a dog ….. not something you see everyday.

    As for Daquido, I know him better than anyone else on here. I know he loves all Pittsburgh teams, but he simply doesn’t love the FO. And, to be truthful, after the first 4 years, I don’t blame him. But, first and foremost, he is a Pirate fan. Others will disagree, but he truly is.

  278. Good advice, Eddie Lebaron.

    Now, all we need is the late Don Meredith to give his opinion.

    ;)

  279. theplanisworking says:

    Jandy, thank you. The FO WAS underwhelming, until the August waiver trade deadline.

    And, TC, you know as well as I do that every time Hurdle was criticized, there were many posters who said criticism was not allowed. So, the statement I made, to try to calm the savage beasts.

  280. Thundercrack says:

    The S stands for Smokescreen

    :-)

  281. Jim S. says:

    I promise I have my hand extended to you out here in the blogosphere, plan. It’s holding an olive branch, too. I really don’t have an issue with you sometimes being on the other end of debates. More times than not, I think we are actually on the same side.

  282. Thundercrack says:

    Plan, in all honesty I never saw the words ‘criticism of Clint Hurdle is not allowed’.
    Many may have felt that criticism was unwarranted or didn’t agree with it, but I never ever saw anyone post that is was not allowed.

  283. Jandy says:

    LOL! Pot stirrer! :P

  284. Jim S. says:

    Fair enough on Daq. I hope he comes around more often and sometimes just jumps into an honest to goodness discussion of baseball. I’m totally fine with that.

  285. theplanisworking says:

    Hand accepted.
    No olive branch needed.
    Peace pipe? Only if it is filled with good stuff. :)

    Jim, don’t worry about anything. I read, I commented, and I left.
    In no way shape or form do I think you were talking about me.

    I just threw in my 2 cents, and left without any candy, because the candy now costs a nickle. :)

  286. Speaking of branches, Jim, I’m still waiting for you to show up with that leaf rake, although I chewed most of them up mowing the lawn the other day. Maybe I’ll use a tractor the next time.

    ;)

  287. Jandy says:

    I love your Avatar, Dom. leave it alone…unless Fleury bombs out again this playoffs ;)

  288. Jim S. says:

    Quit. Blowing. My. Cover. T. C.

  289. theplanisworking says:

    :D

  290. Jandy says:

    :snicker:

  291. Jim S. says:

    Hmm … I, umm … have been real busy, Lucky. Otherwise, I’d have been there by now.

  292. Jim S. says:

    No worries, plan. I knew it was easily settled. We’ve been good here for a long time.

  293. Jim S. says:

    Am not.

  294. Jandy says:

    Yeah, Jim’s been smoking screens, and ummm…

    inspecting Subarus! Yeah, that’s it ;)

  295. Jandy says:

    Am too!
    :P

  296. Jim S. says:

    Thanks, Nate.

  297. Nate83 says:

    Yes, I couldn’t remember his exact condition but I remember it prevented him from doing his job and wasn’t supposed to get any better. Zimmerman’s injury despite being different would seem to have the same effect and eventually may force him out of the game. Not unlike turf toe or multiple concussions for football players.

  298. Jim S. says:

    And, stop saying I’m sweet. I have spent a life time developing a threatening, menacing, evil, vicious, mean-spirited persona. If you people can’t see by now that I have carefully crafted this web of deception, there’s no hope for any of you.

    Ok, I gotta run! Go Bucs!

  299. theplanisworking says:

    You mean to tell me that it was a screen that was in the Peace Pipe?
    No wonder I feel dizzy.

    Last time I ever sit on the back ledge of a Subaru !

  300. Jim S. says:

    I said olive branch. I never said Peace Pipe. :-)

  301. Like that Subaru commercial:

    “They lived”

    “They lived”

    “They lived”

    “Yes, we lived. And our Subaru dealer sold us another car after.”

    Something like that.

  302. Jandy says:

    pffffftt! :P

  303. Jandy says:

    lol

  304. JohninOshkosh says:

    Mike Gillis sacked.

  305. Naje says:

    Plan… honestly, don’t want to be a part of any back and forth with you. And definitely won’t respond to any demand you have for me to do anything here. My take at the time was what it was: a response to your consistent criticisms of Hurdle. Regardless of the good things you may have written about him, at the time, there wasn’t anything of good substance coming from you.

    Like I wrote above, I’ve put it way behind me.

  306. Oshkosh b’Gosh,

    Wisconsin #3 in next season pre-preseason Top 25.
    Duke #2 and Arizona #1.

    NO solace WHATSOEVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  307. NMR says:

    Hahaha, THIS^

    Almost spit out my coffee reading bpn’s post. Some things are so obvious that the person saying them is blinded. I know I’m guilty of it as well, fwiw.

  308. NMR says:

    Yeeeahhh buddy!

  309. Baywatch says:

    Behind the play of first-time first baseman Francisco Cervelli, O’s lead Yankees 14-5!

  310. Naje says:

    Me too, Lucky… I root for UK football to be good because it just lifts the expectations around the state and it trickles down into the high school ranks and helps make the high school teams better.

    My brother played football at UL back in the 70′s and I became a huge fan. Pitt football was always first and UL football just behind in my rooting interest. In basketball, well, it was always UL first and Pitt second. Got to shag shots from guys like Junior Bridgeman, Allen Murphy, Wesley Cox, Darrell Griffith, etc… strong connection with the program.

  311. JohninOshkosh says:

    Ryan Braun receives a long prolonged booing from Philly fans before his first AB today. Worst reception for him so far this year, including Boston.

    And you people say such nasty things about Philly. Can’t be all that bad! :)

  312. 21sthebest says:

    Some people around me Friday night were yelling, “cheater” when Peralta came up to bat and I was like, “Ever hear of Marlon Byrd?”

  313. Thundercrack says:

    21,
    They were probably family members of Greg Brown.

  314. NMR says:

    Only the first four?

    You guys are getting soff. ;)

  315. Dom says:

    Yeah, he was our right fielder at the end of last season.

  316. Nate83 says:

    +++ made me laugh, which is always a good thing at the end of the work day.

  317. JohninOshkosh says:

    The San Francisco Giants are one cool and classy organization. #batkid.

    That is all.

  318. Arriba Wilver says:

    No offense to you guys, but my favorite Kentuckian is Raylon Givens. Boyd Crowder is in fourth place.

  319. Sarah says:

    Did anyone hear Ron Cook on The Fan today re Bylsma?
    Good lord. Seriously.

    Andrew Filiponi had no idea what to do with him. It’s just embarrassing.

  320. Wild Bill says:

    John there’s nothing to see here. Philly people doing what they were bred to do.

  321. Arriba Wilver says:

    Ah, you are a very astute poster. NMR was right. ;-)

  322. Arriba Wilver says:

    I don’t know where the blog will put this, but my “astute” comment was to Jandy’s marriage post.

  323. Thundercrack says:

    I feel sorry for Filiponi. Somewhere Vinnie is laughing.

  324. Naje says:

    AW…. Raylan Givens is my absolute favorite Kentuckian…and I’ve got a soft spot for Boyd Crowder, too. The writing, the acting, the cinematography…all top-notch. Looking forward to tonight’s season-ending episode.

  325. Arriba Wilver says:

    The season ending episode is always bittersweet. I read somewhere that next year would be the last season. The reason was they thought they had kind of run their course. I thought this season was very strong. I hope Art makes it. It still is the one series that for an hour long series, seems to only take 15 minutes. And it’s not because of commercials.

    Boyd blowing up that gangster with a pack of cigarettes in the hotel room was awesome.

  326. War_Horse says:

    It made perfect logic. But you don’t get it.

    Anything for an arguement, right? Same as ever.

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