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Morning Java: All-Star fare-thee-well

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> The Monday column from PNC Park is about that gentleman up there completing an RBI triple off the center-field fence yesterday, and why there just might not be anybody better. Anywhere.

Andrew McCutchen also was formally announced to the All-Star Game, as were Tony Watson and Josh Harrison. Because, you know, it’s every day that a setup man and utility guy go together.

News coverage of the All-Stars is by Karen Price.

Here’s Cutch taking my question on the national recognition he’s getting:

Here’s Watson on his striking consistency:

And here’s J-Hay on J-Hay:

Neat stuff, all of it, but especially Harrison. You can see his reaction up there and appreciate how much it means. And if you want even more, the Sunday column was J-Hay from front to finish. Hope you have a chance to check it out.

Jeff Locke outdueled good friend A.J. Burnett, as the Pirates just kept on winning. Travis Sawchik reports from PNC Park.

A bad break for Clint Barmes, by Price.

Here’s Phillies news from the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Here’s Cardinals news from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Here are official game highlights on MLB.com.

Here’s TribLIVE’s Pirates page, our Bucco Blog and our photo gallery.

>> Jim Rutherford loves the short-term deal, by Josh Yohe.

Here’s what our panel on WPXI-TV’s Subway Final Word had to say about Brandon Sutter’s future.

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

>> Pitt basketball soon have an all-local quintet, by Kevin Gorman.

Here’s TribLIVE’s Pitt page.

>> This is it for me for a couple weeks. I’m taking two weeks off, and that means everything. No columns, no chats, no TribLIVE Radio shows, no Final Word, no social media, no nothing at all.

It’s mostly about the timing, in addition to being, in all honesty, running somewhat on empty at this point. The Steelers are nowhere to be seen until reporting to Latrobe on July 25. The Penguins’ picture finally has settled a bit. And the Pirates are on the road all this week, followed by the All-Star break next week. Fact is, this is about as dry a spell for a sports columnist as anyone could manufacture.

Game threads and vacation threads will still pop up here, of course.

I’ll be back to full duty July 21.

And no, I’m not going anywhere. At least I don’t think so. When you travel as much as I do on the job, the last thing you’re inclined to plan for a break is more travel. There’s a chance we’ll go up to Erie. Kids like it there. But beyond that, nothing more exotic than Downtown, Starbucks and the standard fare.

Thank you so, so much for reading. The audience for this blog has grown quite a bit in recent months, but I’ll also include followers on social media or plain old readers who just read. It’s never taken for granted, always appreciated.

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. Jim S. says:

    Tremendous article about a tremendous player, who sets the tone for this emerging team.

    I actually didn’t think Cutch could get any better, offensively, than he has been the last 2 years. But, I should learn not to doubt this guy. He has 43 XBH in 88 games in a park that favors pitchers. This undoubtedly keeps Cutch’s HR total down. I don’t know off-hand what the all-time Bucs’ record is for XBH in a season, but he may currently be on a pace to shatter it.

    We’ll see where this season ends up, but 2012-14 are HOF type seasons. Clemente never out together a 3 year offensive stretch like this. I’m not comparing Cutch to Clemente or saying he will be as great as Clemente. Just pointing out that he is doing some special things – the kinds of things that, if continued for several more years, could put him in an eventual discussion for Cooperstown. I hope everyone is recognizing the greatness we are seeing.

  2. MJH DE Pitt says:

    Please don’t put up the ‘Final Word’ links until they are there. Normally Wednesday. Thanks.

  3. MJH DE Pitt says:

    And enjoy your time off. Annoying that I can’t edit my comment.

  4. Ray says:

    Thanks, Dejan, for the tremendous work you do. Have a great vacation.

  5. Ed says:

    Enjoy your time off Dejan. Well deserved.

  6. Maz in Iowa says:

    Have a great break!…….soup for you!!!!!

  7. 21sthebest says:

    Speaking of ballparks that favor pitchers, check out Forbes Field’s dimensions:

    Left Field—360 feet
    Deepest corner—462 feet
    Center Field—442 feet
    Right Field—376 feet

  8. 21sthebest says:

    Actually, the final dimensions were a little smaller.

  9. JoeyBats says:

    BUCCOS — Down on the Farm

    (We’ll keep you apprised of how some of the top prospects are doing; …..this week the PITCHERS. Games played through July 6).
    .
    P- Casey Sadler – Triple A – Indianapolis – Throws: R *** ALL STAR for INDIANAPOLIS ***
    W- 8, L – 1, ERA 2.31…..G 12, IP 74, H 66, ER 19, K 47, BB 14, HR 5, BAA .244, WHIP 1.08
    .
    P- Vin Mazzaro – Triple A – Indianapolis – Throws : R
    W- 2, L – 2, 2 Save 4…ERA 1.61…G 15, IP 22.1, H 14, ER 4, K 18, BB 9, HR 0, BAA .175, WHIP 1.03
    .
    P – AJ Morris – Triple A – Indianapolis – Throws: R (4 games pitched @ Indy, the rest @ Altoona)
    W- 6, L – 4 ERA 2.08…..G 17, IP 75, H 66, ER 18, K 53, BB 25, HR 4, BAA .232, WHIP 1.20
    ….on the DL
    .
    P – Andy Oliver- Triple A – Indianapolis – Throws : L
    W- 1, L – 1, Save 8… ERA 1.93.G 29, IP 42, H 21, ER 9, K 55, BB 26, HR 2, BAA .146, WHIP 1.12
    .
    P – Nick Kingham – Triple A – Indianapolis– Throws: R (5 games pitched @ Indy, rest @ Altoona)
    W- 3, L – 8, ERA 2.68…..G 17, IP 104, H 96, ER 31, K 80, BB 30, HR 3, BAA .246, WHIP 1.35
    .
    P – Joely Rodriguez – Double A –Altoona – Throws : L
    W- 4, L – 7, ERA 4.53…..G 17, IP 93.1, H 98, ER 47, K 48, BB 31, HR 5, BAA .276, WHIP 1.38
    .
    Adrian Sampson – Double A – Altoona – Throws: R
    W- 6, L – 5, ERA 2.82…..G 17, IP 99, H 92, ER 32, K 75, BB 20, HR 5, BAA .247, WHIP 1.13
    .
    P – Tyler Glasnow – Single A – Bradenton – Throws R
    W- 4, L – 4, ERA 2.08…..G 13, IP 65, H 36, ER 15, K 72, BB 37, HR 1, BAA .166, WHIP 1.12
    .
    P – Luis Heredia – Single A – West Virginia – Throws : R
    W- 1, L – 2, ERA 4.71…..G 9, IP 36.1, H 35, ER 19, K 21, BB 22, HR 5, BAA .248, WHIP 1.57
    .
    NOTE: These are the top 3 pitching picks of the most recent draft:
    .
    P – Mitch Keller – Throws: R …..Rd. #2….pick 64…….SIGNED…..GCL Pirates (Rookie League)
    W- 0, L – 0, ERA 0.00…..G 1, IP 2, H 3, ER 0, K 2, BB 0, HR 0, BAA .375, WHIP 1.50
    .
    P- Trey Supak – Throws: R ……Rd. #2 …..pick # 73 …..SIGNED…. GCL Pirates (Rookie League)
    W- 1, L – 0, ERA 0.00…..G 1, IP 1.2, H 1, ER 0, K 2, BB 0, HR 0, BAA .143, WHIP 0.60
    .
    P – Tyler Eppler – Throws: R…Rd. # 6…pick# 191…..SIGNED…Jamestown (NY Penn League)
    W- 0, L – 1, ERA 3.86…..G 5, IP 21, H 19, ER 9, K 15, BB 3, HR 3, BAA .238, WHIP 1.05

  10. JoeyBats says:

    PS: DK ….have a great VACATION / REST / SIESTA !!!

  11. David Dinger says:

    I enjoy what Cutch is doing, Jim. It has been a great run for #22.

    But, Clemente did some pretty special things, too. As 21sthebest points out, most of those were done in Forbes field – where home runs went to die. During the 60s and 70s, Clemente’s heydays, batting average as opposed to OBP was king of the hill, Clemente won four batting titles while facing some of the best pitching the game has ever known. The names Koufax, Carlton, Gibson, Jenkins, Seaver, Drysdale & Marichal, to name a few, all come to mind. I don’t know, but putting up .340 plus batting averages during the era of the pitcher was pretty impressive in my book.

    Enjoy what Cutch is doing – but remember that Clemente is in the hall of fame for good reason… :)

  12. Mike Anitori says:

    I want DK to enjoy his time off, but I was hoping that he would comment (owing to the timeliness if the subject) about his boss, Mr. Scaife. As a proud Pittsburgher and an employee, I think DK’s perspective on this man would be interesting.

  13. Jandy says:

    I had a very busy three day weekend, and now, back to work, I’m catching up lol.

    Looks Like I missed a good game yesterday. Good for Locke to win over his old buddy :)

    Dejan, enjoy your vacation, it’s well-deserved.

  14. Matt Hoffman says:

    Have a good vacation Dejan!

  15. Matt Hoffman says:

    I watched Cutch a lot in Indy Jim. I remember how excited I was when he got called up. At the time, people were angry, but I knew in a few years people would ask “Nate who”?

  16. JAL says:

    JAL’s Theme from Swat Morning Links

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2QQ_s2FXRs

    Theme from Swat 2nd of 3 TV Themes to Make it to number 1

    GENERAL 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

    2014 Pittsburgh Pirates Draft Pick Signing Tracker

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014draft

    BLOGS and such

    5—Pirates Prospects

    First Pitch: The Pirates Are Probably Done Signing 2014 Draft Picks

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/07/first-pitch-the-pirates-are-probably-done-signing-2014-draft-picks.html

    Prospect Watch: JaCoby Jones Continues His Hot Streak With Two More Homers

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/07/prospect-watch-jacoby-jones-continues-his-hot-streak-with-two-more-homers.html

    6 Bucs Dugout

    Postgame: Jeff Locke, Bucs beat A.J. Burnett, earn sweep

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2014/7/6/5875767/postgame-jeff-locke-bucs-beat-a-j-burnett-earn-sweep

    Notes from Neal Huntington’s Sunday press meeting

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2014/7/6/5875243/notes-from-neal-huntingtons-sunday-press-meeting

    7 Rumbunter

    McCutchen, Harrison and Watson Selected to the All Star Team

    http://rumbunter.com/2014/07/06/all-starjhayjoshharrisonandrewmccutchentonywatson/

    8 Green Weenie

    Bucs Break Out the Broom, Sweep Phils 6-2

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2014/07/bucs-break-out-broom-sweep-phils-6-2.html

    9 WHYGAVS

    Game 88: Pirates 6 Phillies 2

    http://whygavs.com/june-2014/game-88-pirates-6-phillies-2.html

    10 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Pirates 6 Phillies 2

    http://raisethejollyroger.com/2014/07/pirates-6-phillies-2/

  17. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 Philly Com

    Pirates complete three-game sweep of Phillies with 6-2 win

    http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/phillies/Pirates_complete_three-game_sweep_of_Phillies_with_6-2_win_at_PNC_Park.html

    12 Rant Sports

    Brandon McCarthy Would Have Been Good Acquisition for Pittsburgh Pirates

    http://www.rantsports.com/mlb/2014/07/06/brandon-mccarthy-would-have-been-good-acquisition-for-pittsburgh-pirates/

    13 CBS Sports

    Pirates vs Cards Game Preview

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/gametracker/preview/MLB_20140707_PIT@STL

    14 Chicago Sun Times

    Cubs taking different tack to acquire pitching

    http://www.suntimes.com/sports/baseball/cubs/28519081-573/cubs-taking-different-tack-to-acquire-pitching.html#.U7p8BLGo_IQ

    15 Pirates Site

    Locke beats Burnett to secure Bucs’ first sweep

    http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2014_07_06_phimlb_pitmlb_1&mode=recap_home&c_id=pit

    Bucs place Barmes on disabled list

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20140706&content_id=83324384&notebook_id=83324386&vkey=notebook_pit&c_id=pit

    16 Cincinnati Enquirer

    Bruce lifts Reds past Brewers, 4-2, to win series

    http://www.cincinnati.com/story/sports/mlb/reds/2014/07/06/jay-bruce-homer-lifts-reds-past-brewers/12269029/

    17 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

    Reds’ late home run sinks Brewers

    http://www.jsonline.com/sports/reds-late-home-run-sinks-brewers-b99305592z1-265961761.html

    18 St. Louis Post Dispatch

    Cards’ offense produces too little, too late

    http://www.stltoday.com/sports/baseball/professional/cards-offense-produces-too-little-too-late/article_5f0cb72a-db13-581e-ba36-edfd02d81a61.html

    Goold: Cardinals see cost of trading as high

    http://www.stltoday.com/sports/baseball/professional/goold-cardinals-see-cost-of-trading-as-high/article_fa53b1a4-565a-5236-b50f-4ce9e2072302.html

    19 Fangraphs

    The A’s and Cubs Blockbuster Trade

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/cubs-athletics-trade-jeff-samardzija-jason-hammel-addison-russell-billy-mckinney/

    20 Baseball Prospectus

    The Week in Quotes

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=24080

  18. Jim S. says:

    As I said, NOT making the case that Cutch is as good as Clemente was. I only said this 3 year stretch is better, offensively, than any 3 yr stretch Clemente had. And, compared to the Brauns Goldschmidts, and Tulos of the world – who are often thought of as the best hitters in the NL – Cutch plays in a tougher hitting park. Those are the guys I compare him to. If he keeps this up for a bunch more years – a big if – he can be in the conversation for HOF consideration.

  19. Jandy says:

    +++++

  20. DJ says:

    DK: “His .424 on-base percentage, fueled by even greater patience this year with opponents now determined to duck him, ranks second in all of baseball.”

    Plate discipline, plus hand quickness, two scouting report points of emphasis as a high schooler, separate McCutchen from the pack. Best I’ve seen since Bonds.

  21. Vette60 says:

    Hi All.

    The family had a great weekend in Pittsburgh. Lots of fun including a trip to Kennywood.

    Caught a bunch of Bucco baseball and was thrilled with the sweep. Big stretch coming up here.

    Congrats to our all-stars as well.

    DK – enjoy the well deserved vacation. See you on the 21st!

    Randy in RVA.

  22. DJ says:

    Question for the blog’s baseball aficionados:

    Can Cutch’s annual salary be increased, or effectively increased through bonus money, without adding term?

  23. DJ says:

    Gilligan (little buddy) outduels the Skipper.

    Unless dealt to a contender, boring balance of season and next for AJ — except for counting his dough.

  24. Jandy says:

    A lot of us would LOVE to have that problem lol

  25. Thundercrack says:

    DK,
    Enjoy your vacation.

    I might suggest that you take some time during the next 2 weeks to analyze & reevaluate your relationship with Starbucks and caffeine. :-)

    I saw a picture you posted yesterday. I know it must have been a long day at PNC Park…but 2 large iced coffees from Starbucks!?!?! Wow. ( were those Venti or Trenta size?)

  26. DJ says:

    Made his point signing with Philly. He has that.

    If his great-great-great grandchildren were not financially secure already with the $100+ million he’s made, shame on him.

  27. SeanE says:

    Enjoy the time off DK. Well deserved!!!

  28. TJA says:

    Dejan – Question for you: Watched the “Final Word” last evening and had a question that is from last night and about a month ago, too. I recall on one of you chats that you answered a question in which you suggested that the Brewers would be hanging around all summer and probaly would be the team to beat in the Central. If memory serves me, you said that they had been building a good team in 2011/2012 and then last year was the suspension for Bruan and other issues they had. Last night when Bill Phillips posed the question if the Pirates are a “legitimate contender”, you (and to some extent, Josh and Travis) suggested that the Brewers are “phonies” and you feel that the division title may come down to the Pirates and Cardinals. As a Pirates fan, I enjoyed what I heard in this debate (anything negative about the Brewers I like to hear!), but was curious this morning as to what has you thinking that the Brewers may not be there later in the summer? It’s obvious the Pirates are playing great ball and St. Louis is, well, St. Louis. I would love to see another battle with the Cardinals in late August as we saw in 2013. Thanks, Dejan.

  29. TJA says:

    Oops…didn’t see you were on vacation, Dejan, before my above question. No biggie….enjoy your time off.

  30. Thundercrack says:

    May be in Gettysburg this coming weekend. Are there any minor league teams in the area — AA or higher?

  31. Jandy says:

    zactly!

  32. TJA says:

    TC…The Harrisburg Senators are out that way. Not sure who their parent club is or how far from Gettysburg.

  33. Jandy says:

    I think Harrisburg is the closest, TC. here are all of them in PA:
    http://www.pennsylvania-vacations-guide.com/minor-league-baseball-teams.html

  34. Jandy says:

    Affiliate of the Nationals.

  35. Jandy says:

    You’re in luck if you drive that far, the Curve plays Harrisburg Fri Sat Sun and Mon :)

  36. Jim S. says:

    Forbes Field was absolutely a monstrous park, and hurt the power numbers of Clemente and Stargell. My older brothers have told me stories, and they swear they are factual, that the batting practice cage would often be left in the outfield of Forbes during the game because it was so far away. I have heard other people verify this as well.

  37. Steve B. says:

    Glad to see Harrison get the acknowledgement and reward from baseball. He’s a gamer and a big reason this team is turning things around right now. I know Cutch is obviously the lynch pin, but if team MVP’s were being handed out right now, I say he should get it. He makes things happen.

    Plate discipline is something I hope Polanco grasps someday. Some of his at bats this past weekend were horrendous at best. Maybe he’ll learn to look for his pitch, instead of the “I’m going to sit on this one and swing at the next” approach, regardless of what’s thrown to him. Good pitchers like AJ drool when they see that kinda thing. He sat on enough hit-able pitches and swung at balls thrown in the dirt and over his head to make Pedro’s at bats look like a hitting clinic.

    Yeah, I know he’s a rookie but C’mon, he looked like a little leaguer hacking away at some of those and looking like a deer in headlights at others. Don’t know what’s worse, seeing Davis sit on countless strike three’s or GP swatting at flies.

    That said; I was in town for the series last season and had to deal with all the obnoxious 20-something year old Phillies fans who somehow found capability to actually drive a car across the state without hitting something, so I’m glad they had a nice long drive home this year after seeing their team get swept outta town by a team they can only hope to have again someday in a ballpark they never will. Something tells me the crowds next time won’t be so pink…I mean chartreuse.

  38. Arriba Wilver says:

    There’s a minor league soccer team in Harrisburg. :-)

  39. TJA says:

    Thanks, Jandy and that would make sense with the team name. Kind of a big Dahhh from me….

  40. Tom P. says:

    Good homework, Jandy. Another option is the York Revolution of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. It is an independent league of probably AA/AAA quality. York is home this weekend also.

    http://atlanticpro.bbstats.pointstreak.com/schedule.html?leagueid=174

    I saw the Lancaster, PA team play two years ago. Good baseball. Just my two cents.

  41. Jim S. says:

    I hope DK enjoys the well deserved time off. But, who will care for the bobbles? Those things aren’t going to feed themselves. :-)

  42. Sisyphus says:

    A lot smaller. I think that right field was about 300 feet after the grandstand was added. Even so, a brutal park for hitters, especially righties with power.

  43. Steve B. says:

    Sorry, not chartreuse but whatever that pinkish red is. I know it has an actual name but I can’t think of it.

  44. scapper says:

    HAHA. Had the same thought when I saw that picture. Guess it’s better than chain-smoking Camels or downing half a fifth of Grey Goose every night, but…whew. Posters keep wishing him a restful break, but I don’t know how the man ever sleeps.

    That being said, have a great break, DK, and enjoy that beautiful family of yours.

  45. Arriba Wilver says:

    Yes to the batting cage being out there. I didn’t know that was the reason, though, I just thought they had nowhere else to put it. :-)

  46. Wild Bill says:

    Well, it’s now time to get back out of the sandbox and play with the big boys again, starting tonight in St. Louie. This time next week, we’ll really know a lot more about where the Bucs stack up. I’m feeling optimistic, with the better pitching we’ve had in recent weeks. But these are the teams that know us best and vice versa.

  47. scapper says:

    Try the Hagerstown team. Nice stadium and only about 30 miles away. Bryce Harper played a little ball there.

  48. scapper says:

    SMH…get it? Bobbles? Shaking my…oh, forget it.

  49. Sisyphus says:

    Actually he did, but it’s hard to see that by looking at the raw numbers. The 60′s are known in the SABR world as the second dead ball era. Hitting was seriously down until the mound was lowered, so much so that Carl Yastrzemski won an AL batting title by hitting .301. A good stat for comparing players across eras is OPS+, which tells you how a guy hits compared to the average hitter. From 1967-1967 Clemente’s OPS+ were 171, 152 and 168, and McCutchen’s last three are 162, 157 and 174 so far this year. Very much comparable. And isn’t it fantastic that we’re comparing Cutch to such a great hitter at this time?

    Hope we end up comparing him to Barry Bonds. His last three OPS+ with the Pirates were 170, 160 and 204.

  50. Steve B. says:

    Yup, finally a real test. Now we get a real gauge to measure on how much they’ve improved over the past couple months.

  51. Lad 9 says:

    DK, enjoy the time off. Thanks for the last two columns on Jay Hay and Cutch – both excellent pieces. I wish my work would be that on point when I was running on empty…..

  52. Smitty55 says:

    Yes Jim. The batting cage was in the deepest part ofthe park. I saw Willie Mays bounce one off it, but that was the only time I saw it happen. I suppose others did, though.

  53. Jim S. says:

    Just to follow up on the extra base hits topic ….

    Stargell had a whopping 90 extra base hits in 1973 – far and away the highest of his career. Good gracious! 43 doubles, 44 HR and he even added 3 triples. That’s awesome power! Cutch will not be getting 90 extra base hits this year – or any year, I don’t think.

    Kiner had 79 extra base hits one year, and 78 in two other years. Cutch is about on that pace this year, but likely won’t be able to maintain it.

    Honus made it to 71 once, which was remarkable for his era. Paul Waner had 80 extra base hits one year, which included 62 doubles! Arkie Vaughn made it to 60 once, and Lloyd Waner never made it out of the 50′s. John Wehner … oh, never mind. There may be others that I overlooked.

    My final point on the Cutch/Clemente thing … Believe me, I never meant to say Cutch would ever be the all around player Roberto was. He can never come close as a defender, mostly due to Clemente arguably having the greatest throwing arm ever for an OF. And, he has very little chance of winning 4 batting titles, although he is putting up .320-ish seasons now with regularity. It is also very doubtful that he will help his team win 2 World Series titles – although we can hope! And, the off the field accomplishments … well, we all know how Roberto’s life came to an end. No player can be put in that category. It isn’t even fair. I’m just glad Cutch seems to be a great ambassador in our community.

    I know Roberto’s place in Pittsburgh, MLB and Latin baseball history. He’s at the top of the heap. I would never suggest otherwise, and wouldn’t want it any other way. My son has seen hundreds of Cutch’s games over the past few years, and loves him. But, he has worn #21 as his baseball uniform # from day 1. I may have had a small part in influencing that.

  54. Bizrow says:

    Whats a vacation?? ;-)

  55. Jim S. says:

    Incredible. Just pushed it out there and never gave it a second thought. That’s a big park!

  56. Arriba Wilver says:

    Polanco definitely had some bad at bats this weekend, but on the whole, his plate discipline seems pretty good for someone just coming up.

  57. Jim S. says:

    That was actually my original awkwardly worded point, Sis. Just to be considered in the company of Clemente for 3 years is quite an achievement for any player.

  58. Arriba Wilver says:

    As far as the Philly fans, I hadn’t really noticed them like in past years until Byrd’s homer, and there was a huge cheer.

  59. DJ says:

    Yeah, let’s give him a couple months.

    Maybe three.

  60. Smitty55 says:

    I rarely comment, but read every day, and I just wanted to say thanks to JAL for all the work he puts in to supply the morning links. Missed you last week. Reminds me of a girl I once broke up with. You never know how much they mean to you till they’re not there. LOL.

  61. Jandy says:

    Pink works for me ;)

  62. Jandy says:

    All good Justice :)

  63. 21sthebest says:

    Comparing players between eras is something I’ve personally never been comfortable doing. Too many variables. I’m not sure comparing statistics for players between eras is meaningful in this case.

  64. Arriba Wilver says:

    No need to apologize, Jim. Clemente was my boyhood hero. And EYE knew what you meant. ;-)

  65. Thundercrack says:

    How far away is Harrisburg from Gettysburg

  66. Thundercrack says:

    Thanks for that Tom. I had seen that York has a team – but wasn’t wild about the Atlantic League.

    But thanks for the recommendation

  67. Wild Bill says:

    Smitty, is the double nickels your year of birth?

  68. Thundercrack says:

    By all the crowd shots from Root Sports you would have thought there were a lot of Philly fans there.

  69. 21sthebest says:

    A fellow I used to work with would come back to work after the December holidays and say, “It’s great to be back on vacation!”

  70. Milo Hamilton says:

    There were a ton of Philly fans at the game Friday. Four runs in the 1st inning made them pretty much invisible. Look, we’ve all been there. They know their team stinks. That’ll quiet you down pretty fast.

  71. Arriba Wilver says:

    +++

  72. Jim S. says:

    Great line. Wish I had thought of it originally, scapper.

  73. JohninOshkosh says:

    Geeze, Dejan is such a slacker.

    Have a great break. Honey do list must be a doozy with all your travel.

    Greatest athlete in America ? Joey Chestnut.

    Come back and play, Groat!

  74. NMR says:

    +++

    Even moreso, it’s a myth that teams are ducking him, in terms of throwing many less strikes. Cutch is swinging at less balls, and less pitches in the zone. Selectivity is a good thing.

  75. Jim S. says:

    Thanks, AW.

  76. Jandy says:

    +++++

  77. Wild Bill says:

    Does DK’s vacation mean that Jandhi is now policing the blog?? It might be a job for more than size 9 wides. :)

  78. Jim S. says:

    Ball parks can have a huge effect, sometimes simultaneously helping and hurting. I think a lot of casual fans don’t realize that. Yankee Stadium, for instance, has the short porch in RF/RC that makes it a launching pad. But, LF/LC can be brutal on your power.

    OPS+ is a good stat that tries to equalize park factors, as you mentioned earlier.

  79. Milo Hamilton says:

    I promise to be good. ;)

  80. 21sthebest says:

    I didn’t think there were a lot at all. Lots more in prior years.

  81. JohninOshkosh says:

    Serious question and I mean no offense by this at all.

    But, what is there to do in Erie other than see the lake ?

    I always pictured it as an aging industrial town. I must be wrong, huh ? Should I put it on my to see in PA list ?

  82. Arriba Wilver says:

    I don’t know one way or the other how it works comparing era’s, though.

  83. TJA says:

    Re: Joey Chestnut. Awesome stuff on July 4th, indeed!

  84. tomf says:

    McCutchen one of the best Pirates ever

    bat speed off the chart – with amazing power for a guy without good size

    covers a lot of real estate in the OF

    also one of the best Pgh pro athletes ever – and one of the current best athletes in all professional sports ; speed, speed, and more speed (10.91 100m in 9th grade)

    real treat to watch

    #1 area for improvement: his throws – especially accuracy

  85. Tom P. says:

    John,

    As a native who has spent probably 40 of my 49 years in Erie, I can tell you that Erie is a perfect place to visit from about May through October. Certainly the 7 – 10 miles of sandy beaches are an attraction in the summer. We also have a relatively small amusement park with water slides. However, the amusement park does have one of the top 10 roller coasters in the United States, if that is something you enjoy. We have a maritime museum which focuses on the war of 1812. There is a baseball team known as the Erie Seawolves which is the AA affiliate of the Detroit Tigers. You are correct that the industrial base is aging, but depending on what you like to do, you could keep yourself busy for a couple of days. If you can’t tell me what you would like to do, I could probably give you some more suggestions.

  86. TJA says:

    John – Erie is not too bad a place at all. Had a cuz that lived here for awhile and visited from time to time. Presque Isle State Park is pretty nice.

  87. Zico says:

    I was sitting near a large chunk of them on Friday. They stood up and were boisterous when Marte was thrown out. 30 minutes later, still the Bottom of the 1st, they weren’t so loud anymore.

  88. Arriba Wilver says:

    They are definitely pitching him differently, though. That’s not a myth, that’s baseball. Both pitchers and batters adjust.

  89. TJA says:

    Agree , Tom about up to October. My cus that lived there….the first winter there his kids thought the world was coming to an end. They are originally from Souther california. Ha! Welsome to the snow belt!

    Oh sorry….bad word….

  90. Arriba Wilver says:

    +++

  91. Jim S. says:

    I think what it does is take the park into consideration at the time and peg the player to the league average while he played.

    But, I think it is tough to compare the eras from that perspective – which is probably your point. We can say that a park like Forbes field may have cut down on a righty’s home run power by 15% (just making up a number for argument’s sake) compared to league average at the time. But, that doesn’t tell us what that means vs. Coors Field now.

  92. Arriba Wilver says:

    It definitely has a lot to do with where you are sitting. The huge cheer I was talking about was largely behind me. Sounded like a big Philly group. But since we got up early, they didn’t have anything to cheer about, and I had no reason to look. ;-)

  93. Jim S. says:

    Yeah, you never know for sure. But, I also think that is one of the fun things about baseball. Each person can often make a very compelling argument that one player is/was better than another player of a different era.

    But, you accounting guys need it to be definitive. ;-)

  94. theplanisworking says:

    Osh,

    if you like maritime stuff, Erie is for you.
    There is the restored Brig ship Niagra, from the War of 1812.
    There is the Historical society, which does a fairly nice job of chronicaling the history of the region.

    There are 4 lighthouses, mostly restored, and available for tours.
    There is a great improv-style comedy club … JR’s Last Stand ….. if you are into that style of comedy.

    Seawolves in the summer, and a minor-league hockey team, the Otters in the winter.

    Erie is no longer considered the “Mistake by the Lake” anymore.
    Quite a nice time can be had there.

  95. Johnny Styles says:

    Why start now? :)

  96. Jandy says:

    +++++

  97. Jandy says:

    Yeah and I’m Mother Theresa ;)

  98. Jandy says:

    Haha Wild One….I don’t wanna be a Policewoman LOL!

  99. NMR says:

    Who said they aren’t?

  100. Jim S. says:

    I would add lack of strength as well regarding Cutch’s arm, tom. Not only is he not particularly accurate, but he does not have a strong arm. I believe they have worked on his technique to improve accuracy, but the strength will always be lacking.

    On a separate note, in his short time in the OF this year, I have noticed that JHay has really improved his throwing accuracy. He really has worked on keeping it down and getting it on line. He does not have a particularly strong arm, but just getting it on target is more than half the battle.

    I used to love how Andy Van Slyke threw from CF. He put absolutely everything into his throws to home.

  101. Maz in Iowa says:

    Nice and clean here……after the SWEEP! Who hoo……………………………..

  102. Jim S. says:

    JAL is da best!

  103. Jandy says:

    +++

  104. Jandy says:

    rub it in, Biz :P

  105. Jim S. says:

    I kind of had that perception as well.

  106. Johnny Styles says:

    Okay, so the Buccos have 7 games remaining before the ASB, all against the Cards and Reds. Gimme a realistic expectation for said 7 games.

  107. Smitty55 says:

    WB..lol, Iwish . I was 55 when I first started posting,so…gonna be 65 soon, just too9 lazy to change it. thx for asking

  108. Thundercrack says:

    I believe I heard a recent interview with Cutch and he said he is seeing less strikes. And he has conditioned himself to be ready (and swing) for when they do.

  109. Milo Hamilton says:

    Woo Hoo, it’s Grumpy Cat !

  110. Arriba Wilver says:

    I was wondering what you thought the pitchers were doing differently, if not throwing him less strikes.

  111. David says:

    I believe the highest compliment I can pay a journalist is to purchase his/her newspaper and read his/her work in print. I had the privilege to visit Pittsburgh this past weekend for the Phillies/Pirates series, and while things went about as badly as they could have for my Phillies, I had an absolute blast in the city. And yes, I bought the Trib each day.

    Great work, DK, as well as everyone at the Trib. It’s always been great, but it’s better in print. Enjoy vacation, and I’m look forward

  112. David says:

    I believe the highest compliment I can pay a journalist is to purchase his/her newspaper and read his/her work in print. I had the privilege to visit Pittsburgh this past weekend for the Phillies/Pirates series, and while things went about as badly as they could have for my Phillies, I had an absolute blast in the city. And yes, I bought the Trib each day.

    Great work, DK, as well as everyone at the Trib. It’s always been great, but it’s better in print. Enjoy vacation, and I’m looking forward to my next visit in December.

  113. Jim S. says:

    Since there isn’t a salary cap in baseball, I suppose the two sides can agree to alter it any way they wish, DJ.

    I would think the Pirates would be ok with giving him more money, but they would want more years. And, unfortunately, they probably don’t want to give him as much more money as he would want.

    He has to be the most underpaid superstar in MLB right now, or very close. I think Trout’s new deal is done, right? I can’t think of anyone else this good making less.

  114. Jim S. says:

    I’m glad you enjoyed yourself, David – other than the outcome of the games, of course.

  115. JohninOshkosh says:

    Thanks, guys. Great info.

    I am a big time fan of maritime stuff. Also, I generally enjoy Great Lakes cities-big and small-so, hopefully, I can check it out sometime.

  116. 21sthebest says:

    No, not at all. I don’t need anything to be definitive. If I needed things to be definitive I probably wouldn’t be such a huge fan of baseball. I like that a lot of arguments will never be settled. For example, how important is a manager, is bunting worth it, etc.

    By the way Jim, accounting is far from definitive. In many many cases, it’s an estimate. :-)

  117. Milo Hamilton says:

    4-3 is realistic. Anything better than that is gravy. Something to remember, 42 of their remaining 74 games are on the road. They’ve played the fewest road games in the NL, and they’re 18-21 away from home.

  118. Arriba Wilver says:

    Your avatar says 0-7.

    Seriously, though, on the Sunday night talk shows, they were saying anything better than 1 and 6 would be OK. Anything higher gravy. Sounds about right to me. Naturally hope for gravy.

  119. Arriba Wilver says:

    Was supposed to be under Johnny Styles’ post.

  120. Mike Shigley says:

    They are an affiliate of the Washington Nationals.

  121. NMR says:

    Less fastballs. Not challenging him inside as much.

  122. Jim S. says:

    Reminds me of my garage. :-)

  123. 21sthebest says:

    Just a little trivia, the MVP’s of both leagues in 2006 made $740,000 combined.

  124. Johnny Styles says:

    42 out of 74 on the road? Ugh. I don’t like that. I don’t like that at all. That said, 4-3 would be just fine by me.

  125. Arriba Wilver says:

    The bright side of that away record is that they’ve improved it markedly since April. Since April they are 37-25 on the road. April killed a lot of stats.

  126. Johnny Styles says:

    I know that the Sunday night sports shows around town are generally gloom and doom (on a good day) but 1-6? Sheesh. Even Grumpy Cat would expect better than that. :)

  127. Arriba Wilver says:

    My bad. That is their overall record since April. I do think they’ve improved their record on the road, though, since it started out abysmal.

  128. David says:

    Eh, what can you do. The Phillies’ time is past; it’s time to rebuild.

    If I may also offer a word of caution: If you might think a blockbuster trade at the deadline is necessary to push your Pirates over the top, look at the deadline moves Ruben Amaro has made over the last few years and where the Phillies franchise stands now as a result of them and throwing truckloads of money at aging stars.

    You’ve got a great thing going with the Pirates now. Enjoy the ride while it lasts, and be very careful about making huge moves.

  129. Arriba Wilver says:

    Thx

  130. 21sthebest says:

    There didn’t seem to be many in my section. I’m still amazed at how the Blue Jays fans infiltrated PNC Park.

  131. Jim S. says:

    Wow! If 2-5 is ok, then the Sunday night shows need to have a little more faith. 2-5 isn’t a disaster, but this team needs to be shooting a bit higher at this point.

  132. Johnny Styles says:

    Grumpy Cat is my liege and idol.

  133. Arriba Wilver says:

    They weren’t predicting it. They were really talking about whether this was a “defining moment” of the season. Basically, the thought was no, unless they really tank it. I agree with Grumpy Cat. ;-)

  134. NMR says:

    And IMO, an even greater compliment to Cutch.

    It’s one thing for pitchers to just not throw a batter strikes. Hitter doesn’t swing, walks increase. All fine and well.

    But with Cutch, I believe it is more nuanced. He’s seen his walks AND power increase simultaneously. Whether he knows he’s doing it or not, he’s swinging at less strikes which prolongs at-bats increasing the odds for a walk while also hitting the pitches he does swing at with more authority. That’s pretty much the finishing touches of a truly great hitter, and he seems to be only getting better at it.

    Guy is unreal.

  135. Arriba Wilver says:

    Sage advice,

  136. Johnny Styles says:

    The Cards and Reds aren’t heads and shoulders better than the Pirates. Heck, neither are the Brewers. I think the last year and a half has proven that. Yet, I really hope that they don’t go into these next 7 games with big heads (as can happen to them at times). Yeah, they had an 8-2 homestead, but the games were against the bottom feeders of the National League. They should have gone 8-2. If they only win 2 out of the next 7 is it time to panic? No, but it would really put a damper on what’s been a really good last two months.

  137. 21sthebest says:

    My biggest beef with outfielders these days is throwing the ball home without a bounce. I think you gain so much accuracy when you one bounce it as Harrison did the other day. I think he threw one on a fly and it wasn’t as accurate.

  138. Arriba Wilver says:

    I don’t expect the lower number. The Phillies for example, despite their record, had some pretty good pitchers we beat up on. It wasn’t just the competition, in my view. They are playing better.

  139. Maz in Iowa says:

    Jay Bruce struggling.Votto having injury problems.Be nice to see the Bucs get some payback

  140. Johnny Styles says:

    Well, as my avatar will tell you, I often have low expectations for “Our Buccos” (TM Lanny), so I am trying to temper my expectations for these seven games. Perhaps, I’ll just do what Clint says and take things a game at a time.

  141. Jim S. says:

    That is true.

  142. 21sthebest says:

    This is the most important stretch of games this season following the last dozen or so stretches of games since opening day and preceding the next 10-12 important stretches of games until the end of the season and they’re all defining moments.

    I predict we need to go something and something in this 7 game stretch in order to be in the division hunt.

    I’m auditioning to be on The Fan, btw.

  143. NMR says:

    Haha, I listened on a drive yesterday for the first time this year and you literally nailed a half hour segment.

  144. Johnny Styles says:

    Good old Brand X. Never let it be said they say anything that could be construed as having an actual opinion.

  145. chethejet1 says:

    The Pirates have been playing better and that is good stuff. I never buy into the big boys stuff with the Reds and the Cards this year. 3 and 4 is OK with me. The race starts after the All Star break and see what the Buccos do to address some issues.

  146. camchuck says:

    I thought Cleveland was the Mistake by the Lake….

  147. Arriba Wilver says:

    Me too.

  148. Maz in Iowa says:

    Good Charlie or………you know………..the other one? :)

  149. bpn8pitt says:

    You would undo the Cliff Lee trade?

  150. Jim S. says:

    Bruce was 0 for forever until hitting the game winning HR yesterday. I hope his bat isn’t waking up.

  151. Jim S. says:

    You’re never getting that half hour of your life back, btw. :-)

  152. Jim S. says:

    I do recall something like a 6-15 or 6-16 start on the road. The last 2 roadtrips have made it respectable.

  153. Johnny Styles says:

    Thinking the same thing…

  154. Wild Bill says:

    Was reading the game article on Philly.com and the 200+ comments after it. There are some seriously angry people in Philly right now, a lot more hostility toward management than I expected. Guess a $190 million payroll doesn’t protect you from criticism if the season goes like theirs is – maybe it actually makes it worse.

    Virtually nothing at all said about the Pirates, it was all about the tanking Phils.

  155. Jim S. says:

    I think you nailed a pretty tough skill there. The one bounce throw where the catcher doesn’t have a short hop or gets handcuffed. The good OF guys can do that every time, it seems.

  156. scapper says:

    So true on the arm strength. Like speed, it just can’t be taught or developed. But the best outfielders compensate for average arm strength by a hard charge and a quick release, both of which CAN be improved with work. Remember Willie McGee? Didn’t have much of an arm at all, but he charged balls like a madman and the ball was out of his hands and headed toward the infield in a flash. As a result, he kept runners honest and many times standing on third. Sure, he played left field, but still, he was a prime example of how mechanics can help offset a so-so arm.

    And right on the mark about Van Slyke! Not only did he have a strong, accurate arm, but there was a guy who charged a base hit like no one else and then got rid of the ball in a flash and used his full body momentum to aid his throws. Watching him charge and unload a throw remains one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen in a lifetime of watching the Pirates.

  157. Jim S. says:

    Speaking of Cleveland, I know they were all fired up yesterday about getting LeBron back. I actually think they have a shot at that.

  158. Jim S. says:

    I see you’ve gone all JHay on us with the avatar, Jandy. Front runner! :-)

  159. NMR says:

    See, the fallacy in this type of argument, bpn, is that anyone who knows the situation can easily counter it with a similar argument, such as:

    “You really WOULDN’T undo the Hunter Pence trade?”

  160. Jim S. says:

    When I was looking up the stats in baseballreference.com this morning, I saw that Clemente’s career earnings were $758,000. And, of that total, he made $100,000/$125,000/$150,000 in his last 3 years. Times have changed.

  161. bpn8pitt says:

    Like I tell Jim, NMR….

    Hang on to all those prospects, they all work out…

    Bay trade, Sabathia trade, Lee trade, Haliday trade

    Hell, did any Pirate fan know who Addison Russell was until a few days ago?

  162. NMR says:

    I can say the same to all you poor folks who still read me. ;)

  163. Jandy says:

    Hey, Cutch is our hero, but JHay deserves some love too :)

  164. bpn8pitt says:

    Mike Olt, Jurickson Profar…

  165. Jim S. says:

    Wow, that was peanuts even in 2006. I don’t even remember who they were. ???

  166. Maz in Iowa says:

    Self-serve beer stations make debut…..

  167. Arriba Wilver says:

    The NHL draft is over. They have to boo somebody. ;-)

  168. theplanisworking says:

    Cleveland, Buffalo, and Erie have all, at one time or another, shared the “Mistake by the Lake” nickname.

    Not exactly fair, but ……

  169. NMR says:

    Anyone who pays a shred of attention to prospects absolutely knew who Addison Russell was.

    I honestly don’t know how to have this conversation with someone who admittedly doesn’t pay attention to one side of the argument.

  170. Jim S. says:

    And, to your point, NMR, his strikeouts are actually up this year. He’s at 69 already, while finishing at 101 last year. Deeper counts means more walks and more strikeouts. I agree with you that he’s getting better. He’s learning to be more patient for his pitch now. And, when he gets his pitch … BOOM!

  171. Maz in Iowa says:

    Philly fans are always p****d off.We’re talking about “fans” who threw snowballs at Santa.Not too mention nastier things!

  172. Bob Topich says:

    SNF 3 Day Weekend!

  173. Jandy says:

    Oh My!

  174. Andrew says:

    If you ever want to waste a couple minutes this is a great site for old ball park dimensions.

    http://www.andrewclem.com/Baseball/ForbesField.html

    A big limiting factor in early ball parks is they had to fit within a city block, so you don’t see a lot of arcing walls, instead you got a lot of straight walls the ran along a street and very high fence.

  175. bpn8pitt says:

    No you just cant come up with anything.

    On one hand, we are all saying the Pirates have more starting pitchers than they have spots for, and then on the other everyone is too hesitant to move guys like Kingham and Glasnow and something else for an ace in Price.

    You and others say its only for 1.5…I look at it, as two playoff runs.

  176. bpn8pitt says:

    Outside of the Bedard trade, I cant think of anything off the top of my head that was one sided recently. I could be wrong.

    But if I go to Chicago down the road, I’ll get you an Addison Russell souvenir. :)

  177. NMR says:

    “You and others say its only for 1.5…I look at it, as two playoff runs.”

    And that is a completely logical, fair argument.

    And arguing that holding on to a guy like Glasnow can mean 4-6 playoff runs.

    Neither of you are definitely wrong. If either of you were, then baseballs teams wouldn’t make BOTH kind of trades.

  178. 21sthebest says:

    Morneau and Howard.

    And does anybody talk about Ryan Howard anymore?

  179. Wild Bill says:

    While Cutch deservedly gets most of the attention, it was very cool to see Watson and Harrison make the All Star team. Really hard for guys with their job descriptions to make it. They’ve both been amazing.

    How jazzed up will they be when their names are called on All Star night!

  180. Johnny Styles says:

    It just goes to show you how far the All-Star Game has come that an 8th inning reliever and a super sub are named to the team. And I mean that in a good way.

  181. piratemike says:

    Duke Snider of the Dodgers once climbed the batting cage to make a catch.

  182. Arriba Wilver says:

    Yeah, I figured that was why the Grandstand changed the dimensions so much. And much like the Clemente Wall, there was a netting in right field that you had to hit it over to be a home run, I believe. My friends and I would sit out there to watch Clemente and smoke cigars. ;-)

  183. Johnny Styles says:

    So a 16 oz Shock Top draft will only cost $6.40? That’s pretty good for a ballpark beer. We need one of these at PNC Park! Not that I’d ever pay for a beer there, but if someone wanted to buy one for me… :)

  184. Andrew says:

    Come see a couple of organizational top-10 hitter Mike Skole 3B and Michael Talyor OF, also former Curve player Quincy Latimore.

    The Senators play the Curve in a double header Saturday.

  185. NMR says:

    IMO, the lack of this skill stems from the showcase mentality.

    None of these players are rewarded for making the smart, accurate throws you guys speak of. They’re rewarded for airing out monster throws that showcase their tool in front of scouts.

    Same at the plate. Guys with monster BP performances are drafted despite not actually being good in games (see Milwaukkee Brewers) over kids that can actually hit.

  186. NMR says:

    Great addition, Jim. Thanks!

  187. JRay3 says:

    Hello inmates! Just getting back from vacation and when I left the Bucs were 9 games out of first and close to being written off, so what did I miss?

    Seems like it has been a great week for the hottest team in baseball since around May 1st. Big series coming up leading into the All-Star break it appears.

    Booked my trip to Denver to see team at end of July and than have the Buccos coming out to my back yard for a four gamer, looks like it will be some important meaningful games and possibly even an addition to a team by that time for a team that is right back in the middle of it, can’t wait.

    Be great to steal one off of Wainwright this evening.

  188. Jim S. says:

    I’ve been in a Wendy’s drive thru line in Philly and the guy in front of me became irate at the person on the other end of the intercom. Over what, I have no idea. True story, though.

    I’ve seen Flyer fans harrass Rangers fans all the way to their car, without provocation.

    I don’t want to paint with a broad (street) brush, but ….

    Lotta anger about a lotta things in sports in that town.

    On the other hand, some of the nicest people I have met are from there.

  189. Andrew says:

    Philadelphia is the largest TV market with a single team, I don’t think it is wrong to expected better. Amaro seems to be about three to five years behind the rest of the league in personal decisions, and is generally a terrible GM.

  190. Jim S. says:

    bpn:

    Take a look at the 25 man roster for the Bucs. Really good prospects work out quite often. The bad ones, I’m fine with trading them.

  191. Jim S. says:

    I think you’re right. Simple baseball plays don’t “wow” anyone, I guess.

  192. Andrew says:

    I think it is a fairly accurate characterization that the city has a preverbal chip on its shoulder, maybe because it is one of the lesser cities in the Bos-Wash.

    I had to live in the immediate area when the Philies won the World Series, Eagles had a sustain run of success, and the Flyers made the Finals, pretty insufferable fan base, hard to find fans with realistic views on the teams.

  193. Jim S. says:

    No. And, incidentally, it has been awhile since the one in Cleveland caught on fire. :-)

  194. Maz in Iowa says:

    Omar Infante was the last utility player to be selected(2010).However Evan Meek also was a Pirate set up guy as well.

  195. Pete in Dayton says:

    True story-
    A woman got really, really angry about getting the wrong kind of soda at a Rally’s drive through across the street from where I used to work. She beat on the window with her shoe until the person inside opened the window. She then punched him repeatedly until the other workers pulled him away and got the window shut.
    I know people in that neighborhood didn’t like diet, but man….

  196. Jim S. says:

    The great thing is they (prospects) don’t all have to work out to field a really good team – just like the Bucs have right now. But, if there are no prospects left, you get in the kind of pickle the Yankees currently find themselves in.

    Bucs roster:

    Cutch – home grown
    Marte – home grown
    Polanco – home grown (How many people wanted him traded last July, btw?)
    Walker – home grown
    Mercer – home grown
    Pedro – home grown
    JHay – home grown
    1b combo – both acquired via minor trades
    Russ Martin – acquired via F/A
    Stewart – trade with Yankees, I think

    Cole – home grown
    Morton – acquired via trade when we were buyers
    Liriano – F/A
    Locke – acquired via trade when we were buyers
    Worley – signed off scrap heap
    Volquez – signed as F/A
    Snider – acquired via trade when we were buyers
    Barmes – signed as F/A
    Melancon – acquired in off-season trade
    Watson – home grown
    Hughes – home grown
    Wilson – home grown
    Jeanmar – acquired in trade for very little
    Pimentel – part of Melancon trade
    Cumpton – home grown
    Tabata – acquired via trade when we were buyers

    I would say, of the key contributors to this team this year, the large majority were developed internally. And, some were signed as F/A. Of the ones acquired via trade, most occurred when we were buyers.

    The Pirates can never be a team that trades away its top developing talent. I’m not saying you don’t do it on occasion. But, they have to be very careful doing it. It is not a long term winning strategy for a team that can’t wallpaper over its mistakes by throwing money at problems.

  197. Jim S. says:

    I always use Van Slyke as an example of how to charge and throw home to the 12 year olds I coach, scapper.

  198. Jim S. says:

    He deserves a lot of love.

  199. Arriba Wilver says:

    That’s really low, Jandy. To be honest, though, I thought about directing TC to Google Maps. :-)

  200. bpn8pitt says:

    Jim:

    If you go back and look at some of the blockbuster trades made in baseball the last 5 years, sometimes the best player traded was IN FACT, the only decent player in the entire transaction.

    Its amazing when you go back to 2008, 2009, 2010 even 2011 and look at top 20 prospects from Baseball America, how many of those guys bombed.

    When ever prospects are talked about, we always bring up the good numbers and traits. You yourself have started to chip away at Polanco some.

    Guys like Kingham, Glasnow, Hanson, Barrett Barnes, Heredia, so on so forth…they got worts.

    Guys like Travis Snider and Ike Davis were top prospects not too long ago.

  201. NMR says:

    I think in these situations you always have to consider the owner.

    He writes the checks, and when push comes to shove, is going to dictate the direction of the franchise.

    Is Ruben Amaro Jr. being instructed to build the strongest organization possible? Or is he being instructed to put as many W’s in the win column as he can?

  202. bpn8pitt says:

    JHey came from the Cubs.

  203. toochca says:

    Tom, thanks for enlightening people on the hometown!! Erie will always be home to me!! Left in ’82 and a lot has changed since then!!

  204. NMR says:

    @bpn

    Are you going to tell us how those major trades helped the team receiving the best player?

    Or would that expose the flaw in assuming only prospects don’t work out?

  205. NMR says:

    That is one hell of a vacation.

  206. bpn8pitt says:

    Jim, the caveat to your whole “develop internally idea” is, how much time and assets did it take to assemble the 2013 and 2014 rosters?

    This is no longer the 2009 John Russell Pirates, playing to 3/4 empty PNC park in Sept. This is a team that has aspirations deep in October.

    Took years to build this team. A lot of Jason Bay trade arguments with NMR.

    Don’t forsake now, for arguing about good Glasnow/bad Glasnow in 2017.

  207. Gary Morrison says:

    Now let’s go and sweep the birds!

  208. bpn8pitt says:

    There are some banners hanging in the “House of Horrors” and Citizens bank ballpark that’s my proof NMR.

    October baseball. The Phillies and Brewers do not miss a single prospect for Lee, Haliday or Sabathia.

  209. NMR says:

    The Rays have a hell of a lot more hardware than the Brewers, bpn. And your argument of two successes is extremely weak.

    I don’t think anyone will argue that it is POSSIBLE for a big trade to work out in favor of the team getting the big name. But that’s really all you’ve done. You haven’t come close to proving that it is PROBABLE, or frankly, even more likely.

  210. cherokee23 says:

    ++

  211. bpn8pitt says:

    Yeah, and the Phillies got a title. Two pennants to the Rays one. 5 straight postseason appearances from 2007-2011. The Rays only did it back to back 2010-11.

    Honestly NMR, I don’t understand you. Your mantra seems to be not to spend money, not move prospects, just sit there cross your fingers and hold your breath on every Pedro Alvarez throw.

    Well, in any case I look forward to the Good Glasnow, Bad Glasnow arguments in 2017.

    See you tomorrow.

  212. The Gunner says:

    The defense better give Charles excellent support or the chances get increased that we’ll see either Bad Charlie or Rotten Charlie.

  213. Andrew says:

    Good point, but if you have gone from 44,000 and 1st in attendance to 30,000 and middle of the pack, in two years, those extra wins aren’t really having an impact.

    In Amaro’s defense this past off-season his moves were sensible but a little too late.

  214. Johnny Styles says:

    I happily settle for “respectable” going forward.

  215. Jandy says:

    Hey, what do you want for volunteer work :P

  216. NMR says:

    Sorry, bpn, I cannot teach you to listen. And if you really think that is my “mantra” you’re clearly awful at it.

    If you want to come back and have an adult conversation, I’ll gladly engage. But if you want to continue boiling my arguments down to trite stereotypes then it’s probably best we part ways.

  217. Johnny Styles says:

    From some articles I’ve read, the fear is if the Phils announce that they are going into full rebuild mode that their attendance will suffer. Well, as Andrew pointed out, it’s already way down. Will it get worse if the Phils do have to rebuild? I dunno, but sooner or later, something has to give because as currently constructed, that team stinks (stinks).

  218. NMR says:

    Oh I’m certainly not claiming the owner has the correct strategy. Quite the opposite.

    But I personally believe there is a greater chance of him being delusional than RAJ.

  219. Jandy says:

    Philly fans deserve their rotten reputations, it’s earned.

  220. NMR says:

    And everyone thinks they can develop raw talent into actual ballplayers.

  221. Tom P. says:

    No problem. Sometimes folks have a tendency to focus on the negative, but there is a lot to appreciate as well.

  222. Milo Hamilton says:

    The Pirates have traded Chris Dickerson to Cleveland for a player to be named or cash. Doesn’t open up a spot, he wasn’t on the sainted 40 man.

  223. Thundercrack says:

    Chris Dickerson traded to the Indians. PTBNL or cash.

    Can’t believe they didn’t want Tabata. (Who is hurt)

  224. Milo Hamilton says:

    I believe we’re flat out of Dickerson’s now.

  225. Arriba Wilver says:

    Meek was one of those “we have to pick somebody” selections, though, as the lone Pirate representative.

  226. Milo Hamilton says:

    The Indians DFA’d George Kottaras to make room for Dickerson. That guy is sure a darned sight better than our current backup.

  227. Johnny Styles says:

    At some point, the owner is going to have to bite the bullet and do it. And you can do it without totally dumping everyone. I can’t imagine that they’d deal Utley, Ruiz, Brown or Howard (unless someone is willing to eat that contract), but if they could persuade Rollins to drop his no-trade clause, I think he’d be among the first to go, Papelbon, too. And just based on these past three games, there are some pieces there. I liked that hard throwing leftie reliever who pitched yesterday, and I think Cody Asche could develop into something. But some of the high-priced vets should be on the block. Just my humble opinion…

  228. kr70 says:

    just think, in 5 years we may read the same article by DK with the name changed to Gregory Polanco.

  229. Johnny Styles says:

    If he isn’t their back-up catcher by this time tomorrow, then I’m driving down to PNC Park to give Mr. Huntington a very sternly worded complaint.

  230. Johnny Styles says:

    Is Eric Dickerson available? How about Dorin Dickerson?

  231. Milo Hamilton says:

    Classic move by Stewart Saturday to flat out miss the ball & have it hit him square in the mask. At least Doumit used to get rattled by foul tips.

  232. Johnny Styles says:

    In all my years of watching baseball, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a catcher flat out miss as many pitches as Stewart and Sanchez have.

  233. NMR says:

    That is the Phillies biggest problem, Johnny.

    The only good players they have are all old. And the old guys that are good come with big salaries. At this point, it is doubtful blowing it up wouldn’t even get them enough prospects for a successful rebuild.

  234. NMR says:

    BTW, you’re my new favorite blog poster. Grumpy cat?! Gimme more where that came from. ;)

  235. Arriba Wilver says:

    +++

  236. Arriba Wilver says:

    And I wasn’t even going to provide a link. He’s got internet access. ;-)

  237. Johnny Styles says:

    I don’t know what to think of that whole thing. I still think LeBron goes back to Miami, but I really think the Cavs actually have a chance to land him, and if you consider how things were when LeBron took his talents to South Beach, that’s saying something.

  238. Thundercrack says:

    Here’s the thing with me, I wonder what the fans were thinking a few years ago when the Phillies were winning every year. How long did they think it would last? Did they want the ownership to keep all these aging players? Or would they have been OK with a rebuilding process…if it had started a year ago ( it seems to me that they waited too long).

  239. Jandy says:

    LOL. next time he’ll get the size 9 wides ;)

  240. Jandy says:

    Indeed!!!!

  241. Carla McConnell says:

    Absolutely true story!

  242. Carla McConnell says:

    You will be missed while on vacation, but you deserve a rest too! Have a great time doing whatever you feel like doing and I know by the time you return, the Bucs will be atop the NL Central. Let’s Go Bucs!!

  243. Naterosboro says:

    Dom Brown stinks.

    Cody Asche stinks.

    Diekmann (believe the hard throwing lefty you’re referring to) stinks.

    Ryan Howard & Chase Utley are done physically. They cannot handle a 162 game season.

    Jimmy Rollins, at this point in his career, stinks. Hits for a .240 avg. (altho this year his OBP is respectable) and not really any power (even in the bandbox that is CBP). OK defense and a little speed.

    Cole Hamels has value, but a huge price tag. If you want good prospects back, you gotta eat money, and if you want salary relief, you get lesser players back, thus potentially keeping you worse longer.

    Ben Revere stinks.

    Chooch (Carlos Ruiz) is still a pretty good backstop, but also I believe 35 years old now, and just signed a contract that pays him pretty well (8+mil/yr.).

    Their bench is utter garbage.

    Outside of Hamels, Lee is always a pitch away from the disabled list with elbow & back issues. AJ has pitched well (for the most part), but again comes with a decent price tag (which would affect the return in potential trades). Fausto Carmona (he’ll never be Roberto Hernandez to me) hasn’t pitched all that well, and there’s a bunch of mish mosh in the bullpen.

    Papelbon is probably 1 who could net a decent return outside of Hamels, but again, price tag.

    It may have been ownership setting the vision, but RAJ (or as they like to call him in Philly “Ruin Tomorrow Jr.”) is the 1 carrying out that plan. Huge contracts with partial, if not full, no-trade clauses have really backed this team into a corner, and now they’re faced with a full scale rebuild that they don’t want to commit to for the sake of attendance.

    I hope they don’t. I hope they become the next Pirates and wallow in losing for 20+ seasons. This is a fan base that doesn’t appreciate nice things, yet is the 1st to tell opposing fans their team sucks. The sense of entitlement from a fan base that gets to see a championship team (in all 4 major sports) about once every 20 years is amazing to me.

    Maybe it comes from the fact they’ve seen both NY & PIT surpass them in sports glory long ago. Kind of “They’re winning so we should be winning too!” or the middle child syndrome (see the big (NY) & little (PIT) bros doing better and are jealous).

    Phillies fans are literally the worst (not necessarily Philly, but PHILLIES fans) and I hope CBP remains empty so I can get my $8 general admission (this was the price at Veterans Stadium) and sit in an empty park with friends and take in a ball game.

    When they’re winning I don’t go down there because the atmosphere is like the worst frat party you’ve ever been to.

    My conclusion, Miller Lite is the worst thing ever created by man.

    I’m out.

  244. Milo Hamilton says:

    Audio book form ?

  245. NMR says:

    Nice of Huntington to make this move.

    Dickerson immediately activated to take Bourn’s place while on the DL. Very slim chance for Dickerson to see Major League playing time for the rest of the season with Pittsburgh.

  246. Johnny Styles says:

    Nate – So you’re saying the Phillies stink?

  247. Maz in Iowa says:

    Last year Melancon was an All Star as a set up reliever too

  248. Jim S. says:

    I might have given Dickerson a shot at Snider’s slot before trading him.

  249. Jim S. says:

    But, we still have a Decker.

  250. Jim S. says:

    If only we still had Vic Black.

  251. Milo Hamilton says:

    If it’s not Brooklyn Decker, I’m not interested. :)

  252. Tom P. says:

    I promised Lad9 that I would not reveal his source for lineups, but Polanco is not starting today vs. Wainwright. Not a bad move, considering how he struggled yesterday.

  253. Jim S. says:

    Ruin Tomorrow, Jr. as GM of the Phillies is classic. Bitterly and totally Philly classic, at that.

  254. Naterosboro says:

    And then some.

    And I couldn’t be happier. From my perspective, RAJ is the best thing to ever happen to this franchise. He’s got them right back in the tunnel, with the light at the end nowhere in sight.

    Hopefully his moves at the deadline won’t somehow alter my opinion of the man.

    He’s doing his job perfectly in my eyes.

  255. Maz in Iowa says:

    osh Harrison RF
    Starling Marte LF
    Andrew McCutchen CF
    Neil Walker 2B
    Russell Martin C
    Ike Davis 1B
    Pedro Alvarez 3B
    Jordy Mercer SS
    (Charlie Morton P)

  256. The Gunner says:

    Now that’s a surprise about Tabata being hurt already. What type of injury is it?

  257. Jim S. says:

    bpn:

    The bottom line is, sometimes blockbuster trades work and sometimes they don’t. Sometimes hanging on to prospects works, and sometimes it doesn’t.

    I happen to side more with hanging on to my talent, if I am confident it will come through. I believe that is the best strategy in a market like Pittsburgh. You don’t have the same philosophy. There’s nothing wrong with a disagreement. But, just don’t make out that there is definitive proof that trading away your prospects when you think you are close to a title is a sure thing because it isn’t – not any more than hanging on to prospects and hoping enough of them pan out to make a great team.

    And, I absolutely am PO’d that this organization did not increase its payroll coming into this year. I don’t endorse everything they do – not by a long shot.

  258. NMR says:

    hamshouldracept.

  259. Johnny Styles says:

    Neither is Andy Roddick.

  260. NMR says:

    Pedro, Walker, and Marte all disappointed today couldn’t be their day off with Wano on the mound. ;)

  261. The Gunner says:

    What?

  262. Thundercrack says:

    Not sure. He was hit by a pitch a few days ago…and removed from the game

  263. Thundercrack says:

    Tonight is the night Pedro starts his hot streak!!!!

  264. NMR says:

    Failed joke.

  265. Johnny Styles says:

    Your mouth to Pedro’s ears…

  266. Thundercrack says:

    then to a Fangraphs spreadsheet.

    :-)

  267. Lambo is playing in rookie ball, GCL on rehab. They’ll probably bump him back to Indy now that Dickerson is gone. He homered yesterday.

    Or they could let Josh Bell jump AA and move him to Indy and put him at first. (Just kidding. No reason to rush him).

  268. Arriba Wilver says:

    +++

    I heard AJ is ticked he’s not pitching.

  269. Arriba Wilver says:

    Did you happen to see Bell being interviewed in the stands when the Pirates were in Miami last time? Very polished, relaxed, mature, impressive sounding. Not the normal cliche answers.

  270. Thundercrack says:

    I saw something this weekend where NH was interviewed and asked about Bell moving to first base. He didn’t dismiss the idea but I think they don’t want to do it in the middle of a season. (same strategy of Pedro moving to first :-)

  271. Thundercrack says:

    +1 AW

  272. Johnny Styles says:

    Some dude who got caught on camera by ESPN for napping at a Red Sox/Yankees game is suing the Worldwide Leader for $10 Million. Yes, you read that right – $10 Million. /smh

    http://nypost.com/2014/07/07/yankees-fan-caught-sleeping-suing-espn-for-10-million/

  273. Naterosboro says:

    You must not live in the Delaware Valley area. Yes, he’s [Howard] still talked about quite often, but the light they used to shine must be broken…

    It’s actually scary to see his drop off in production after the 2009 season. His contract in 2010 should serve as warning to future GMs.

    If only Littlefield would’ve traded Benson or Wells to the Phillies when Ed Wade was trying to grab them back in the early 2000s.

    If only Jim Thome wasn’t blocking the guy back in 2004…

  274. Johnny Styles says:

    I would hope that Bell will eventually be moved to first base. Not like they have any other first base prospects in the pipeline (to my knowledge).

  275. The Gunner says:

    Not that it really matters whether Tabby has (or has had) a hamstring, shoulder or quad issue. He is a major head case that no MLB team appears to have any interest in – ha ha!

  276. NMR says:

    Mid-season prospect lists out today, Lucky, since apparently pre-season and season ending lists aren’t enough. ;)

    Big jump by Bell. About time the fine folks in Altoona got something worth watching.

  277. anon says:

    A few to choose from – Harrisburg already noted – city island has other things to do as well.

    Frederick is closer – class A Baltimore affiliate – lots of good restaurants in Frederick too

    York has a team – about as far as Harrisburg – believe it is independent.

    Lancaster and Haegerstown further away.

  278. Didn’t see it, but he seemed like an intelligent kid when they drafted him.

  279. Naterosboro says:

    I’m glad MLB.com posted that in their highlights for the game (saw it on the MLB At Bat app). I had similar thoughts to your analysis above.

    Kid looks like he might have a future in this here game.

    He’s playing pretty well too. ;-)

  280. NMR says:

    Stetson Allie, if you squint really hard.

  281. Thundercrack says:

    During his opening today, Mark Madden said that since the A’s made a bold trade and are ‘going for it’, that the Pirates should package Bell in a trade for a starter. He also mentioned that Bob Nutting is a billionaire and that Pirate fans are stupid.

  282. Couldn’t agree with you more. Altoona has won all of about 34 games, but they have 6 guys on the EL All-Star team.

  283. I think Allie could make it, but he still strikes out a lot and is hitting under .230. Has the pop in his bat, though.

  284. NMR says:

    Can’t remember if it was the same interview or not, but I heard him yesterday say he’d be fine moving to 1B in the future, and seemed genuine.

    Pretty special stuff. Maybe it’s just me, but seems rare for prospects of his nature to gladly step down in position to help the team these days.

  285. Lad 9 says:

    I can’t understand why he has not been promoted. Kid has been lights out. Maybe he takes bad angles to the ball….

  286. Thundercrack says:

    Well when the Pirates drafted Bell they were competing with him going to college – in regards to getting him signed. Those were the good old days when you could go over slot.

  287. Base running, cap wearing and how he holds his mouth probably lacking.

  288. NMR says:

    Ha, yeah, hence the squinting really hard part.

    I, too, still think he could carve out a spot on a big league roster. Right handed power like his is rare, and while the strikeouts are high, they aren’t getting any higher as he moves up in competition.

  289. Arriba Wilver says:

    He always says the fans are stupid. Along with everybody not named Mark Madden, Mario Lemieux, Sidney Crosby or Ben Roethliesberger. :-D

  290. The Gunner says:

    Thanks TC

  291. NMR says:

    Will have to disagree with you a bit here, Luckster.

    Everybody knows Bell’s swing needs work. Maybe he’s made the adjustments and that has helped him hit better.

    But you can put together a list a mile long of flawed hitting prospects who mashed lower level pitching before getting exposed by smarter, better pitchers.

    Either way, a challenge should be a good thing.

  292. LonelyLibertarian says:

    By that logic then why in the heck is Ike Davis starting?

  293. wvstarship says:

    I hope the guy wins his suit. That way maybe Root Sports will think twice about all those endless crowd shots.

    But probably not. :(

  294. dennis g. says:

    I never heard of the batting cage not being left in centerfield. It, the flagpole and the Honus Wagner monument were all in play. The greatest catch I ever saw in person was made by Vada Pinson on Clemente when he actually climbed partway up the cage to make the catch. You really cannot compare it to anyplace else. At the same time the right field foul pole was only 300 ft. (though it was attached to a fairly high fence.)

  295. dennis g. says:

    Sorry, Dreyfuss monument was on the field, Wagner Monument was outside the stadium in Shenley Park.

  296. dennis g. says:

    He might want to keep his job more than satisfy your curiosity.

  297. dennis g. says:

    I heard the same thing. And the next time I saw him a bat he watched the first pitch go right down the middle before he struck out,

  298. dennis g. says:

    That was the Cayahoga River which empties into Lake Erie.

  299. DJ says:

    Thanks for the response, Jim.

    And you understood why I asked.

  300. DJ says:

    Always called you de facto gatekeeper.

  301. dennis g. says:

    The fact is that if we knew who all of the playoff teams were right now and every single one of them traded for the best player available and got him by giving up prospects, nine out of ten of those teams would not win the World Series. The Pirates strategy last year was extraordinarily successful and I have no complaints about the FO this year. Trade for players in whom you have a great deal of confidence and hopefully ones in whom everyone else has lost confidence. When they price themselves out of out market you have no choice but to let them go. We can’t afford David Price now or ever.

  302. Jandy says:

    Gatekeeper is ok :)

  303. dennis g. says:

    I disagree. Yes he was extremely polished and articulate particularly for a high school kid with no college. However it seemed to me as if every answer was a cliché answer, just the kind, in fact, that all of the young players learn at the Pirates training school. What I am surprised about is that there is no apparent affiliation between the Pirates training school and whatever school our local journalists (present columnists excepted of course) learn to ask their questions. It would seem so easy to make that a joint venture.

  304. dennis g. says:

    We probably give them a license to invade our privacy when we buy a ticket to a game that is broadcast on local (and sometimes national) television. Maybe if someone from Azerbaijan was given a ticket and he did not read English and had never seen a game and was made to look like a buffoon on camera by the Pirate Parrot he might have a case. But knowledgeable fans? No way, though I wish there were.

  305. dennis g. says:

    I think those dimensions were at the opening. They changed over time.

 
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