Big Lead Sports Bar


Kip Dynamite & EBay

Kip "Dynamite" Wells, the world's least intimidating pitcher, struck again on Friday night. For his third start, Napoleon's older, nerdier brother faced the Detroit Tigers in front of 27,000 Pittsburghers who apparently had nothing better to do. Wells pitched well enough to up his ERA to 15.19, allowing seven runs and not getting out of the 3rd inning.

The game started with Pirate fans giving mostly cheers to Jim Leyland. Let's compare Leyland to former Steeler QB Neil O'Donnell for a moment. Leyland led the Pirates to three straight NLCS appearances from 1990-1992, each time failing to win the big one and ultimately ending the run with a gut-wrenching loss in Atlanta, with the winning run scored by Sid Bream, no less. O'Donnell led the Steelers to Super Bowl 30 in 1996, their first appearance since 1980, ultimately throwing two killer interceptions that gave Dallas the Lombardi Trophy.

Leyland left Pittsburgh after 1996, and became a hired gun for the Florida Marlins in 1997. O'Donnell also left in 1996 for the New York Jets, citing 25 million reasons why. Pittsburgh fans cheer Leyland, but most still hold a grudge against O'Donnell. Can anyone explain this?

Anyway, back to Kip Dynamite. I challenge anyone to prove that The Kipper actually has a pulse, because I would dispute that claim. Ever heard an interview with him? He sounds about as intimidating as my 10-year-old paperboy. I just can't imagine any batter who would be afraid to face him.

The last time I checked, dominating pitchers had a few ounces of crazy in them. Roger Clemens throws a bat at Mike Piazza; Pedro Martinez throws a Don Zimmer on the ground; Randy Johnson throws a ball behind John Kruk. Of course I realize that these are the elite pitchers of the game. But this behavior is symbolic of the killer instinct, the way they attack hitters. It is what makes them great.

Could you ever see Wells behaving like that? Of course not, and that's why he'll always be what he is: a pitcher with a 55-71 record and career ERA approaching 5. He will never be dominant; the 12-k shutout against Philadelphia last year was an exception, not a rule. He doesn't attack hitters, he nibbles. This is a guy who allowed 12 baserunners in 3 1/3 against the Royals, for crying out loud. I know the strategy, though...we need to showcase him so he can be traded to a contender. The only contender who will trade for Wells is one that wants to sabotage the rest of their season.

From Mr. Dynamite we move to Jason Bay, Pittsburgh's All Star. Now the excusemakers on the broadcasts are blaming the Pirates' PR campaign boasting Bay for the All Star Game as the reason he is slumping. Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but Nike launched a national ad campaign around Lebron James' first playoff appearance, including painting him on the side of a building, merchandise, and commercials. Lebron responded by knocking out a resilient Washington Wizards team and coming within a gnat's eyelash of taking out the Detroit Pistons and going to the Eastern Conference Finals. I must have missed all the criticism of Nike when Cleveland was bounced.

If Jason Bay is so nervous that he can't handle a couple billboards seen by Yinzers on the way to the mall and a U2-montage TV commercial, do ya think he might not be the right foundation to build around? The reason he is slumping is because he grounds out with 2 outs and 2 on in the 9th, not a bunch of interns changing their email addresses to vote for him 1,000 times on the internet.

Jason Bay is the Pirates answer to A-Rod. Great numbers, bad in the clutch.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Hey Raul,

Great comments on Kip, "Kid Dynamite" Wells. The problem with Pirates pitchers, as you said, is that they truly instill no fear in batters...not at 86 miles per hour anyway.