Big Lead Sports Bar

3/31/2008

No April Fool's: Pirates Win in 12

PIRATES (1-0) 12

BRAVES (0-2) 11

12 Innings

Oh, those generous Pirates. I know they want to please the fans, but we could've really done without the free baseball they provided last night.

So we're cruising along in the 9th inning. The Pirates have such a lead that Bob Walk is actually suggesting that they're running up the score. I say to myself, "Might as well get a start on my recap." After 15 years, I don't know how I could've made such a mistake.

Here's how far I got:
Following a typical Pirate first inning in which Nate McLouth walked and promptly got picked off of first base, the Buccos settled down behind pitcher Ian Snell, who opened his 2008 campaign with a six-inning, seven-hit, four-run, three-K performance.

The Pittsburgh version of Murderer's Row chased future HOFer Tom Glavine by the fifth inning, as his 52-year-old arm (OK, 42 year old) had thrown 97 pitches.

Jason Bay, fresh off a rather outspoken offseason, promptly picked up where he left off last season, with an 0-5 showing.

And then, in the midst of my article, I paused. The Pirates were imploding before my very eyes.

It started with a walk by Damaso Marte. Then, another walk. Insert Matt Capps. Another walk. Bases loaded. Another walk. The Pirates lead shrinks to 9-5. Chipper Jones singles. 9-7. Mark Teixeira pops out. I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.

OK, there's two outs, two guys on, we can still get out of this. Brian McCann hits a weak pop fly to left-center. Game, set, matc...IT DROPS IN! Jason "E"Bay and Nate McLouth are staring at each other in disbelief, apparently still unable to translate thoughts like, "I got it" into words. It was one of the most embarrassing plays in Pirate history. Never before have I seen a ball so poorly misplayed, at any level. 9-9.

A Jeff Francouer flyout sent the game into extra frames. Oh joy.

Freddy Sanchez, one of the few Pirates who I feel has an actual pulse, doubled to lead off. Jason Bay continued his fantastic start with a line-out to second. Hans Klopek was intentionally walked, Professor X struck out, and Ryan Doumit popped out to third. Yes, it was your typical, "two runners left on" Pirate inning.

New Pirate Franquelis Osoria came on in the bottom of the 10th, and nothing against Franquelis, but part of me was hoping that Mark Kotsay would plant the first pitch he saw into the seats and get the inevitable crushing opening-day loss over with.

But Osoria actually had a productive inning of work, and he came back in the bottom of the 11th (yes, that means the combo of Bautista/Wilson/Osoria failed to win it in the top of the frame). Three up, three down. On to the 12th.

With Everybody Get Nated and E-bay on board, Xavier Nady crushed a home run to right field. 12-9, Bucs lead. Break out the champagne. Only three outs to go.

In the bottom 12th, with Osoria still pitching, Teixeira and McCann were disposed of in quick order. Francouer then sent a pitch into the seats, making the score 12-10. In the midst of Bob Walk trying to explain why giving up a home run is better than giving up a walk, Kotsay doubled and was singled in by Matt Diaz. 12-11, Pirates.

But you've never heard of pinch hitter Corky Miller for a reason, and he didn't make a name for himself on this night either. His fly-out to center put the final nail in the coffin. Congratulations, John Russell. Hope you realize what you've gotten into. Thanks for the free entertainment, Pirates.

A few quick notes:

--The Braves were announced one-by-one, while the Pirates got only a "Manager John Russell and the rest of the Pittsburgh Pirates..." intro. Lanny Frattare delivered a strong lecture to the Braves on the radio end, and it was also noted on the TV side.

--Turner Field attendance was 45,269, or just 90.4% full. Not too hot for a home opener.

--Xavier Nady was 4-7 with 2 HR, 4 RBI, and 4 runs. On Opening Day last year, he hit the game-winning home run off of Brad Lidge in Houston, lifting the Pirates to a 4-2 victory in 10 innings. In 2006 with the Mets, he was 4-4. We need to convince him that every day is Opening Day, much like my plan to convince the Pitt Panthers that they're always playing in Madison Square Garden.

--The final line on E-Bay: 0-6, 3 left on base, a strikeout, a walk, a run scored, and that memorable play in the 9th. He's pretty much like Xavier Nady on Opening Day, only the total opposite.
--The aftershocks of a loss to the Pirates: on the Atlanta Journal Constitution's website, here's today's poll: Is it too early to panic over the Braves? And today's article, "Braves can do better than this".
--Your National Anthem singer: American Idol Diana DeGarmo:

--Next up: Pirates (Gorzo) at Braves (Jurrjens), Wednesday, 7:10 PM.

13 comments:

HotDog_Zanzabar said...

"But you've never heard of pinch hitter Corky Miller for a reason"

There was a point in time where I hadn't heard of Francisco Cabrera before either.

matt the cal u grad in tampa said...

Just to let everyone know, Bay and McLouth are making headlines all the way down here for their fielding exploits. Nice try idiots.

At least none of our guys caught a case of the "Peavys".

2008 Pirates Baseball..."We will...play like a bunch of dolts with the game on the line"

I can see it now.

matt the cal u grad in tampa said...

touche Zanzabar....touche...

Cecil Espy said...

I couldn't help but sense a little sarcasm in your article. lighten up assholes. they won and you hate on them, when they lose you'll do the same. its a lose-lose. i'm just as frustrated with 15 losing seasons, but when i see mcclouth crushin the ball and atlanta broadcasters comparing him andy van slyke, i take that as a positive. x hits two game winning homeruns last night, freddy's hitting as usual, laroche starts the season with 2 hits, doumit's looking good, jack makes his usual web gem, and most of all, they won. so the bullpen fucked up. it happened all over the league yesterday. capps, who only walked 12 batters all last year, had a rough first outing, or else it would've been a smooth win, which you would've found a way to turn negative i'm sure.

At least none of the pirates are beating up their girlfriends and getting kicked out of bars in the offseason..but of course, the steelers can do no wrong, right?

It proves you're not even a real fan the way you said you wished Kotsay would've ended the game with a homerun. Just so you can run to your computer and write a sarcastic bull shit article and create cute nicknames that nobody gets. Do me a favor and stop covering the Pirates. Stick to your oh-so-perfect Stillers.

worstavid said...

Hey Espy, what game were you watching last night? When major league pitchers can't throw a simple strike, when major league players are so confident of a win that they can't even make an ATTEMPT at the LAST OUT!!! those are two major problems, I'd say.

Sure there were a lot of positives to take from this game, but you have to face it, this team almost managed to "snatch a loss from the jaws of victory".

Nobody wants to see the Pirates lose, and I know that Raul doesn't. He's just sick of seeing these kinds of displays of baseball. It would be nice to see them look like a major league team, not a bunch of little leaguers letting balls drop in between them. They actually did that for eight innings before their meltdown.

I also feel that your criticism of Raul was also unwarranted as regards his coverage of the Steelers too. He has been more than critical of their off the field felonys and misdemeanors.

So "lighten up a-hole"... as you like to say. I think Mondesi's simply calling them like he sees them and yes, he has just a tad more than a hint of sarcasm...ALWAYS!!!!

Sky Davis said...

I'm with Cecil here...give the team a chance before you start calling them names...lets not blame this 15 year streak on adam laroche and jason bay...ted simmons started the damage with the firesale of the '92 team, cam bonifay followed, highlighted by the derek bell fiasco, and dave littlefield was to blame, mostly for the aramis ramierez catastrophe and passing on wieters, to name a few...dont forget spin williams being handed an array of promising arms (oliver perez, zach duke) and screws them both up...
If you wanna blame the streak on somebody, blame it on the gm's for the fact that ryan howard, prince fielder and bj upton aren't pirates...
I am also with cecil with the whole nickname thing...I dont understand what Hans Klopek, Prof X, E-bay (altho he has a weak arm, he keeps his errors down) and "everybody gets nated" means...lets keep the nicknames to Berman...we don't know who you're talking about most the time.
And worstavid, you're crazy if you think "raul" isnt a bit byast with the steelers, its pretty sad sometimes...
heres a good article on mlb.com

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20080401&content_id=2478228&vkey=news_mlb&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb

The bullpen imploded last night and they got the W...until you see the loss column piling up again, lighten up a-holes.

Louis Lipps is my homeboy said...

Whoa whoa, Cecil and Sly are taking things waaaay too seriously.

As we often remind people on here, this site is about the comedy and sarcasm!

When you have a team that's been losing for 15 years sometimes you poke fun at them and crack sarcastic jokes just to get through it all. Doesn't mean that anyone here is not a real Pirates fan. People that aren't "real" Pirates fans have already jumped ship (no pun intended) and started rooting for more successfull franchises.

If we're on here talking about the Pirates, whether jokingly ripping on them or not, it's because we like the Pirates and we want to be here to talk about them. They've sucked for a long time, but they're still our team.

BTW Matt, as a fellow transplanted "Tamponian", what do you think of the Devil Rays possibly finally making the "jump" to respectability?

Finally, the Braves fans are wierd. They're by far the most popular baseball team in the entire south. Go anywhere below the Mason-Dixon Line and you'll see a fair share of Braves fans. Yet their attendance at their home stadium is usually horrendous.

I like to refer to this as the "TBS Braves fan phenomenon". People like them from being able to see them all the time on TV via TBS, but those people don't go to the games

Louis Lipps is my homeboy said...

BTW, it's "biased" and Raul rips on the Steelers when they do shit wrong too. For example, he's been tearing Hines Ward a new asshole for almost two years now (much to my dismay).

It's kind of his job with his site to make fun of our sports teams. If you want straight news, go to ESPN.com.

The only Pittsburgh team he never rips on is the Pens, because as we all know, they are currently incapable of wrongdoing.

Pittsburgh: The only city where fans of all of its pro teams, which all play different sports BTW, feud with each other. I've never been to a city where people resent the fucking football team this much. It's ridiculous.

wvblueblackandgold said...

Comparing him Van Slyke? We can only hope... letting a can of corn explode right in front of you is a long way from that lofty status. But I like the bat.

The TBS phenomenon is absolutely true. Years ago, TBS was one of the only stations anyone in West Virginia could get on cable, for the relative few who even had cable. KBL came along, and everyone who had dishes got that - but Pirates games would routinely be blacked out. But the Braves were on, so people watched. So people were Braves fans, even when they were as terrible as the Pirates are now (yes, they were)(thinking that I have a Craig McMurtry card that looks a lot like that one of Lee Tunnell). So you have a ton of people who live 2 hours from Pittsburgh who are Atlanta fans. It's sad.

Sky Davis said...

Well put louis lipps...I have no doubt that raul, as well as all of us who enjoy this site are big pirates fans, and we all grieve in different ways over their continuous losing...sometimes its alright for real fans to poke fun at the team, but when i hear espn and other cities doing it, it pisses me off...for example, last night during the padres/astros game they said "the NL central is wide open for any team, well except for of course pittsburgh"...though true, and while it may be a longshot for the bucs to win the central, it kills me to hear people puttin them down like that..just give them a chance till they give us a reason to poke fun of them this year. (although that botched pop-up was ridiculous)

The steelers are covered way too much by the pittsburgh press, raul is the same and sometimes it gets annoying...i understand they are popular, and although i am not a fan, i know how loved they are in this city..i'd just like a break from the steelers every once and awhile and it sounds like cecil feels the same way..

As for mcclouth the next van slyke, I see the comparisons, but i agree the glove isn't even close to there yet..nate can hit (as of late) and run the bases well, but van slyke is some big shoes to fill and we havn't found a steady center fielder since he left

i've hated the braves since sid, i just love seeing them lose, lets hope the buccos can get another tomorrow

Louis Lipps is my homeboy said...

Sky,

I understand they get a ton of press. And, when I was a young boy growing up in Pittsburgh I realized that Pittsburghers like to complain, hence Pittsburghers complaining about the Steelers getting coverage.

I don't think Raul covers the Steelers any more or less than the "mainstream" press. He just takes the stories and makes fun of them as they come out. Since the Steelers always have some story coming out, he always has material from them.

And to imply that he (or any other half sane person) went easy on them for the woman-hitting incidences (or any other negative incidence inolving the team) isn't really accurate. Also, Mondesi is a Mark Madden supporter. And Madden is possibly the most anti-Steeler personality in Western PA.

So I guess to say that Mondesi covers the Steelers a lot is fair, but that's only because they give him material for his site. Be happy the Penguins and Buccos don't do ridiculous things to give him material for the site like the Steelers do. But I don't think he's ever kissed their asses or anything. He covers all Pittsburgh sports news when there is news to cover.

I dunno, I'm a huge Pens fan (probably moreso than the Steelers), but I noticed a trend of it becoming cool among some Pens fans to say they hate the Steelers now, almost in a "They're too popular so I'm too cool for that" kind of way. It's absolutely retarded.

McClouth isn't bad with the leather. That was just a miscommunication that hopefully he can work out. I just hope he doesn't turn into Chris Duffy/Tike Redman/every other center fielder that has come through here the since Van Slyke left.

Cecil from Cecil Twp. said...

The season has started already?

matt the cal u grad in tampa said...

I think the Rays will be better...definitely one of the more exciting teams to watch.

They could always hit well, now it seems like they are getting their young arms to come around.

I hope they get the new park because the Trop is a joke.

Now then...I also never understood why some (not all) pens fans have always had a chip on their shoulders or almost an elitist attitude towards the steelers and buccos.

It's really annoying and those people need to learn to pick their battles. The Bucs and Steelers weren't the ones on life support a little while back.