Big Lead Sports Bar



We're 88 games into the Pirates' soon-to-be historic 2009 campaign, and the Battlin' Bucs sit at 38-50, nine games out of first place and dwelling in the moldy yet familiar cellar of the NL Central. Pittsburgh limps into the All-Star break with a lowly 2-9 mark in the month of July, including a just-concluded and very depressing three-game sweep at the hands of the World Champion Philadelphia Phillies, highlighted by a backbreaking 8-7 loss on Saturday night where Matt Capps blew a four-run lead in the ninth. Yes, times are tough, indeed. But they're nothing we haven't experienced before as Pirate fans. We've built up a tolerance.

On the bright side, this is a team that somehow scored two All-Stars, after Zach Duke was named as a replacement for San Francisco's Matt Cain. For someone who's sported ERAs of 4.82 in 2008 and 5.53 in 2007, that's some unexpected good news. Duke, the first Pirate starter to get an All-Star nod since Denny Neagle back in 1995, will be accompanied on the NL roster by the human trade bait that is Freddy Sanchez (.316/6/34), who's making his third appearance in the midsummer classic.

The Pirates' organization also placed two players in Sunday's waterlogged Futures Game, including Pedro Alvarez and Brad Lincoln. Alvarez, a DH for the US team, was 1-2 with an RBI single and a strikeout. Lincoln was the final pitcher used by the US, yielding two hits and a run in 1/3 of an inning. That's probably not going to go down as the finest hour of his pro career.

Statistically speaking, the Pirates' team leaders in major categories look like this. As you can see, there's a lot of Sanchezes and LaRoches on that chart. Which will make the post-deadline roster look really interesting if they deal their leaders in every offensive category.
In typical Pirate fashion, there are plenty of subplots going at all times, and in addition to their daily blue-light specials on veterans, we're following their internationally-flavored signings (now with Lithuanian and Australian!), the emergence of Garrett "Babe" Jones, a potential Rookie of the Year candidate in Andrew McCutchen, and the most popular Indians since Pedro Cerrano and Rick Vaughn: Rinku and Dinesh.

The second half of the season begins on Friday night, as the Pirates lock horns with the 49-39 San Francisco Giants. And if the on-field action or off-field giveaways don't exactly float your boat, any remaining Pirate faithful can look forward to following the rungs of the organization's minor league ladder, where intriguing personalities like Ian Snell and Lastings Milledge are found on a daily basis. If head cases aren't your bag, you can always keep tabs on the trade bait of tomorrow, players like Alvarez, Jose Tabata, Gorkys Hernandez, and Tony Sanchez. As you can see, there's always plenty of activity to keep you occupied aboard the Jolly Roger. And in totally unrelated news, the Steelers report on July 31.

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Chip said...

For those who don't care about the Pirates (which is probably most of you), the "A. Laroche" you see is all Adam Laroche. He's the big doofus who only hits for the last 3 months of the season.

Our other Laroche, Andy, the one we traded All Star and potential MVP JASON BAY for is nowhere on that list. That's because he's about as good as Jose Bautista. And Andy was the best player we got back in that trade.

So please I'd like to hear again about the faith we should have in Neal Huntington. Please let us know how brilliant his fire sale salary dumping has been when none of his guys are showing much of anything either here or in the minors.

This team is such an embarrassment. Can you trade franchises? I'd love to swap the Pirates to Memphis or Charlotte for their NBA team.

On the bright side, we have TWO All-Stars. The Cubs have one. Maybe if they got rid of that douchebag victory song, they'd have better karma.

pens fan in philly said...

the only difference in Bay is the team he is playing for.... Big Papi isnt driving in runs and Bay gets to instead... he is hitting .260 which is well below his normal average. 20 Hrs only puts him on pace for about 37.... just saying that those are not "potential MVP" numbers. There is no way he would have that many RBI for the buccos and without the RBI he is not having a good year. Look i hated the Bay trade too but we would not be any better off with him.

If people want to give up then give up and quit complaining about Neal Huntington. All I know is that without making any of these trades we would have an even worse minor league system and an equally bad major league squad. So we have lost for the last 16 years... whats a few more

BTW i was at the game on Saturday... cant say I am surprised they lost but why was Capps left in there to face Howard. He had already been smacked around and he clearly didnt have his stuff.

BURGH08 said...

"If people want to give up then give up and quit complaining about Neal Huntington."

You mean the guy that re-signed Ian Snell?

Steve said...

I've given up and I love Neal. He's doing everything to prove I was right about the true motives behind this joke of an ownership.

It's just a shame he'll have to be fired in another 2 or 3 years so they can keep the blind hopeful on board with the BS that this time things will be different and there is some future to look forward to.

What's really amazing is people talking about any of the players currently on the team like they actually matter somehow and have any connection at all other than trade bait to some mythical winning season.

These delusional fans have a better chance at cutting off their genitals, putting a pillow case over their head and transporting themselves onto an alien spaceship disguised as a comet, than seeing this Pirates ownership put together anything remotely resembling a contender.

Bob Nutting > Jim Jones.

BurressWithButterflywings said...