While other teams might be talking about clinching their division or a wild card spot, the Pirates today clinched their 20th losing season in a row. Despite early (and even rather late) promise, the team made sure to remind everyone that they are still the Pirates after all.
I owe you a dinner, Mike.
Obviously the Pirates need some motivation at this point. After being up sixteen games over .500 earlier this season, they were a scant five games over going into tonight’s game against the Reds. Helping buck me up this evening were the following three motivational videos. Which is your favorite? Vote early and often.
Video A: From Benstonium Productions, an Armageddon themed clip:
Video B: From Ox Productions, a various sports movies themed clip:
Video C: From the PNC scoreboard: a Pirates of the Caribbean themed clip:
Oh geez, the sporting world does not like me.
Hawkeyes: Lost to Iowa State and generally looked (or sounded–I listened on the radio while driving cab) like shite.
Packers: Lost their (scab officiated) first game of the season to the 49ers.
Pirates: Swept by the Cubbies, pushing any post-season hopes more into the realm of fantasy.
West Branch Davidians (my fantasy baseball team): Lost to Tyler’s abandoned/unmanaged team.
While the coverage of this issue all uses the term “replacements” there is no question that the officials working for the first week of the NFL are scabs. The league’s negotiations with the NFL Referees Association have broken down and the officials are locked out.
NFL to use replacement refs from ESPN Aug. 29, 2012
Replacements will be on the field beginning next Wednesday night when the Dallas Cowboys visit the New York Giants to open the season, league executive Ray Anderson told the 32 teams. Negotiations are at a standstill between the NFL and the officials’ union.
The NFL Referees Association was locked out in early June and talks on a new collective bargaining agreement have gone nowhere. Replacements have been used throughout the preseason, with mixed results.
While many are quick to point out that the refs should be happy making six-figures for part-time work, that argument neglects to note that money not paid to the officials simply ends up in the leagues pockets. While the figures are higher than for a wage dispute at a factory, mine, or business, the concept is the same. The people who go out and do the work that generates the revenue should be well compensated for their labor.
You know what would be awesome? The Players Association standing with the union brothers and refusing to take the field.
I got to see the Pirates play for the first time in a few years this past Sunday. Originally the plan was to go with my father who graciously bought us some of the best tickets I’ve ever had to a game. This plan was shot when it turned out pops had to fly to India to pick up a Tibetan Buddhist monk–long (I guess not all that long) story.
Instead I took my good friend’s eight year old son for his first MLB game. Now, this kid’s father grew up with me under the Pirates tutelage of Mike Lybarger, but somehow the fandom didn’t stick. My young companion cheered for the Brewers–acceptable, I guess, since he does live in Madison. Wanting to support the tyke’s love of baseball, I did buy him a Brewers hat:
The game itself, unfortunately, was fairly unremarkable. What promised to be a good pitching duel between A.J. Burnett and Yovani Gallardo turned out to be rather one-sided in Gallardo’s favor. Yovani had 14 strikeouts while A.J. got himself into and out of trouble in multiple innings before giving up four runs in the sixth. Andrew McCutchen lived up to his MVP candidate status going 3-4 with a HR, but that was about it offensively for the Bucs. Trust me, after 19 years (!!) of losing, it doesn’t take much to get disheartened anew.
A couple of pictures from the game:
I actually got to see several of these Pirates play in the minors in 2009. I took my nephew to a Charlotte Knights’ game while my now wife shopped for a wedding dress with her mom and sister–fortuitously the Knights were playing the Pirates’ AAA team, the Indianapolis Indians.
Text from my friend Joel the other day summed up the Pirates’ first half perfectly: “Dude, those Pirates.” Great to be at the All-Star break with the team eleven games over .500 and in sole possession of first in the NL Central. Obviously a lot of baseball to be played yet this year, but damn it does feel good.
For actual meaningful insight into the Pirates, check out these great Bucco blogs:
Double Bonus Opposite of Disgust: Going to see the Bucs play in Milwaukee this Sunday with my dad.
Pedro Alvarez was picked by the Pirates as the second pick of the draft and got a hefty six million dollar contract from the organization. The man has power–his nickname is El Toro, The Bull. Unfortunately what he doesn’t have is consistency. Earlier this season Alvarez was benched by Pirates’ manager Clint Hurdle in an effort to get him focused. It seems to have worked, at least in the short term:
Alvarez’s six RBIs power Pirates past Indians 9-5 from the Associated Press via Yahoo Sports.
Pedro Alvarez had one of his best games yet. Still, it was a win by the Pittsburgh Pirates that had him really excited.
Alvarez drove in a career-high six runs with his second two-homer game in two days, powering Pittsburgh past the Cleveland Indians 9-5 Sunday.
”I’m just glad to help us win the series,” Alvarez said as music blared in the clubhouse following the Pirates’ second victory in three games, giving them a sixth series win in their last seven matchups.
Wishing Pedro a continuation of this level of production.
Overall, it is good to see Pirates other than just Andrew McCutchen produce some offense. Neil Walker is another player putting up solid numbers of late.