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Thursday, May 31, 2007

Chris Young dominates AGAIN!!


Chris Young continues to dominate Pittsburgh,as Young allowed just 4 hits and no runs over seven innings as the Padres rolled over the Bucs 9-0.
Young,for whatever reason,has the Pirates number and continued his unbeaten streak vs the Pirates.
Paul Maholm pitched reasonably well in a losing effort,allowing 4 runs and 6 hits in 7 and two thirds and picking up the loss.
Maholm is 2-7 on the year.
The bullpen allowed 5 runs in just 1 and a third to eliminate all chances of winning away.
Final game is tonight-Greg Maddux for the Padres vs B.P.Chacon for the Pirates.

Bullpen Notes

In today's Post-Gazette,Captain Dave says that money
will have no effect on who they select in next week's draft.
But what he did not say was whether or not super agent Scott Boras would have an effect.
Most people have California high school 3rd baseman Josh Vitters or Georgia Tech catcher Matt Wieters as the Pirates choice.
The same two are the Cubs top choices,so 1 should be available to Pittsburgh.
But Wieters is a Boras client.
Would the Pirates take him,if Vitters is gone?
The Bucs have shown a hesitance to take Boras players in the past.
Stay tuned.

If any of you are reading,please toss a quick note in the comments,I want to see how we are doing readership wise and also feel free to forward us to anyone you know that might be interested.
I only know so many people,so you might help adding more readers.
The more people read,the more free features that Blogger gives to make our page look even better!!

In a slow news day-
I would like to encourage those of you out there to think about purchasing energy saving fluorescent lights.I am in the long process of replacing the bulbs here with them.
They are pricey,which is why for me the process is lengthy,but I like the lighting better,they save money in the long haul(they are more durable) and better for ones carbon footprint.
Just something to think about.

Photo Credits
Chris Young-AP Photo-Keith Srakocic
Bulbs-EnergyCodes.gov

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Chris Young and why he is not a Pirate.


The Padres send Chris Young to the hill tonight vs the Pirates.
Young, a former basketball player at Princeton,was a Pirate at one time.
In fact,I even saw him pitch here as a Hickory Crawdad vs the Hagerstown Suns.
Why is this stellar hurler not in Bucco Black and Gold?
Because Captain Dave Littlefield traded him to Montreal (now Washington) for veteran reliever Matt Herges.
Now trades of promising minor leaguers for serviceable veterans happen all the time.
Sometimes the prospect turns out well,just as often it does not.
But you pretty much know what you will get from the proven player,so you take the gamble moving the prospect.
But here is where good ol' Captain Dave makes his brilliant move.
Herges reports to camp with the Pirates and is RELEASED 2 weeks later.
The Pirates thought he had nothing left.
So you gave up a prospect to have a veteran throws 2 weeks of batting practice?
But Herges is shot,so you take the hit of losing Young and move on.
Except for one small thing-Herges is not finished.
He is signed by the Giants after being released and has a 2003 that is the best of his career.
Then saves 23 games in 2004 and still is in the league today with the Rockies,although his production has dropped off.
Young ,meanwhile,becomes a quality pitcher in a tough ballpark in Arlington and now pitching in a pitchers paradise in San Diego has become a high level pitcher and the type that Pittsburgh hopes that Ian Snell and Tom Gorzelanny can become.
Plus Young then nearly no-hits Pittsburgh last year,holding the Bucs hitless for 8 and a third,in what would have brought huge media attention to the incompetence of Littlefield.
Of all the dumb Littlefield moves-this was,In my opinion the dumbest.
Think about that during tonight's game.
Chris Young could be a Bucco and 1 numbskull traded him for literally nothing.

Bullpen Notes

In a real shocker-Kobe Bryant has demanded a trade from the Lakers...
He wanted to be the focus of the team,so he could be the star and shoot the ball 50 !@#$%^& times a game.
He got his wish and his team is average.I hope he either has to stay in LA or if he gets traded,he goes to a crap team like Atlanta for example.
Bryant can never be pleased-if he is on a championship team,he wants to be the star.
If he is the star,he wants to be on a winner....
Not hard to figure why fans are turning the NBA off in droves...

Congratulations to The Ohio State University for its athletic dominance in the 2006-07 season.
Buckeye sports programs won 12 Big 10 titles in 9 different sports.
Another season like that will be very hard to duplicate,but one never can count out OSU.

In distressing news-The Hamilton Tiger-Cats signed retread(read crummy) Quarterback Shaun King.
King was an awful quarterback for 4 teams in 6 NFL seasons,most notably with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
You will be able to follow King here as we cover the Hamilton Tiger-Cats here this season.

My drafting for the Pirates at John Sickels site is this Sunday.
If anyone wants to express ideas or offer advice,you can reach me either here in the comments or at John's site.My nic there is Count Vertigo.

Back later with game reports.

Photo Credit
Chris Young-unknown

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Gorzelanny razor sharp and McKain gets his vacation!!


Tom Gorzelanny gave up just 1 run over seven innings and Jason Bay homered to continue his hot hitting to lead the Pirates to a 4-1 win over San Diego at PNC Park.
Gorzelanny continued his solid season with his outing tonight,which included working his way out of a bases loaded jam in the 1st inning without allowing a run.
Xavier Nady singled home Jose Bautista in the 1st to give Pittsburgh the early lead.Bautista scored his second run of the game on a Freddy Sanchez single in the 3rd.
Bay hit his 8th homer of the year in the 6th and scored the final run on a Adam LaRoche single in the 8th.
LaRoche continues his hitting improvement by having 3 hits tonight.
Gorzelanny improves his record to 6-3,while Gas Can Torres pitched the 9th for his 12th save.
The Series continues tomorrow at 7;05.
Paul Maholm for the Steel City vs Ex-Pirate farmhand Chris Young for the Padres.

Bullpen Notes

Battlin Bob got his vacation time and the Southern Baseball tour is on for August!
Congrats Bob!
The tour will stop in 4 cities in 3 days and we will see 8 teams play.
South Atlantic League games
Lake County (Indians) at ASHEVILLE NC (Rockies)
Columbus (Devil Rays) at HICKORY NC (Pirates)
Rome (Braves) at GREENSBORO NC (Marlins)

Carolina League Games
Myrtle Beach (Braves) at LYNCHBURG VA (Pirates).

Going to be a great time for all and we will cover the entire trip here after our return.

The Cleveland Cavaliers are pounding the Pistons all over the North Shore tonight.
The game is not final,but is decided.
Series tied at 2-2.

Al Gore on Keith Olbermann's show tonight and tomorrow as Gore does publicity of his new book-Assault on reason.
Click here for the link for tonight's portion of the show.
Gore addresses the rumors of his possibly entering the 2008 Presidential race.
The uncertainty of the former Vice-Presidental's run is what has kept me from an endorsement here already.
Once he makes up his mind either way,our endorsement will be quickly posted here.

I do not really want to get too in depth into Cindy Sheehan's withdrawal from public life,but I did want to address one point that I believe has some legitimacy.
Her quote -"Casey died for a country which cares more about who will be the next American Idol than how many people will be killed in the next few months while Democrats and Republicans play politics with human lives."
No matter what opinion you have on the war,this country needs to have more civil discourse on this topic and appreciate what is really important at this time.
I realize this could smack of hypocrisy when my top story was Pittsburgh 4 San Diego 1 and there could be some validity to that,but not many blogs like this touch any varied issues at all.
It is a sad commentary on our country when more people voted for someone on a glorified talent show than for the leader of our country.
Opinions of Ms.Sheehan on a personal basis are irrelevant,when one considers the issues at hand.
Just something to ponder.

Back tomorrow.

Photo Credit
Al Gore-Wireimage.com-Lester Cohen
Pittsburgh-AP Photo-Keith Srakocic

Monday, May 28, 2007

Jared Goedert makes me look smart and Pirates split.


The Pirates split their games in Cincinnati on Sunday and Monday,as they won Sunday 14-10 and lost today 4-0.
In the win,the Bucs jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the 1st paced by a Jason Bay 3 run homer.
Jack Wilson popped a 2 run homer later and Freddy Sanchez knocked in 4 runs as well.
That was a season high for Freddy.
Zach Duke got an unimpressive win to improve to 2-5.
Duke gave up 5 runs in 5 innings,make sure you thank the offense for an unusual output,Zach!
The Reds hit 5 home runs in the loss,led by Adam Dunn's 2.

The Reds avoided their 1st time being swept at home by Pittsburgh since 1992,with their 4-0 win today.Kyle Lohse shut down the Bucs allowing only 6 hits in the shutout.
The big play was a catch and collision by Ryan Freel.
Freel held onto the Humberto Cota fly ball,but was taken off the field on a stretcher.
David Ross hit a two run homer to give the Reds all they would need for the win.
Ian Snell picked up the loss (4-4),going 7 innings,allowing 3 runs.

The Buccos return home tomorrow for a 3 game series vs San Diego.
Tom Gorzelanny vs David Wells a t 7;00.

Bullpen Notes

My call on Jared Goedert going to Kinston came true-in one day!
Goedert was promoted to the K-Tribe from Lake County and he will be their 2nd baseman as well.
2 for 2 for us for that one!!

Here is an interesting item on how close the Pirates came to adding one of our favorites,Stephen Drew.
I had known that Drew was an high school draftee by the Bucs,but I had not known how close Pittsburgh came to signing him.
Figures that Captain Dave was involved in losing him.


On the same link,you can see the difference between former Pittsburgh farm director Mickey White and current one- Ed Creech.
Please don't get me wrong,White was not an elite drafter by any means,but compared to Creech's efforts,he looks like one.

Battlin' Bob sends us this gem on the Hagerstown Suns in the Hagerstown Herald Mail.
The Nora Roberts bobblehead got its unveiling for its July 6th giveaway earlier this week.
I think the Roberts bobble is a good promotion in general,although I could care less,as it will bring fans that ordinarily do not come to the ballpark.
But the hilarious stuff is from the article itself.
Ms.Roberts is an "avid baseball fan"who tries to get to "a few games a year to relax",but her "hectic travel schedule gets in the way".
Now I know she must be busy,but if she was an avid fan,wouldn't you think she would get some games in on the road here and there,with all the areas around the country that she gets to see?

The other (unintentionally) funny part of the article comes from of all people-Suns GM Will Smith.
I know,I know........
Smith said this
"I found it so amazing that she's a Washington County native,".
Why so amazing?
Because she is a professional writer?
Or that she is a world-renowned author that lives here?
And which of those things are "Amazing".
The chuckles just keep coming,folks!

The Columbus Blue Jackets have interviewed Neil Smith for their GM position.
Normally,we do not cover the Blue Jackets here,but if you interview Neil Smith,we try to give some pub here.
Now it is for being stupid enough to consider Neil Smith for a job in your organization,but pub is pub-Congrats to making it into our little world,Columbus!

Mike McClendon of the West Virginia Power gave up only one hit in 7 innings today in the Power's win over Greenville.
Some of you might remember Mike's flirting with a no-hitter on May 18,as reported here.
Looks like Brevard County,the Brewers High A farm team will be in Mike's immediate future.

Back tomorrow!

Photo Credits
Freel Collision-AP Photo-David Kohl
Goedert-Unknown
Roberts Bobble-Hagerstown Herald-Mail-Ric Dugan

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Bucs win and Suns win....


Sorry for the late post.

The Pirates beat the Reds in the River City 9-5 as the beloved (By Boston Fans) Bronson Arroyo had his second control troubled outing vs crappy teams in a row.
Arroyo,who Red Sox fans seem to look at as the new coming of Juan Marichal,allowed the Nationals in his last start and then the Bucs to bat around in the 1st inning,as Pittsburgh plated 4 runs against him.
Xavier Nady's 3 run shot(his 7th) was the big blow for Pittsburgh,while Jason Bay added 3 RBI as well.
Adam LaRoche homered in the 9th for his 5th long ball of the year and his average neared the Mendoza Line at .199 for the season.
B.P. Chacon lasted 3 and 2 thirds in his attempt to add "Stability" to the rotation.
Great work there!
John Grabow grabbed the garbage win (1-1),while the Pirates newest addition Brian Rogers had an interesting evening.
2 batters,2 home runs allowed-evening over,demoted to Indianapolis for Josh Sharpless.
Good night everybody!
More on this below.

The Hagerstown Suns used an error by outfielder Bobby Andrews to help blast a tight game open to defeat the Delmarva Shorebirds 7-1.
Entering the Hagerstown 7th,the Suns lead 2-1 on the back of Leonard Davis' 8th homer of the year,but Andrews dropped a routine fly to put the Shorebirds on the skids.
The Suns scored 3 unearned runs in the 7th on just one hit and added 2 more insurance runs in the 8th.
Erik Arnesen picked up his 3rd win in a row for Hagerstown,as he allowed just 1 run in his 5 innings.
Jeff Moore picked up a hard luck loss,allowing 5 runs in 6 and 1 third,but only 2 were earned.
The series concludes today and the Suns then go back on the road for a week.

Bullpen Notes

Top Prospect battle
Chris Marrero 2 for 4,2 doubles.
Billy Rowell 1 for 3 ,HBP

On the signing front
Not much other than Oriole roving instructor Tom Lawless.
Lawless was borderline unfriendly,when I asked if he would sign,he growled "Maybe when I get down that way".
Lawless was standing about 10 yds away,leaning against a fence.
To his credit,he did sign for me without being asked when he was near me,but still made a less than favorable impression.

Brian Rogers certainly had a bad outing last night and the decision to give Chacon the rotation slot was part of why Rogers was recalled,but seemed a bit quick to send him back to AAA after 1 bad outing in garbage time.
If you wanted Josh Sharpless ,why not him when Rogers was the choice?

The Hagerstown Suns sent young SS Stephen King to extended spring training and then likely to Short Season Vermont,when their season begins.
King was the Nationals 3rd round selection in last year's draft,but was overmatched at the bat and had huge throwing problems defensively.
Also seemed to struggle with maturity,throwing equipment and arguing with umpires.
This was best for King and the Nationals,King will likely be the Suns starter at short next season.

For all the hype recently on Chuck Liddell and Ultimate Fighting,Liddell's blow out loss to Quinton Jackson exposes the UFC's long term problem.
People will inevitably get tired of paying 45 bucks for 3 mins of action.
Pro Wrestling became worked for a reason,all those years ago.
The reason?Real fighting (with few rules) does not last long and and can be downright dull as the fighters become more defensive.
I am not knocking UFC but this media nonsense on UFC killing Boxing seems really premature to me.
I would not say it is a fad (like this Poker crap),but it should settle into being a niche' sport in the long haul.

Mansfield Ohio's undefeated 168 lb contender Anthony Hanshaw will fight faded self-promoter Roy Jones in July.
Here is hoping Hanshaw knocks Roy into retirement.

Lake County 3rd sacker Jared Goedert continues to dominate SAL pitching,but is blocked at Kinston by fellow prospect Wes Hodges.
I have been told however,that Goedert could be promoted to Kinston as a SECOND BASEMAN.
The Tribe would use the position change to make room for both players at Kinston.

Back later or tomorrow with Pirates-Reds and Suns-Shorebirds

Photo Credit
Arroyo-AP Photo-David Kohl

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Guest Post-Battling Bob takes on the Suns


A few wishes..
By Battling Bob Mckain

If i could give the Hagerstown Suns a few wishes, this is just the tip of the iceberg,but it gives a little more of a view of how bad things can be at a Suns game..

1)Might not be the largest need, but the one that needs taken of first..get public address announcers who can speak! not sure how many times some one can drag a guys name out to make it 20 seconds,but here's a sample... now batting..leonarddddddddddd davis.. and i am not even making this up!also they have a guy who i swear is simply the worst P.A announcer(Editors Note-This is the guy running around with the hand microphone) i have ever heard..


2) Along with the new announcers, and this is a 2 part wish, how about getting some speakers that actually work,and someone who can operate them? Nothing worse than going to a ballgame,and coming home tone deaf..


3)How about some employees who seem to enjoy being there, if you work at a ballpark, you should at least act like you want to be there.. a few of the "talents" that works at the park, seem like they just go through the motions,always a great sight to see someone who seems to be sleep dancing..

4)Someone to tell the seat nazi, that just because a company buys seats, if no one ever sits in them,why would you be running your fans off, to make sure a block wall with patio tables,and chairs, has no one in it??..When i saw him chase kids(who are the future of this game after all)away from these "suites" you just have to laugh,and say,and you wonder why you are losing fans..


5)Have more giveaways, i know, this costs money, but for a guy who coaches high school football to get 3009 asses in the seats on a holiday friday, someone should be seeing the cash cow they could have.. mix it up alittle.. how about having Nationals bobbleheads? think fans wouldn't come out for that?how about Suns legends? and i'm just a guy who likes baseball, for me to just rattle those off, scares me..what scares me more,is no one with the Suns have came up with this!


6)And last but most important.. a new stadium for the players who have some of the worst locker rooms in the minors,and a field we can be proud to have visiting ballclubs come to..not one where guys say,Hagerstown, oh they have that crappy stadium,with a lopsided field!some day these dreams may come true,i just hope it happens before we lose our team again,and then have to be stuck with short season ball...

The Views of all guest posters may or may not be the opinions of Shawn Heimberger or the thoughtsofrs blog.

Bucs win in 10,Nationals and Orioles top prospects battle in Hagerstown.


The Pirates scored 8 runs in the 10th inning to break a 2-2 tie and win going away over the Cincinnati Reds 10-4.
The wild 10th inning was created by Pirates singles with the bases loaded.
The two regulation Pittsburgh runs came in the second on back to back bombs by Jason Bay and Xavier Nady.
The homers were the sixth of the season for both players.
A badly needed good outing for Paul Maholm,pitching seven innings and only allowing two runs on back to back homers by Ken Griffey and Brandon (I'm no Ramon Vasquez) Phillips.
Any glimmer of hope that we can get from Maholm and Zach Duke is quickly grabbed and appreciated.
The Pirates send our new "Stabilizing" 5th starter B.P. Chacon tonight vs the Reds Bronson Arroyo at 7;05.
This does not look good,but I said that about Friday's game and Pittsburgh got the win.

In an exciting game at Municipal Stadium-The Hagerstown Suns defeated the Delmarva Shorebirds 9-8 in 12 innings on a walk off homer by Suns slugger Chris Marrero.
I had to leave after the 10th to go to work-If anyone wants to pay me to do this full-time, I am more than willing (ha ha).
Marrero's homer was the 12 of the season for the Nationals top pick in the 2006 draft.
Chris also played right field for the first time this year in Hagerstown and made a huge defensive play in the 11th.
With the bases loaded and 1 out,Chris Vinyard flew out to Marrero for the second out,but instead of just Daniel Figueroa tagging from third and strolling in with the lead run,all the runners tagged in a less than smart move.
Marrero gunned down Brandon Tripp at 2nd,just before Figueroa touched home and ending the inning for Delmarva.
Someone on the Shorebirds should have their ass chewed for that dumbness.
Either Tripp or the coach that told him to go.
Dumb baseball.
The Orioles top 2006 pick was in town for the first time yesterday as well.
Third sacker Billy Rowell had a good news bad news game.
He smacked a 3 run homer for his 1st of the year in just his 3rd game,but made 3 errors and could been charged with a 4th on a borderline call in a Wellinson Baez-like performance.
Those of you that saw Baez play for Lakewood last year know exactly what I am referring to!
Same two teams hook em up tonight at Municipal at 6;35.

Bullpen Notes

In a tough break-Mike Gonzalez of the Braves is out for the year.
Gonzalez will undergo Tommy John surgery later this week.
So no matter,how poorly Adam LaRoche plays,Pittsburgh still gets more out of him than Atlanta will from Gonzalez.

The Phillies dumb move of moving their number 1 pitcher Brett Myers to the bullpen,just got worse-Myers got injured and is now on the DL.
Only in Philadelphia.

On the signing Front

Billy Rowell signed all 8 cards for me with no problems.
I do not like to give that many cards,but they were all different ones and there was not too many collectors out.
I would wager that tonight will be different as word on Rowell now playing gets out.
Also added the newest Sun catcher Pat Nichols and another new arriving card of Oriole prospect Pedro Beato.

Photo Credit
AP Photo-Al Behrman

Friday, May 25, 2007

Tribe whips Royals and I remember why I lost interest in the NBA

In a game that was close yet not compelling,the Cleveland Cavaliers lost their second in a row to the Detroit Pistons and fell behind 2-0 in the series.
Just a slow and dull basketball game.
The referees did "let them play",but just was not fun to watch,I will keep an eye on this series,but man, I am not sure I can watch another whole game of this.

The Indians helped the City of Cleveland avoid a sweep for the day by pounding Kansas City 10-3.
The often-torched Jeremy Sowers pitched 7 strong innings for his 1st win of the season.
Sowers allowed just one run off of 6 hits and likely saved himself another 5 days of rumors on his poor performances and status in the rotation.
I hope Sowers can build off this effort.
The Indians had two solid shots to pretty much secure the game,as Jason Michaels hit a three run homer in the 1st inning(his 2nd ) and Casey Blake unloaded the bases in the 5th with a 3 run triple.
That ball must have smoked and then rattled around a Kansas City BQ pit for Blake to get a triple-LOL!


Bullpen Notes

Tonight pitchers;
Pittsburgh-Maholm 2-6 at Cincinnati-Harang 5-2--This one does not look good
Cleveland-Byrd 4-1 at Detroit-Robertson 4-3.

I will be going to Municipal Stadium for tonight's Hagerstown Suns-Delmarva Shorebirds game.
This game will be my 1st look at the Orioles number 1 prospect Billy Rowell.
Rowell has missed the entire season before being activated Wednesday.
I have 8 different cards to try to get Rowell to sign,check here "on the signing front' to see how I did.

In news that is important to one reader-"The next big thing" Anthony Davis will be a member of the CFL's Hamilton Tiger-Cats this season.
Davis was a touted (by one person) running back at Wisconsin.
If Davis has success,you will know about it,as we will be covering the Hamilton Tiger-Cats here this season.

Former Hawaii record-setting Quarterback Timmy Chang is also a member of the Tabbies as well.

Two new games came in today-
The 1977 Orange Bowl between Ohio State and Colorado,along with the 2002 Buckeyes vs Cincinnati game.
I had this game,but some stuff I have not been able to find since the move.
Now I can work on moving the entire 2002 "Championship Run" on DVD.
Thanks to Craig Yaple for the trade.

I will be back either later or tomorrow with Billy Rowell scouting,Pirates,Indians and more.

Photo Credit
Sowers-AP Photo-Dick Whipple

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Bucs swept by Redbirds,Gorzelanny hit by liner

The Pirates were swept today,losing a 3-1 decision to the Cardinals in St.Louis.
The Cardinals scored 2 runs in the second off Tom Gorzelanny,although the damage could have been worse.Scott Rolen was thrown out easily at second and would have scored on a later hit.
Gorzelanny allowed 10 hits in 5 and a third innings,but only 2 runs as he was picked up by Jonah Bayliss.Gorzelanny left the game with the bases loaded in the 6th after being hit by a line drive off the bat of Aaron Miles,but Bayless bailed him out by striking out Scott Speizo and retiring David Eckstein on a fly ball.
Pittsburgh cut the Cardinal lead to 2-1 in the 6th on a solo homer by Jose Bautista.
It was the 3rd of the year for Jose and that was all the runs the Pirates would get on this day.
The Cardinals plated an insurance run in their half of the 8th.
The Pirates travel to Cincinnati tomorrow for a 3 game weekend series.

The Cleveland Cavaliers are in Detroit for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
We will cover it here tomorrow.
Until then!

Photo Credit
Gorzelanny-AP Photo-Tom Gannan

A break from the format and we lose to Kip Wells???

First in a break from the usual format.
I would just like to wish my wife,Cherie-a happy 20th Anniversary.
Anyone that knows me knows that I am difficult on my best day,beyond belief on my worst,so Cherie has to be a saint with the patience of Job to tolerate me.
I cannot believe it has been 20 years,it has flown by so quickly!
But I just wanted to acknowledge the most important person in my life on this momentous day.

The Pirates just keep on stomping on any hope as they dropped a 5-3 decision to the Cardinals and Kip Wells.!?
Ian Snell gave up 3 homers in an unusual outing for him,but those nights happen.
What I want to know is this-Kip Wells,who sucked big-time in Pittsburgh and entered the game with a stellar 1-8 (Yes 1-8) record dominates the Buccos for 7 innings and allows just 1 run???
Does that speak volumes more than I can write or what??
You tell me where the light at the end of the Fort Pitt Tunnel is and I will look really hard for it.
The score could have been worse.
Chris Duffy robbed Juan Encarncion of a homer in the game with a great leaping catch.
I have been a vocal critic of Duffy and still remain so,but he is an excellent defensive outfielder and one cannot criticize him for his fielding for sure.
Snell falls to 4-3 with the loss.
Pirate RBI went to Adam LaRoche (2) and Jason Bay.
Series concludes at 1;00 today.
Tom Gorzelanny for the Swashbucklers vs Braden Looper for El Birdos.

Bullpen Notes

Duffy's catch made me think about a terrific feature from some of the newer ballparks.
The lower fences in parts of the park make the spectacular robbing catches happen much more often now than in the past.
Adds much more excitement than playing the hop off of a higher wall.

Jim Balsillie has bought the Nashville Predators.
The Canadian billionaire almost bought the Penguins,but backed out when the NHL insisted he not move them.
I agreed with the NHL on that one,but here is hoping this team in SEC country moves ASAP!
Several cities are rumored,but bet on either Winnipeg getting their deserved team back or Hamilton finally getting their chance to enter the NHL.
If Hamilton is the choice,they will likely have to build an arena in a strategic suburb to avoid the NHL's rule on entering another teams's radius.
Hamilton's past bids have been hurt by their radius to Buffalo and Toronto.
The two above links are great sites to read about Hamilton and Winnipeg's hockey past and future.

Here is a hilarious post from Charlie over at Bucs Dugout on B.P Chacon,the decision to make him the 5th starter and the "Stability" that Jim Tracy believes he brings over Van Benschoten.

Good to see Jeremy Guthrie pitching so well in Baltimore.
I always believed that the Tribe did not give Guthrie a real chance in Cleveland and I told people that if someone grabbed him off waivers that they could have a real find.
Thus far,Guthrie has done just that.I just hate that he is doing it in Baltimore!
I spoke to a member of Baltimore's player development office here at Municipal and discussed Guthrie and what I just wrote.
The person agreed and "We were shocked to get him off waivers,we thought someone ahead of us would claim him for sure".
I hate rooting for Orioles,but I do root for Guthrie.

Back later with Pirates-Cardinals,since it is an afternoon game..........

Photo Credits
Wells-AP Photo-Jeff Roberson
Pittsburgh Skyline-Pittsburghskyline.com-Matt Robinson

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Redbirds pummel Pirates 9-4.


The Pirates missed chance after chance and finally the Cardinals made them pay in a 9-4 loss.
Pittsburgh loaded the bases three times in the 1st 4 innings and came away with 3 runs.
Zach Duke had another rough outing allowing 6 runs and 11 hits in just 5 innings.
Duke and Maholm are really struggling and I do not think that it is a coincidence that they are the two finesse throwers of the staff.
I think finesse guys need to have extra offense backing them up and this team sure is not the team to do that.
That said,it would take a lot of offense to back their efforts thus far.
Bucco RBI's went to Xavier Nady,Jason Bay and Jose Bautista.
The best thing for Pittsburgh fans was Ryan Doumit throwing out 2 Cardinals runners at home from right field.
Doumit may be questioned on his defensive skills in right,but his arm sure cannot questioned for sure.
The series continues tonight in the Gateway city at 8;05.
Ian Snell for the Buccos vs former Pirate Kip Wells for the birds.

Bullpen Notes

Portland won the Greg Oden lottery last night.
My main knock on the NBA Lottery is this-Either have a complete lottery or none at all.
This in between stuff does not work for me.

Nice to see Mike Tomlin has brought such upstanding people to the Steelers.
One of his assistants forwarded porn Emails to the NFL office accidently.
Smooth move,Genius.

The Cleveland Cavaliers attempt to get a split of road games in the Eastern Conference Finals tonight.
If I watch this-I will cover it.

Kudos to XM Radio.After their outages on Monday and Tuesday,They offered a pro rated rebate for the 2 days of problems.
87 cents is not much,but it is good customer relations.

And kudos to my wonderful Wife-She pulled an autographed Daryl Jones card out of 1 pack of Bowman yesterday.
Great job and thank you Cherie!

Back later or tomorrow.

Photo Credits
Baseball=AP Photo-Jeff Roberson
Daryl Jones-Topps Cards

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Peter Puck returns! Tribe wins and Bucs are boneheaded AGAIN


In today;s top story-after a long extended absence-Peter Puck will be returning to the airwaves!
Why is a cartoon puck a big deal?
Well,to me,it is nostalgia.I learned the rules of hockey as a 6 -7 year old by watching Peter Puck,but it also is a smart marketing move.
Kids will enjoy Peter Puck and that leads to learning the game which follows up by watching games and becoming a fan.
And that sells Merchandise!!
Great move,NHL-Now tell me why he was gone for 30 years to begin with!

The Cleveland Indians broke open the game in the seventh on Josh Barfield's double to lead the Tribe to a 5-2 win over the Seattle Mariners in Cleveland.
It was the makeup of the Snow-out game from opening day.
C.C Sabathia pitched five innings,allowing one run,but was not especially sharp.
Tom Mastny got the win in relief improving his record to 3-1.
Casey Blake had given Cleveland a 2-1 lead in the 6th,breaking a tie with his 4th long ball of the year And Barfield made the play of the game by firing a relay throw to Victor Martinez to throw out Jose Guillen at the plate.
That run would given Seattle the lead.
Barfield is really hitting his stride after a stumbling start out of the gate.
The Tribe travels to Kansas City tonight-Fausto Carmona for the Wahoos vs Odalis Perez for the Royals.

As I predicted,Tracy Littlefield gave the 5th spot in the Pittsburgh rotation to B.P.Chacon and recalled Brian Rogers from AAA Indianapolis to replace Marty McLeary.
Now Rogers has pitched well at Indy,but this is clearly a Tracy Littlefield move to give their guy Chacon as many chances as possible to succeed.
However,what they fail to realize is that the modest success Chacon is currently having is due to the role that he currently holds-Long Reliever!
A mediocre pitcher has a much better chance for success pitching in no pressure mop up roles than he does as a starter,
Apparently Tracy Littlefield either does not realize this or they do realize it and are pushing their guy anyway.
Either way-there is no excuse for such poor decision making.
Sorry Van Benschoten,I thought you deserved it,but apparently in Pittsburgh,being someones guy is more important than being good.

XM Radio better try to get this satellite glitch fixed ASAP.My signal was in and out all during my drive home.
I cannot believe that customers will tolerate this for long.

Back later with coverage of tonight's games.

Photo credits
Peter Puck-Hanna Barbera Studios
Indians-AP Photo-Tony Dejak

Monday, May 21, 2007

Pirates fall to the big unit


Randy Johnson fanned 10 Pirates in 5 and two-thirds innings and Chris Snyder cleared the bases with a double to lead Arizona to a 5-2 win over the Pirates at PNC Park.
The loss gave Pittsburgh a loss in the series(2-1 AZ) and a losing 10 game homestand (4-6).
Paul Maholm continues to get hammered most times out and if he was not a Tracy Littlefield favorite,could be looking at bullpen time or the slow train to Indianapolis.
But from Jim Tracy's words,Maholm has nothing to fear yet.
Xavier Nady knocked in both Pittsburgh runs.
Jose Castillo played shortstop again in what I believe is a bit of showcasing and went 1 for 3.
The Bucs did get 4 solid innings of work from the bullpen,as Jonah Bayliss and Damaso Marte each fired two scoreless innings.
Buccos are off tonight,as they travel to St.Louis to play the Redbirds Tuesday and Wednesday nights before finishing Thursday afternoon.
Zach Duke pitches in the opener vs the Cardinals Adam Wainwright.

Bullpen Notes

The Pirates also made two roster moves.
Humberto Cota returns as the seldom used Brad Eldred goes to Indianapolis.
Marty McLeary joins Eldred on that flight,but no replacement has been recalled.

The 5th starter to replace Tony Armas in the rotation has not been named,but I think it will either be B.P.Chacon or John Van Benschoten.
Chacon is a management favorite,but is better pen fit (as Bad as that is).
Van Benschoten would keep the balance at 3 LHP and 2 RHP,which helps him over Sean Burnett and has pitched better recently than Bryan Bullington.
To me,it's JVB,which means he is probably not being considered.

Mike McClendon of the West Virginia Power came within 2 outs of throwing a no hitter,a few days back vs Asheville.
Mike signed a card for me during the Power's visit here.

On the signing front.
Kinda slow with the Suns on the road,but did get a Landon Powell at a card show yesterday for 3 bucks and Matt Peterson sent some cards through the mail.
Must have been cleaning out his locker for his move from Altoona to Indianapolis.

Since no Buccos tonight,we will be covering the Indians-Mariners game.
C.C.Sabathia for the Wahoos against Cha Seung Beak for Seattle.

Photo Credit
Dave Miller-AP Photo

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Sunday Edition-Buccos gag,Tribe falls and much more!

Well,it is a good thing that the Pirates-Diamondbacks game was not televised.
If I had been watching that,I think I would have pulled valuable chunks of hair out in watching Pittsburgh blow a 5 run lead in the 7th and 8th and lose to Arizona 9-8.
The Buccos WASTE ANOTHER good effort from Tom Gorzelanny,who left the game thinking he was in good shape to snag the W.
Instead of giving Gorzo another inning,Jim Tracy brings in John Grabow (yuck) and watches as he quickly creates a bases jammed situation.
Then to compound his boneheadedness,instead of calling for Damaso Marte to pitch to Tony Clark,
the call is for MARTY MCLEARY???
Who promptly gives a grand slam up to Clark.
Matt Capps gives up two in the 8th and the loss in on.
The loss guarantees Pittsburgh a losing record on this 10 game homestand,they needed a sweep to go 6-4 on it.
Simply put-poor managing and the bullpen is not nearly as effective as Tracy-Littlefield thinks that it is.
If you like Grabow,Chacon,McLeary and even Torres (As a closer),good for you.
I beg to differ..

Since the Bucs were not on TV,I grabbed the opportunity to watch the Cleveland Indians play in the battle of Ohio vs the Reds.
The Reds took the win 10-5.
Two things were confirmed for me-
1-Jeremy Sowers is lacking confidence and is nibbling for strikes,which considering his stuff is not overpowering is a luxury that he cannot afford.
The result there is the beatings that he has taken over his last few starts.
Sowers spot almost has to be the one taken,when Jake Westbrook returns,when you consider how well Fausto Carmona has pitched lately.
2-The Tribe has to feel incredibly stupid every time the Reds play them and they watch Brandon Phillips and think he could still be in Cleveland.
The blame for this miscue goes directly to Eric Wedge,who for some reason never liked Phillips and wanted to keep Ramon Vasquez instead.
How is Vasquez doing by the way?
I dont know,but he is not in the big leagues for sure.
Phillips hit a long 3 run bomb off Sowers,that set the tone for the game-The Reds build a lead,Cleveland chips away and the Reds pull away again.
David Ross,who had a batting average of .190 took Sowers deep for another 3 run shot that pretty much settled the game.
Travis Hafner and Jhonny Peralta hit solo shots for Cleveland.

Todays pitching matchups
The Pirates send Paul Maholm to the mound against Arizona's Randy Johnson,while
the Wahoo Warriors will throw Paul Byrd vs the Reds ace Aaron Harang.
Both games are 1;00 starts.

Bullpen Notes

My Preakness long shot Circular Quay finished 5th,but again I will not beat myself up over it,as all 3 in the money finishers did not meet my restrictions as a long shot.

In a tediously dull fight,Jermain Taylor kept his WBA and WBC Middleweight titles with a split decision over Cory Spinks in Memphis.
I scored it 115-113 for Taylor,at least I think I did-I may fallen asleep with the lack of action.
In a action filled bout on the undercard-Kelly Pavlik stopped Edison Miranda in the seventh round to establish himself as the top Middleweight contender.
Simply put-the fight of the year thus far.
If any of you have HBO,catch the replay!!

On the topic of Boxing-A note to ESPN,when you are showing a replay of a fight-please quit putting the result on the bottom line during the fight.
Friday,I settled in to watch a Lt.heavyweight title eliminator between Glen Johnson and Montell Griffin.
45 seconds into Round 1,the Bottom Line ran the result-Johnson TKO in the 11th.
Ruined the whole fight-thanks ESPN.

Note to the Cleveland Indians-Drop the hats with the Script I on them.
They look bad and you are the Cleveland Indians,not the Indianapolis Indians,which is the 1st thing that comes to mind when one sees them.

Hey Boston (New York Lite),if you do not want Wily Mo Pena and refuse to play him-do the guy a favor and move him to someone that can use him,like say Pittsburgh or Washington.
I like Pena a lot and never understood why the Boston fans were so upset over the Pena-Bronson Arroyo deal.
I understand now-they gave Arroyo up for a guy to sit on their bench!

Here is a good column by Bob Smizik on why the Pirates franchise should feel even worse about themselves. Pretty dead on,in my opinion.

Back later or tomorrow with notes on today's games and maybe random ramblings.

Photo Credits
McLeary-Peter Diana-Pittsburgh Post Gazette
Phillips-Tony Dejak-AP Photo

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Bucs stomp Rattlers..

The Pittsburgh Pirates smacked around the Arizona Diamondbacks 11-5 last night at PNC Park.
Xavier Nady was the star of the game,as he hit a 3 run homer to give Pittsburgh an early lead and later threw out Carlos Quentin out at the plate from right field.
Adam LaRoche continued to give hopes for a bat awakening,as he had 2 hits and 2 RBI.
Ryan Doumit added an insurance pinch-hit home run in the 8th to give him 3 RBI for the night.
Ian Snell was terrific for 5 innings,but weakened badly in the 6th.
Snell gave up 4 runs in the inning and was relieved with two outs.
Snell did fan 7 and got the victory,which improved him to a record of 4-2.
This is a payback for some of his early season outings where he pitched great,got no support and did not get the win.
Jose Castillo played shortstop in the game for the mildly injured Jack Wilson.
Wilson fell awkwardly on his shoulder catching a pop-up in the final game vs Florida.
I see this as a showcasing of Castillo,showing his versatility for possible trades.
Castillo has reportedly asked for a potential move elsewhere.
The two "Natural Rivals"(HA HA) play tonight at 7;00.
Tom Gorzelanny for Pittsburgh against Micah Owings of Arizona.
Looking forward to getting a look at Owings.

Update-No television tonight for the Bucs,so we will be covering the Reds-Indians.
Matt "the Pirate Killer" Belisle vs Jeremy Sowers.

Bullpen Notes

The Bucs wore those terrible V-8 uniforms again.
The always inane Greg Brown talked about how much the fans love them,yet I did not see one fan sitting in the stands wearing one of the monstrosities.

More ridiculous Greg Brown-
When Ryan Doumit was pinch hitting,Brown kept calling him "Jeremiah Johnson".
Brown did not give any background on whether he was called this in the clubhouse and why he may be called this,just kept saying it.
So after Doumit's blast,Brown drags Steve Blass into this mess and Blass starts blathering about Jeremiah Johnson and "Jeremiah was a Bullfrog" etc.
Jeremiah Johnson was a Robert Redford film in 1972.
I was 4 years old then!
And Greg Brown is using this is a reference of some kind.
Just one reason why Greg Brown is the worst announcer in baseball.

The Diamondbacks debuted their new uniforms for the Pittsburgh fans for the 1st time.
Very sharp and classy.A huge upgrade over their previous teal and black dreck.
These looked like baseball uniforms should,unlike the old ones that looked like leftover from an XFL garage sale.
Here is a picture of my favorite Diamondback Stephen Drew in the road uniform.
Of course,if the Pirates ever drafted by picking the best player instead of the best player that will sign for they offer,Drew could be our SS instead of the Bucs having to over-pay Jack Wilson.

In a huge shocker-Josh Beckett was placed on the DL for finger problems again.
Ahhh,I miss those days as a fantasy owner of Beckett and having to deal with 4 weeks without a building block starter because he has blisters.

Coverage tonight of the battle to be the number 1 Middleweight contender between Kelly Pavlik and Edison Miranda as well as the WBA and WBC
Middleweight title fight between champion Jermain Taylor vs Cory Spinks.
Pavlik-Miranda looks like a good one.
Taylor-Spinks not so good.

And finally,coming off my huge Derby success (eye roll),here is my Preakness Long Shot.
My rules are a long shot has to go off at 5-1 or more.
Since this is posted in the Morning,I have to use the morning line as my guide.
So with that in mind,lets go with Circular Quay,who qualifies due to his 8-1 odds on the morning line.

Photo Credits
Pirates-AP Photo-Keith Srakocic
Stephen Drew-Getty Images-Jeff Gross

Friday, May 18, 2007

Pirates split with Marlins and lots of bullpen notes


The Florida Marlins made 5 miscues last night and as generally the rule,you make that many errors-you lose!
And they did as the Pirates took the win and a split of the 4 game series 7-2.
Tony Armas continued his stint on the hot seat,as he was removed after just 3 innings allowing 2 runs.
As you can see from the picture,he appears to see his future.
Check the game recap for the no confidence vote from Jim Tracy.
B.P Chacon pitched well 5 scoreless innings to get the win.
This is good news-bad news.
Good-Pirates win,Bad-Bet on Tracy-Littlefield giving the Armas rotation spot to B.P. instead of Bullington or Van Benscoten.
Kinda of a dull offensive output with the errors of the Marlins,but Ronny Paulino knocked in 3 runs.
He can relax,If Doumit hitting .450 and Paulino hitting .190 is not enough for the Pirates to make a change,what is enough?????
The Pirates send their best Shooter to the mound tonight vs Arizona in Ian Snell.
Arizona counters with lefty Doug Davis.

Bullpen Notes

The Pirates and Diamondbacks are the two NL teams not participating in "Inter-League Rivalry Weekend".
I would love to see the Pirates be one of the two odd teams out every year.
3 less Inter-League games that I have to watch.

Anyone want to enter a contest?
Since we have had just 2 consistent starters in Snell and Gorzelanny,how about a nickname?
Gorzo and Snell and 3 days of hell?????

The Braves released Pittsburgh fan favorite Craig Wilson after his early season struggles.
A Pittsburgh return would be a total shock to me.
Craig,as has been established,is not the Tracy Littlefield type player.

Mike Ramlow and Alex Periard both got smacked around last night by the Asheville Tourists.
Both allowed 5 runs each in their stints in a 12-9 Asheville win.
It was the worst outing of the year for Alex,Mike picked up the loss sending his record to 2-2 on the season.

Give some credit to MASN for this weekends Nationals-Orioles series.
In a smart move,MASN will show the game using the Orioles announcers Gary Thorne,Buck Martinez and company,while MASN2 will use the Washington crew-the superior Bob Carpenter and Don Sutton.
Gives each side their guys and fair to both sides-Good decision.

Kudos to my satellite provider DirectTV for finally adding Sports Time Ohio to the sports package.
I know that all the Tribe specials will likely be blacked out like the Yankees and Mets do on their networks,but I will get to listen to Bruce Drennan every day for a few hours.
Drennen is a Cleveland radio icon and vies for the second spot of Cleveland sports talkers with Geoff Sindelar.
Both rank behind the late Pete Franklin.

The Chicago Black Hawks signed their top pick from last year in Jonathan Towes.
The 19 year old helps give Hawk fans something to look forward to for the future,as Chicago is expected to sign Jack Skille,another draft pick from Wisconsin soon.
Adding Toews,Skille and whoever the Hawks select with the top pick in the 2007 draft being added to Havlat,Ruutu and company gives this Hawk fan hopes for the first time in a while.

And finally best wishes to the Cleveland Cavaliers to finish off the New Jersey Nets tonight.
All though I was a long time Cavalier die-hard,my NBA interest has fallen to just about nil now.
I might watch some games,if they move on to the next round.

Back later or tomorrow with Bucs-D'Backs and whatever else I think up.

Photo Credits
Armas-AP Photo-Keith Srakocic
Towes-Chicago Black Hawks

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Carmona out-duels Santana-Tribe wins 2-0


Fausto Carmona went eye to eye with Twins ace Johan Santana today in Cleveland and two pitches by Santana in the 7th inning was the difference.
Victor Martinez and Ryan Garko hit back to back homers to give the Tribe a 2-0 victory over the visiting Twins.
Santana was his typical great self,2 runs,4 hits and 11 strikeouts over 7 innings,but the homers made the difference,as Carmona gave up just 4 hits over the 9 inning distance and did not allow a run.
First that I have seen Carmona this season and he was very impressive in improving his record to 5-1 on the season.

Josh Barfield made an excellent defensive play in the seventh,glad to see Josh making the adjustments to the AL.
He has all-star level ability and should continue to get better.

Wonder why against the best Lefty starter in the game,Tribe skipper Eric Wedge started a light hitting lefty in SS Mike Rouse?
Not very smart-IMO.

Big decision coming up for Cleveland when Jake Westbrook returns from the shelf.
I see no way that they can return Carmona to Buffalo,so unless a turnaround tomorrow,Jeremy Sowers could be Bison bound.

Inter-league plays starts tomorrow-Boo.

Back later or tomorrow with Pirates-Marlins

Photo Credit
AP Photo-Mark Duncan

Duke pitches well,Bucs lose anyway.


The Pirates seemingly had all the items for victory.
A nice effort from Zach Duke,3 hits(Including a HR) from the slumbering Adam LaRoche and the lead entering the 8th.
But it was not enough as Florida used Josh Willingham and Miguel Cabrera's back to back doubles to turn a 3-2 Pirate lead into an eventual 4-3 Marlin win.
The normally reliable Matt Capps was the culprit tonight,but the encouraging thing from tonight was Adam LaRoche.
Could it be that he is finally beginning to get things together and give Pittsburgh the bat they need?
One can only hope that is the case.
Duke looked the best that he has looked all year,giving me hopes that he too,may have turned a corner.
If he does,3 quality starters can go a LONG way in this division.
The series concludes tomorrow at 7;00,Tony Armas vs Ricky Nolasco.
This could be Armas last shot at staying in the rotation according to this.

Bullpen Notes

Looks like I was wrong about the Hickory pitching.
Only one starter with an ERA below 4.00 and that is Jared Hughes at 3.79.
Guess I was deceived by how easily they handled the Hagerstown Suns,who turned out to be a last place team.

Funny poll on the Cleveland Browns official site.
Who of the these 4 second year players will make the most impact in 2007?
Travis Wilson,Lawrence Vickers,Jerome Harrison or Chris Barclay
If that does not tell you the lousy drafts the Browns have had,nothing will.
Impact players ? On a wild card level team,at least 2 of this list wouldn't make the team!

Looks like the Devils will be looking for a new home for their team owned AHL franchise.
Lowell Massachusetts wants to break the arena lease.
My guess is that the Devils will move the AHL team to Trenton NJ,where their ECHL team is located and look for a new home for that team.
Makes sense to have your top farm team as close as possible for call-ups etc.

Finally on MinorLeagueBall.com,I have been selected as the Farm Director for the Pittsburgh Pirates in their annual 5 round mock draft.
If anyone is interested in helping or just wants to read how things are going,click here.
First time for me doing this,but I cannot do worse than Littlefield can I????
Well,I can say this,at least,It is highly unlikely we will be taking a college pitcher!!

Photo Credits
LaRoche-Pittsburgh Post Gazette-Peter Diana
Littlefield-AP Photo-Al Behrman

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Pirates drop an "uggla" one



The Pirates fell to the Florida Marlins last night 9-3 .
Dan Uggla hit 2 homers off Pirate pitching to lead a 4 homer Marlin barrage.
Paul Malholm gave up 3 of the 4 homers,one each to Uggla,Hanley Ramirez and Jeremy Hermida.
Uggla's other home was off Marty McLeary,who was in mop-up duty.
Malholm pitched well for 5 innings,before a horrid 5th.
Looked to me that when Malholm (a Low ball pitcher) starts to get the ball high into the zone,he gets hammered.
His stuff is not strong enough to be able to get away with those types of mistakes.
Sergio Mitre got his first win in over a year for the Marlins.
Our Bucs are a special kind of team,as this is the second time this season that Pittsburgh has had a pitcher do this.
Russ Ortiz achieved a similar deal last month.

Bullpen Notes

Matt Peterson moved up from AA Altoona to AAA Indianapolis.
Good to see Ray Searage finally straightened him out.
Oh,boy.

John Van Benschoten won the International League pitcher of the week award.
John was 3-0 with a 0.34 ERA last week!
Looks ready for a shot in Pittsburgh to me.

Forgot a "on the signing front' update for the Delmarva series.
A few Shorebirds and 2 more Tim Foli cards.
The big catch was Jose Cardenal.
Jose is currently the Nationals roving base running instructor and played for many MLB teams,most notably the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians.

The Hagerstown Suns start a 10 day road trip,so some down blog time.
Get ready for promised stuff that I have not gotten done yet,Like the Devils GM post for one..
If you have any ideas,write and let me know.

Buckeye Heisman winner Archie Griffin gave the graduation speech at Ashland University Monday.
There is one day that I wish I was at my home away from home.

And finally,thanks to the feedback that I got from some of you on the Mike Ramlow-Alex Periard piece.
I enjoyed doing it and thanks for the compliments on it.
Alex is the starting pitcher tomorrow night and usually Mike is paired with him,I will try let you know how they did.

Photo Credits-
Dan Uggla-AP Photo-Gene Puskar
JVB-Bill Gentry

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

New Jersey Devils Year End Awards


Here is our opinions on the New Jersey Devils 2006-07 award winners.

Player of the year- Martin Brodeur.
If setting the all-time record for wins in a season does not earn you Devils Player of the year award=What will???
Silver-Zach Parise-Most consistent offensive threat
Bronze-Jamie Langenbrunner-Hard worker that did the dirty work all season

Offensive player of the year-Zach Parise
On a team that is so offensively challenged,Parise was the one home run threat that the Devils had,after the injury to Brian Gionta eliminated him from the running.
Silver-Patrik Elias-Very skilled,would love to see him healthy all season to see what he can do.
Bronze-Brian Gionta-Tough,diminutive winger could have won the award if not for his missed time.

Defensive Player of the year-Brian Rafalski-
Solid,steady,and scored the most goals personally since 2000-01
This award goes to a defender,since the forwards will have an award for them alone.
Silver-Colin White-Seems to be coming into his own as a physical defender.
Bronze-Paul Martin-Improves more every year.

Defensive Forward of the year-Jay Pandolfo
Best season ever for Jay,he noses out Madden,.
In my opinion,he should win the Selke ,although he likely will not.
Silver-John Madden-Another excellent season
Bronze-Michael Rupp-4th line hurts his plus/minus,but came along nicely in his return to the Devils.

Newcomer of the Year-Travis Zajac
Solid 17 goals and not terrible on the defensive end either.
Silver-Andy Greene-Really liked his play after his call-up,Counting on big things next year
Bronze-John Oduya-Not as thrilled with him,but could improve.

Board Banger award-Michael Rupp
Rupp uses his big frame to pound players around,and willing to drop the gloves too
Silver-Cam Janssen-Same as Rupp,but tends to take more penalties.
Bronze-Jamie Langenbrunner-Aggressive and does not back down.

Disapppointment Award-Scott Gomez
Only 13 goals for a guy that wants 6.5 million???
Silver-Patrik Elias-Needs to come up bigger in big games.
Bronze-Front Office-I think it is great that we got Marty the record,but he is 35-if you are afraid to play Scott Clemmensen,get someone that you will play.
Marty was exhausted in the post-season.

Sometime in the next few days-I will have a Devils GM style post,in which I address needs and how to attempt to fill them.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Pirates shutout Marlins and Pedro Beato better than advertised.



The Hagerstown Suns defeated the Delmarva Shorebirds 4-3,but the bigger story was a pitching duel between Cory Van Allen and Pedro Beato.
Van Allen gave up a run in the first on a double to Bobby Andrews,a sac bunt moved him to 3rd and a Brandon Snyder bloop single scored Andrews.
Snyder homered off Cory in the 6th for the other run off Van Allen.
Van Allen's line- 6 IP,2 Runs, 7 hits,struck out 5 and walked 1.

Beato was in a word-Dominant,he gave up just 3 hits,none of them solidly struck.
2 walks and a off the end of the bat single gave the Suns a run in the 5th.
Pedro retired the 1st batter in the 6th before a Mike Daniel single.
Apprently his pitch count was reached,as then reliever Wilfredo Perez allowed a Chris Marrero homer to saddle Beato with his 2nd run allowed.
Beato was consistently in the 90's,hitting 95 a few times.
Beato's line-5 1/3 IP,2 runs,3 hits,struck out 5 and walked 2.

Beato has been the most impressive pitcher that I have seen thus far this year.
The Suns scored the winning run in the 8th on a Wilfredo Perez wild pitch.

The Pirates used 7 scoreless innings from Tom Gorzelanny to hold the Marlins in check and broke open the game with 5 8th inning runs to win 7-0.
Tom scattered 5 singles over the seven innings to earn the victory,which improved his record to 5-2 on the year.
Ronny Paulino homered and Freddy Sanchez may be turning the corner with 4 more hits tonight,knocking in 2 runs.
Game 2 vs Florida tomorrow at 7;05.
Paul Malholm vs Sergio Mitre.


Photo Credit
Baseball-AP Photo-Gene Puskar

Random Ramblings-Baseball style

A promised post on what a AAAA player is..........
Scouting types and number cruncher pretty much agree on the definition of a 4A players,but not often on who is one.
A 4A player is someone that dominates AAA baseball,yet is not quite good enough to be a solid performer at the major league level.
There is be various reasons for this.
For the currently white hot Jack Cust,it was that he had major defensive problems,which pretty much eliminated him playing in the National League.
Some came up with a team loaded at a position,when the player was a hot prospect and for different reasons,never got an opportunity to play.
Then after years at AAA,is considered a 4 A player.
Sometimes a 4A players is a player that cannot hit for power in the majors.
And then others simply could not make the final jump to hitting big league pitching.
It does seem that more hitters are considered 4 A players than pitchers are.

Interesting matchup tonight at Municipal Stadium as Suns prospect Cory Van Allen starts vs Delmarva's Pedro Beato.
Beato was a first round pick by the Orioles last year and is, along with Frederick's Brandon Erbe,
one of the top two pitching prospects in Baltimore's system.
The Washington Times recently did an article on Van Allen .
Should be worth going for sure.

Looking forward to feed your face Monday tonight as well.
Nothing beats eating popcorn chicken that has the texture of leather and rocks.
Battling Bob calls them Chichleather......

Mike Marshall has some interesting ideas.
I would love to know and see more,but his way of expressing himself has to hurt him in getting teams to take a chance on implementing them.
No one likes to take a roll of the dice on a guy that's thinks he has all the answers and a attitude to boot.
Ask me-Ha ha.

The Indians moved Jason Davis to Seattle today.
This appeared inevitable last week,when they had to pass him through waivers to try to send him to AAA Buffalo.
I did not see what others did in him,so I do not see this as a huge loss.
Will watching to see who the Player to be named later is.......
Likely a low prospect that could be assigned to Lake County.

You read it here about Jack Cust on the day he became an A.
Glad to see him smashing the ball so well!

The Rockies and Marlins made a "my garbage" for "your garbage deal .
As the Rockies sent Byung-Hyun Kim to Florida for Jorge Julio.

The Pirates take the Marlins on at PNC at 7;00 tonight.
Tom Gorzelanny for the Bucs vs Dontrelle Willis for the fish.

Photo Credit
Times Photos-Lance Aram Rothstein