Preview: Batting Third
Lost Pirate: Tony Bartirome
This week's lost Pirate had a duplicitous career for our Buccos. Pittsburgh native Tony Bartirome played 1 lone season in the bigs. Looking at his numbers it's easy to see why.
Playing for the hopeless 1952 Pirates, the 20 year old Bartirome logged 355 at bats in 124 games at 1b. In what surely has to be the worst season ever turned in by a first baseman, he finished with a .220 ave, .273 obp, and .265 slg. Ouch!
Even though Bartirome would never apply pine tar in the majors again, his career with the Pirates was not over. Bartirome would eventually become the Pirates head trainer in 1967. He manned the position through 2 world championships, finally ending his term with the team after the 1985 season.
Sometimes wild speculation pays off, though this isn't the type of pay-off for which I was hoping.http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/05131/502355.stm
Here's the biggest bunch of BS I've heard all season:
He (Perez) said he first felt the stiffness about two hours after his most recent outing.
Uh, ok. My guess (why not pile wild speculation on top of wild speculation) is that he's been hiding it all season because he was injured during spring training as a result of his lack of off-season training.
In the meantime, Dr. Andrews is sharpening his scalpels.
The Pirates have completed their biggest deal of the season to date (whoopee), sending a PTBNL to the Rockies for 26 year old outfielder Michael Restovich. It's pretty hard to judge a deal on the day it is made, and it's even harder to judge it without knowing what you are giving up....but something in my intuition tells me this is a nice move.
Restovich is not going to be a superstar. But he is exactly the type of player the Pirates should be picking up on the cheap. I don't know a whole lot about Restovich, but my first impression is that he's a lumbering slugger type. Let's say, a Craig Wilson Jr. Maybe he's more athletic than I think. If he can handle LF at PNC, the Pirates should stick him there, put Bay in center, and leave them alone until Craig Wilson comes back. That should give Restovich a solid 100 at bats, which is a good start towards finding out what kind of major league player he might become.
Of course if the PTBNL has the initials ZD, then forget everything I just said.
It's a bit late, but I wanted my chance to weigh in on the Santiago fiasco.
My take? Waiving Santiago was the right decision. At least Littlefield demonstrates an understanding of sunk costs. Was Santiago worth Leo Nunez? (Nunez made his major league debut with the Royals last week in case you didn't notice.) No. Did everyone besides Littlefield know that at the time? Yes.
But that mistake can't be undone, so Littlefield showed some smarts and guts by making the right move in releasing Santiago.
Back in town
So I'm back in town and trying to settle into my routine. Haven't had a chance to catch any baseball yet, but as soon as I can stay awake past 8-9 I plan on doing so.
In the meantime, it seems that "What's wrong with Oliver Perez?" has become everyone's favorite game. I speculated (pure speculation) after his first 2 starts that he was hiding an injury. Something just didn't look right. Then he turned in that one masterful performance and convinced me otherwise. Now I'm not so sure again.
In any event, if he struggles in his next start, he should probably be skipped in his next turn or 2. It wouldn't even be such a bad thing to let him get in 2-3 starts in Indianapolis or Altoona. Wouldn't be such a bad idea to give him 5-6 innings out of the pen.
All I do know is that the more he struggles, the more he will press, the farther out of sorts he will get, increasing the risk of injury.
Rumor has it that the Pirates had a big win last night, via a dramatic homer from Daryle Ward.
At least that's the word on the streets of London.
In other news, today is election day in the UK. The street are lined with anti-Blair posters and billboards. In an odd twist, it seems that the general population over here is much more well informed about politics than the US, but much less passionate. Even though the prime-minister is up for election today, not a lot about the election can be found on the news or in the rags.
Despite the wall to wall anti-Blair sentiment, he is expected to win by a narrow margin.
BTW, most Brits, if not all, still vote by paper ballot. Why do we need fancy election rigging machines in the US? I just don't know. Or maybe I do know.
Coventry avoids relegation
So, how are them Battlin' Bucs doing?
Across the pond, the Coventry footballers avoided relegation with a stunning 6-2 upset. Shocking.
FYI...if you ever take the train from Pisa to Rome, don't listen to the directions from the idiots on the platform. Also, nobody cares what tickets you have, so just jump a train.
Out of the office: April 29 - May 8
I'm heading to the U.K. and then Italy for a bit of a holiday and won't be back until May 8.
I may have internet access periodically. If I do, I plan on becoming the first person to blog the Pirates from Europe. But if Batting Third goes silent for a short while, now you know why.
Cheers mate. And arrivederci.
Dog days of April
Yes, we have entered the dog days of April. Typically its the dog days of summer, but not when you are a Pirate fan. Anyway, despite the win last night, the slow start has put the entire Pirate blogosphere into a general malaise. Even Rowdy is barely averaging a post per day. The rest of the usual suspects are eerily quiet.
As for this space, I apologize for the lack of quality here since the season began. But there really is NOTHING interesting about this team. There just isn't. It's pointless to add to the 'fire Mac', 'this team can't hit', 'McClatchy is cheap' noise. And I have neither the patience nor the talent to invent some kind of angle that is worth a long thread.
So, what do we do? We wait for something interesting to happen and dream of the days of Bill freaking Landrum. Yes, it's that bad.
And don't tell me sending David Ross back to AAA is interesting. Yes it's going to happen this weekend. But no, it doesn't count.
Lost Pirate: Bill Landrum
This week's Lost Pirate comes to us from the golden days of the Leyland era. Bill Landrum was signed after the 1988 off-season for the paltry salary of $75,000. The then 31 year old journeyman had nothing in his background that would hint at the type of success he would have with the Pirates.
Landrum exploded on the scene in '89, turning in one of the finest seasons in relief the franchise has ever seen. He finished with 26 saves and a 1.67 era in 81 innings as a replacement for the injured Jim Gott.
Landrum went on to have 2 more fine seasons as part-time closer while the Pirates slowly phased in ill-fated closer of the future, Stan Belinda.
Landrum was cut in spring training prior to the '92 season, and was signed by the Expos. He completely fell apart after leaving the Bucs and would only pitch another 42 innings in his career.
Though his stay with the team was short, I'll always remember the straight over-the-top delivery and the huge wad of tobacco.
Yesterday might stand as the most important game the Pirates play all season. Why? Because we received confirmation that Oliver Perez was NOT abducted by aliens and replaced with a less-able replica.
Perhaps his bad start was due to his off-season inactivity after all, and not some hidden injury as I first suspected.
Now that we've got Perez straightened out, what's wrong with Craig Wilson?
Just updated (again) the site I maintain for one of my fantasy baseball leagues.
Yes, I have too much time on my hands I guess. But it's a creative outlet.
Go check it out.http://mysite.verizon.net/vze7l5n8/
0 for 4 for Ollie so far this year.
I have a new favorite commercial though. It's the one where Lloyd jokes about having an umpire for dinner. I enjoyed how they went the extra mile and put the padding* in Lloyd's uniform to make it look like he actually did eat the ump.
* - Update: I'm informed that no extra padding was used. Sorry for the confusion.
We are officially a laughingstock. Today's embarrassing loss provoked 2 belly laughs from the ESPN Red Sox/Yankees Baseball Tonight crew.
The first laugh was on the play where Craig Wilson took 4 steps back on a ball that landed 10 steps beyond the infield dirt.
The second laugh was on the Little League style 1-4-6 force out. Throw to the base, Josh. Throw to the base.
For every great Sports Geek article, there are a dozen or so articles such as the one Goose Goslin subjected us to on Sunday.
In the article
, Goslin comes up with a brilliant solution to the Pirates' problems.
It is time to turn up the heat on the Pirates' ownership, management and
players. Let's quit babying the Buccos....
Let's not baby the Pirates anymore. Let's scream and yell when they stink, which they do. And, let's stay away from the ballpark, too.
I couldn't agree more. It's time the Pirate fan base stopped ignoring the fact that we haven't had a winner since "Bush's Iraqi Vacation, Part I" was popular in the theaters. We've obviously been far too accomodating these past dozen years. Nary a cross word is uttered in this town with regard to the way McClendon handles his bullpen. Noone has ever criticized Littlefield's trades, or McClatchy's tight purse strings. And all those sell-outs are merely a signal to the ownership that we like things as-is.
Ok, so obviously I have no idea what Goslin is talking about. This is a guy who used to host a daily sports talk radio show in this town. Doesn't he remember the roughly 6 million callers who wanted to voice their negative opinions on the air? And how in the hell is it supposed to help the team if attendance falls through the floor?
But wait...it gets even better! Goslin goes on to describe how the Pirates can turn their pitching staff into a juggernaut by making them "throw until they are tired", and "then pitch some more." I'm not kidding. He uses Jack McKeon and the Marlins as his example to follow. Of course, pitching until your arm falls off might not be the best strategy for a franchise that has produced operating table all-stars like Sean Burnett, Jon Van Benschoten, Bobby Bradley, Dave Williams, Kris Benson, among others.
Now, I'm all about unconventional solutions to difficult problems. But let me assure you that the reason the Pirates suck is not because the fans don't care, it's not because some fans still go to the game, and its not because we haven't ruined enough arms.
Fantastic Sports Geek
article today. At least somebody gets it.
Another good showing for Mark Redman today.
The more I see Redman, the more I'm reminded of another burly, soft-tossing, left-handed, league average, innings eater. Yes, of course I'm referring to Dave LaPoint
Something is wrong with Craig Wilson. He's swinging through meaty fastballs. That just doesn't happen when Craig is right. Were the first few months of 2004 an illusion?
Attention Pirate Management
Can we put the Rick White back into storage please? It's expiration date was 1998.
I'm sure he's a nice guy and all, but he really doesn't belong in the major leagues. And for god's sake, he should never, ever be pitching in a tied game before the 26th inning.
Isn't the strength of the team supposed to be the bullpen? Yet, in the 8th inning of a tied game all you can come up with is Rick White? We are 9 days into the season, so I find it hard to believe that the entire bullpen needed a day off. Aren't we carrying 12 pitchers?
And tomorrow we will have to read another article saying that it's not Lloyd's fault that the economics of baseball are all screwed up.
You know what? It's not Lloyd's fault that the Pirates won't make the playoffs this season. Nobody thinks that. It's not even his fault that nobody can hit with men on base. But he owes it to us to do the best he can with what he has. At no point is Rick White-flag ever anybody's best option out of the bullpen in a tied game. Never, ever, ever. That's just setting yourself up for failure.
Getting an early start
the first of what will be many such articles published in the local rags, crying "Whoa to the Pirates."
The Economics of Baseball* are such that it is more difficult for the Pirates to win than it is for the Cardinals or Cubs. We get it. It's true. Nobody has ever argued that point.
However, and note my use of all caps here to simulate how strongly I feel about this, IT IS NOT IMPOSSIBLE FOR THE PIRATES TO FIELD A WINNING TEAM.
Effective player development, efficient management of resources, and luck are the only ingredients you need to be successful. The Pirates have been miserable in all 3 areas.
So, my message to the Goose Goslins, Ron Cooks, and Mark Maddens of the world is to give it a rest. We get it. This team sucks. This team has sucked. And this team will suck until new management arrives. But there's nothing the Marlins, A's, Twins haven't done that we couldn't replicate here with a moderate infusion of competancy.
*-Copyright, Bud Selig
Q: How do you know when the expectations of your favorite team are ridiculously low?
A: When a local sportswriter devotes a column
lamenting the loss of a 3rd baseman
8 years ago, who has a career .765 OPS.
We can do better.
Will the real Kip Wells please stand up, please stand up
Is it too early to panic-sell Kip wells in your roto league? Yes. Yes it is.
Is it too early to be worried about him as a fan of the Pirate? Definitely not. The lack of command is troubling. Is he hiding an elbow problem?
Lost Pirate: Larry McWilliams
This week's Lost Pirate comes straight to us from the 80's. A lanky left-hander with a funky delivery, Larry McWilliams
was acquired via trade in exchange for his photo negative image, Pascual Perez.
A former first round pick with the Braves, McWilliams struggled to find himself until he joined the Pirates. McWilliams 1983 season still stands as one of the finest seasons a lefty has ever had in a Pirate uniform, as he went 15-8 with a 3.25 era and 199 strikeouts.
McWilliams completely lost it after the 1984 season and rapidly faded into obscurity...but not before becoming one of the bevy of mediocrities the Pirate lavished million dollar contracts on. (See Exhibit B, George Hendrick