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 Post subject: Off-Day Musings, Part II
PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 12:21 pm 
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Back on Monday, May 20, your faithful Bucco Buddy J_C_Steel began a thread titled "Off-Day Musings" from a Starbucks in bucolic northern New Jersey. Following that day, the Pittsburgh Pirates put up a 20-12 stretch of baseball, winning with great pitching, some occasional hitting, and the odd misplay by an opposing left fielder. Because, like many of you, I have a superstitious streak, I thought I'd begin another off-day thread to share my baseball-related (and some non-baseball-related) thoughts with yinz guys (and gals). This time, I'm in my comfy office in downtown Washington, D.C.

* I don't know if we can make a realistic cardboard cut-out of some hot, evil woman to motivate the Pirates, but I certainly would do it. Who could we use? Maybe Sienna Miller? She bad-mouthed Pittsburgh when she was here shooting a film.



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* Obscured by the overall insane nature of yesterday's win were the contributions of two guys Clint Hurdle brought off the bench in the ninth inning. Andrew McCutchen and Russell Martin each played two innings yesterday afternoon in Anaheim and combined to go 3-4 with 3 RBIs and 2 runs scored. Not bad for their day off, huh?

* I'm not at all worried about whether Gerrit Cole will be sent down to Indy when A.J. and Wandy return to the big club. If someone has a relapse or gets hurt, Cole will get the call. If someone has two or three bad starts in a row, Cole will get the call. And come August 31st, Cole will definitely be with the Pirates (so that he's eligible for the... um... word that rhymes with "tradeoffs"). The PBC wants to win now, and part of that, as Neal Huntington mentioned, involves preserving starting pitching depth. Only Cole and Locke have options, and Locke's been consistently good, so Cole will probably make a few more AAA starts this year. I honestly believe this has nothing to do with Super 2 status.

* Looking back at my May 20th list of overachievers, underacheivers, and achievers (i.e., guys meeting expections), here's a revised (and once again wholly subjective) list for our Pirates:

Overachievers: (13) Jason Grilli, Mark Melancon, Jeff Locke, Jordy Mercer, A.J. Burnett, Jeanmar Gomez, Justin Wilson, Bryan Morris, Russell Martin, Francisco Liriano, Vin Mazzaro, Brandon Cumpton, Gaby Sanchez (in terms of hitting RHP lately)
Underachievers: (10) Neil Walker (definite room for improvement here), Jonathan Sanchez (f*#@ you, man), James McDonald, Chris Leroux, Phil Irwin, Jared Hughes, Clint Barmes, Michael McKenry (he's a better hitter than this), Brandon Inge (he sucks), Mike Zagurski (he can't be that bad, right?)
Achievers: (13) Pedro Alvarez (he's getting a bit warm, I'd say), Wandy Rodriguez, Tony Watson, Andrew McCutchen (still waiting for a vintage crazy hot Cutch streak), Bryan Morris, Garrett Jones, Travis Snider, Jose Tabata (returning to form), Jose Contreras, Alex Presley, Ryan Reid, Charlie Morton ("Ground Chuck" has induced a 64% ground ball rate, which means you can have good innings and bad innings), Gerrit Cole (he's been good, but I think we all know he can be exceptional)

* I didn't include Tony Sanchez or Duke Welker on my list, but both of those guys have the potential to help this team out down the stretch. Those guys represent solid AAA depth and potential roster additions on or before August 31st.

* Back on May 20th, I said the following: "If the Pirates are going to continue to win at a .591 clip, they'll need to make up for that natural regression with some better contributions from the underachievers, including Watson (who needs to be more reliable), Alvarez (more consistent), and Walker (in the line-up and producing)." What's happened since that date? Well, Watson has been more reliable, Alvarez is burning like the great North Star, and Walker's been getting on base. I'm not saying I nailed it, but...



* I just got back from Zurich, which now stands as the single most offensively expensive city I have ever visited. And I've been to Monaco. Lovely people, clean town, good food, and nice accommodations, but a 1.5 mile cab ride costs about 25 Swiss Francs (about $28). A sparkling water costs about 5 Swiss Francs ($6.50). Getting from my hotel room to the airport ran me 95 Swiss Francs. Yikes.

* I purposely avoided the whole "maybe the Pirates should trade for Giancarlo Stanton" thread on purpose, but I'll make one comment here. Stanton is 23 years old and on track to be not just a perennial All-Star and generational power hitter, but a Hall of Famer. In an outfield of Marte-Cutch-Stanton, he'd be the youngest player. If the Pirates could trade for him and sign him to an extension capturing up to and including his age 29 season, they'd be improving the big-league product through that time period. I'm not saying the PBC should make the trade. I understand all of the potential downsides to it (injury concerns, trading away a potential ace pitcher, Polanco's upside, etc.). I'm just saying that it would be a bold, all-in type of move designed to win a championship soon. And, of course, Pittsburgh Penguins GM Ray Shero made those types of moves this year and the Penguins got swept by the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference Finals. No guarantees in life or sports, folks.

* I don't care about the NBA, but people who spend time picking nits at LeBron James' game are just plain missing out on the joys of witnessing a generational talent. He's the best pure basketball player I've ever seen. He's not as ruthless as Jordan or as creative as Magic or as crafty as Bird, but he shrinks the court and plays at an athletic level better than anyone (perhaps ever). I love watching him play. Anyway, here's a mind-blowing .GIF of the shots he made during Game 7 of the Finals:

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* So, uh, Aaron Hernandez, huh? You know, if you made a list of the top ten things a dumb athlete would probably do after killing a guy, Hernandez probably did about seven of them. Crazy story. He's going to need a really good lawyer.

* From my Twitter account, after Sunday's game:



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 Post subject: Re: Off-Day Musings, Part II
PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 12:38 pm 
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Side Note: I'm heading to Pittsburgh this weekend and I'll be attending Saturday night's game against the Brewers. Looks like Liriano will be on the bump. Anybody from the board going to be there?


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 Post subject: Re: Off-Day Musings, Part II
PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 1:08 pm 
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Anyone else think it's weird that the Pirates have three scheduled off days out of the next eight?


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 Post subject: Re: Off-Day Musings, Part II
PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 1:12 pm 
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J_C_Steel wrote:
Anyone else think it's weird that the Pirates have three scheduled off days out of the next eight?


Wow, I haven't looked that far ahead. I think that's great considering the wear and tear on the bullpen. I'm sure the guys had a great time at Snider's place last night and had a chance to kick back and relax.

Tony Sanchez Tweeted this picture from Snider's place last night.
Image

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Last edited by IA Pirate on Mon Jun 24, 2013 1:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Off-Day Musings, Part II
PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 1:12 pm 
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Seems to have been done intentionally for WC trips. The Cards and Reds have the same deal going on, I believe.


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 Post subject: Re: Off-Day Musings, Part II
PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 1:15 pm 
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Awesome post.

Have to admit, I hate the Heat but was pulling for them after LeBron posted a huge game in a loss and was getting crushed by the media. He's an incredible talent and it's a shame the standards that he's held to. It's like he's responsible for compensating for Chris Bosh's freeloading and Dwyane Wade's wonky knees. Only so much a guy can do beyond 28/8/6.

I had to do a double take this morning when I was looking over some numbers and saw that Pedro has a higher OPS than Cutch. Right now, I think Pedro is performing around where he should be for this time of year all things considered. So, I'm hoping this is an indication that Cutch is due for a breakout soon. I certainly don't think he's been bad....he just hasn't had one of those torrid hot streaks yet. He's similar to Pedro in that he can carry a team for a bit offensively. I definitely don't think Pedro is as good as he's been these past few games, BUT he certainly wasn't as bad as his first month of the season either. So it would be nice for Cutch to really get hot whenever Pedro comes back to earth (and by that, I mean when he's back to hitting HR's every 13-14 AB's instead of every 5-6).

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 Post subject: Re: Off-Day Musings, Part II
PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 2:23 pm 
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Sticking with the randomness, here's a great article about how excited Tony Sanchez was in his first game yesterday:

http://deadspin.com/tony-sanchez-is-rea ... socialflow


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 Post subject: Re: Off-Day Musings, Part II
PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 2:37 pm 
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Nice post, J_C.

Liriano impressed me. He deals in the mid-90's down at the knees, and will throw his slider and change with accuracy.

The days off are a bit odd but the travel from Pittsburgh to Anaheim to Seattle and back to Pittsburgh is substantial.

Finally, for all of you who get the chance to drive for 45 minutes and get to PNC ... do it. The energy among Pirates fans at Anaheim Stadium was palpable.


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 Post subject: Re: Off-Day Musings, Part II
PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 2:41 pm 
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Bucfan wrote:
Nice post, J_C.

Liriano impressed me. He deals in the mid-90's down at the knees, and will throw his slider and change with accuracy.

The days off are a bit odd but the travel from Pittsburgh to Anaheim to Seattle and back to Pittsburgh is substantial.

Finally, for all of you who get the chance to drive for 45 minutes and get to PNC ... do it. The energy among Pirates fans at Anaheim Stadium was palpable.


I got to hear the excitement from the crowd at PNC when Snider hit that homerun against the Dodgers while walking across the Clemente Bridge two Saturdays ago. It was electric!

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 Post subject: Re: Off-Day Musings, Part II
PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 3:53 pm 
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JC, have you been to Paris? Water is like $8 here and beers are 10-15 each. I can't slam ten dollar beers. Right now I'm at CDG about to head to Athens and i imagine everything will be halved. I don't know how these people live.

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 Post subject: Re: Off-Day Musings, Part II
PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 4:07 pm 
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SUPERCHARGED APE wrote:
JC, have you been to Paris? Water is like $8 here and beers are 10-15 each. I can't slam ten dollar beers. Right now I'm at CDG about to head to Athens and i imagine everything will be halved. I don't know how these people live.


I haven't been to Paris since the Euro arrived, but it was pretty expensive back in '98. From what I've heard, though, Zurich is at least on par.

What are you doin' over there, Frenchy?


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 Post subject: Re: Off-Day Musings, Part II
PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 8:06 pm 
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SUPERCHARGED APE wrote:
JC, have you been to Paris? Water is like $8 here and beers are 10-15 each. I can't slam ten dollar beers. Right now I'm at CDG about to head to Athens and i imagine everything will be halved. I don't know how these people live.


I was just in Athens three weeks ago and it is the cheapest major city that I have visited in Europe. Plus, the food is delicious and the people are uber-friendly. The Greek women are nice to look at as well... 8-)

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 Post subject: Re: Off-Day Musings, Part II
PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 9:00 pm 
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Man, I want to go to a Travis Snider cookout.

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 Post subject: Re: Off-Day Musings, Part II
PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 9:34 pm 
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J_C_Steel wrote:
SUPERCHARGED APE wrote:
JC, have you been to Paris? Water is like $8 here and beers are 10-15 each. I can't slam ten dollar beers. Right now I'm at CDG about to head to Athens and i imagine everything will be halved. I don't know how these people live.


I haven't been to Paris since the Euro arrived, but it was pretty expensive back in '98. From what I've heard, though, Zurich is at least on par.

What are you doin' over there, Frenchy?



Gf got a new job across the state in Naples. Before we move, we had a window open in which she decided she was going to Europe on a whim. I obviously had to go as well, so, my first two credit cards later, here i am. I'm not very big by US standards but in France, I am a giant and could murder everybody with my bare hands.

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 Post subject: Re: Off-Day Musings, Part II
PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 9:36 pm 
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Some nice ribeyes there for sure.... :) :) :)


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 Post subject: Re: Off-Day Musings, Part II
PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 9:36 pm 
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Prince of Pittsburgh wrote:
SUPERCHARGED APE wrote:
JC, have you been to Paris? Water is like $8 here and beers are 10-15 each. I can't slam ten dollar beers. Right now I'm at CDG about to head to Athens and i imagine everything will be halved. I don't know how these people live.


I was just in Athens three weeks ago and it is the cheapest major city that I have visited in Europe. Plus, the food is delicious and the people are uber-friendly. The Greek women are nice to look at as well... 8-)



Nice...i could use some one euro drafts! I hear amsterdam is reasonable as well, that's our last stop after another day in istanbul. The buc's west coast trip is at a terrible time for me to catch these games!

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 Post subject: Re: Off-Day Musings, Part II
PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2013 10:41 am 
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For those who care about such silly things... yes, there will be an "Off-Day Musings, Part III" coming tomorrow. Get out your reading glasses now to prepare.

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 Post subject: Re: Off-Day Musings, Part II
PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2013 12:03 pm 
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Got my cheaters on, along with 3-4 more sets strewn throughout the house for easy access..... 8-) 8-) 8-)


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 Post subject: Re: Off-Day Musings, Part II
PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2013 7:03 pm 
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J_C_Steel wrote:
For those who care about such silly things... yes, there will be an "Off-Day Musings, Part III" coming tomorrow. Get out your reading glasses now to prepare.


Will it be accompanied by a Jr. Jumble?

Also, FWIW, while I generally enjoy reading your musings, I enjoy them even more when I decide to imagine Paul Harvey voicing them.

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