Tag Archives: Pittsburgh Pirates

Nats sweep Pirates as explained by one video

The Washington Nationals swept the Pittsburgh Pirates this past weekend. This video of the Racing Presidents vs. Pierogis reflects how the series went very well.

The Maryland Bureau Chief Emeritus texted me during last night’s game:

TMBCE: There is outrage on the pirates radio network regarding the Presidents treatment of the Potato Pete pierogi during todays race…..

WFY: I know! The real Teddy would have shot him from 150 yards

I have to credit my brother for the historically accurate suggestion of how Roosevelt would have handled the situation in reality.

Let Teddy Win has the video from three angles: 3 Videos: Teddy Roosevelt levels Pittsburgh Pierogie Potato Pete

Oh and nice job, Asdrubal Cabrera, your rental is going well.


In The Post today, Thomas Boswell is drinking the Kool-Aid again: Nationals’ success during stars’ down years shows team will contend for years to come.

That of course sets up the “Sign Ian Desmond now or the window closes column” within the next 10 days, because Boswell.

■ ■ ■

A former Baltimore Sun reporter wrote a column telling Washingtonians that they should have a parade for Bud Selig for returning baseball to D.C. Nope. Nope. Nope.

Selig ignored what was in the best interest of his sport for a decade rather than possibly do something that would go against the best interest of one owner, which it didn’t.

When Selig finally allowed D.C. to have baseball, he did it halfway, bickered with the city over the stadium and delayed selling the team to local ownership for about 18 months.

No link for you, Loverro!

■ ■ ■

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Nats vs. Pirates Q&A and guest prognositication with The Maryland Bureau Chief emeritus

My friend Sam, who migrated back to Southwest Pennsylvania from Maryland a few years ago, joins us to talk about the Washington Nationals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates series that begins tonight.

WFY: After several years of teasing respectability and over 20 years of losing seasons, the Pittsburgh Pirates advanced to the NLDS last year, but started off sub-.500. and had me wondering if the 2013 maxed out on this groups potential. They have been on fire the last couple of months and worked their way into contention for the play-in game if not the division; do you think they can get in?

TMBCE: Of course I think they can get in. Do I think they will?? Probably not. The Buccos didn’t go out and pick up another bat at the deadline or starting pitcher, although they made a nice bullpen addition yesterday with John Axford. The team is still batting a bunch of injuries, and the starting pitching is still a wee bit inconsistent. It will probably prove to be too much. However, it is nice to think they will have two straight winning seasons after 20 years of futility, so for that I’m really happy! The Buccos are trending upward in my view.

WFY: When I think of the current Pirates, I think of Andrew McCutcheon, Nats-killer and panda hater, but he’s out. How long? Who is filling the void?

TMBCE: Not only is Cutch out, but so is Walker (2nd best hitter on the team) as well as stud pitcher Gerrit Cole. Many of the regulars have missed significant time this year too, such as Marte and Martin. By far, the unsung hero through all this has been Josh Harrison (who we call “J-Hay!” around here). He was barely supposed to make the team out of spring training, and has been a utility player the last few years. But he has really stepped up!!!!

WFY: How has attendance been at the best ballpark I ever attended? Is the fanbase still energized? Have you made it out it to a game so far? I’m hoping to return for the 2015 Nats-Buccos series.

TMBCE: I’ve been to 2 games this year- a win and a loss. Attendance has been really good, and as of now, the projection is that the team will break the single season attendance record.

WFY: A.J. Burnett traded Primanti sammiches for cheesesteaks and signed for the Philadelphia Phillies in the offseason. How much is he missed and how is the rotation holding up? By the way, he got thrown out of his last start against the Nats for arguing with the umpire after giving up a big homer.

TMBCE: Some in the fan base miss, but its not universal. I for one do not miss him. He was a great team leader, but appeared to clash with Clint Hurdle late in last season, and never really appeared to take fondly to coaching. I have a lot of respect for what he did for the team, but I don’t want him back. Bigger than that, I think the Buccos need to re-sign Russell Martin in the worst way.

WFY: I said it last year that the PNC Park is the best thing about Pittsburgh. Normally, that’d be an insult to a city, but I’ll argue that PNC Park celebrates the Paris of Appalachia with the view of the skyline, bridges, river, hills, and proximity to the Golden Triangle. Am I right?

TMBCE: I have been to several current ballparks in my life: Camden Yards, Nationals Park, Jacobs Field in Cleveland (or whatever they call it now), and Fenway Park. PNC is by the best in my view. The most underrated place to sit is in the “upper deck” behind home plate. Its not really that high, offers a great view of the whole field, and a beautiful view of the city. Great prices for tickets too The next 2 parks I’d like to see are Wrigley Field and the Giants ballpark, which I hear is also outstanding.

WFY: What’s your favorite way to get to a Pirates game since it’s possible to go via automobile, bicycle, walking, light rail or boat?

TMBCE:My favorite way is to get the trolley (light rail) and get off at the Gateway Center stop, and then walk across the Clemente Bridge to the game. Its also possible to take the Trolley over to the North Shore and have a shorter walk to the stadium, which I will do in a pinch. But if I prefer the walk across the bridge. I am VEHEMENTLY OPPOSED to driving to PNC Park for any reason.

WFY: I know you avoid buying beer at the ballpark, but what regional offerings other than Iron City (which you questioned my purchase of last May)? I want to try a local craft beer the next time I am sitting in that magnificent edifice. I’ll even buy you one.

TMBCE: Maybe we should get the beer passport and participate in the local pre-game craft beer sampling that they have. I am not sure which ones are offered at the park, because its difficult for me to pay $10 for a beer that I may not enjoy. One local beer that I am enjoying this summer for the first time is the Rivertowne beers. They offer several in a wide range of beers, most of them I like (except for the really hoppy ones). Nicole even likes the Hala Kahiki (pineapple ale) offering, and she isn’t even a beer aficionado.

WFY: Any change to the Pirates standing in the Pittsburgh sports power rankings? How do the Stillers look for the upcoming season? What about Pengyunz?

TMBCE:A weird dynamic has happened with the Pens. A lot of the “new” Pens fans (the ones who just showed up when Crosby was drafted, much like the “new” Red Sox fans who just showed up when the Red Sox started winning) are put off by what has happened with the teams playoff struggles. They expect a Stanley Cup every year, and the playoff games are not always sold out anymore. I too am not pleased with their playoff performances, and agree changes are necessary. But a lot of the new fans are spoiled, in my view. All that said, I think the Pirates are catching up to the Pens in the power rankings. If the Pirates can sneak into the playoffs, and the Pens bow out early again, I think the Pirates overtake them. I expect a big year da Stillers–11 or 12 wins.

WFY: A sportswriter you have mentioned, Dejan Kovacevic, has started his own site. How is that going and have you subscribed?

TMBCE: Dejan is very knowledgeable about Pittsburgh sports but in recent years, has started to come across a bit too arrogant for my liking. He has plenty of connections and is well informed, but I was not sad to see him live the Trib and do not plan on subscribing to his new website.

WFY: So, do the Pirates sweep the Nats or just take two of three?

TMBCE: I think the Nats sweep, and I’m not just saying that flippantly. The Buccos offense is really hamstrung right now, and our ace (Liriano) isn’t pitching this series.

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For posterity, Ryan Zimmerman’s walk off

I was on vacation, off the grid, etc. last week, so I missed Ryan Zimmerman‘s latest walk-off home run, to beat the New York Mets, his first since 2011. I was getting concerned — he was overdue.

Zimmerman earned the nickname Mr. Walkoff on Opening Night 2008 when he christened Nationals Park and I came up the the nickname on the spot. Friday night’s was his 9th game winning home run of his career. The all-time record is 12 with has tied the all-time record for walk-off home runs with Babe Ruth, Jimmie Foxx, Mickey Mantle, Stan Musial, Frank Robinson and Jim Thome all sharing the record. Zimmerman is 28 years old. Zimmerman has also beaten every NL East team via walkoff now.

The day before, Bryce Harper hit his first walkoff homer to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates:

I can’t say I was surprised to return to BeltwayLand to see the Nats under .500. While I was out, Rick Eckstein got fired, Drew Storen got demoted and Steve McCatty was hospitalized. It is probably for the best I was out to sea for the week.

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2013 Nats at Pirates Q&A and guest prognostication with Sam, The Maryland Bureau Chief Emeritus

Congratulations, we made it to Friday and so did the Washington Nationals. They split hte series with the Atlanta Braves, winning the last two behind strong pitching from Jordan Zimmermann and Dan Haren. The former is expected at this point, the latter is still winning us over. He’s got twice thrice as many wins as Stephen Strasburg, right?

Now, the Nats are headed up US 19 (well, not really they flew and would have taken interstates if they used surface transportation) to the Steel City. The first Pittsburgh Pirates series of the season means another round of questions will repatriated Western Pennsylvania native, Sam, previously known as The Maryland Bureau Chief from his time in Columbia. His previous contributions: 2012, 2011 second series, 2011 first series, 2010 and 2012 for the Steelers.

WFY: Two consecutive August collapses for Pirates v- is that easier than say, 9th inning, Game 5 NLDS?

TMBCE: Prior to last year, the most painful Pirates experience would be Game 7 of the NLCS vs. Atlanta in 1992. I mean seriously, Barry Bonds took about a hour to try and throw out Sid Bream at home. Beyond ridiculous! Last year’s collapse was more painful overall. In 2011, we knew the team was held together with “chicken wire and duct tape” as Clint Hurdle likes to say. But in 2012, they were 16 FREAKING GAMES OVER .500 on AUGUST 6th! And they still managed to finish under.500. It was a disaster, but by Labor Day we could see it coming. But it was still painful.

WFY: Slow start, then good couple of weeks – can you figure out the 2013 Pirates yet?

TMBCE: Based on the last 20 years, I am not sold on this team yet. 3 of the 5 starters have been good, and the bullpen has been GREAT! I am worried about burnout of the bullpen, however. I just want them to maintain a good, steady pace right now.

WFY: How do you feel about the overall direction of the Pirates?

TMBCE: They are spending more money than in the past, but a lot of is for players who are stop gaps that won’t be here in 5 years (Burnett, Wandy, Grilli, Russell Martin, etc). They are quality major leaguers, but are probably on the wrong side of their primes. Drafting has been extremely spotty over the last 20 years. The current GM has been in place for a while, and hasn’t drafted well. Most fans expect a GM change if the team isn’t over .500 this year.

WFY: The Pirates had 2 million in attendance last year, has the fanbase been awakened?

TMBCE: Somewhat. The last 2 years have brought fans back to the fold; however, not everyone is back. The Pirates are still the #3 sports team in town. (Note: I know believe the Pens have passed the Steelers in terms of passion among the fan base and number of strong fans among the 20-30 something crowd).

WFY: Are you looking forward to a new Pirates logo ?

TMBCE: I am. I liked the first logo on the link, from the 80s and early 90s. I do not like current edition.

WFY: Would you take a zipline to a Pirates game if you could?

TMBCE: Absolutely! I’ve been reading about that zipline in the paper for a few weeks. It sounds awesome! (Although, I would probably chicken out and not do it).

WFY: We debated over email back in 2005 whether there was any potential for a Nats/Pirates rivalry, however minor. My theory was based on the large population of Western Pennsylvania natives in this area. Is there any buzz about playing the Nats in Western Pa.? There isn’t here – yet?

TMBCE: No buzz yet, but I believe that is partly due to the teams being separate divisions. I believe the Pirates and Braves should switch. The Pirates have natural rivals in the Phillies and Nats in the East, and the Mets are a historic rival.

WFY: Best Pirates memory? Worst?

TMBCE: This will sounds lame, but the “best” memory is in 2011, when the Buccos took 2 out of 3 from Boston at PNC Park in early summer. I had just moved back to the Burgh, the Pirates were starting to become relevant again, and I hate the Red Sox! I wasn’t at the games, but the crowds on TV looked ELECTRIC. It was the way baseball should be.

WFY: Greatest Pirate of your lifetime.

TMBCE: Hmmm….I guess we would still have to say Barry Bonds. (Based on the photos, he may not have been juicing that much while in Pittsburgh). If you want to remove him from consideration……it becomes a list of “good” players such as Andy Van Slyke, Bobby Bonilla, Doug Drabek, Aramis Ramierez and probably Andrew McCutchen. Given his age, I’ll vote for McCutchen.

WFY: Have you ever been a Pirates home game that was as electric as your first trip to Nationals Park?

TMBCE: The best “game” I’ve been to wasn’t even a game, it was the Home Run Derby in 1994 at Three Rivers Stadium. That was AWESOME. Ken Griffey Jr. hit a HR in the derby that made the upper-most deck in the stadium. It literally almost left the stadium!

WFY: For somebody visiting, would you suggest getting a Primanti Bros sammich downtown (dahntaun) instead of the ballpark?

TMBCE: If you’ve never been to a Primanti’s, I would recommend going to one dahntahn. It will be a little cheaper, and you will get a better menu selection.

WFY: Where does Pirates Parrot rank among the 3 Pittsburgh mascots? Has he ever been part of a terrorist plot? Are the racing pierogis a bigger deal than him?

TMBCE: I hate Steely McBeam, and he’s been “retired” anyway. I would rank the Parrot just ahead of Iceburg. The Pitt Panther is a DISTANT third among active mascots, for obvious reasons.

WFY: On the hockey front, the Penguins are a lock for the Stanley Cup finals, do you think they’ll have any series that even make it to six games? I will assume the Capitals get eliminated no later than the second round until proven otherwise.

TMBCE: Quit trying to jinx us. Pens fans are taking nothing for granted. Crosby still isn’t even playing. We have been so terrible the last 3 playoffs, so I don’t even assume the Islanders are an easy matchup. Getting to the finals would be a successful season, but is far from a lock. I am glad that we aren’t playing the Rangers–going up against Lundquist is never a good idea. And a Pens – Bruins or Pens- Caps matchup would be highly competitive.

WFY: Who will win this series and the season series?

TMBCE: I think the Pirates win tonight but lose the series. I think the Nats win the season series 4-3.

WFY: Quit trying to jinx us!

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McCutchen, Pirates beat Nats, take season series

The Maryland Bureau Chief Emeritus drew first blood in a duel of reverse jinx texts last night. Curses, he was one step ahead of me! His prediction of a 3-2 Washington Nationals win over the Pittsburgh Pirates was not what I had wanted to see. I replied back that the Nats would probably lose 2-1, because Jordan Zimmermann never got run support. The back and forth continued through the evening.

James McDonald struck the Nats out 11 times. He was perfect until Bryce Harper walked in the 5th inning.

Andrew McCutchen continued to be nightmare fuel for the Nats, hitting 2 home runs last night. Why do they pitch to him? At least he won’t be seen around here until the playoffs. TMBCE said if McCutchen played the Nats all season he’d hit 50 home runs. I countered that he’d hit 80. He also had a robbed Adam LaRoche (who was killing the Pirates this season) at the wall in right center.

The Nats finally got going in the 6th with back to back doubles by Jesus Flores and Stephen Lombardozzi. Ryan Zimmerman went the other way for a 2 RBI, 2 out hit. The Nats had life again! LaRoche tripled (just a few feet short of a home run) to send Zimmerman home. Then the Nats stopped scoring.

Washington had a chance in the ninth — you always have a chance against Joel Hanrahan and put two runners on. Ian Desmond struck out for the fourth time to end the game and earn the golden sombrero. He continues to be frustrating.

So, the Pirates took the season series, the Nats lost another final game of a series with a chance to sweep.

I owe TMBCE a half-smoke.

The Baltimore Orioles come down the B/W Parkway tonight for a weekend inter-league series. More to come.

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Nats honor Chuck Brown with 3 homers in 7-4 win over Pirates

BeltwayLand was sad yesterday after the godfather of go-go Chuck Brown died (The Post). There was plenty of speculation on Twitter about how and whether the Washington Nationals would honor Brown. In the past, “Bustin’ Loose” was played after home runs. When I heard about Brown’s passing, I tweeted this:

I’d like to see the #Nats honor Chuck Brown tonight. I’d also like to see @NationalsPR do a pregame tribute

I’m pleased to report that that Nats did honor Brown — three home runs by Adam LaRoche, Xavier Nady and Ian Desmond. The first two are former Pittsburgh Pirates. Gio Gonzalez had 10 strikeouts. He gave too much credit to the Buccos as well, which WTOP’s Craig Hesit could not get over. The Nats can sweep a two-game series and take the season series if they win tonight, which means they probably won’t.

Hey, a Barry Svrluga chat! Sure, the Nats aren’t mentioned in the preview, but let’s pepper him with questions about them anyway. And Panera.

I couldn’t blog yesterday, car problems (somebody broke my side mirror, no note — gutless coward) so I did not get to comment on the weird Stephen Strasburg ointment story. Weird. I think we can all agree that Gio was the real culprit, right? Strasburg was just part of the many injuries that the Nats are dealing with and dealing with quite well. Still, this graphic is quite telling. Yikes.

Good to see the Nats come back from that awful loss to San Diego Padres on Tuesday afternoon.

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Strasburg strikes out 13, Nats come back to beat Pirates; Harper as Mantle?

Stephen Strasburg struck out 13 and the Washington Nationals came back to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates, 4-2. Strasburg got out of a jam in the sixth after he walked 3 in a row. I hope he’s okay.

Here is a fun exchange from the top of the sixth inning:

Me: Roger Bernadina just homered!

Wife: Who? Who?

/wilnieves’d

Wife:That’s a name I haven’t heard in a month of Sundays.

Adam LaRoche hit another homer against his former team, a two-run shot. Ryan Zimmerman walked right after Bernadina’s homer.

Rick Ankiel homered in the ninth to add an insurance run. I think closer Henry Rodriguez appreciated it.

Here is the Strasburg K reel, which probably won’t work until sometime on Sunday. Again, MLB just needs to let us embed them outright.

The Nats salvaged the series and can still take the series with a 2-game sweep next week. I hope they do, because I want to win another Primanti Bros. sammich (still have to claim the first one) and not owe a half-smoke.

I like to think the Nats boarded a sternwheeler in front of the ballpark and are sailing down the Ohio River for their series with the Cincinnati Reds. I think they’d be to about Marietta by now, right?

MORE

THOMAS BOSWELL: Bryce Harper makes an immediate impact in a variety of ways for NationalsThe Post
I love watching Harper play, but what is the team’s record since he arrived? He’s certainly helped win, but the team is struggling a bit. Or at least it seems they are. #firstplacenatsproblems

MLB Network makes the comparison between Harper and Mickey Mantle (DC Sports Bog, The Post):

I’ll have more to say about the Mantle comparison later in the season.

Johnson tries to boost Nats’ spirits during meetingCSN Washington
TEAM MEETING FTW 1!!!1!!!1

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