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Whatís the appeal of AJ Burnett and Jason Grilli? Is it AJBís league leading 72 SOs? Grilliís league leading 16 saves in his first season as a closer?
However, that isnít to say those two things donít make them more appealing to the crowd.
AJB is the veteran leader of the Pirates pitching staff. His twitter default picture? The Bat Signal with his number in the middle. His background? One of his STFD t-shirts. His appearance? Total bad a**. In the clubhouse, heís known as a man of few words, but when he does talk, everyone listens. He started out as a loose cannon at the beginning of his pitching career, and I donít think that comes as a surprise to anyone. Now that heís a veteran ball player, his attitude is expressed in his style on and off the field.
Rumor has it he pierced one of his nipples himself. Brutal. His tattoos are a wide array of things, from wife Karenís initials between his shoulder blades to Bruce Lee on his arm. But its these fearless qualities that make him a fan favorite. Guys love him because heís everything they want to be. Girls love him because heís that bada** they all want to date. Fans love him because he isnít afraid to tell batters to STFD or come out of the dugout to backup a teammate being threatened by an opposing player.
AJB reminds me of my dad and Bill Cowher. They all know how to give you that stare down that says you better cut that bullsh*t out RIGHT NOW or else. That look literally made me and my siblings become absolutely silent and quit whatever we were doing. He didnít even need to say a word. We would just scatter. Cowher had that same effect on the Steelers. AJB has that menacing, death stare down to a science.
Grilli doesnít have that bada** quality about him like AJ, but he does have the leadership quality. If thereís one other thing we love in Pittsburgh besides bada**, its people who get the job done the right way the first time. We love hardworking people who go out there and show Ďem how itís done. We also have a firm belief that it should be done in a humble manner. Showboats need not apply in any sport here in the Burgh. Grilli fits that idea perfectly.
As the leader of the bullpen, Grilli has adopted Melanconís nickname for it, the ďshark tank.Ē He posted a picture to his twitter today that says ďget bitĒ with a shark biting a baseball bat... [Read More]
Sometimes the Pittsburgh Pirates leave me speechless. Like when I type / tweet "Pirates take 3 of 4 from Brewers at PNC Park". I can't believe I just typed that, but I'm extremely happy to type it! Also things like "Clint Barmes might be the Pirates' hottest hitter right now." I just can't believe all of it! Nonetheless, the Pirates are sitting with the 2nd Wild Card Playoff birth and tied for the 3rd best record in the NL. They gutted out a 24-17 record through the toughest beginning schedule in all of MLB, and they are about to be rewarded for their hard work. What is the reward? Back to back home stints with the Astros and the Cubs could be just what the doctor ordered to get this team in serious consideration as a legitimate contender as we meander towards the calendar month of June. However, another psychiatric test needs to be passed before I go stating that this Pirates team is any different from the last two teams.
To me, this psychiatric test is one that can transcend any sport or team, but its one that several Pittsburgh sports teams struggle with (especially the Steelers)...what is it you ask? Putting teams away that have no business contending with you on the playing field. The Steelers do this regularly when they let losing teams like the Browns and Chiefs hang in (or win) games when it should be a romp. The Pirates fall susceptible to this as well. It seems the Pirates struggle with the Cubs, and they've struggled with the Astros (especially when Wandy Rodriguez pitched for them). To me, the next 6 games are HUGE for the Pirates. In my opinion, if they don't take 4 games of the next 6 then doubt will certainly start to creep into my mind. I'm not going to say that all is lost, but at the same time these are games that the Pirates should win...that is, if they are the team we all expect to see night in and night out.
Breaking down the pitching still seems like the Pirates shouldn't have any issue with either team in the next 6 games. The toughest matchup, in my opinion, is the pesky Jeff Samardzija of the Cubs. ... [Read More]
First things first: My name is Gretchen, Iím 28 years old, and a lover of everything dealing with sports in Pittsburgh. Iím a Pitt and RMU alumni with passion and dedication to my hometown teams. Secondly: Iím blonde, sassy, tattooed, fun, unique, and smart. If you donít like a female with opinions who knows her way around the field, court, or ice, you probably wonít like me. Just know that either way, it doesnít make me or break me.
I was fourth in the voting for the #MLB13CUTCH campaign on Twitter and Facebook. Had my Twitter not been suspended numerous times that week for tweeting too much, I would have voted more. At the close of the campaign, Andrew McCutchen had 108,147 votes, and the next closest player was C.C. Sabathia with 89,054. When asked why this campaign meant so much to me, I had to stop for a minute and think about it. I realized a few thingsÖ
We are Pittsburgh, the City of Champions. We are a blue collar city, and we fight to the death in everything we do. We arenít quitters, whiners, or losers. We battle back when in the face of adversity. Letís face it, the Buccos havenít had a winning season since 1992. I was eight years old. I barely have a memory of them being a great ball club. You know what I do remember? Meeting Cutch when the Buccos first drafted him. I was in my second year of college and working for Dickís Sporting Goods. This campaign was the perfect opportunity to show the world that we may not be number one, but our players are important to us as fans.
I wanted the bragging rights for myself and for the city. Not because I came in fourth, but because I was a part of something bigger, I helped Cutch get on that cover. C.C. and some of the other players leaned on their famous friends to glean votes. P Diddy and LeBron James were both tapped to help. Cutch simply had a loyal following of Bucco fans. Pretty awesome if you ask me. No, I donít play video games and didnít buy the game. Why? It wasnít about the game. It was about putting feelings and differences aside and backing up Cutch, presumably a guy who will be mentioned in Bucco history for years to come.
Like I mentioned, I was fourth in voting, with 921 tweets. I was the ONLY female in the top five voters. My love of sports can be shown by this contest. Iím a girl in the sports world surrounded by mostly men. I catch backlash for it once in awhile. People who are close minded get... [Read More]
The season is roughly one quarter of the way complete. At 24-17 the Pirates are sitting in a nice position but with a lot of games in front of them. It is still early enough in the season that it still feels new but yet we have a rather large sample of data to draw on with 41 games on the books. Some players have helped the Pirates get to their current spot while others might have possibly hindered them letís take a look back and see how the players are faring at the quarter pole.
Let me start by saying man do I have some crow to eat. Martin was the Pirates big free agent splash this past offseason and while I didnít have anything really negative to say about Martin I wasnít a big fan of the signing as I thought the money would have been better spent on an arm. So far this season Martin has been rock solid behind the plate and has been the Pirates best offensive weapon.
Now I wonít eat as much crow here as I did for Martin. I never believed McKenry should be the starting catcher but rather I felt he would be a good player to have in a time share with a less expensive free agent catcher. So far this season McKenry has been a disaster as a defensive catcher but has been an asset with the bat. He is showing himself to be a good solid reserve catcher and really with Martin that is all we need him to be
Jones is having a typical Jones year. He has been rock solid with the bat providing some good pop and settling into the cleanup spot due to Alvarezís struggles but his defense has once again been poor. The bright side to his defense is that according to advanced defensive metrics his poor play is almost entirely a product of his time in the OF as a 1B he has been roughly neutral meaning not giving the Pirates any value with his defense but not losing any either. As long as Hurdle keeps Jones out of the outfield he is a valuable commodity for this club.
Iíll admit I wasnít thrilled when the Pirates gave up the competitive balance pick for Sanchez. Value wise it was fine but the added flexibility the allotted pool for that pick would have given the Pirates in this yearís draft would have been nice to hang on to. However despite my doubts Gaby has proven to be a good value for the Pirates. He is showing good plate discipline having easily... [Read More]
The Pittsburgh Pirates have been through some rough times. Let me rephrase that...ALOT of rough times. The sheer fact that there are people who are in COLLEGE and have NEVER seen a Pirates' winning season is beyond belief, but its the sad state of the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball club. The Pirates have a very unique following. People that are obviously gluttons for punishment, but despite the past 20 years of losing, they remain loyal. Those loyal fans also might be the most pessimistic fans in all of sports...I'd know, I'm one of them. No matter how well the club is doing they always know the sky will fall sooner or later. The last 2 years definitely haven't done anything to help turn that pessimism into optimism, but here we sit...May 16th and the Pirates are 23-16 and have the 3rd best record in the National League. They are 3.5 games out of first in the NL Central (basically because the Cardinals are playing out of their minds right now) and currently have a .5 lead with the Cincinnati Reds for the Wild Card spots in the National League. Last year after 50 games the Pirates were 25-25. Obviously you can see the improvement in this ball club.
Improvement isn't the reason for this article. No, this isn't even an article about the Pittsburgh Pirates really. What is it about? Its about the fan base. Something that I know all to well as I've been a die hard Pirates fan longer than any other Pittsburgh team. I can tell you the entire 1992-93 rosters and remember watching Sid Bream score to end my dreams of watching the Pirates play in a World Series. I write this as a 30 year old who hasn't seen the Pirates finish with a winning record since I was 10 years old. My last memory of a winning Pirates team is seeing my favorite Pirate of all time, Andy Van Slyke, sitting in center field in sheer astonishment of what just took place. I felt the same way, and I still feel the same way every year that the Pirates struggle. Even those early 2000s teams that were horrible, you always have hope that this might be that magical year that the Pirates actually put things together. Again, here we sit, and its early in the season and the Pirates are still relevant...for now.
... [Read More]