Penguins prevail, butt 21 years of history

by sluggermatt15 | May 27, 2016 - 1:06 PM
The Pittsburgh Penguins put on a historic display last night, with their 2-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning, in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. For the first time since 1995, Pittsburgh won a Game 7 on its home ice. Previously, the Pens had lost 3 consecutive affairs. While it wasn't just a coincidence, the team ought to be proud of its efforts. The defense held the Lightning to a single goal and 17 shots. Rookie G Matt Murray played lights out, making save after save, including stoning Lightning star Steven Stamkos on a breakaway. The offense got the job done. Pittsburgh tallied the game's first goal in the second period, and responded 30 seconds following Tampa's tying marker. Thus the total team effort, plus the raucous crowd at CONSOL Energy Center, the Penguins earned their berth in the 2016 Stanley Cup Final.

I don't know what it is about this year's Penguins team. They are playing well, solid hockey, at the right time. The team has overcome a quite deal of adversity - a new coach mid season, the retirement of iron man Pascal Dupuis, and acquisition of minor pieces at the trade deadline (which have thrived, by the way!). All considered, this feels like the Pens' year to take the Cup. Whatever the outcome, 2015-2016 has been such a magnificent ride. Nobody saw this coming. It would only be sweeter than sugar if the Penguins can defeat the Western Conference's San Jose Sharks for the championship.
    0 Replies | 479 Views

#Pirates Extend Francisco Cervelli In A Surprising Move

by Kipper | May 17, 2016 - 1:12 PM
The notification woke me up a couple hours ago announcing that the Pirates extended Cervelli for 3 years. The amount hasnt been disclosed, but Fran had been seeking $39 million.

A surprising move since Francisco wasn't in the Pirates long term plans, but with the injury to top catching prospect, Elias Diaz halting his progression, this became inevitable.
    9 Replies | 1,073 Views

Not Bird and Magic, But A Great Match Up On The Ice

by WVUTimmy | Apr 28, 2016 - 11:00 AM

Back in 2009, when Crosby and Ovechkin first met in a playoff game, it was billed as the next Larry Bird vs Magic Johnson Rivalry. And that great series made it look like it was going to be just that. The Crosby vs. Ovechkin match up was great in that 7 game series with dueling hat tricks and and a combined 27 points. However, the two have not met in the playoffs since 2009. And even though they have combined to win 5 of the last 9 MVP Awards, this is no Bird/Magic Rivalry. Bird and Magic racked up titles, Crosby and Ovechkin have not. They have 1 title between them, and it belongs to Crosby.

So who are these two really like if they are not a Bird/Magic Rivalry? According to a great article in the Washington Post today, more like Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. And I agree. Both fan bases adore their hero, and dislike the other. If they were in the NFL, the marketing would be similar to Manning/Brady. Although I do acknowledge that Ovechkin gets more respect from Pens fans than Crosby gets from Caps fans. (Although I do love living in DC, I will tell you that Caps fans just aren't very respectful, period. They are more Ovechkin fans than hockey fans. That is the main difference between the two fan bases.)

And although I agree with the Manning/Brady analogy, there is one strong point that is ultimately missed. This series is not about Crosby and Ovechkin. This series is about the Penguins and the Capitals. The media likes to build and promote rivalries, and I understand why. But that strategy doesn't always fit well with hockey. Unlike Bird and Magic, or Manning and Brady, Crosby and Ovechkin are not playing during the entire game. Hockey is the ultimate team sport. Even hockey super stars don't see much longer than 20 minutes of ice time in an hour of game time. Fans need to know and root for more than just a couple of players. They need to root for an entire team.

Rivalries aside, if you look at the two teams, this looks to be a... [Read More]
    3 Replies | 1,185 Views

#Pirates Agree to 5 Year $30+ Million Extension With Gregory Polanco

by Kipper | Apr 03, 2016 - 8:49 PM
Gregory Polanco and the Pittsburgh Pirates agreed on a five-year contract extension with two club options that locks in the prime years of the young outfielder, something with which the Pirates have found significant success in recent years, a source with knowledge of the club’s dealings told Yahoo

The deal is believed to guarantee Polanco in the mid-$30 million range, the source said, and should be announced this week. Polanco rejected Pittsburgh’s seven-year, $25 million offer that included three club options before his major league debut in June 2014. In the season and a half since, the 24-year-old right fielder has shown flashes of the brilliance that made him one of baseball’s top prospects before his debut.
Those spells of success have been evened out by deep droughts, including the first half last season, during which he hit just .228/.290/.379. The Pirates believe Polanco’s second-half line of .284/.347/.383 is more indicative of the player he can be, and as they did with Andrew McCutchen and Starling Marte, they’re placing a strong financial bet that Polanco can produce similarly well.

The contract, which will begin in the 2017 season, is similar to the six-year, $31 million deal Marte signed coming off a strong 2013. He has outproduced it with stellar back-to-back years, and the Pirates hold two options on Marte that keep him under club control through the 2021 season. McCutchen signed his deal a year later in service time than Polanco and Marte, and his might be the best of all: six years, $51.5 million with a club option for another $14.5 million, and he has won an MVP award and finished in the top five in the other three seasons.

The biggest question about Polanco is his ability to translate a 6-foot-5, 230-pound frame into more power. Polanco’s aptitude for hitting the ball hard is not in question; in the Pirates’ Opening Day win Sunday, he whacked a single at 112 mph and a double at 109 mph, both elite exit velocities, according to Statcast.

In 652 plate appearances last season, Polanco hit only nine home runs. If he can tap into his power, he’ll make the Pirates’ trend of locking up their outfielders even more successful than it has been already.
    2 Replies | 1,031 Views

State By State Bucco History Final Rankings

by battlingbucs | Apr 01, 2016 - 11:02 AM
This is the culmination of my 12 part series where I reviewed the history of the Pittsburgh Pirates by player's birth location. I have created a team for each U.S. state, U.S. territory and foreign country that had at least 8 position players and 5 pitchers play for the Pirates at some point during the franchise's history. In all there were 34 locations that meet that criteria. Based on each location's starting 8, a 4 man rotation and 1 bullpen arm I ranked the locations 1-34 based on how good I thought the teams were. There obviously will be rankings of mine that run counter to your own but that is half the fun of this exercise.

Now before we get to the rankings I have some marks beside a few of the players and I want to address what they mean

For the position players:
* Has appeared at the position with the Pirates but played less than 20% of his career games with the Pirates there
** Has never played his assigned position while with the Pirates

For pitchers
# Has started between 20% to 60% of his appearances with the Pirates
* Has made at least one start for the Pirates but has started fewer than 20% of his appearances
** Has never made a start for the Pirates

34. Louisiana

C: Matt Alexander**
1B: Eddie Williams
2B: Warren Morris
3B: George Strickland*
SS: John Peters
LF: Alex Presley
CF: Jacob Brumfield
RF: Johnny Jeter

#1: Wally Hebert
#2: Howie Pollet
#3: Shane Youman #
#4: Len Yochmin #
RA: Red Swanson*

33. South Carolina
C: Johnny Riddle
1B: Doug Strange*
2B: Pokey Reese
3B: Willie Randolph*
SS: Walter Barbae
LF: Syd Smith**
CF: Marv Rackley
RF: Reggie Sanders

#1: Kirby Higbe #
#2: Tom Colcolough
#3: Billy O’Dell #
#4: Spades Wood
RA: Bill Landrum**

32. Connecticut
C: Jim Kennan
1B: Jack Leary*
2B: Ron Wotus
3B: Tom Leahy
SS: Pete Castiglione
LF: Rajai Davis
CF: Ned Hanlon
RF: Ed Beecher

#1: Steve Blass
#2: Joe Conzelman #
#3: Morrie Critchley
#4: John Lamb**
RA: Jared Hughes**

31. New Jersey
C: Steve Nicosia
1B: Sean Casey
2B: Dots Miller
3B: Danny O'Connell
SS: Dale Berra
LF: John Kelty
CF: Joe Orsulak
... [Read More]
    0 Replies | 1,027 Views

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