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Let's start out by saying that Antonio Brown has been nothing short of a hard working, team first, class act since he arrived in Pittsburgh as a sixth round draft pick. Antonio has come through for the Steelers in clutch situations, as often as the sun rises and has never shown any signs of being a "me first" kind of player on or off the field. He leads by example and has taken young receivers like Markus Wheaton and Martavis Bryant under his wing, much like Hines Ward did for him. In short, Antonio Brown is the quintessential Pittsburgh Steeler.
In the last few days, it has come out that Brown wants a new deal and that he isn't going to show up until he gets one. This really isn't newsworthy or worth worrying about until training camp rolls around and he still hasn't appeared. Players wanting new deals is really nothing new, and inevitably will continue, but yet it seems like half of SteelerNation is losing their minds over this and comparing him to Mike Wallace. The biggest difference between this and Mike Wallace, is that Wallace put plenty of pouty quotes out there, while Antonio Brown has said nothing. All we are hearing about Brown's demands are from unnamed sources.
Based on his history, I'm guessing the unnamed source is Drew Rosenhaus. The more Brown makes, the more Rosenhaus makes. Obviously Brown is out playing the recent contract he signed, as well as three other top receivers around the league who are bringing in better than $12 million a year. While I don't believe that Antonio is guilty of becoming a selfish diva overnight, the only thing he may be guilty of is taking bad advice from his agent. It would definitely be in his best interest to demand that Mr. Rosenhaus keep this out of the media and between him and the Rooney's, seeing as how they don't respond favorably to these sort of tactics.
In the meantime, for all of those rushing to judge Antonio Brown as being a greedy diva, we haven't heard a single word out of him, and, let's just wait until all the details emerge. That's the least he deserves for being a clutch, hard working team first guy, who has lead by example during his time in the Black 'n' Gold. I firmly believe he will be there when training camp opens, to be the Antonio Brown who tortures defenses and brings us the explosive big plays we live for each fall.
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Casey Sadler used a strong outing to help the Indianapolis Indians top the Louisville Bats 3-2 Friday night at Victory Park. The win raised the Indians record to 4-5, which ended the opening home stand of the 2015 season. Sadler went six innings, giving up one run on four hits with four strikeouts, while not issuing any free passes. Reliever Charlie Leesman got the win after giving up one run and three hits in his inning of work. In between Sadler and Leesman, four relievers helped to hold the Bats in check, including Brad Lincoln, who induced a rare 6-2-5 double play to end the top of the tenth.
Offensively, the Indians wasted three opportunities to put this game away including when they had the bases loaded with one out in the bottom of the eleventh. In the bottom of the thirteenth however, the Indians finally ended it with a walkoff single by pinch hitter Elias Diaz off of Bats reliever Nick Christiani. Christiani started the bottom of the thirteenth by walking Jaff Decker and Mel Rojas Jr. on 6 pitches. Steve Lombardozzi, 2 for 3 with 2 RBI , then stepped to the plate and drove in Decker and advancing Rojas to third, then moved to second on the throw to the plate. Wilkin Castillo was then intentionally walked to load the bases, which was followed by Diaz's game winning single.
The win for Indianapolis helped negate an effective start by the Bats Raisel Iglesias, who went five strong giving up one run on three hits, with three strikeouts and a walk. Louisville catcher Ramon Cabrera also showed off his arm by throwing out two base stealers in one inning. However, those efforts were negated by the bat of Steve Lombardozzi, who continued his hot start to the season, by raising his average to a team leading .423 and driving in his first two runs.
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| Apr 05, 2015 - 8:50 PM
Tomorrow afternoon, the 2015 Pittsburgh Pirates season begins. Expectations haven't been this high for a baseball team in Pittsburgh since the 1992 season. 2 Straight visits to the Playoffs, a more experienced team.. these Pirates are expected to do more than the 2013 and 2014 teams.
That is exciting.
Going into a season with those types of expectations? We could only dream of that 5 years ago, now here we are on the eve of Opening Day and the excitement and hysteria for Pirates baseball is as high as it is for the Pens and near that of the Steelers.
Can't you feel the excitement?
The grass is getting greener, the air is smelling like spring, the temperatures are getting warmer and the crack of the ball off of baseball bats in ballparks nation wide are on their way professionally!
What of the Pirates? What are the keys for the Pirates this year to accomplish their goal of getting to the World Series? Winning the Division is the biggest need, so that they can avoid the 1 and done scenario, so how do they get there?
Without divulging into a bunch of stats and sabermetrics, since there's enough bloggers that have done that, I'll spare you the need to have a Math degree!
1. NO BAD MONTHS
The Pirates would have won the division if they'd have just played .500 ball in the month of April. They got off to such a bad start going 9-16 in April that they spent most of the season climbing out of that hole. 2 games back. 13-12 or 12-13, the Pirates win the division.
2. NO REGRESSION
The one thing that can happen in sports with players is that they can have that bad unexplained season. The Pirates need all of their players to meet or exceed expectations. Josh Harrison can't return to being a sub .250 hitter. A.J. Burnett can't repeat what he did in Philadelphia last season. Marte, Walker, McCutchen, Alvarez, Cole, & Polanco need to meet expectations.
The Central Division is extremely tight. St.Louis hasn't gotten worse. Milwaukee played well for 4 months in 2014, the Reds are contenders and the Cubs made a few nice offseason moves to add to a young and upcoming club. IT's not only a tight division, it's a very difficult division, one that the Pirates can't afford any player set backs if they expect to win it.
3. BEAT DIVISIONAL OPPONENTS
You see how I segued from #2 to #3? The... [Read More]
We have reached the end of the line it is now time for me to announce my picks for the All Time Pirates Near and Far teams. The selection process wasn't easy as quite a few good ball players missed the cuts and there were a few issues to handle. First let me remind everyone that I approached this as if I were assembling a team which means that the 25 players listed aren't necessarily the 25 best but rather the ones who I think best fit with the team. There was also the issue of pre-1900 players and what to do with them. The game back then was so different it makes it impossible to compare so I decided that to qualify a pre-1900 player had to be clearly ahead of the competition this standard resulted in 4 players making the team in all. Now without further ado below are my two teams.
1. Matty Alou, CF (L)
2. Orlando Merced, 1B (S)
3. Roberto Clemente, RF
4. Jason Bay, LF
5. Manny Sanguillen, C
6. Pedro Alvarez, 3B (L)
7. Rennie Stennett, 2B
8. Pop Smith, SS
Tony Pena, C
Frank Taveras, MI
Starling Marte, OF
Aramis Ramirez, 3B
Matt Stairs, 1B/OF (L)
Francisco Liriano (L)
Jose De Leon
Bob Steele (L)
LR: Al McBean
P: Oliver Perez (L)
MR: Damaso Marte (L)
SU: Ramon Hernandez (L)
SU: Salomon Torres
CL: Jose Mesa
25th Man: Russell Martin
A few quick notes:
1) Pop Smith is the lone pre-1900 player to make the team and did so because of a lack of other option
2) Aramis Ramirez received a spot mainly as a platoon mate and defensive substitution for Alvarez
3) Matt Stairs earned the last bench spot to give the team a left handed pinch hitting option
4) Jose Mesa receives the closer spot because he has the most experience closing out games
5) Oliver Perez won the wildcard pitcher spot because of his flashes of brilliance. With the wildcard spot on both teams I went with ceiling more than actual results
6) Martin's selection as the 25th man may seem odd but my vision is Sanguillen and Pena splitting time behind the plate with Sanguillen picking up some 1B starts meaning there is a need for a 3rd catcher since both will be playing at the same time. Lastly I wanted an extra emergency... [Read More]
Before I announce my teams I thought I'd do a post briefly summarizing who is in the running for each team to see if I get any feedback. I narrowed down the position players and pitchers on each team down to a list of 30 players* who I feel have the strongest case to make their respective team. This isn't the same as saying these players are the best due to positional scarcity and what not but it should provide a good starting point.
*Elmer Smith pulled off the amazing feat of qualifying as both a top 30 hitter and pitcher for the PA team so I'm actually going to list 31 pitchers for the PA team since Smith is actually more of a hitter.
C: Ed Ott, Joe Sugden, Billy Earle, Tun Berger
1B: Sid Bream, Bill Robinson, Willie Clark, Joe Harris
2B: Claude Ritchey, Neil Walker, Lou Bierbauer, Ed Abbaticchio, Tony Piet, Fred Dunlap
3B: Don Hoak, Frank Thomas, Joe Battin
SS: Honus Wagner, Dick Groat, Bones Ely, Frank Shugart
OF: Elmer Smith, Jim Russell, Frank Thomas, Clyde Barnhart, Bill Robinson, Bill Hinchman, Adam Comorosky, Jimmy Sebring, Tom McCreery, Roy Thomas, Moose McCormick
SP: Bob Moose*, Frank Killen, Ron Kline*, John Smiley, Mark Baldwin, Al Mamaux, Ad Gumbert, Patsy Flaherty, Rube Waddell, Jim Gardner, Marty O'Toole, Billy Rhines, Doc Medich, Mel Queen*, Elmer Smith, Harry Jordan, Billy Gumbert
SWM: Bob Purkey, Steve Swetonic, Don Schwall, Johnny Miljus, Bob Hall
LHRP: Bobby Shantz, Sam McDowell, Terry Mullholland, Joe Beimel
RHRP: Bruce Dal Canton, Nellie King, Stan Belinda, Mark Corey, Joel Johnston
* Also eligible for swingman (SWM) role.
C: Manny Sanguillen, Tony Pena, George Gibson, Russell Martin
1B: Orlando Merced, Matt Stairs, Fritz Mollwitz
2B: Rennie Stennett, Pop Smith, Jose Lind, Carlos Garcia
3B: Bill Kuehne, Pedro Alvarez, Aramis Ramirez, Jose Pagan, Jose Bautista
SS: Pop Smith, Bill Kuehne, Frank Taveras, Ronny Cedeno, Andre Rodgers, Rafael Belliard
OF: Roberto Clemente, Matty Alou, Jason Bay, Starling Marte, Orlando Merced, Patsy Donovan, Tom Brown, Manny Mota, Jose Tabata, Matt Stairs, Vic Davalillo
SP: Bert Blyleven, Francisco Cordova, Jose De Leon, Francisco Liriano, Esteban Loaiza, Oliver Perez, Bob Steele, Ed Bahr*, Pascual Perez, Jim McCormick, Luis Tiant, Edinson Volquez
... [Read More]