The @RumbunterPodcst - The One With @NeilWalker18 - The Pittsburgh Kid

by cocktailsfor2 | Feb 10, 2014 - 6:27 PM
Hey, gang!

Yunz might have noticed that I've had a reduced presence on the interwebs for the last little while... without going too far into it - and basically boring the **** out of you - there's been some health issues I've been dealing with (some of you are fairly informed about this, so there's no reason to blather about it), but rest assured I've been scanning PSF whenever possible, and hope to be engaging with yunz more soon!

That out of the way, we've been AVALANCHED with Podcast work - so much so that - after this one - we've got 2 more in the can that I have to edit and post! YIKES!

To kick off this year's Podcasts, we shoot the breeze with NFW - The Pittsburgh Kid - who gives us plenty of his time, and plenty of info. You're gonna like this one!

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All Era Team: Dead Ball Era (1900-1920)

by battlingbucs | Feb 07, 2014 - 9:32 AM
The series continues today with a look at the best individual seasons in Pirates history during the dead ball era which I am defining as being from 1900 through 1920.

Catcher: The two names I put in for consideration here are George Gibson and William Fischer. There is little doubt Fischer’s 1917 season was better than any of Gibson’s but Fischer played rather sparingly that season meaning I wound up giving the crown to Gibson. Now within Gibson’s career I encountered a similar issue. His 1914 season was his best rate wise but his 1909 season wasn’t far behind and featured much more playing time giving that season the edge. In 1909 Gibson posted a triple slash of .265/.326/.361 good for a 111 wRC+ or a performance 11% better than league average.

First Base: During the dead ball era the first base position was a bit of a wasteland for the Pirates. Jim Nealon, Kitty Bransfield, Doc Johnson and Dots Miller all posted one or more season that I considered for the list with none of them being all that great. I ended up going with Kitty Bransfield’s 1901 campaign. Oddly enough Bransfield ended up hitting no home runs that season but stole 23 bases while scoring 91 runs and driving in 92. His slash line for the year was .295/.335/.398 good for only 9% above league average.

Second Base: Here we end up with a few very good choices. Claude Ritchey posted a few fine seasons and Dots Miller ended up having the best strictly by fWAR. I opted to go with Jim Viox and his 1913 season though as to me it was clearly just a bit offensively superior to the rest. Defensively his season grades out worse than the rest but considering the era I chose to ignore that as defensive metrics for the era are very poor. On the season Viox batted .317/.399/.427 good for a wRC+ of 139. He also chipped in 14 stolen bases and 2 home runs tying him with Gibson for most on the team thus far.

Third Base: This ended up being a two man race between Tommy Leach and Bobby Byrne. Leach was clearly a better player for their careers than Byrne but Byrne’s 1910 campaign was just about as good as any Leach had. Still I felt Leach still had a slight edge. The only question was which Leach season. Statistically his 1903 season was his best but his 1902 season was his best relative to the league. The difference between the two on both accounts was small though so I opted to go with his 1903... [Read More]
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Soldier on: Penguins Roll Sabres

by steeler_salerno | Feb 06, 2014 - 9:46 AM

The Penguins cruised to a 5-1 victory last night against the Buffalo Sabres. Although, one should not be fooled to think that this game was completely dominated by the Penguins wire-to-wire. The first half of the 1st period saw the Sabres taking the game to the Penguins from all aspects. However, Marc-Andre Fleury continued his stellar goaltending, keeping the Sabres at bay and the Penguins within striking distance. 6:00 into the 1st period, Fleury turned the puck over on a bad puck handling attempt and Sabres forward Tyler Ennis picked up the puck and nearly stuffed home a wrap-around attempt. Unfortunately Ennis' teammate Drew Stafford was lingering around the crease and pitchforked the fumblng puck by Fleury to give the Sabres the early 1-0 lead. This marked the 5th time in the last 7 games that the Penguins have allowed the first goal of the game. Fortunately for the Penguins, the Sabres were only 5-7-5 when scoring 1st. It wasn't until the mid-point of the 1st period that the Penguins finally found their game legs and began to reverse the tempo. At the 15:00 mark, after what looked like an icing call, the Penguins' Sidney Crosby won a puck battle on the boards along the right wing goal line, and passed to teammate Craig Adams who found Harry Zolnierczyk open in front of Sabres goalie, Ryan Miller, and beat him high blocker side to tie the game at 1-1. This goal came just minutes after Penguins defensemen heroically fought Sabres' goonman John Scott after some chippy hitting on Zolnierczyk and Crosby. That fight ignited the Penguins and it showed, getting the goal.

As the 2nd period started, the Penguins began to seize more control of the game. After a Sabres' penalty 2:00 into the period, the Sabres generated a shorthanded opportunity that was thwarted by Fleury. On the rush Crosby took a great feed from Matt Niskanen and blew by the Sabres' defense and fired the puck past Miller to give the Penguins a 2-1 lead. As Crosby skated down the left wing, I am sure the only thing going through Miller's mind was the flashback of Crosby's Olympic winning goal. And much like the Olympics, Crosby made it look effortless, once again beating Miller. This was probably the defining moment, as that goal seemed to break the collective will of not only Miller, but the rest of the Sabres. As the ice continued to tilt, the Penguins mounted more and more pressure. With 3:00 left in the 2nd period, and after a Sabres' rush, Evgeni

... [Read More]
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All Era Team: Pre 1900

by battlingbucs | Feb 05, 2014 - 11:29 AM
Currently CBS sports is doing a series in which they pick the best individual season per position per franchise and assemble a team. I like the idea of this and wanted to give it my own try but only focusing on the Pirates and splitting the franchise history up into eras (roughly 20 to 30 year stretches). The eras will largely be random but I still figured it would be a fun exercise. Each team will consist of a starting 8, one extra player, 5 starting pitchers and 1 "reliever". For the early teams the term reliever will be used very generally. A player is only going to be elected once to a team even if he ends up qualifying at two separate positions. First up is the pre-1900 team.

Catcher: When looking at the individual seasons put up by Pirates catchers before the start of the 20th century there was really only one name worth considering and it was Fred Carroll. Carroll's 1886, 1887 and 1889 seasons easily best any put up by Doggie Miller who was his only real challenger. The question though became which season to pick? Really it came down to how strict I wanted to be with positional eligibility. Carroll's 1889 season was his best but that year he split his time rather evenly between catcher and the outfield. In 1887 he spent even less time at catcher meaning his only year as a primary catcher was 1886. In the end I decided to take into consideration the fact that catchers of this era often were used in tandems and when not catching it was common for a player to play another position so I gave the edge to Carroll's 1889 season. That year Carroll hit .330/.486/.484 and his offensive production as measured by wRC+ was 71% above league average. His great OBP was fueled by an outstanding 20.5 BB% nearly double his career mark of 10.6%. As previously mentioned I only really considered Carroll and Miller for this position.

First Base: Jake Beckley produced plenty of fine seasons during this era and legitimately has a claim to having 6 of the 7 best seasons. His only real competition came from Ed Swartwood's 1883 season but I ended up giving Beckley the nod because in Swartwood's 1883 campaign he end up with only 437 plate appearances compared to a low of 557 for Beckley. The difference in playing time was enough to tip the scales in Beckley's favor. The only question remaining was which season was his best? Upon looking at them closely I determined it was his 1894 line of .343/.412/.518 because there he displayed a bit... [Read More]
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Steelers 8-8 Finish This Year Feels Better Than 2012

by Steelreign | Feb 04, 2014 - 10:33 PM
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ID:	5479 Heading into the offseason, after watching the Steelers tailspin to 8-8 to finish off the 2012 season, it felt like the beginning of a multi-year rebuilding phase was upon us. There was no reason to believe that there was going to be any quick fixes to the way Kevin Colbert ran this team into the ground with his inability to draft and replace Bill Cowher's players, some of which were allowed to hang around for far to long past their prime. Many fans chose to place blame, for this team's failures, on Todd Haley and his "anemic'' offense and some blamed Dick LeBeau, saying that the game had passed him by, when in truth, the main reason for the failures of 2012 were injuries and an overall lack of talent. The first step in replenishing this roster was not through free agency, but in the 2013 NFL Draft.

After letting the young talent, that did work out, leave, over the last few years in favor of the overpriced, past their prime vets, Kevin Colbert just about had to nail the 2013 Draft to get the infusion of young talent that the Steelers roster desperately needed and that's just about what happened. In last springs draft, Kevin Colbert and Co. added 5 players who are more than capable of being part of a valuable core of players who can be critical of future success of the Steelers for years to come. Of these rookies, the biggest impact was made by LeVeon Bell, who missed the first few weeks of the season, but came on and proved to be the do it all feature back that has been missing from the Steelers offense since Jerome Bettis retired. His presence allows guys like Jonathan Dwyer, Felix Jones and maybe still LaRod Stephens-Howling to be more effective in relief, rather than being relied on to carry the load. ... [Read More]
    4 Replies | 1,122 Views

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