Monday, April 5, 2010

Opening Day vs. the LA Dodgers

Firstly-it was wayyy too hot for an april day. Thank God my dad, an irishman who has had enough sun burns in his life to exercise due caution, recommended that I use suntan lotion. It's bizarre-I love baseball and absolutely plan on having my ashes scattered on the PNC park pitcher's mound (preferably by Sauerkraut Sal), but I am not a fan of weather like this. However, it takes more than that to affect my enjoyment of the greatest day of the year-the home opener!
It was a hell of a game, as well. Apparently the Pirates have won their home opener four years in a row now, and one of these years coming up it will be a portent for the season to come. Maybe even this year. It could happen.
When Nyjer Morgan was traded, I was genuinely worried that the Pirates would have a gaping humor hole. Fortunately, Lastings Milledge quickly filled it. After he retires he should really consider a career as a mascot.

A Zach Duke pitch. Zach ran into a little trouble today and gave up two runs, but managed to calm down and turn in a quality performance.
This has become an increasingly-common trend for Pirates pitchers. The soul-sucking seemingly-eternal innings of Gorzelanny, Van Benschoten or Snell in a slow agonizing free-fall seem to be done. I thank pitching coach Joe Kerrigan for this; it makes the games a hell of a lot less emotionally-taxing, to say the least.
Ethier foul-tips a Zach Duke pitch.
The extremely-controversial Manny Ramirez swings and misses. I was amazed at the amount of boos this guy received; when the Dodgers were here last season he was cheered like he was Derek Jeter. I suppose it doesn't come as much of a surprise, but steroid use sure changes public opinion.
Dreadlocks make for great kodak moments.
McCutchen makes contact.
Garrett Jones split seconds before a home run. What a surprise this guy has been; his two home runs and two amazing saves today suggest that his output is indeed going to continue. Where does it come from? How does a guy like Jones suddenly display power and ability like this? Stories like his could convert atheists.
Andy shortly after getting hit by a pitch. I'd love to see this guy have a break-out year; Pedro Alvarez suggests his days could very well be numbered, and it would be a great success story to see him start hitting regularly and for power. Note: I also liked Adam Laroche, and I am not ashamed to admit it.
Aki Iwamura. The master of the checked swing. No one takes a pitch like this guy. I'd hate to have to pitch to him; he shows absolutely no fear.
One of two stolen bases today. I think this is Cedeno. When last I saw him steal second, Robinson Cano stepped his hand and fell on him. Today's attempt had a much happier outcome.
Lastings Milledge hits a huge double. I think we will see the return of the long ball this year, and Milledge is one of the guys who is going to make it so.
The Pirates got eleven runs today. I really hope this is an indication of what we can expect from the batting order this year. I don't expect eleven runs on average (that would be foolish), but these guys are capable of serious devastation.

That being said, I do not expect the Pirates to necessarily break .500 this year. I do, however, think they'll come close, and next year will be the year when the losing streak ends. This year we get to watch the coalescence of the team that will finally turn things around. I am quite confident of this.

People wonder why I am a Pirates fan. The fact is, while I love and laud the success of the Steelers and the Penguins, I cannot identify with it. The Pirates are the underdogs; they have the necessary components (at last), it's just a matter of making them work together. Truly a team after my own heart. The thrill of being a Pirates fan when they finally do turn things around is going to be legendary and truly the story of a lifetime. I feel it's right around the corner. Witness the manifestation of my own brand of faith.

1 comment:

  1. wow!!!! and i hope you are right!!! it is time!!!!